I must admit that I probably would not have purchased this service on my own initially. The fine arts academy that we attend requires us to buy and use Smart Music for our band classes. I hope that my review encourages parents who are considering the service to make the leap, I am so happy that we did.
Each student must have a paid account to use the system, and yes, they do give discounts for additional students. The child’s account can be used alone or linked to a school and/or teacher who submits assignments to be completed for grading.
Smart Music tailors the experience based on the child’s instrument and ability. After having Oldest Son learn trumpet in daily classes in the public school system and now watching Middle Son learn with once weekly classes in addition to Smart Music, I must conclude that Smart Music is well worth the money. You may not end up with a Mozart, but the time spent enduring the sounds of dying elephants during those first practices will be greatly lessened.
We have seen marked improvement in both the new tuba player and the experience trumpet player. The music is presented on the screen and each note is highlighted as it is played. Accompaniment is optional and the student can adjust the tempo for difficult pieces. The final assessment is given with the missed notes appearing on the music in red. Assignments are given a percentage grade and the student can then choose to submit the recording or try again and each take is saved for later review.
A word of caution. The recording of the assignment catches everything said near the microphone before, during and after the piece. If the light is red, your conversation can be heard by the teacher. No matter how many times I explained this situation to Middle Son, he left interesting tidbits in his recordings:
Start button turns red.
“Are you ready?”
“Is a smurf’s butt blue?”
After no less than 15 takes and still mutilating the repeat he boldly states…
“Wow, I should have worn my lucky underwear.”
If I had one suggestion about using the program it would be to listen to the recordings before submitting them if you ever want to be able to look the teacher in the eye. *head in hands*