Learning How to Play Guitar by Playing a Game

22 03 2013

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String Wars is a game that can be played using a real guitar

“The most enjoyable and effective way to learn guitar!”

So many of us are gamers and love music as well.  Stringwars is a great way to do both at the same time.  I can see it being a tremendous boost for getting students to practice.  When we are having fun learning it doesn’t seem like practice.  I unfortunately do not play guitar myself but I am going to get my students to try it out and see what they think.  You can even record your performance for assessment.  Great fun!  Learn to play guitar and enjoy music.  Try out String Wars





Great Online Free Music Concerts – the Tiny Desktop Concerts

21 03 2013

  NPR is one of my favorite places for music education. They have some many great programs and one of them that is just so much fun is their “Tiny Desktop Concert” series.  These programs are recorded live in acoustic style from the desktops of the NPR staff.  Fun concept that has created some phenomenal music performances that may otherwise have never come about.





Guitar, Bass, and Drum Backing Tracks for Assessment

9 11 2012

I have had trouble assessing my rhythm section players when they play with other instruments as part of a band as the other parts are either wrong or too loud.  One of my guitarists found a solution online at “Songsterr”.  It offers a music minus one platform for guitar, bass, and drums.  They also have rhythm tracks.  This solution has been great.  It gives the students something to practice with as well as if you become a member it will also let you mix and slow down the tracks.  So you can make the drums louder or softer depending on the situation.

They also offer quite an extensive lesson section that teaches how to play different styles as well.   The music library is spot on for today’s youth and includes many of the favorites.  Check it out at “Songsterr”





Learning Math Multiplication on a Djembe Drum?

7 11 2012

Here is something if you teach MYP Music and need something for a joint unit with another department.  Most teachers have discovered that there are many close links between music and other subjects.  Here is one new method for teaching student their multiplication times tables.

If anyone out there has tried it out please let me know.





Guitar and Vocal Effects for LIVE as well as the Studio

12 05 2012

VoiceLive Play GTX is the first ever combination of complete vocal and guitar processing, VoiceLive Play GTX takes everything that VoiceLive Play gives to singers and adds award-winning TC Electronic guitar effects and AmpTones. Artist presets offer signature vocal and guitar sounds while full editing ability allows you to define your unique style. Pro or Practicing, acoustic or electric, VoiceLive Play GTX is the singing guitarist’s dream machine.  And if you are going to use it on stage you can even get a special microphone that has a switch right on the mic so that you can turn it on and off as you like.  It is full of presets that imitate some of the most famous songs by the most famous bands.  It is even affordable at around $250 US.  Check it out!

Click on the links to see a video hosted by Dire Straits guitarist singer on how it works.

200+ song & artist inspired presets for vocals & guitar
Dedicated guitar effects processing from TC Electronic. No amp required
Key for harmonies and pitch correction set automatically from guitar input
Plug in your MP3 player to the AUX input and sing along using Vocal Cancel feature

Read an in depth article about the unit in the New York Times





Synthesia – a FREE and fun app to help you learn to play piano

14 12 2011

Synthesia is a free game that teaches you to play the piano using falling notes. With it, you can:

Learn to play songs using a musical keyboard connected to your computer.
Keep track of your progress in every song with per-song scoreboards.
Slow, fast-forward, and rewind songs while learning new parts.
Practice left and right hand parts together or separately.
Try out any MIDI file you can find more.

For Elementary educators this is a fun and useful way to introduce a form of graphic music notation to the classroom. If you would like to pay a little bit in support of the author you will be able to read the music in western notation as well.





Song Composition – Rapping Romeo and Juliet

14 09 2011


Rapping is both an interesting and accessible composition style that can teach students all about musical form, rhythm, phrasing, dynamics, timing, lyric creation, digital audio recording and more.

For a lesson idea that will link you into the English department, ask them which play they are including in the years curriculum. In my case it was Romeo and Juliet. I got them to translate the soliloquy into modern language and create a rap performance. It was not only hugely successful and fun, the students learning more about song construction, music theory, and performance than they will ever know.