SmartMusic is a fantastic software program which I have used with students in the past, and which we will use extensively this year in lessons. This software provides play-along accompaniments for every tune in our method book – Accent on Achievement, as well as over 30,000 other accompaniment files – everything from beginning level through college level music. I have used this program with great success with 5th graders as well as high school and college students.
In addition to the accompaniments (which can be adjusted to play faster or slower without changing the pitch), the program also allows the student to record themselves playing along with the accompaniment so that they can hear themselves. The software also can assess the student as they play – so that notes played correctly show up as green on the screen, notes played incorrectly show up as red. The recording can be saved as an aiff file and burned to a CD, or can be converted to an mp3 file and e-mailed.
In my opinion, this program makes it more fun for the student to practice, in addition to getting them to play with better time and pitch as they learn to play along with the accompaniment. Many students are also fascinated with technology, and this will help them look at practice as something like a computer game.
You can go to their web site to find out more about the program – there are a number of links and videos for students and parents.
You will need some kind of computer speakers, and I would recommend purchasing the microphone offered with the program. The SmartMusic web site should have information on minimum system requirements for your computer.
If you decide to subscribe (a one year subscription is $36) please follow the instructions below.
1) Go to the Smart music web page – www.smartmusic.com
2) Click on the “Store” link, and then click on the link that says “SmartMusic Student Subscription”.
3) If you want to purchase the microphone that works with the program, click on that link (the program will record the student if you have a microphone built into your computer, but I do recommend the purchase of the SmartMusic microphone as it will do a better job)
4) Add to basket, create a user name and password, and proceed to checkout.
5) You will need to be on the internet to activate the software. You may also need to remember your user name and password to activate.