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Tips for teaching students what to listen for while playing

The Art of Listening Teaching students to listen to each other, and more specifically WHAT to listen for while playing their instruments can be a challenging endeavor to teach to younger, less experienced students. Recording audio of your ensemble during class can be a very valuable learning tool for your students when it comes to listening AND it is not nearly as complex as some may think.

A simple setup is all you need to record audio of your ensemble and play it back to them in real time. You will need a laptop or tablet with some sort of recording software like Garage Band (free on Apple products), Adobe Audition, or Audacity (free download online), and preferably a usb powered microphone (you can get away without one, but the audio quality will be much better than a laptop/tablet microphone). You can also use a Zoom Recording Device if you have one that supports playback. Set your recording device and microphone up at the front of the classroom and plug it into a speaker so you can easily playback what you have recorded. Have your ensemble play something quick and easy to check levels on the microphone and ensure the audio is playing back through the speaker/sound system and you are all set.

Recording shorter music segments will allow you to switch back and forth more rapidly between recording, listening, and discussing, while longer segments will allow for a longer, more broad listening and discussion segment. When discussing with your ensemble what they hear or do not hear from their recording, help them by guiding the discussion with questions for the group. You can also utilize the playback feature on your recording device to play short segments of the recording to highlight specific moments that are important.

Recording your ensemble and playing it back for them is not a practical exercise to do everyday, but longer class periods or scheduled days for recording will help your ensemble develop their listening skills and it will help your students identify and fix their own mistakes.

GPG Music is the premiere source for award-winning music and design for marching band, inspirational concert music, and powerful, captivating music for percussion. Our composers are dedicated to providing reasonably-priced, custom-level compositions for all ability levels. Our balanced creative and educational focus will allow your band to reach its fullest potential based on the specific strengths of your ensemble. #InspireTheNextGeneration