I'm still trying to figure out why I cannot get past the 'trial' and download the license key properly.
Please make sure you have done Step 3, after which you should see both semesters showing. If not, please let us know what you did and what you saw.
Under the Music Appreciation section:
It would be very helpful and more stimulating for the learner to observe the piece of music being played (very, very valuable), the melody moving as notes on the score, or the metronome moving according to the music while the composer's piece is being played. These could come up in a randomized fashion as they do in Little Reader. Even showing the multiple instruments that make up the musical piece would be more beneficial than a blank screen.
I totally agree that would be immensely more helpful. I can add to that list too.
Unfortunately, this is what we have right now given the constraints we have.
Here's what's feasible in the near future (NOT in the upcoming release):
What we've been exploring for v2 is to have some visual patterns (like the Windows Media Player) when you hear the music.
Another idea is to have someone go through every single piece and list out all instruments being played, and make a collage of those instruments (will require a lot of man hours).
When introducing musical instruments:
I think it is crucial that not only the photo image of the instrument is a real one, but that it is shown a real instrument is being played by a real person. Teaching how the instrument projects sound (plucking, pushing, strumming, rubbing, hitting, etc.) is an essential part of learning what an instrument is or does. Unfortunately at this point I don't see this part being introduced in Little Musician. (To give you an example, it's like teaching the word "hammer" to a child, but not showing what it does of what you can do with the hammer.)
See the "DOWNLOADS" button at the top row of buttons, that's currently deactivated? In the final build, it will say, "RESOURCES", and in it, you will find a well-organized directory of links to all the knowledge lessons. One of the sections will be INSTRUMENTS, and under each instrument, you will be able to play back Youtube videos showing those instruments being played.
That's the best we can do for now. Incorporating the videos into the lessons is not feasible for us right now.
Furthermore, music is a form of nonverbal communication. This form of communication simply cannot be shown or taught by animations not exactly playing the instrument properly. (Sorry, I feel so bad for the workers who worked so hard on this!) Showing video clips of real, professional musicians expressively (you'll see why in my last paragraph below) playing the instrument being introduced in this section (and don't forget--also showing video clips of children joyously playing the instrument) will improve the quality and value of Little Musician TREMENDOUSLY.
Please vote as to whether we should play the pronunciation audio file instead:http://forum.brillkids.com/little-musician-general-discussion/lms-poll-regarding-instruments-animation-please-vote!/
Another category you can add is Instrument recognition. Again, forgive me if I simply did not see this because I'm having trouble downloading Semester 1 and 2. But this is a good category to add in the beginning anyway. Perhaps an audio of a violin being played with a "?" on the screen after a "Can you guess what this instrument is?", and the next page showing a violin (or even several instruments to choose from, and the next next page showing the answer) with the original musical audio. The level of difficulty of this game can be increased by perhaps, a flute and a harp being simultaneously played, with the question, "What two instruments do you hear?" etc. Listening activities such as: "Do you hear the triangle? Can you raise your hand when the you no longer can hear the triangle" also teaches the valuable and unique traits of various instruments. It also encourages more interactiion (rather than passive listening and repeating) and more parental involvement and modeling behavior to actively encourage the learner to mimic and learn. Let me stress the word actively.
Great ideas - thanks! Will implement in future builds. Not sure if it'll make it into the release build.
Under Chord Recognition:
What a wonderful a guessing game! But this guessing game can be easily ruined if you couldn't hear the chord being played and your only choice is to turn to the next page (which already tells you the answer) when you didn't have the chance to guess. An option of a "repeat button" on the "?" page would solve this problem easily (like, "Press the space bar to hear it again.").
You can repeat the slide or sound by pressing on your scroll-wheel button on your mouse.
(I think we probably need to make these instructions clearer.)
Well, those are the comments I have so far. I love that the notes are occasionally trucks or strawberries! It keeps it all interesting! Just wondering, though: does a section for emotional interpretation come up later in the curriculum? Because as I've said, music is a form of nonverbal communication, and I think emotional interpretation deserves to be recognized in music education.
Agreed, but it's not something that's within the scope of the current version of LMs. v2, perhaps? Thanks for the suggestion.
During the Clap-Along, for example during Itsy Bitsy Spider, the "clap" icon moves down the screen for verses 1 and 2, but not during the bridge. The baby animation stops clapping also. This could suggest the wrong message that the first beat (or any beat you're trying to teach through clapping) in every bridge is nonexistant or is to be ignored. However, I understand the value in not clapping the whole time. For younger learners it could be too long or difficult to keep up with; also it could get boring. So maybe an entirely different image can come up during the bridge (hiding the non-moving left clap-signal and maybe the baby), like, maybe a spider, in this case, can be moving up the spout. The learner can still rest, but the wrong message is not sent as if to say, "Now, there is no first beat." Gives more eye candy, too.
You guessed correctly - we only activate the clapping during the melody to give the child a rest during the bridge and to avoid monotony. As for your other suggestions, it's something that's more easily done with fixed DVD programming rather than a software program that can be used with unlimited songs. Pros and cons of each.
Also, I continually get an error message when I click to continue from the String Instruments 1-3 to the second Chord Recognition of the day: "Little Musician has encountered a problem and needs to shut down." However, when I select the second Chord Recognition of the day and start from there, I do not get the error message. This has been the hase every time I am on Day 5, and occasionally the case when I am on other days of the trial curriculum.
Let me ask you this - does this only happen after you've left your LMs on for a long time, like overnight, or even immediately after you start it?
Someone on youtube came up with a wonderful idea for visualizing classical music. I don't know if it's at all practical for LMs...
They really allow you to see the textures of the pieces. Amazing tool for music education.
Thanks for that. Would be fantastic, but won't be feasible for our popular classics which is mp3 based (we'll use other forms of visualization that's more easily implemented - see my comment above). We can see if we can implement what is shown in the youtube videos by using midi files of those pieces. Perhaps in a future version.
Sound: It took me until Day 3 to figure out how to change the sound so that we could hear the voices and not have the clapping/piano be ear piercing.
Can you elaborate on that? What lesson are you talking about, and what's ear-piercing?
Instrument Visuals - My son plays violin and noticed that the bow wasn't moving with the music. I, too, thought that maybe this area could be a bit more realistic - I suppose having access to that many musicians would be unlikely and difficult, though. I LOVE Danny & Amy's idea about having an instrument sound recognition game. That would be an excellent addition!
Please add your vote:http://forum.brillkids.com/little-musician-general-discussion/lms-poll-regarding-instruments-animation-please-vote!/
Lastly, thanks everyone too for your encouraging comments!