We are a few months into having the iAlchemy score. At this point I feel each student knows their part at least 70%. Now, thats not nearly good enough, but it means we've come a LONG way. The composer did us the favor of including some super hard measures which most kids can play with me, but not alone yet.
One of the ideas of the project was that we would take students who have not played before in ensembles. In fact, none of the students have BEEN to an orchestra concert outside of a few elementary school kiddie concerts.
This is a great learning experience, but its hard. We have been messing with the string apps for a few months and they just have not been working. We have had issues with control, volume, range, sound. It just hasn't worked.
A few weeks ago I sent out a twitter call for ideas. Chris Russell came back with Thumbjam. This apps costs $$, like Garageband, and initially I was feeling it was the best, but not quite the right fit.
But tonight I spent significant time with the app and discovered that the accelerometer can be set to control volume. So as the iPad gets tipped up it gets louder, tipped down it gets softer. This is a huge help. It also has a vibrato control. So now, we truly will learn how to play the "instrument".
Tomorrow we get our first visit from the Symphony. Wish us luck. Lots to do.