This year the boys are back in music, each taking a wind instrument again. The house is filled with music. Very nice to hear. What I find fascinating is how musical training has been impacted by technology.
When I was a kid, I played the saxophone (for about 7 years). I played a lot of Saxophone, taking a private lesson once a week, practicing a half hour a day, took band at school (The high marks helped) and I was fortunate enough to be the youngest ever member of the community band. A lot of hard work.
Today that hard work is augmented by the computer. When I was a boy, I would learn with a book, scales and feedback from a teacher. Not anymore. Thanks to the inexpensive program called Smart Music, our boys clip a microphone onto their instrument and play away with a full orchestra or solo. The program records their progress and provides instant feedback on the note (did they hit the right note) and tempo (were they on time).
They can then listen to themselves play (if they recorded it), view the results (visually maps which notes they hit and which they did not) or forward the results off to the teacher via email (both the visual results, and the recording). Amazing. And if they are having trouble? A full help guide on how to finger the note properly and other tips. It is interesting to watch the program push the boys too, as they strive for perfection with instant feedback.
I have also enjoyed flipping through the eBooks that are included in the program. Many of the music books are the same ones I used as a kid, which made me laugh.
What a wonderful piece of technology, what an amazing world we live in .. and all of the above for only $30 a year. Amazing.