I have wrapped up our NotateMe Now lessons with two more lessons. This lesson series was used in our classes (6-8th grade) as a way to take these very basic concepts in music theory, and to have students use them using the app NotateMe Now, while also learning how to draw music notation. NotateMe Now is the free, single staff version of NotateMe, an app that converts handwritten music notation to digital notation (with other features coming in the future).
Lesson 1 introduced the app, as well as quarter notes, half notes, and whole notes. I blogged about it here.
Lesson 2 covered quarter rests, half rests, and whole rests. I blogged about it here.
Lesson 3 covered ties, slurs, and dotted half notes (and dotted whole notes). The video and PDF appear at the end of this post.
Lesson 4 covered eighth notes, eighth rests, and dotted quarter notes. The video and PDF appear at the end of this post.
The quiz was to complete a task just like the “homework” assignments. This appears below as an image.
Here are a few things I have learned:
- If kids are in choir because they have to be (they don’t play an instrument and have to take music), they aren’t going to apply themselves at a higher level if you go away from singing for a lesson series.
- Most kids made very little attempt at completing the exercises, but our school has a formative grading category that only accounts for 20% of their grade, so many students simply choose not to do any formative work.
- The kids who tried doing the work generally did very well, and a few pushed against the boundaries I had created for them.
- The lesson sequence assumes students know the names of the notes. We had discussed these and had a quiz on these at the beginning of the year, and I review the note names every time we do a sight reading exercise.
- None of these concepts should be new for students; every concept, with the exception of actually DRAWING music, is something these students should have had in elementary school.
- I would have liked to have more time to go over student work in class; but with an every-other-day 43 minute choir class, we couldn’t lose that time.
- I will continue with this series next year (I plan on a GarageBand series at the end of the year after our last concert), building on the concepts with the students who have already learned these items–and going over these lessons with the new students.
At any rate, it is fun to try new things (and I’m not going to stop trying new things) with my students and to leverage some of this technology that is in their hands.