My second top ten list for the week involves interactive websites that an elementary music educator can utilize in his/her general music classroom. Some of these websites can be used by the educator in a one computer classroom, or can be used with multiple computer stations, or a computer lab, or on mobile devices like iPads by using a web browser app like Safari or Google Chrome, or a flash-based web browser app like Photon Edu. The websites listed below are not listed in any particular order.
- Orchestra websites geared for children: There are some excellent websites created for young students by professional orchestras. The ones that are well known are NY Phil Kidzone (http://www.nyphilkids.org/), Dallas Symphony Orchestra (DSO kids) (http://www.dsokids.com/), and San Francisco Symphony (SFS kids) (http://www.sfskids.org/). The NY Phil Kidzone can be used to have students explore a variety of composers, create compositions, and explore how to arrange orchestrations for a variety of instruments. DSO kids could be used to learn about the numerous periods of music as well as a lot of games that can be used as a whole class activity. SFS kids is an amazing website to have the students explore all of the instruments of the orchestra through a variety of interactive pictures and sound files.
- Musictechteacher.com: Karen Garrett is a music educator from Alabama and the 2006 TI:ME Teacher of the Year. Her website can give any music educator ideas for lessons, worksheets for lessons, quizzes, and terrific drill/skill practice games. I highly recommend Rhythm Billionaire. This game can be played by dividing the class into two teams and having one member from each team try to answer the question and earn the points. Also recommended is the Rhythms Hoopshoot by also dividing the class into two teams and having one player from each team come up to the computer/mobile device/interactive whiteboard, answer the question, and try to land a basket to earn points. Karen’s website is amazing and she puts all of the materials on her website for free!
- http://www.musick8kids.com: This website is for students so that they can legally download songs from Plank Road Publishing’s Music K8 for 99 cents and videos for $1.98. There are also excellent interactive resources on this site. Need a recorder fingering chart? Look here: http://www.musick8kids.com/html/recorder_training.php#.UowvuGQwzrE I load this site on my SMART board so that the students can touch the note on the staff and see the recorder fingering appear when they need to learn a new note. Need another set of boom whackers? Try these virtual boom whackers found on the site: http://www.musick8kids.com/html/play_bw.php#.UowwDWQwzrE I have my students play them on a laptop or interactive whiteboard.
- Noteflight: My elementary students have used noteflight (a cloud-based notation software) to compose four to twelve measure melodies. When their melodies are finished, we export them as midi files and import them to garageband so the students can pick a style of music and loops to create an accompaniment to their melodies. Noteflight has many options and prices for subscriptions and everything is saved in the cloud where it can be easily accessed from any laptop or mobile device.
- The Music Interactive web site: This site has many software applications that can be downloaded onto your computer for free. They can also be used on an interactive whiteboard, but the interactive whiteboard is not necessary. There are many wonderful applications found on this site. The one that is many music educators’ favorite is Staff Wars Version 2.2, which can be found here. This is a note reading game where the students can use a recorder or a band instrument to perform the notes that float across the staff. If they play the note correctly, the note is “blown off” the staff. Recorder students love this game.