Tablets in the Choral Rehearsal

(Cross-Posted at ChoralNet)
In the forums, on Twitter, and even here on ChoralBlog, many of us are trying to answer the age-old question of technology: Yeah, it’s fun, but what do I do with it? Personally, I’m not yet convinced that the iPad or similar tablets should replace our singers’ scores and folders. I can’t say I haven’t tried, though– I was the guy last year who showed up to the local Messiah sing-along with a CPDL edition of the score on my iPad to read off of. After a couple of hours, I did get tired of holding it up. More than that, though– the dots were too small! That is, however, a different post.
Between the iPod Touch and the iPad, many schools are supplying classrooms with iDevices, or allowing enterprising teachers to apply for grants for a classroom set. The question is, how many to get? To get you started, here are my best ideas for using them in a choral rehearsal. These don’t apply to schools only, though– if your singers have a tablet of some form (or in many cases, a smartphone), have them bring their devices to rehearsal if you want to try some of these out!
These are only conversation starters. If you want to know more about “how-to” for any of these, post a question at the bottom and I’ll expand on the idea later on.
If I Had…
One iPad in Rehearsal:
  • Record videos of us singing particular sections, and e-mail it to everyone or post on a choir website. Ask people to listen and comment during the week.
  • Get an Apple TV and a projector and broadcast YouTube examples or downloaded audio of choral “models.”
  • Record a sample and play it right back for the group for immediate feedback.
  • Write down notes during the course of the rehearsal and e-mail them at the end instead of announcing each during the rehearsal.
  • Turn the camera on myself and record my conducting for evaluation.
  • Make my attendance sheets on Evernote and hand it to my assistant/student/whomever to mark attendance for the day.
  • Any time I needed to gather information, I’d make a Google Form and set it on the iPad by the door as they come in to fill out automatically.
5ish iPads:
  • Record the accompaniment so that I could send a section to go work on sectional material without having to worry about finding a piano player.
  • Rotate through singers in the practice room recording their sight singing examples.
  • Break into small groups of similar reading ability/theory knowledge to watch tutorial videos, go through or Teoria and work on differentiated theory.
  • Send matched octets/small groups to record themselves doing part checks.
  • Get a voice instructor to record common vocal training exercises/vocalises so that any time a singer wanted to check an iPad out (or use one during the break) they could work on their vocal training.
  • Add the Apple Headphones (with the microphone built-in), and choose 5 students a day to clip on the mic and record themselves singing examples with the whole group.
1:1 (1 iPad for every singer)
  • Send them on audio scavenger hunts– load up the iPads with music that they find that matches certain parameters (favorite music of composer ‘x’ or era/genre ‘y’).
  • 10 Minutes of Theory/Reading/etc. class-wide using, Teoria or custom Google Forms that I put together.
  • Purchase Notability and send out .PDFs of the scores so that they can mark the scores according to either (a) theory analysis, or (b) their own performance needs (common singing performance notes) and e-mail them to me for evaluation.
  • Listening Response journals to in-rehearsal listening examples or prompts.
  • Before/After surveys for rehearsal sections (Comfort level/questions/Still need help with…)
  • Use a backchat to request sections to work on.
This is just a start…
How about you?
If you had any number of tablets, what would you use them for? What do you have a dream of, but not know how to execute?

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