Reply To: Sound Brush App

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The answer depends on your resources. Do you have the ability to hook it up to a Promethean Board or some other SmartBoard device? If so, you can use it with your class to show melodic movement as well as rhythmic notes visually. They can each have a turn coming up to play around with it, allowing them to put three or four different pitches of different rhythmic lengths on it and then playing it back to the class. You could then expand and teach about layering techniques and have another student add on a different layer of notes (using the same instrument) and discuss if that added some good harmony. Dovetail that discussion into writing on an actual staff and you’ve got the buy in from the students because you started with something they understand which is playing around with colors and they love technology. If you continue on this theme you could have another student choose a different instrument and discuss ensembles and how some composers would be able to hear all of the different instruments at once as they composed and yet when I personally did my compositions in college I had to work one instrument at a time and layer individually.

If each child has an iPad (there are some schools that are one-to-one schools) then your application can be used in a much different fashion by having each individual student writing a piece of work over the course of a few minutes and then saving it and sharing it with you. You can then teach them how to modify the work (although, I am still getting to know this app myself it doesn’t seem all that user friendly in that area of editing–for example, once you have added 3 layers you cannot go back and delete the second layer without deleting the third, but I could be mistaken on this).

The visual aspect of this is very appealing though. The ability to show in quick time rhythmic length in a fun way can really catch the students. Melodic as well. But there are definitely limitations that I find in this app (it is very sensitive to the touch so maintaining a pitch as you drag across the screen is not as easy as it could be).

Another fun app to check out would be Moozart which is really fun for many ages–but is geared toward the primary/pre-school children. Still, it can be great fun teaching about the staff, melodic direction, as well as different sounds (both animal and instruments) regardless of age.

Good luck! I would love to hear how you do end up integrating it.