What a crazy week it was. I am sure that any band directors reading this can relate that with the start of marching band, it is extremely difficult to fit everything in!
The readings regarding improvisation were very helpful. I have to admit that I have not been good at teaching improvisation throughout my career. Improvisation has been my greatest weakness as a trombonist and it is very tough to teach something that I struggle with. After reading about the Kratus 7 stages of improvisation, I really began thinking about students' development in this activity. By relating improvisation to developmental stages, the readings provided me with a new outlook on how to approach this important activity.
Also, Bauer provided activity ideas that correspond with these stages. This helped me make a connection from the teaching standpoint that I have failed to notice previously. I am anxious to try some of the activities very soon with all of my age groups.
I really enjoyed checking out MuseScore. Before my last laptop crashed, I used on of the mainstream programs. This particular program cost almost $200 and was very complicated. It turns out that MuseScore provides everything that I need in a composition program. The big bonus is that it is free! I like the interface of the program. It is very easy to look at, meaning that it looks simple. I like that the vast majority of needed aspects (i.e. articulations, dynamics, etc.) are in the "pallet". Even if the user is unsure of how to find a tool, it is very simple to look through the pallet. I am planning on using MuseScore at my work for my composition needs.
Noteflight was also a great program. Like MuseScore, Noteflight is very simple looking, and therefore not daunting for the new user. One of my favorite aspects of Noteflight is that students are able to enter notes in a variety of ways, including a piano keyboard, the computer keyboard, and the mouse. Another nice aspect is that the "pallet" follows the user, meaning that if he or she were to enter a note, they can change the note, enter a tie/slur, etc. without having to look around for it. Of the two programs, I think that Noteflight is a bit more user friendly for students (especially the younger age levels). The sharing option is a good and bad option. The nice thing about the sharing tool is that students could potentially use it to turn in composition assignments. The scary aspect is that, while students can share their music with virtually anyone in the world, they also may be conversing with people that could be harmful.