Friday, November 15, 2013

Self Assessments

We have been using Smartmusic.  Students were asked to review their recordings from the first marking period and make plans/goals for the second.  Here are some of the findings:

From the results of the first marking period, I see my sight reading improved by alot! Each time I took lesson 1- exercise 6 I got a better score each time. Like you said in one of the comments, I should be careful not to rush. I also tend to have trouble looking ahead with music which messes me up. Taking time to look at the notes helps me.

When it comes to confidence, I lack it when I walk into the smart music room; which you have addressed as a problem to our class as a whole. The music sounds sooo different and without anyone singing, I don't know what to do! When I first took Alma Del Core, the whole time I was so confused and the second time wasn't much better. Sebben Crudele went better as of knowing what I was doing but I still needed to know that I knew the songs.

I struggle with keeping pitch as I noticed in Sebben Crudele and need to take fuller breaths to pull me through the song.

For this marking period, I'm going to focus on putting in the effort to fully know the music and planning out when to breathe, plotting out the next notes, etc. Simple tasks you remind us of in class will help me succeed.

Over the course of the first marking period I saw my scores increase tremendously. I have done chorus for 3 years and now I feel like a real singer. I learned all of the notes on the treble clef and bass clef scale which is something I never knew how to do before. Now I am getting 100's on the notes quiz. I have sang songs that are not in English but I have always had people to help carry me along in the song. Now I am learning how to sing these songs in other languages very easily breaking them down part by part and using note flight to help me with these songs. During my tests on Alma Del Core the first one I came in on the wrong time so my beats weren't correct and the pitch wasn't quite there. The second test I learned where and when to come in, and how to stay on beat. My pitch still needs some more work which is my goal for the second quarter but day by day I feel like I am becoming a better singer. Taking the scale test on note flight is a little rough and is something I personally need to work on but there is no getting worse only getting better and I can't wait to see how I improve even more over the course of the year. :)

If you were to travel back in time to when I was only in kindergarten and told me that I would one day play the flute, I may not have believed you (or even known what a flute actually was). It's hard to believe how far I have come and improved. I have learned so much, especially this year. When I first started playing I only heard of quarter, half, and full notes and never was properly taught what we have gone over this year. In middle school I never pushed myself because I just didn't know what else to practice besides the pieces we were given. But, by having this technology, I can expand my knowledge on anything new I want to learn or need help on. I think that is one of the great things about Smartmusic so that every individual person can track their progress over the course of the shool year and eventually all of high school. I have never used a program such as Smartmusic before in my music career, and that can certainly be assumed by the way that I played the first site reading quiz. I didn't start on time, I missed many notes and worst of all, I didn't put myself fully into the song. I was nervous and tried to do my best with playing it but there was still a lot to improve on. When we re-did the song and was able to practice it, I played all of the notes correctly, stayed with the beat and most of all, I sounded confident when playing. You could hear the improvement and that I was starting to know and learn my instument. Site reading was never my stong point, but it is something that I am trying to work on by opening to a random page in a music book and just start playing. This semester I want to continue to do that and be somewhat prepared if we do have to do a site reading quiz.

When we got our first piece to play, I wasn't sure what to expect. But I thought that Gateway March was good to start out with because it was somewhat challenging but not to difficult that we would get flustered with the first note. Taking that first assessment for Gateway March, I thought that I did decent but I knew I could improve. In the first one, I didn't stay with the tempo during some parts and the last measure was definatly not how it should sound. But, I went home and practiced until I was confident with how I sounded. I did improve a bit when re-taking it, I got the last measure better and I stayed in rhythm more. I know that I have improved, but I know I can do a lot better and try to do the best that I can.

I never knew how helpful that the red and blue books would be at this age (more of the blue book though). I thought that once you learn the basics of your instrument that you were done with them, but the blue book has helped me. All throughout middle school, we didn't even think of those books or even see them in the class, but sometimes going back to the basics will improve your playing. You may not need to focus so much on the notes but, you need to think about rhythm, key signatures, dynamics, and so on. Some of the assignments that you have given us, such as the Molly Malone, has gotten me to think more about what really makes a piece sound appealing. I did not do so good when playing this, I was off beat, my flute was squeking a bit, and most certaintly did not pay attention to the dynamics. As the school year has been going on, I am starting to pay attention to those dynamics and trying to improve on following that. I may see what they say but not play it. That is another thing that I am trying to work on and pay attention to. The other songs such as Shepherd's Hey and Manhattan Beach March, I was continuosly making the same mistakes; not paying attention to dynamics, slurring when I shouldn't, not listening to myself when I play. That is a big thing for me, I used to just play the songs to get them done and over with but I am really starting to enjoy myself and wanting to improve instead of being forced. 

I have also been working on the scales, mostly because of the auditions on Saturday, but to also expand my knowledge because I have never done anything like this before. I know that at the auditions that I will make mistakes and I am trying to still wrap my head around that idea but it just means that over the next few years, I will have to practice harder. The Eb assignment that you gave us from the blue book, I messed up a lot when playing on Smartmusic. I realize my mistakes now and am trying to improve on those by remembering how many flats (3 flats) and practicing them everyday. I know that I have come a long way so far this year, but I also know that I have a lot to improve on and expand on. For this marking period, I want to work on the dynamics and practicing with them in the pieces. Also, work on the scales so by this time next year I won't have to worry about them and I can focus on the two songs that they give me. I am enjoying this experience, but I think this year it was just a little bit of a shock to me. Playing the flute is very important to me and so are these auditions, I'll do the best that I can and I know that's what you are looking for: effort.

Thursday, November 14, 2013


I am enjoying having digital folders.  We share 20 iPads.  That works fine for band and senior choir which have less than 20 students and we have 30 in freshman choir.

I do not see our school going to 1-1.  I need to figure out how to get more iPads in their hands, either by adding iPads to our collection or by encouraging BYOD.