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Posted By : gluckow - 11/10/2005 11:22 AM
I'm new to the Smart Music  program and loaded the software last night.  I have triplet 14 year olds that are freshmen in highschool.
There music teacher recommended the program for practicing, and being a Finale user myself, I was anxious to comply.  After loading the software, one of my sons's (xylophone) searched the method books only to find beginner method 1 and 2 books, nothing more advanced.  I could see that some of the exercises got a little more advanced, but not much more.  So we then searched the solo section.  There, the only items found in the "Sample folders" where you can print the music were also very simple, possibly border-line intermediate level.
My question therefore is,  How can a student of upper intermediate to lower advanced levels use this program.  Am I missing something.
Also, for xylophone, what does one choose from in the solo section?
My other Son is in the Suzuki Violin book 6.  I found that ok.  My daughter plays flute and is also beyond books 1 and 2.
Thanks for your input.

Posted By : Tyler - 11/11/2005 4:53 PM
For more advanced students, the program's offerings are primarily in the solo literature and the exercises. Most of the solo literature does not come with the actual sheet music, though with SM 9.0 coming out in a few days you'll find that there is more and it now can be displayed on the screen.

Regarding the specific instruments you've named, for xylophone, there really isn't much in the way of literature specifically for mallet instruments included in SmartMusic. Technologically these instruments have always been tougher for pitch recognition software to accurately detect. I'm guessing that SM 9.0 will be sent to you in the mail (give MakeMusic a call to verify this), and while there isn't new literature specifically designed for xylophone, there is more in there that should provide a challenge. Look through the new baroque titles and the jazz stuff. If he's really up for a challenge, he might try the piano transcriptions for the jazz titles (which will appear on screen). Also, the exercises can really be as challenging as you could ever want... if he's finding them easy at tempo 60 in the key of C, try setting the sixteenth note twister exercises in a loop where they cycle through all 12 keys and at a faster tempo. When SM 9.0 arrives, also give the Play by Ear stuff a try. It starts out simple but gets very challenging and is excellent practice for students who intend to study music in college. Finally, since you own Finale, you might want to take one or two of the solo pieces he's working on at school, bring them into Finale and export them to SmartMusic.

For Violin, the Suzuki works well, and also check out the baroque titles in 9.0 when it arrives. I highly recommend the ear training exercises in 9.0, and of course the regular exercises are great for technique.

For flute there is a lot of solo literature included, it's just a matter of ordering the sheet music for the one(s) you want. Perhaps your daughter is working on a solo piece that's included with SM? The new 9.0 material mentioned above also applies to flute.


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