Innovative music app helping CMS students improve

Innovative music app helping CMS students improve

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by ANN SHERIDAN / NBC CHARLOTTE

Bio | Email | Follow: @SheridanWCNC

WCNC.com

Posted on March 7, 2013 at 7:49 AM

Updated Thursday, Mar 7 at 8:00 AM

CHARLOTTE, N.C.--The orchestra at Hough High School is strong and getting stronger now thanks to a new secret weapon.

"It'll show you exactly what you did wrong,” said Junior Lindsay McMillan of the SmartMusic app.

The violinist used the app in class as orchestra director Bill Myers watched. 

McMillan reads her music from a computer screen as she plays, and while she does the app can tell her what she is doing right and wrong.

“We can hear how our part sounds with the orchestra as a whole and that helps us fix our problems,” she said.

Myers brought the app to all CMS music students this year.  It’s updated from previous SmartMusic apps because it allows music teachers to respond to their students.

While McMillan played, a green line moved across the music telling her that she was playing correctly.  When McMillan made a mistake, the app will mark the incorrect note in red.  SmartMusic  will even show the student how the piece should have been played.  Teachers get an online report that grades the students and tells how long they’ve practiced.  One hundred is a perfect score.

“Most of the kids are Type A personalities.  They're shooting for the 100.  They just record it and record it and record it,” said Myers.

He believes the app has made his students more accountable, and he says it’s helped students who are afraid or nervous of playing and practicing in front of a group.  Now, they can work and improve at home, then come to school more prepared, knowing what they did wrong and already on a path to improving it.

McMillan says using an app in music class feels natural.

“We're used to using technology in all aspects of our live, so including it in the music is really helpful,” said McMillan.

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