I feel a little out of sorts this week, I’m off across the northern border this weekend and won’t return until Sunday which resulted in trying to think of an early post! Hope you enjoy thoughts on my new challenge!
Lately I’ve had some smart students who realize that I have iPads that are free to use at the end of the day, every day. So they started showing up day after day and formed what I posted before “The iPad club”. After my supportive principal found out about this he came to me and said he would like an iPad band to start up. After talking with the kids, they jumped at the chance and we have a promise of a chance to perform at an assembly this year once a few songs are ready!
I already had the students for the band, they knew my rules about the iPads and knew how to work them. All this was very lucky for me because I have never started an iPad band before, I still only have half a clue what I’m doing and my kiddos know I’m totally winging it which makes practicing together even more fun! We decided to have formal practices every Thursday in which I would get to choose the app and tell them what I would like them to do. Nothing really complex is necessary because they have to leave when their bus is called but just fun enough where they are playing instruments on the iPad and learning how to play as an ensemble. I think being able to play as an ensemble using technology is a cool way to promote the same things groups like band and chorus do but with a different flare. The students are still focusing on the music, listening, playing and cooperating as a team, and much more just in a new and exciting way for them. Some of these kids are not in band or chorus so being able to do something like this might be their only chance to.
Some of the apps we have used are:
- Toca Boca Band- https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/toca-band/id521640648?mt=8
- Beat Bots- https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/beat-bots/id318659396?mt=8
- Garageband- https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/garageband/id408709785?mt=8
- IamGuitar- https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/iamguitar/id407752080?mt=8
- IamDrums- https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/iamdrums/id383799018?mt=8
- Virtuoso- https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/virtuoso-piano-free-2-hd/id304075989?mt=8
We have had a few practices and are learning how to work together as we go. A few activities we have found that work and are fun:
- Looping warmups: We use Beat Bots and each pick and choose a loop that will work together as a group. This gets the kids thinking about how each one fits and gets them comfortable changing loops up in the middle of a song.
- Be the star: Taking either Toca Boca or Garageband we each get a loop going and then go around the circle taking turns doing an 8, 16, or 32 beat solo on either a virtual instrument in Garageband or sliding a character onto the star depending on which program we decided to use.
- Instrument practice: Using Virtuoso, IamGuitar, or IamDrums we practice simple melodies and rhythms together so each student is reading music and learning an instrument.
The students in this group are so completely pumped about it. They have great incentive to practice as well, we were told we might be possibly able to play at a future assembly and were asked to video our first song so it could go up on the school webpage!
Have you tried something out of your comfort zone yet this year?