SmartMusic is a great product that has totally changed the way I teach in many ways. Despite how much I think using SmartMusic has improved my classroom I still have a wish list of stuff I would love to see in future releases. I'd be very curious to see if anyone else would be interested in the same things.
Top Features That SmartMusic Should Have But Doesn't (Yet)!
1) Teacher Mode
I use SmartMusic with a video projector and when available a Mimio Interactive whiteboard system that lets you draw and tap on the board to control the computer. It is great for playing back ensemble pieces but you can only show one part at a time. It would be incredibly helpful to be able to open a special Teacher Mode interface (charge me extra if you need to) and be able to display multiple parts at once in a score style format. It would be very nice to use in place of having to switch between parts when using the music as a teaching tool during rehearsal.
2) Lesson Planning Mode
Along the same vein as above it would be nice to have a way to input a series of pieces or exerpts in SmartMusic that you intend to use during an ensemble rehearsal so that you can quickly switch between them (including jumping to or selecting specific ranges of measures) and move between these exerpts with a single click instead of the traditional Open>Search>Select New Piece>Move to correct place>Set tempo>Set Accompaniment Style> etc. I know that the program already has a playlist feature, but it would be nice to be able to have the high degree of control I mentioned.
It would be so nice to be able to program the system to do this (similar to what we can already do with Impact assignments) but make it be something useful to the teacher to help them organize their whole lesson around clips from within the SmartMusic system.
I am sure there are ways to do many of these things but to my knowledge they all require a lot of clicking and waiting for the system to load the list of pieces, etc. I know that the Find Music menu already saves the list of most recently used clips, but that feature doesn't work with the lesson books.
3) Basic Utilities Mode
Let there be a simple, easy to use interface that has all the utilities a director might need all in the same window. Put the metronome in there along with the tuner , possibly even a button to start recording the ensemble's performance all in the same window and all available with a single click.
These are all features that I have found myself wanting to have over the first few days of teaching this year. If anyone knows how to do any of the things I have mentioned with the existing software or with external applications I would love to hear about them. Please leave a comment to this article and help get a discussion started!