It has been a while since I have blogged here. There have been a few big changes in the world of technology, particularly the new M1 Mac computers…but we’re a good distance from those changes impacting music education.
And while I’m at it…it is December…so a very Merry Christmas to those of you who celebrate Christmas!
One of the tools that I used as a middle school teacher–that I would also use as a high school teacher–was Dale Duncan’s S-Cubed Sight Singing Method. I highly recommend it (and S-Cubed is also included with MusicFirst’s Practice First, I believe).
One part of S-Cubed that I was never comfortable with was Dale’s approach to helping students hear the difference between sharp and flat. I don’t deny that students need to learn how to sing in tune–I just never wanted to demonstrate singing flat or sharp. I come from a school of thought that you never want to practice something wrong, as practice makes permanent.
So instead of singing sharp and flat for my students in that phase of S-Cubed, I used an app, as a game, for the whole class…and that app was InTune. Basically, it plays a note sharp or flat…and you tell the app which you think it was. You get three chances to be wrong…and I’d track both the level and score that my classes obtained, and post them. This was only over three of four classes, as S-Cubed moved on to other topics. Students responded well to this approach, and scores always went up in each class over the days we played the game. This wasn’t InTune’s intent, to be sure, but it worked.
As for the app itself, the description says this:
InTune began as a way for researchers to test pitch discrimination, the ability to differentiate pitches that are close together. But then researchers discovered that musicians improved the more often they played – 3x faster than those who didn’t. Download for free and see if InTune works for you!
I don’t doubt it, and quite honestly, why not have your students of any age try the app?
InTune has just undergone a significant update. This includes a new look, improved sounds, the ability to shake the device to hear the sounds again (two pitches played one after the other), and new languages.
Multiple instruments are offered as an in-app purchase. This would be great for a musician who played that particular instrument.
The app itself is free…so download it today (look for InTune on the Apple App Store (I do not believe that it is available on Android). And if you like the app, buy one of the instruments (at least) as a way to thank the company for the app!