Innovative Uses of Technology in Your Orchestra Rehearsal

Innovative Uses of Technology in Your Orchestra Rehearsal

Improving Students’ Playing Skills

By NAfME Member Joe Brennan

I have always enjoyed making music along with attending concerts and recitals, especially while I was growing up. What a treat it would be to play my violin along with my sister playing cello, accompanied by my mom at the piano. It was enjoyable and fun.

Since the music program where I teach does not have any pull-out lessons except in the beginning year (4th grade), I have relied on private teachers and any teaching techniques, gimmicks, and tricks in rehearsal to enable students to realize the benefits of music-making—not just socially, but also emotionally and cognitively. I have discovered that using technology in their rehearsals has been so helpful, since for them, each new technological gadget or innovation catches their attention and instills an eagerness to connect, belong, interact, learn, and grow. Through the use of technology, I have witnessed a closer realization of the benefits of playing music together for my students.

Music Technology

Using Technology in Rehearsal

Using technology in your orchestra rehearsal will make students more effective and efficient. In my session at the 2017 NAfME National Conference, you will learn how to use technology in your secondary strings rehearsal to improve the playing skills of your string students, increase their focus in rehearsal, as well as making your rehearsals more interesting, effective, and efficient.

Three areas of technology will be demonstrated: hardware, software, and the Internet. Specific types of hardware include:

  • iPads
  • computers
  • metronomes
  • tuners
  • document cameras

Demonstrated software includes:

  • freeware metronomes and tuners
  • PowerPoint
  • Quicktime
  • other regularly available applications that are inexpensive or free.

YouTube and other websites like YouTube will be demonstrated. Applications and rehearsal techniques for use of technology in rehearsal will be shown throughout the session. Many of the innovative uses of the technology shown, can be used right away in the rehearsal room with minimal expense, and equipment and software that is readily available.


Expand Your Students’ Learning Experience

This clinic is meant to inspire educators to explore and invent effective and fun uses of technology that will improve and expand the student learning experience. The collection of uses demonstrated in the clinic is merely a snapshot of all the possibilities. Although this clinic is targeted toward orchestra rehearsals, it is not at all limited to that ensemble; please share this clinic with all of your music education colleagues. And by all means, please share your ideas with me. You can add your ideas in the comment section below.

Music—Powerful, Meaningful, Necessary

There are very few activities for students to join together in a collaborative, non-competitive effort that can bring such a fun-filled and truly humanistic experience that transcends all ideological, social, and cultural barriers. If group music-making has been around since the beginning of man’s recorded history, then it must be something powerful, meaningful, and necessary.


About the author:

NAfME member Joe Brennan directs the string program at Haverford Middle and High School, a position he has held for the past 31 years. Joe is the Music Department Co-Chair for the School District of Haverford Township in Havertown, PA. In 2006, PMEA recognized Joe with the Citation of Excellence Award.

Joe received his Bachelor and Master degrees in Music Education from Temple University studying violin and trumpet. Joe directs the Chamber Strings at Montgomery County Community College. He has presented sessions at ASTA, Midwest, NAfME, TMEA, and other state conferences. Joe continues to be a guest conductor and clinician for various festivals and was chosen to attend the Juilliard School’s “Conductors Workshop for Music Educators.”

Joe lives in Hainesport, New Jersey, with his wife and children and enjoys doing DIY projects. Joe is a kidney donor to his late sister. Since then has been an advocate for organ donor awareness.

Joe Brennan presented his topic “More Innovative Uses Of Technology In Your Orchestra Rehearsal” at the 2017 NAfME National Conference last November in Dallas, TX. Register today for the 2019 NAfME National Conference!

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