2011 “Best Tools for Schools” Awards
MMR sister publication, SBO, presented the second annual Best Tools for Schools awards at the 2011 Winter NAMM Show in Anaheim, California, highlighting a new batch of excit- ing and creative games, programs, instruments, servicess and accessories suitable for music educators in a wide range of settings. Expert educators and administrators mining the mas- sive musical industry convention floor in search of the best items for classroom use found a number of intriguing tools that are sure to be a hit with teachers and students alike.
This interactive game appropriate for young learners features animated characters that are controlled by musical instruments. By blowing a flute or re- corder into a microphone, student musicians can propel a colorful character through a series of levels.
Midi Player 2.0 (www.interactiveblueprints.com)
This app for iPhone and iPad enables MIDI playback on those devices, with many customizable functions suitable for music educators.
Music Creed (www.musicreed.com)
This colorful medallion features a dial that can be set to the musical scales of different cultures, includ- ing Western and many types of Arabic and Eastern music.
ArtistWorks is a Web site that offers customized critiques by master-teachers through video sharing. Send in a video using a web cam and their online tools, and teachers will respond with personalized instruction on relevant technical skills.
This acoustic piano by Yamaha uses electromechanical con- trols and optical sensors to play independently of a human operator. It can be pre-pro- grammed, played remotely, or played live, creating a plethora of opportunities for school and classroom use.
Harmony Director HD-200 (www.yamaha.com)
The Harmony Director is a keyboard tuner that demonstrates how individual notes fit into complete chords, bringing har- mony training, rhythm training and ensemble timing together. Students learn how to tune individual notes within chords and understand how each part fits into the complete harmony of the ensemble.
Wristies are fingerless polortec (100 percent polyester) gloves for musical instrument practice and performance. Their unique design allows for complete finger dexterity and circulation. Wristies are machine washable and available in a wide variety of colors.
Penguin PST-30C (www.paratuss.com)
This versatile motorized string winder and bridge pin puller reportedly makes changing guitar, mandolin, uku- lele and double bass strings 80 percent faster. It recharges with an iPod, iPad, or iPhone charger or through a computer using a USB cable.
Mac Pro Video (www.macprovideo.com)
Mac Pro Video offers custom online training videos. The same company also has a program that can be used to make custom apps for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch, the AppOmator. These tools and services can be used to create and make apps out of educational videos on specific points and steps of a process or training.
Knowledge of Music Playing Cards (www.knowledgeofmusic.com)
These music-oriented playing cards offer the familiar concept of playing card games to learn the structures of scales and chords.
The iKnob is an analog volume control device designed for use with the iPod or any other audio device. In addition to controlling volume levels, it also has channel cutoff toggle switches so teachers can flip between rehearsal and performance modes for method books with CDs.
Guitar Hands (www.guitarhands.com)
Travelite stands (www.herculesstands.com)
Ear Filters (www.earfilters.net)