Ten (iOS) Tech Tools to Help a Secondary Music Educator Prepare for a Concert (#2: Keynote)

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This is the penultimate post in a series about ten iOS tech tools that can be used to help secondary music educators prepare for a concert.  The idea comes from Amy Burns, who is wrapping up a series on ten tech tools that can be used to help elementary music educators prepare for a concert.  Amy’s series should wrap up today, and will be followed with a webinar.  You can find Amy’s work at mustech.net.

Without a doubt, Keynote is one of my most used teaching tools.  Keynote comes free with every iOS device and every MacBook.  I find it to be an easy to use program that creates attractive presentations, with a few power tools for power users.

A typical day in my class when we are in “singing mode” currently looks like this:

  • Introductory video to catch their attention and get them in the room on time (credit: Katie Wardrobe and Midnight Music…see her list of videos as a starting point).  Videos are started at the bell.  I take attendance and deal with other issues while the video plays.  I used to do the written work for Dale Duncan’s S-Cubed method, but students were not completing the work and taking their automatic 50% instead (it’s a attitude about respect for learning that we are trying to change in the whole school).  I am always open to trying new things…and this is working.
  • The S-Cubed “Forbidden Pattern” game (credit: Dale Duncan S-Cubed Method)
  • Vocal Warm-Ups
  • Rehearsal
    • Song (working on the song as needed as the concert approaches)
    • Sight-Singing Exercise based on an S-Cubed Lesson, but using Sight Reading Factory
    • Song
    • Sight Rhythm Exercises based on an S-Cubed Lesson, but using Sight Reading Factory
    • Song
    • Sight-Singing Exercise based on an S-Cubed Lesson, but using Sight Reading Factory—this time with solfége added
    • Song
    • Sight Rhythm Exercise based on an S-Cubed Lesson, but using Sight Reading Factory
  • Announcements
    • At concert time, don’t forget to make slides about concert dates and times, as well as slides to discuss behavior and safety expectations.  Make special efforts to discuss what to do if a student is ill before the concert or starts feeling ill during a concert.
  • Ukulele Time
    • Get ukuleles
    • Warm-up time
    • Introduce existing/new chords
    • Play through play-along videos as created by Dr. Jill Reese, Dr. A, Kevin Way, Kris Gilbert, Ukulaliens, and others (including myself)
    • Put ukuleles away

Any item bonded in this list uses Keynote as a tool.  I used to run Keynote off my iPad, but I like to use my iPad for other things, such as iDoceo for attendance, or just to be able to work off my own screen without reflecting it.  I used to reflect music on a regular basis, but I found that students stopped using their own music and became dependent on the screen (not learning their music in time for a concert).  Now I only reflect my own iPad on occasion.

A few suggestions about the use of Keynote:

  • While it is against copyright in the purest sense, download videos to use before class and embed them in the Keynote presentation.  There are a few solutions to this, but the one that is well known is keepvid.com.  If you have to switch between your presentation and a web browser (YouTube), only bad things can happen.
  • I have a running collection of warm-up slides that I switch up every day (We are on an A/B schedule) for warm-ups.  I have a specific order of warm-ups that I follow every day, although the warm-ups themselves change.  It is a very easy to select slides from my warm-up collection and to insert them in my daily Keynote.  Someday I will publish this collection, most likely as a Patreon reward.  Projecting warm-ups is very helpful…students are trained to look at a screen, so it will help with some behavior issues, and it can also reinforce music literacy.  Sure, you can call out warm-ups, but try projecting yours.  And if you have warm-ups you would like to share with me, please, send me an e-mail.  I have several hundred, but an always add more.
  • Some people may wonder why I use Keynote instead of other services like PowerPoint or Google Slides.  Simply put, Keynote is easier to use and it looks better.  Keynote acts very much like a merger of the best parts of PowerPoint and SMART Notebook.  Can you do these things with other programs?  Sure.

While Keynote isn’t solely used for concert preparation, it is definitely used as a key tool in my instruction, which leads to two performances per year—and thus it deserves to be mentioned in this series.


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