If you’re using classic SmartMusic, or not using SmartMusic at all, you may not be aware of everything we’ve done to improve new SmartMusic since school let out last spring.
At the risk of tooting our own horn, we’ve done a lot – but we didn’t do it alone. Guiding us were your customer requests and feedback. Our primary goal has been to improve your experience.
Below are a few of the highlights of what has been accomplished towards that goal.
Sight Reading Builder
To guide students into becoming proficient readers, you need a continuous supply of fresh sight-reading material.
To help, SmartMusic now includes the Sight Reading Builder. With it you can instantly generate an infinite number of customized sight-reading exercises for any ensemble. You can both use these examples in class and assign them to students.
See it in action in this video:
Compose and Content Manager
Compose, SmartMusic’s notation creation and importation tool, has been fully integrated within the educator version of SmartMusic. We’ve also made it easy to store and find music you’ve created with Compose and the Sight Reading Builder.
Imagine you want to create an ear-training exercise within Compose. You might enjoy a new feature that lets you hide noteheads so they playback but aren’t seen. Then you save your exercise in a dedicated folder within the new Content Manager. (You can get to both Compose and the Content Manager from SmartMusic’s navigation icon, as seen at the top of this post.) Now, whenever you need it, you can easily locate this exercise (and other files you’ve created) for further editing or to assign to your standard and premium students.
Plus, any music created with Compose or Sight Reading Builder can be exported as MusicXML to be refined in Finale or used in hundreds of other programs.
Expanded Free Library
New SmartMusic includes an “Essential Content” library that is available to everyone, even students using SmartMusic for free. Included are exercises, sight-reading tools, and select state scales. We’ve recently made some significant additions.
First and foremost, we’ve added Sound Innovations, Book 1 for both concert band and string orchestra. Now you can use this acclaimed method, recognized both for being comprehensive and flexible, with all your band and orchestra students – even those without a paid subscription.
We’ve also added a rotating collection of solos and ensemble titles for band, orchestra, choir, and jazz ensemble to this free library. See the solos and ensemble titles included today.
Every 90 days we’ll replace this music with fresh repertoire, beginning January 1, 2019.
Find the Music You Need
Of course we are always adding to the unparalleled collection of music in SmartMusic’s repertoire library. So much so, that educators have asked for more help in finding exactly the right title. Now you can also base your search by difficulty level and ensemble type, too.
While SmartMusic has always included great jazz repertoire, in the past it couldn’t assess swung eighth notes. Now you and your students can enjoy accurate assessment of swing performances.
More Efficient Assignments
Several improvements have been made to reduce the time it takes to send assignments to your students.
You can now easily edit and duplicate assignment templates from within the Units interface and delete rubric criteria. You can quickly sort students (including by primary instrument) simplifying the creation of assignments for specific parts of your ensemble. You can also turn any assignment into a rhythm-only exercise by enabling percussion mode in the template itself.
SmartMusic’s Gradebook now allows you to sort and export by points or percentages, sort by instrument, and use a predefined grading scale. You can also export Gradebook data by grading period and choose whether or not to include archived students.
What’s more, when students submit their assignments, they can now comment and provide feedback. Use this ability to help encourage self-assessment skills.
Here are just two of the additions we’ve made to improve your students’ practice experience:
- A new vocal-specific starting pitch feature has been added to every vocal title (including sight-singing exercises). Now students can hear a starting pitch and arpeggio at any time.
- In order to improve the accessibility and overall experience for color-blind users, a Color Blind Mode has been added to both the practice application and the Gradebook, ensuring the colors used can be more easily differentiated by all.
Also, as a teacher, you can now view your students’ practice activity in real time.
What’s Coming Next?
Have you ever felt that SmartMusic’s assessment (displaying red, green, and yellow notes) was too strict for your youngest students? Later this year we plan to add three “Tolerance” options, ranging from “Lenient” to “Strict,” ensuring that SmartMusic’s immediate feedback best meets the needs of EVERY student.
If you’re not using new SmartMusic, now’s a great time to try it for free.
If you already have a free account, and want to experience full access for 30 days, we’ve made that easier, too. Simply click on the green BEGIN TRIAL button at the top of your SmartMusic screen (as seen below) to get started.