*Update – Since this post has been published Quaver has gone through many updates and some of the information below is out of date*
I’ve been meaning to do this post on www.quavermusic.com for a while and so glad I finally had the time to sit down and type it out!
Quaver Music is not only a website for students to learn all there is to know about music, it’s also a provider of amazing music curriculum supplement materials including a DVD series. I have been using all Quaver has to offer since the beginning of the year and am totally in love with it. I talk about it a lot especially the website so I think it’s high time I just did a giant brain dump on everything I use and integrate on the website and shared it. If you’re looking for how to maneuver around all of the tools they provide look to the Quavermusicblog.com, I’m here as a teacher to let you know how I integrate it all into a classroom.
1.Book – Sitting in the menu of each venue is a short book filled with lots of visuals and fun facts about the genre of music for that particular venue. At the end of each of these books is a set of questions. Get them all right and you not only earn a diploma for that venue but also an accessory for your avatar. I like to use this feature with my students before vacations as a way to relax yet still learn. We have what I have dubbed “The Diploma Challenge!” Where students compete individually for diplomas, if they earn one then their name goes on my hall of fame (papers taped to a table that have the name of each venue on it where they can write their name and class for all to see)
2.Games – Each venue has a puzzle and matching game to go with them .These are more fun for the students than educational. I tend to let my students do these after finishing a webquest on the site or after they have earned a diploma in a challenge. A lot of my students enjoy the time to just sit back, relax, play a game and listen to the music at that venue.
3.Map– I love this tool. I’m a bit of a geography nerd myself. The map will show your students exactly where the venue is located so they can see for themselves how close or far away it is from them. Not only does this tie in with geography but it also ties in with history. You can have a chat with your students as you look at the map about when the venue came to be, whether it is still there, and maybe some famous musical figures that played there or that are involved in the genre and could have played there.
The Music Room-
The music room is customizable, a place to dress your avatar, watch Quaver videos, and play arcade games! I might play a video during a lesson as a teaching tool but the best part about this space? It’s a carrot to dangle in front of my students for when they’re finished with everything else on their list.
The Phone Box– Ever want to travel back in time? I do! The phonebox will take you back in time to visit 4 famous composers Vivaldi, Cristofori, Beethoven, and Debussy listening to their works, learning about their life, and everything else about them. My music curriculum is slightly abnormal, I’m not suppose to teach my elementary students composers. All of this is supposed to happen in middle school, so what do I do when a student comes up and asks me who these people are? I use it as a teachable moment and we travel back in time as a class to go visit these people. My students get a kick out of thinking we go back in time. When the phone box is whirling around and around in the space time continuum we sometimes put our hands in the air and pretend we’re riding the imaginary roller coaster back in time before landing hundreds of years in the past and listen to who they are and all the work they’ve done.
Interactive instruments– Fun to touch, fun to listen to. My students can’t get enough of being able to just run their mouse over all of the interactive instruments in the shop trying to piece together whatever melody they could. It’s great for my kiddos to be able to listen to these sounds hearing them in different areas. It gives them the idea that they can find sounds and instruments anywhere, just because they’re not placed in front of them doesn’t mean their not there.
Hidden Game– ssshhh, did you know there’s a hidden game in the shop? I tell my students who haven’t found it yet to look in the shop with promise I’ll tell them with 5 minutes left of class if they haven’t found it yet! What does this game teach? Pitch! It’s perfect for my younger students who are still trying to grasp the concept of it. When I first start teaching them about pitch I give them the rule that the smaller the instrument the higher the sound and the opposite with the bigger the instrument. This game breaks that mold getting them to listen to the pitch itself and not the size of the instrument!
EarIQ– Let’s go to the carnival and test our ear IQ! I wish I had this when I was training my ears. A new area of Quaver music.com that I find myself playing right along with them. You can train your students ears to hear higher and lower pitch, intervals, and chords. I just started using this in class, my K-2 have a blast watching all together on the projector and telling me which clown to “poke” for higher and lower pitch. My 3-5 can get on our netbooks and complete this on their own.
Studio- This is a fantastic suite of music creation tools. Not only is it user friendly for my little ones, it also produces great quality compositions that are easy to share and can all be stored right there on the website.
QBackbeats– Click the drum set and you’re there. This tool will create full drum set patterns with just a click on one of those black squares. Great for teaching students about rhythms and patterns! I like to have my students write rhythms on their own or as a class using Q Composer or Finale before moving on to QBackbeat just so they know HOW to write a rhythm before hand. During the process of teaching rhythms I get students to remember that a rhythm is a pattern of notes. This creator gives them a visual on how they can take those patterns and layer them together to make a rockin’ sound.
QGrooves– It’s a lot like Garageband. You use premade loops or packets of music that can be put into different orders. The chords can be changed and you can layer different instruments into this too. QGrooves has become a favorite of my students for how easy it is to use and the great end product they create. I can teach form with this. Binary, Ternary, Rondo, its all there and easy to show students with the QGrooves. I will usually do the I/We/You method with this showing them how, having them help me, and then sending them off to try one of the forms on their own.
QComposer– Don’t have a notation software on your computer but want to do a quick composition with your kiddos? This is it and free and you can access it anywhere. I use the QComposer with every student K-5, alone or as a class. My K students can watch and help me create a rhythm using this and then we can sit in a circle and play it on drums. My 5 students can write a melody on it and then not only hear their melody with the instant playback but can also go over to the xylophones and play it themselves.
QStrum– I haven’t used this as much as I should in class but it is one of those sections of the website that my guitar loving students will bug me about until I let them get in there. QStrum will allow them to create their own guitar song and see how it’s played. I have had points in my classes where a few will be on Qstrum and I will bring out some of the student guitars letting them try their song on the instruments.
QDancer– Another new addition to the site that within a week is now becoming #1 on my “Ms. Dwinal can we please?” list. I haven’t figured out exactly how to teach this yet but I have a good feeling some Hip Hop dance performances are going to be happening in my classroom before the end of the year using this tool!
*QDos– Open a creator in the studio, click file, QDos and you’re there. These are a great way to give students a step by step way of creating music independently. A lot of times when my students use www.quavermusic.com they are on net books and it is hard for me to supervise each student at ever single second of the class, QDos help them through step by step reminding them to listen and read the music carefully. The great part about these is they are quick and get harder by level so it easy to differentiate instruction for each student!
I have 1 school account for each of the schools that I work at and one for myself. I find this the easiest way to log in elementary school student who are just starting to get use to computers. I do have a good amount of student who have their own account that they use at home and will log in with that, but until a tool comes out where I can watch over and manage all my 600 students individual accounts and have access to their QStudio work (There have been hints that sort of tool is on it’s way) 1 account for a school is easiest to do.
So try it out, I dare you. It will suck you in to a world of musical fun that you would never want to run away from. Need some ideas or help? I’m here! Or talk to the crew at Quaver yourself they have fantastic customer service and are on Twitter! Mr. Quaver himself is @Quaversays or talk it out with the awesome Abby at @Quavermusic!!