Product Reviews

Music related hardware and software product reviews

Sibelius 7 Music Notation Software Review

Sibelius 7 Box ShotSibelius 7 continues its tradition as a very robust, feature packed music notation system for the PC and Mac.  Many would say that it has always been more user friendly than its competitors, but Sibelius 7 brings to the performance some new additions that some might think threaten to upset the cart.  Is Sibelius 7 worth the price of admission?

Sibelius Student Review

Sibelius 6 Student Edition Software BoxBuilding on the successful feature upgrades of Sibelius 6, Sibelius Student has greatly improved it's utility as an educational tool for both classroom and home use.  Priced at just under $100 Sibelius Student is a bit pricey for those that are just looking for a cheap or free way to write and print music notation, but for amateur musicians and music students it packs a lot of desirable features that other comparably priced student music writing products leave out. 
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Auralia Ear Training Software

Auralia Software BoxAuralia is a very full featured aural training software program used to help musicians develop their listening skills.  The software contains hundreds of exercises in a variety of different topics from scale recognition to intervals and many more.

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EarMaster Pro Ear Training Software Review

Finding a software title that takes the pain and suffering out of learning a vital skill is always refreshing. For many people ear training classes are one of these painful yet necessary parts of learning to be a good musician. The EarMaster Pro version 5 software manages to provide an excellent series of ear training exercises while avoiding the common pitfalls of many music education software titles . While it is doubtful that any company could make aural training exercises fun, EarMaster comes quite close and still manages to be rich in features and variety of instruction.

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Groovy Music City

Goovy Music City is the last in a series of three music education software titles from Sibelius Music.  The software provides instruction in twelve different areas for students in the upper elementary grades.  Topics covered include note reading, instrument identification,scales,composing, and many more.

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O-Generator Software Review

O-Generator InterfaceWhen I received a copy of O-Generator in the mail I didn’t really know what to expect.  After a few days of playing with it and delving into the tutorials I found that although I was impressed with the ideas behind it, the O-Generator is far from perfect.  This review will touch on what I found to be the more positive aspects of the software as well as some drawbacks that teachers should be aware of when considering it as a classroom tool.

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SmartMusic 2010 Review

SmartMusic LogoSmartMusic has come a long way since its humble (and occasionally buggy) beginnings so many years ago.  The newest version of SmartMusic Studio (SmartMusic 2010) is an exponential leap forward in convenience, not just from the early versions, but even from the more recent version 10.2.  MakeMusic has finally taken many of the requests of teachers and fixed most of the major annoyances that once made SmartMusic a labor of love to use.  SmartMusic 2010 is far more user friendly and some of the improvements they have made to the user interface are game changers in terms of convenience and ease of use for classroom based music teachers.
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SmartMusic Studio v10.2

Using SmartMusic in class is a great way to encourage good practice habits and to reinforce the importance of good intonation and rhythmic accuracy. Unfortunately using SmartMusic at home has been problematic for some students due to what some might describe as a complicated user interface. Luckily SmartMusic's authors have listened to these complaints and have released a new updated version of the software that solves many problems including student microphone placement and microphone volume settings.

 

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Travels With Music Software Review

Travel's With Music is a flash based instructional software program that teaches students about the cultures, traditions, music, and musical instruments of fifteen different cultures. Travels with music (volume 1) includes nearly 300 videos of musicians performing, playing, and teaching about their instruments and the various ceremonies and rituals that they are used in.
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Wii Music- From A Music Educator's Point of View

Like them or loathe them, video games take up a large portion of student free time outside of school, and smart teachers work hard to find anything that can provide a hook to draw kids in to learning new concepts and ideas.
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Song Surgeon Audio Editing Software Review

Song Surgeon LogoThere are literally dozens of audio editing products available on the market these days ranging from very expensive down to very free.  In that lineup of software one product seems to stand out not because of what it can or cannot do, but because of the fact that what it does it does better than any other piece of software that this reviewer has ever used.  The Song Surgeon audio editor is not a swiss army knife application.  The company has focused its attention on doing some very audio editing tasks, and doing them very, very well.

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