Talking to Administrators about SmartMusic

Talking to Administrators about SmartMusic

If you’re excited to implement SmartMusic in your program, but first need to gain administrative support, you may be called upon to articulate what SmartMusic offers.

The information below highlights some of what SmartMusic can provide to students, parents, and teachers; answers some frequently asked questions; and shares tips that have helped other educators when talking to administrators about SmartMusic.

SmartMusic for Students and Parents

How does SmartMusic benefit students? With SmartMusic, all students can:

  • Receive immediate feedback, in terms of pitches and rhythms, even when practicing at home
  • Practice with accompaniment, understanding how their part fits with the whole group
  • Hear recordings of their performances for self-analysis
  • Receive and submit assignments, and receive educator feedback on them

As a result, students practice more and progress faster.

Jonathan 2One way to substantiate this is to share success stories from other teachers in your area. You may know teachers with stories like Jonathan Grimsby:

“During parent teacher conferences, when parents come in, we can pull up Susie’s profile. Boom – it’s all there. We can listen to how she was playing at the beginning of the year and all the way through the rest of the year.”

 – Jonathan Grimsby, Band Director, Fridley High School, MN

Administrators may also be more willing to consider SmartMusic if they know that other area districts are having success with it.

Parents, too, benefit from SmartMusic. Even those with no musical background can have a better understanding of how their students are preparing and progressing by listing to student recordings, viewing the assessment feedback students receive, and seeing student scores and teacher comments.

SmartMusic for Educators

SmartMusic assists teachers by allowing them to:

  • Create and send differentiated assignments that students can complete at home or in a practice room
  • Track, collect audio recordings, grade and learn more about each student’s progress
  • Create a portfolio of each student’s work, tracking student achievement and growth
  • Assign practice reports: SmartMusic tracks the time students spend practicing
  • Encourage parents to log in to view their child’s grades

How can educators measure if SmartMusic is successful? SmartMusic helps make it possible to objectively document student progress. Kevin Crawford analyzed the student scores and shared SmartMusic objective data with his administration:

Kevin“Students that were using SmartMusic at home generally knew at least three to four scales more than the students that were either not using SmartMusic at all, or were only using it at school and were generally 10 to 20 beats a minute faster on those scales. All of my beginners that have used it through the years and are using it at home are always far ahead of the students that are only playing lines in class.”

– Kevin Crawford, Band Director, Hopewell Middle School, Round Rock, TX

SmartMusic for Administrators

Many administrators are now asking their teachers to provide data on student growth in their schools. This is a challenge for music teachers because they teach large numbers of music students with limited instruction time.

This means that some school administrators are:

  • Leaving music students out of the school reporting plan
  • Using test scores from other departments to represent music students
  • Requiring music teachers to give written “standardized” tests that don’t reflect their local music department curriculum
  • Rating teacher performance reviews on flawed process and data

Many teachers have been able to work with their administration to use SmartMusic to provide meaningful student data, including:

  • Pre-test and post-test scores
  • Formative and summative progress reports
  • SmartMusic scores for notes and rhythms
  • Recordings (and teacher scores) of submitted assignments
  • Comments given by teachers on every assignment
  • State standards documented for each assignment

If your administrator is required by law or policy to give you and your students a “score,” SmartMusic can be an incredible tool, allowing you to help your students learn as you document student progress.

Answering IT Questions

Having answers to technical questions – ahead of time – can also help ease any concerns administrators may have. When asked what kind of support your IT staff will need to provide, you can confirm that SmartMusic:

  • Was designed to function safely in a school network environment: it is a direct and secure pipeline to computers
  • Is currently being used in hundreds of schools with thousands of students in school settings
  • Provides settings to IT staff so they can set up their networks to be safe and secure.
  • Lists all computer system requirements on their website.

SmartMusic Costs

Here are some of the expenses associated with a SmartMusic implementation. Typically the school or district provides:

  • Internet access for music department computers
  • A SmartMusic Educator Subscription ($140/year)
  • A few practice room computers (Mac, PC or iPad) with subscriptions ($44/year each)

Either the school or parents provide students with home subscriptions ($40/year/each). SmartMusic account managers can help put together district-pricing options. Contact SmartMusic Sales for more information.

Conclusion

The ultimate benefit SmartMusic offers is better student achievement. Again, sharing stories of other educators’ successes may be most compelling.

Peter“I certainly would recommend SmartMusic as a school principal and as a parent. [SmartMusic] provides teachers with an opportunity to differentiate music instruction. It provides parents with real time feedback and assessment of how well their children are doing. There are no surprises with grades.The students are performing better than they have before, and ultimately I’d say they are enjoying using the software and they are enjoying performing better.”

Peter Osroff, Ed. D., Principal at Garden City Middle School, NY

Administrators, teachers, students and parents – across the country – are seeing the value of using SmartMusic. Sharing these successes with your administration may help you enjoy these benefits as well.

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