Mr. Wessel picked a piece called "Diraiton" for the chamber choir to sing. Where do you begin trying to teach French to a bunch of teens whose vocabulary consists mainly of the word "swag"? Foreign languages are always difﬁcult. We usually sing Latin pieces, so French was going to be a challenge. Luckily at WS-R, we have resources! Mrs. Strotman is the French teacher at the high school. Mr. Wessel went to her, and using an app called "Recorder Plus", he recorded Mrs. Strotman pronouncing the foreign words. The app then allowed him to export the recordings. He emailed them to all of the students. It was very helpful because we could always go back to it as a reference.
"Ear Worthy" is an interesting app that we've also used. We used it during class one day when a student teacher from Wartburg came and did a lesson with us. She taught us about different musical intervals. Things like Major 3rds, 4ths, 5ths, 7ths, and octaves. She was teaching us how to hear two pitches and ﬁgure out what interval they were. The app I mentioned earlier helps you practice that. It's kind of a game. You press the play button, and it plays two pitches. Then you press which interval you think it is. It will play the two pitches for that interval so that you can hear if they are the same or not. If they are the same and you guessed correctly, you get a point! I think it's a good listening tool, and I wish we used it more.
A really nice thing besides the iPads that we have as a resource at W-SR are the Apple TVs. I love those things! In choir, we use ours a couple times a week. They're so easy and useful. Mr. Wessel will often use his iPad, pull up a quick warm up for everyone, and put it on the apple tv so we can all see it. Before iPads, he might have printed copies out for everyone or written the exercise on the white board, which is always hard to read. This saves not only paper but time, too. The Apple TV and iPads also give us access to an old tool: the Internet. Ha. Often in orchestra, band, and choir we will listen to recordings on Youtube before we play a piece or while we're refurnishing one. Music is about entertainment, and in choir speciﬁcally, it is much more entertaining to see someone's emotions while they perform, so when Mr. Wessel hooks up the iPad to project a performance by a professional choir, we get to see what they look like, too.
Between listening and watching Youtube videos, playing with fun apps, and recording everything that makes a sound, we do actually sing in choir. These tools, I think, have made us better. There are a lot of apps out there that could and are being used in private lessons because a lot of the apps are better designed for singular use. I think we will keep ﬁnding ways to involve our technology in our daily lives because if teachers are engaging students through the iPads, they won't have to worry so much about the students being off task. Coming from a student's perspective, I like it when teachers ﬁnd creative ways to use technology; it makes it more interesting. I also like it when they give us the chance to use technology creatively because there are ways, even in choir class to use our new technology.
Blog Post by Sophronia Vowels, 9th Grade Student