Consistent feedback is one of the markers of great teaching. Most private music instructors have a limited amount of time with a student each week. A half-hour or hour lesson with a student, once a week, does not provide multiple checkpoints in a week a student could use to deepen their understanding of a piece or subject. Having the ability to provide “course corrections” outside of the classroom or private lesson studio is one of the major benefits of technology.
A tool that I have been using to provide more feedback to a student is Soundcloud. Soundcloud is an online music distribution platform. Musicians can record and upload recordings that can then be listened to by others that follow the artist. Online sharing of music is nothing new. However, Soundcloud allows others to comment on the recording right in the timeline. Commenting looks and works much like Facebook.
Using this tool I can hear a student playing an assigned piece and make comments about his playing at the precise moment I hear something. Students are able to listen through their performance and see my directions and comments about their playing. When a student looks at the recording my comments are placed throughout the timeline. My goal in implementing this tool is to provide another feedback point in between lessons.
How it Works
In order to obtain a good recording I use the Tascam iM2 microphone. Most of my students are not walking around with high quality field recorders. They are, however, walking around with smartphones. This device connects to the iPhone or iPad and provides a high quality audio recording. Tascam has developed a microphone for a phone/tablet that rivals the fidelity of a good field recorder. Along with the microphone Tascam has also developed an app, Tascam PCM Recorder, that looks and functions like a field recorder. From this app you can upload the file directly to your Soundcloud account.
This combination of the iM2 and the iPhone is also a great way to capture composition ideas, lectures, and to record demos. A great tool for all of us.
Higher end mobile recording options are available. For the money, the iM2 and Soundcloud are the least expensive option. Accessibility and affordability are important when looking for technology tools to implement into your teaching.
There are other ways to provide more consistent feedback to students. This is one easy way I implement in my teaching.
What are some ways you are using technology in your teaching?