I am super excited to share this fantastic resource with everyone today as I’ve never seen anything like it! Interactive Listening is an interactive iBook created by Pete Carney and Brian Felix. Once purchased, the iBook downloads directly to the iBooks app on your iPad. As explained on their website, “The Enhanced Digital edition offers 230 pages of videos, interactive pictures, interactive quiz questions, over 120 built in music samples…” Upon opening the book, you will be transported to an inspiring video on Music. Asking questions like when did music begin? How old is it? Why Music? Touching on the historical and cultural backgrounds, the emotions it causes, etc.
After watching the video the book will open up to a big tray of musical dessert awaiting you and your students! In the beginning of the book it explains that “Interactive Listening is a new book that challenges today’s connected but distracted listeners.” Isn’t that the truth? I hate to admit it, but I tend to also find myself in that category at times.
Chapters include:CHAPTER 1: ARE YOU LISTENING? The Ethos of art: the importance of music Why Music? Musical Reconstruction The Science of Music CHAPTER 2: MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS Musical Instruments The Woodwinds The Brass The Strings Percussion CHAPTER 3: ELEMENTS OF MUSIC Fundamental elements- roots Extended terminology- branches Melody Timbre Articulation Phrasing Harmony Pitch CHAPTER 4: THE ORCHESTRA Melodies as Characters Articulating your Opinion Orchestration The Modern Conductor Using the Symphony CHAPTER 5: PICTURES AT AN EXHIBITION Modest Mussorgsky The Gnomus The Old Castle Tuileries CHAPTER 6: THE GREAT ROOTS Africa Global Connections Blues Gospel Latino Jazz Performing Jazz Electronic
Each chapter is filled with so many interactive opportunities for students. You will find survey’s, drawings, video’s, audio files, research questions, quiz’s, podcast and YouTube links. There is so much information in this book and activities for students to do that you can literally use this resource over the course of a year. It is perfect for lab time if you have a lab in your studio, as well as group lessons or a classroom environment. Quizzes, research questions and survey’s can be emailed to the teacher (love this!).
There is a video that really stood out to me called “Orchestrating Nature” that gave little word clips describing the instrument(s) and their dynamic and artistry that was chosen in conjunction with the beautiful scenery that was being shown. My recital rehearsals are in a couple weeks and you can bet I will be showing this video to my students to reinforce the concept of artistry and how dynamics, articulation, etc… really affect the piece and tell a story.
Another section on “Melodies as Characters” that would be a fun group lesson activity is creating a fictional drama with students. Included is scenes for students to act out with Beethoven’s 9th symphony; 1st movement. The written scenes stop at a certain point and encourage students to finish their own scenes with the rest of the piece. I really like this because it gets them started and thinking and then they take over with their originality. From there you can even expand it and use another piece doing the same thing.
There are just a couple little sections that you will want to preview before deciding if it’s appropriate for all your students. Both can be found in Chapter 3: Elements of Music. The first one was the “Dark Side” section. The video, “The Ethos of Expressionism” may be a little too scary for younger students. Also in the “Dynamics section, there is a video of Spinal tap talking and both him and the person interviewing are smoking. Just a couple things to be aware of so you can decide if it is appropriate to show.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the i-book in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own.