Have you ever wondered how you could use a smartpen beyond taking notes? Amy Beth Horman of the Horman Violin Studio in Washington DC discovered that recording an audio pencast of her student’s performances combined with her written feedback made it much easier for her students to learn complicated pieces.
As a result, 11 of her students won prizes at an international competition, and will be playing at Carnegie Hall soon. How do you get to play Carnegie Hall? Well, you still need to practice, as the saying goes, but a smartpen makes practice more useful and efficient. Check out her video below so you can see how she makes this work.
How do they do it?
Amy Beth assigns each student his or her own Livescribe dot paper notebook. Then she sets up her iPad, starts recording and asks the student to play a piece. As they are playing, she’s using her Livescribe 3 smartpen to make written notes synced to each musical note, and highlight where they may need to position their bow differently, hit a certain note sooner or later, or even stand up straight. Good posture can be a major component in playing a violin well.
At the end of class, Amy Beth emails the audio pencast to the student so they can open it up on their smartphone or tablet that night, or use the Livescribe web Player to play the file on a computer. The students can listen to their performance and see Amy Beth’s notes highlighted right after they hear the relevant part of their performance.
If students are struggling with a particular movement, they can tap that section of their performance, and jump right to that moment, so they can hear exactly what they were playing. Then they can repeat the music until they have the piece memorized perfectly.
Does it work?
“Undeniably,” says Amy Beth Horman. “The more productive we are, and the more efficient our work is, the faster the students will move.” Ms. Horman was looking for a competitive advantage for her DC-area music studio, and saw technology as a unique differentiator for her business. Little did she know that she would not only give her business a competitive advantage….it would give her students one as well!
“Students are reviewing their pencasts on the way to competitions, so they can remember each detail on the way to an important event,” says Horman. “We had students age 7 to 15 submit to the Protégé International Competition in New York City, and all 11 applicants were awarded prizes, which means 11 young musicians will have a chance to play on the stage at Carnegie Hall.”
Congratulations to Horman Violin Studio and Amy Beth for finding such a simple way to teach people how to play such a complex instrument as the violin, and best of luck to the students going to Carnegie Hall! It’s always exciting to hear about new ways people are using their Livescribe smartpens every day.
If you’d like to learn more about her innovative techniques, please see the website at http://hormanviolinstudio.com/. If you’d like to see some of the kids playing beautifully, the studio’s Facebook page is at https://www.facebook.com/HormanViolinStudio
UPDATE: Amy Beth also posted her personal experience transforming her studio at violinist.com.
How have you found pencasts useful when you need to recall something difficult? Please share your thoughts in the comments, thanks!