Look at me writing a post from my phone! That’s right – you’re looking at the newest member of the iPhone club! From FaceTime to iMessage to real-time traffic reports to web-surfing that’s faster than my laptop, I am a huge fan. I can keep up with my emails on the go, update Twitter and Facebook in one fell swoop, and of course, write these fun updates for y’all while I’m traveling!
In addition to the personal and professional benefits, I’ve been experimenting with the iPhone as a teaching tool. Last week, I introduced “Model T” from The Music Tree: Part I to a student for the first time. We identified the rhythm and tonal patterns but when it came time to put everything together, I realized my student didn’t know what a Model T was. Have no fear, the iPhone is here! I quickly looked up a picture and a short Wikipedia article to share and discuss for a moment. Following this teaching moment, the tempo indication, “bumping along” made much for sense!
A few days later, I had a high school student working on “Minuet en rondeau” by Jean-Philippe Rameau. “Keyboard music from this period would have been written for what instrument?” I asked. After a moment of thought, she shrugged. “The harpsichord,” I said. In order to dispel the notion that the harpsichord was played vertically like a harp, I quickly pulled out my phone, looked up a picture, and found a video performance of a 2-manual harpsichord so she could see and hear the instrument in action. This opened the door for a conversation in stylistic interpretation, articulation choices, and the historical differences in instrument construction. Now she recognizes that the ornamentation has a practical benefit as well as a decorative one.
Tonight, I plan to bring this recording of “While By My Sheep” into choir practice. I think I’ll use my iPhone.
Image Credit: Jen Shenk