Tech is everywhere…and not just in the hands of your students. Technology can augment your classroom, change the way you teach and in a lot of ways levels the playing field making music education more accessible to more students. We asked some of our TGW people about the technologies that they are using in their classroom guitar programs. Here’s what we heard.

Bill Burke

• A good drum machine is crucial – I use the Alesis SR-16 – Sometimes the advanced models are not as user friendly.
Use Apps that can assist student learning:
The Amazing Slow Downer (ASD) – You’re trying to learn a piece of music by listening to it – a very guitarist thing to do. If only that piece of music you were just played a little slower, but at the same pitch. Voila: the Amazing Slow Downer!
Drum Beat + – provides a free and $4.95 app that sounds like a drum kit rather than the annoying beep of a metronome.
YOUTUBE – is a great way to hear music you are working on; see alternate versions, get video instruction.
Musescore 2.0 – want to create, play and print sheet music. Check out Musescore.
Noteflight (Crescendo) – more notation software, but focused on sharing.
MusicFirst – this is your classroom online. Not just sharing compositions, but classroom management, assessment, the works.
HookTheory.com – this is a great composing tool, it’s free to use, you can export features to midi, sheet music or TAB.

Matt Gerry

RealGuitar – This app has saved my life when kids break an arm….
• Alesis SR-16 – The drum machine that Bill Swick endorsed has really helped my class.
GuitarTABCreater.com – Anytime I need to tab out a quick guitar solo – this website has been helpful. I just tab it out and then take a screenshot to put up on my board.
Powerpoint flashcards mentioned in this post are essential in my room… so helpful.
Hal Leonard – I am a big fan of the new Hal Leonard books that give you a code to access the recording online. Once there, you can slow down the recording …loop sections …it’s really good stuff.
Audacity – a free program (just google it) – is awesome! I use it for recording …but it’s biggest use is in taking a song – importing it into the program and then changing the key. It’s especially good for the songs in the key of Eb. Bring the pitch of the recording up a half step and now my students can play along.

Don Hicks

Ultimate-guitar.com – 800,000 songs and counting! You might have to look at several versions of a song to find what you’re looking for, but this is the go to site for just about any song you want to learn.
Boss tuner (free app) – please don’t mistake this for a stompbox.
iLift – similar to the Amazing Slow Downer
Webcam – I’m also using a webcam set up to my projector to demonstrate examples visually. It’s a little easier than walking around to each kid for each example.
Google Classroom – And we are trying to set up an online class resource where kids can see/hear examples of the pieces that are assigned. My tech resource guy is trying to set me up on a google classroom to do it.

We also have a set of Epiphone electric guitars and Vox amplug mini amps…. Once every two weeks the kids get a lesson from my “top 40” curriculum – the 40 guitar riffs every guitarist should know

Hopefully this has given you some good ideas. Let us know what technology you’re using in the comments below.