How to Keep Track of App Assignments: Part Two

Leila Viss
Leila Viss

Part one of this series provided general idea on WHEN and HOW to design app
assignments during lessons. To give you a clearer picture on WHAT to assign and how to track assignments, here’s a snapshot of how I recently integrated apps into my summer lessons.

Missing gap waiting for attention was determined.

As I want to build stronger ear players as well as good readers, I decided that each student would choose one tune to learn and harmonize by ear.

Theme was chosen to create a common studio thread.

To narrow down the choice of play-by-ear tunes, I thought it’d be fun to hold a patriotic theme and offer the following tunes from which to choose: America, My Country ’Tis of Thee, Star Spangled Banner or Yankee Doodlefor the early beginners.

Apps to reinforce the play-by-ear patriotic theme.

Among other things, developing  ear skills demands aural recognition of intervals.

Therefore, I visited my app folder entitled “Intervals”and chose some specific apps to assign for Music Tech Time. After exploring them I designed assignments for various levels of students.

Apps in my Interval folder include: Right Note, Good Ears: Interval, Tenuto and more.

Macro plan devised to shape individual assignments.

All students are required to take 5 lessons during the summer so I designed 5 weeks of lesson plans allowing for tweaks and additional assignments. There’s plenty of wiggle room for adding more or reducing tasks depending upon what the student may need to build confidence.

Assignment details are personalized.

The younger the student, the fewer variables assigned. For ex: early students were assigned to compare Major seconds and thirds, when training to aurally identify intervals. As the listener earned a passing score, more intervals were added to the mix. More advanced students were assigned more intervals ascending and descending.

Also, I always plan at least two to three app assignments per lesson to keep things interesting. Piano Maestro is ALWAYS the default favorite.

Finally, here’s how assignments are tracked.

Once this macro plan has been designed, I keep track of what is accomplished at each lesson on the students assignment sheet which is stored in a Dropbox folder shared by me and the student family.

The first page features three columns: Assignments, Strategies and Goals. I provide tips on how to practice in the Strategy column so that the desired goals can be met by the next lesson. Both the strategies and goals are determined and agreed upon by student and teacher. The gray boxes include extra tips from Ms Leila, a lesson schedule (since the summer schedule is so random for my students) goals for the summer and a progress score.

Included on the second page is a chart for Music Tech Time assignments.Remember, these follow my macro schedule but customized for each student when arriving at the lesson. Any tasks completed and scores are recorded after the student’s lesson.

In addition, this page includes space to record progress scores. If scores are low, this is a good sign that something is NOT right and a change in practice habits, an attitude shift or perhaps lesson termination should be considered.

Some may argue that this is just too much work! If you want your investment in an iPad, and new apps to pay off, expect to put forth some extra effort. Because of this, make sure to be compensated for your time and money by designing Music Tech Time in tandem with your lessons and add the fees to your tuition.  This will provide additional income, extra time with students and ultimately more progress thanks to the power of apps.

If you care to learn more about Music Tech time (or Lab time—my former title), check out The iPad Piano Studio: Keys to Unlocking the Power of Apps.