This page is a reference document for a presentation given at the Iowa Music Educators Conference titled No! You Can't Call It A Hashtag!- Music, Technology, and Teaching Outside the Box by Chad Criswell, Band Director at Southeast Polk Community Schools.

The many music education products and services listed below are those that I have personally used or that I have learned about through my many years of interviewing music teachers for my position as technology writer at NAfME's Teaching Music Magazine.  Whenever possible links to the original articles that ran in the magazine have been provided.  This page will be kept updated as new apps are added throughout the year.  



Videoconferencing Apps And Resources For Music Teachers

For more detail on the items below be sure to read Music Education At A Distance- Videoconferencing Options For The Music Education Classroom.  Originally published in NAfME's Teaching Music Magazine in the April 2016 issue and reposted here by the original author.

Places To Meet Teachers To Teach Lessons Over The Internet


For Private Lessons Live online music lessons Online lessons on many topics including music


For Auditions online system used for auditions for many different performing groups, honor bands, choirs, etc.


For Classroom and Group Activities

Cleveland Institute of Music- Provides interactive online lessons for music education classes on a variety of music topics


Best Videoconferencing Apps For Music Lessons

Listed in order of average audio quality.  The lower on the list the higher the overal quality of the audio stream which can be very important for music lessons when taught at a distance.  Keep in mind that the farther down you go on the list the requirements for solid, very high bandwidth Internet connections will be necessary for the best experience.


Skype- Free videoconferencing, most widely available

Facetime- Available only on Mac, iPhone, and iPad Much higher quality, no extra hardware required

Polycom- Highest quality audio but requires dedicated hardware for best connection


Voice Amplification Tools


Samson AirLine Micro- High end headset mounted microphone with rechargeable transmitter and receiver

Newgood 2.4Ghz Wireless - Low end alternative (approx. $30)

Lightspeed Tomcat- Classroom amplification system including speakers and pendant style mic.  Plug your MP3 player into the port in the pendant mic.

Extron Voicelift- Another large classroom based system.  Useful for situations where the room doesn't already have a dedicated sound system.


Assessing Student Progress

Model Cornerstone Assessments For Music- A series of sample assessment plans in PDF format for assessing student progress in many of the various areas of the new national standards.  A good starting point for those wanting to develop assessments of their own.  They are not intended to be used verbatim but teachers are encouraged to adjust them or use pieces of them to develop their own assessment plan for their classes.

SmartMusic- Interactive practice and assessment system with large library of titles.  Includes an online gradebook system for giving assignments and archiving assessments.  Now works on Chromebooks and other web browsers with a large enough screen size.  The standard desktop version is also available on iPad.  However the New SmartMusic and the old SmartMusic subscription plans are not interchangable.  

PracticeFirst- Online web browser based music practice and assessment system that integrates with the MusicFirst Suite of apps.  Most flexibility in terms of what devices it can run on. 

Sightreading Factory- An online service that provides randomized sight reading materials for use in practice and audition situations.  

MusicFirst- The overlying suite of dozens of different music education apps that can be purchased on a subscription basis for any size classroom.  Apps in the suite can run on multiple platforms at school or in student's homes.

Kahoot- An online quiz system that tuns taking tests into a fun game show format.  Thousands of different quizzes already created and available in their library or create your own custom one.

Plickers- Print a set of PDF cards to give to students.  Students hold up their card to signal their answer and you record their answers by scanning the room briefly with your cell phone camera.  Results are instantly provided along with student names if desired.

Ningenius- A mobile app that both teaches and assesses student progress in note identification and instrument fingerings.  Results are recorded in the app and can be downloaded for later use.

Educreations-  A multifunction tablet based learning tool with many different uses.  Most often used as a whiteboard for student creation of content or assessment artifacts.

Quaver- A complete online music education curriculum for the general music classroom that includes many different assessment options.


Google Classroom and Chrome Extensions

JoeZoo- Quickly make rubrics for assessing student creations done in in Google Classroom.  Rubrics are shown on screen as you read the student's work allowing you to quickly assess the students progress and save those assessments to your account.

Awesome Tables-  A way to visually inspect and analyze data captured in Google Forms.

Screencastify- A simple, free screencasting tool that allows you to 


Music Notation Apps and Software online music notation tool that integrates directly with Google Classroom and allows for collaborative music creation

Noteflight- online music notation tool with teacher controls

Finale- desktop based but very powerful music notation editor

Sibelius- another powerful desktop based music notation editor

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