When it comes to teaching effectively, one of the best tools is right in your own pocket–just ask Kevin White, a percussion instructor at two Music & Arts locations in Charlotte. He’s been a teacher for over 20 years, and his average student has been with him for about five years, so he knows a thing or two about how to keep students engaged in their studies. According to him, your cell phone, more specifically the apps on it, can be extremely useful tools in the classroom. Here are some of his (and our) favorites.
This mobile app for Android and Windows phones and tablets gives teachers the power to create amazing, engaging videos on-the-go. With PowerDirector, you won’t need expensive equipment or years of training to create videos you’ll be proud to share with your students and their parents. You can even export HD video directly to Facebook or YouTube, making it easy to share your talent with prospective students and parents, too. Creative video effects include a photo/video editor that allows you to combine pictures and videos into one move, and with the built-in voice editor you can add your voice to videos, too. Better yet, it’s free!
Particularly helpful for teachers who want to easily transfer videos from DVDs onto their iPad or Macbook, RipIt is quite possibly the most simple DVD ripper for Macs. The process is simple: you can either rip copies of your movies directly to your Mac OR you can compress files so they’ll be playable in iTunes and on an iPod, iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV. So, if you have tons of old recitals, performances, and classes on DVDs that are just taking up space in your classroom (and what music teacher doesn’t!?), RipIt is a must-have for you to add to your app collection. With free and paid versions available, ripping your DVDs is as simple as inserting, clicking “Rip”, and walking away while the app works its magic.
For anyone who owns an iPad, the sheet music app forScore is a must-have. Using forScore allows you to download and store all of your sheet music in one place, which is pretty much any music teachers dream app! Apart from the space-saving benefits, forScore lets you annotate sheet music, create setlists, rearrange pages, add in your own bookmarks, and play along while it automatically changes the page for you. With a simple interface, you are able to focus only on the information that your students need to play their best, all while clearing your music room of clutter.
Tempo promises to be the most accurate metronome on Apple’s App Store, and is one of the best-selling music apps for Apple users. What makes Tempo special is that it offers 35 different time signatures, 6 rhythm patterns for simple meters and 3 for compound meters, and the ability to store presets so you can access them quickly in the classroom. If you’re looking for a good metronome to use in the classroom or recommend to your students, you should definitely give Tempo a try.
More Tips from Kevin
When it comes to recording your students, always look for apps that can do editing. Kevin uses his phone or a GoPro camera to record, but doesn’t get any fancier than that. “I don’t get hi-tech with it, but I still get a good response,” said Kevin. “Any teacher can do this, as long as they have a smartphone.”
When asked what he does with the videos, he said “I analyze their timing and technique. I Show the video back to them, show them things they’re doing wrong…sometimes things they didn’t even know about. This helps them with their showmanship.”
He makes videos in his practice room and during live performances, and even uses videos to show progress to parents, who are always curious about how well their son or daughter is doing. Last but not least, try to keep the videos short. “Most of my videos are under 30 seconds,” said Kevin. “That way, you can easily share the videos on social media.”
Check out Six Apps That Are a Music Teacher’s Best Friend for more app ideas from Music & Arts.
About Kevin White
Kevin White has been teaching private drum and percussion lessons for over
22 years and has taught at two of the Charlotte Music & Arts locations for
over 18 years. Kevin is the author of the drum instructional book series
“Breaking It Down” and “Breaking It Down For Kids”. These books can be
found on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Kevin-W
www.drumsRfun.com, and at Music & Arts locations.