Home School Clarinet Program
Computer use is something unique in music instruction that would be difficult to apply outside of the home schooling arena. Today, we enjoy any number of high-tech capabilities that could revolutionize the learning process, yet most of our children simply play games or surf the web until their brains turn to jelly. One imporant goal of this program is to give kids the instructional value that computers offer, while introducing them to the idea of studying, composing and test driving music.
Musicians who play band and orchestra instruments stand to benefit tremendously from computer technology. These are melody instruments, and students who play them learn very little about chords and harmony. Computers can do much to give all musicians the same ability to experience and experiment with harmony and counterpoint that pianists and guitarists take for granted. I started the Jam School section of this website several years ago to make that a reality. The program used in these courses is also used for the Jam School activities.
The primary use of computer technology in this course is to help students learn rhythms and rehearse some of their ensemble pieces. There are other things that they can enjoy on their own as they get familiar with the program, and that's the legacy I hope to leave them.
There are also some negative aspects of computer use, and that primarily involves the use of the computer to perform tasks that the student is assigned to learn unassisted. I have listed below two instances when computer use would be inappropriate. Otherwise, it's an incredible blessing that will prove to be more of a springboard than a crutch.
The Computer Program Used - Noteworthy Composer is a shareware computer program which allows the user write music, play music, or import music from MIDI sound files. It is used in all of my web-based music activities, and I recommend that you get it and use it anytime. Don't wait for the class to start! Here are the reasons why I have decided to include it as an essential element of my program:
Its low cost - $39.95 for the fully registered version with instruction book and CD-ROM. (The shareware version of the program can be downloaded at no cost. It appears to be fully capable, except that no individual file can be saved more than nine times.) Even for the non-serious musician, this is a cheap, easy program just to play with.
Its quality and capability - NWC is a fully functional music notation program, and there are a number of composers and arrangers who swear by it. Its files can be emailed and/or embedded in websites, while using very little bandwidth. MIDI sound files can be imported into NWC, and NWC files can be exported into MIDI. It can create individual printed parts for the instruments in an ensemble.
Outstanding Support - The folks at Noteworthy care about their product and their customers. Their website offers a massive resource for answering questions, and their Usenet newsgroup is an outstanding forum not only for help and hints, but for sharing and discussing the compositions and arrangements of its members.
Their User Community - Noteworthy users have a strong sense of community that, frankly, overwhelms me. You can link to their Usenet newsgroup and to their individual websites from Noteworthy's own web page.
Computer/Internet Support (requires current version of Noteworthy Composer)
Music Theory - Primarily used to aid in the learning of rhythms
Exploration - The program used is fully functional for writing and playing music, and can be used for almost anything that the student cares to try
Writing music of the student's own creation, or testing out melodies or rhythms
Importing, playing and altering MIDI music files from the internet
Altering melody or harmony notes in familiar songs
Regular Instruction - Allows the student to consult the instructor regarding things that would otherwise be difficult to verbalize.
Permissible Computer Use - The computer program is intended to provide the student a powerful tool which can be used for years after instruction ends. Students will use it in lesson assignments to:
Play demonstration tracks provided by the instructor
Review ensemble music that has been created or adapted to the computer program
Enter notes or rhythms in order to frame a question to the instructor
Non-Permissible Computer Use
To transpose music automatically when manual transposition is part of an assignment
To sound out songs that the student is assigned to learn by ear on his/her instrument
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