Monday, January 27, 2014

App in Focus: Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra

The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra is free application that is a must for any music classroom! It contains an essential introduction to the instruments and players of the orchestra as well as aural quizzes and form games.

At the core of the app is a recording of Benjamin Britten's piece performed by the Royal Northern College of Music Symphony Orchestra and conducted by Sir Mark Elder. The recording can be played with either a scrolling condensed score or with a video of the performers. 

At the left of the score are icons of who is playing which line. Above the score are notes about what is happening and what to listen for. I plan to use this with some guided questions or a graphic organizer for students to follow as they listen and watch. Easily adapted for use across several grade levels.

But the fun doesn't stop there! My next favorite part of this app is the Aural Quiz. It starts out with identifying instruments into their family groups and the difficulty increases as the levels continue. I could see children easily loving this game. With my iPad mirrored to my Apple TV, we could play this game as a class.

There are two games that teach and play with form in the app. Both are very user friendly and make learning about fugue and variation fun. Both also have example recordings with the same kind of extraordinarily helpful explanation text that follows the music as it plays. Children can create their own composition using the variables provided and use musical terminology to explain their choices.

As if that wasn't enough content for a FREE app, there's still more! There are video interviews with the university students who play the music and information about Benjamin Britten's life.

Wonderful app that students and teachers will enjoy! Download it today!

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