Starting a New School Year with SmartMusic

Starting a New School Year with SmartMusic

Have you started to hear school bells ringing in your sleep? The fall term is coming for all of us. While no one needs more things to do in the fall, if you set a little time aside to set up SmartMusic, you can quickly and easily set your program and students up for success – and save time later. While there are a lot of links below, don’t feel like you have to click on all of them; I just wanted to provide all related resources in one place.

Create Classes

The first step is to set up new classes in SmartMusic. If you have your schedule set, and you know which ensembles are using SmartMusic this year, the process for creating new classes is fairly simple. However, don’t overlook the class features in SmartMusic that can save you time and provide extra detail to your students!

Once the new classes have been created, take a look at setting up a grading calendar and a grading scale. Each of these features has great value throughout the school year.

Grading Calendar and Scale

By setting up a grading calendar you will be able to sort your gradebook by grading period. That means you will be able to see just the assignments for the current term, rather than being overwhelmed by a gradebook with every student’s assignments for the full year.

A grading scale can be a great tool for you and your students as well. Students will receive a percentage grade from SmartMusic; however, you may also want to your students to see a grade on the scale that you use in your classroom. You can bring that level of specificity to your students’ SmartMusic grades by adding a custom grading scale. Set up a scale that uses letter grades, numbers, check marks, or something even more creative!

You might be thinking, “Now that seems like a lot of extra work.” Thankfully, SmartMusic makes setting both the grading calendar and grading scale a breeze by allowing you to use them for as many classes as you would like.

Set up your grading scale and you can reuse that scale for years to come. You can also set up the new year’s grading calendar and share that to each of your classes.

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Enroll students

After you have all the class details sorted, it is time to add in the students! If you have used SmartMusic in the past, you can re-enroll returning students in a snap. Your students will be enrolled in the new classes without having to do a thing. They will simply log into their accounts and see the new class listed on their dashboard.

When enrolling new students there are different options. The first would be to take your students and parents through the process of account creation and enrollment while you are in front of them. Instrument fitting day or any parent orientation you have at the beginning of the school year is a great opportunity! This will allow you to be onsite to answer any questions about the process.

If you opt to have your new students enroll outside of class we have resources to help! Your students will be going to and entering the class code that you provide. All this information is included in the class-specific email template that you can find in SmartMusic. Learn how to use that here.

We even have parent resource videos that you can send along with the class code to take parents and students through the process step by step. The “Create a Student Account & Join a Class” video appears below; you can find all parent resource videos here.

Create and Schedule Upcoming Assignments

Now that you have created your classes and gotten your students enrolled, it is time to get practicing [too colloquial? – to work?]! Do you use the same method book exercises from year to year? Create assignments and set those up in a unit that can be easily assigned over and over again each year. These Units may take some effort up front, but will save you huge amounts of time down the line.

Are you a master planner? If you have all your assignments planned out for the term take the time to schedule those in SmartMusic in advance! You can always adjust the assign on or due date down the line if plans change.

Once you have your assignments scheduled you are all set for the new school year! Whew! Let the tools in SmartMusic help set you and your students up for success this term.

As MakeMusic’s social media manager, Suzanne Whitney is committed to sharing actionable information to music educators, composers, and musicians of all sorts. She has been teaching voice and choir privately for the past eight years. Her students range from kindermusik students all the way to adult community members. Suzanne earned a Bachelor of Music degree from Illinois Wesleyan University and a Master of Music degree in vocal performance and pedagogy from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

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