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Author Biography: A piano teacher from Europe, Serbia, Belgrade.

Works in a state music school “Vojislav-Lale Stefanovic”, in Uzice. (Elementary music school together with high school of music.) Students are from 7-18 years old. She teaches individual piano lessons, organizes group lessons and student recital concerts at school and in the city hall. Maja’s primary intentions are to teach her students elementary music literacy, teach them how to listen to classical music and thus to love it. Her other, but very important aim in pedagogy is teaching technology literacy through music and music education applications. More info: Activity Summary
Record student’s playing (in a few tries, if needed) during the regular class, or during the public performance, analyze the recording by replaying it, to assure if everything is fine or need more polishing, record student’s announcement, join announcement and playing tracks into one track, apply basic sound editing (noise removal, normalizing, mp3 conversion), publish recordings regularly on a podcasting blog, inform students and their parents about new recordings, by email (or Twitter, Blog ...), listen with your students to new recordings during the final part of the lessons, promote students’ recordings / playing Class or subject area: Music, Piano Playing Grade level(s): 1st grade elementary music school till 4th grade high music school Specific learning objectives: • Objective listening skills • Concentration /attention • Aspiration for perfection • Ability to overcome errors during playing • Healthy inter-personal relationships in the class • Motivational force for better engagement in practicing at home • Technology literacy • Materials for e-portfolio

Anniversary Book Project


Podcast In Piano Lessons
By: Maja Dakic-Brkovic Creative Commons License: CC BY-SA Author contact: @maja_prolece

In my lessons, I focus at developing students’: • objective listening skills • concentration of attention • aspiration for perfection • ability to overcome errors during playing • healthy inter-personal relationships in the class • motivational force for better engagement in practicing at home • technology literacy • materials for e-portfolio I can reach all these goals fairly easily and simply by recording students’ playing. For the purpose of this text, I will focus on audio recording only. Although, the use of video recording is even more rewarding, I prefer audio recording, because it is easier to create and file size is smaller and thus quicker to upload. Recording students’ playing is a great way to develop students’ listening skills, concentration of attention, motivation, as well as, aspiration for perfection, which is nowadays a trend in classical music. In order to prepare their recordings for online publishing, students diligently practice a lot more than usual, because they want to show their best playing to the potential audience. Therefore, they reach better quality of playing. Using recordings in piano duet practicing at home, is a solution, when it’s hard to manage classes for both students at the same time. Student practices playing along with the recording of the other one. In case that someone missed the live concert, online recordings may be used. Also, we can include students’ recordings in their e-portfolios. Recording Time & The Benefits Teachers can record their students during the regular classes, as well as during public performances. Also, students can record themselves at home – while practicing or while practicing public performance, that is simulating playing in public. All these ways are very beneficial, as they immediately put students into a position to play the best way they can, at a given time. Students’ Challenges & Benefits During Recording Time The main goal we hit by recording students’ playing is that they will be willing to repeat playing of the same composition many times while striving for perfection. Actually, usually so many times until they feel satisfied. For me, it’s really amazing how far they may go with it. Outside of a recording situation, they often feel very satisfied with all kinds of their playing, but at the very moment the record button is pressed, the situation magically changes! Playing for making great recordings is manifold rewarding.

This way they develop the ability to keep their attention for a long time, at their will, to play the piece in its entirety without errors and at the satisfactory quality level and to repeat this process many times. Depending on the instrument students possess, they may use microphones for recording playing on acoustic instruments or cables connected to computers for recording playing on digital pianos. Although, digital recording will result in better sound quality, analog recording has some specific advantages. For example, I often hear stories from my students, that while they are trying to record themselves, a family member suddenly enters the room and thus spoils the recording. Even though they might feel a bit angry, it is very useful, because they will have to play again, concentrate again, and so on – which is actually one of our main goals. So, I often encourage them to record their playing whatever the circumstances may be. Other reasons for multiple attempts to record are often that they accidentally delete the file while trying to replay it or while copying it to another media. Of course, in most cases, the main reason is that they are not able to record it at first, without anything undesirable to happen during the playing. What Is Podcast? Podcasting is publishing files on a blog. Individuals can subscribe to a ‘podcast’ and download it, to their personal computers, iPods, MP3 players, cell phones, or PDA (Personal Digital Assistant). They automatically receive new shows, as they are published. Audio podcasts are relatively small file size, and easy to create. How To Create Podcast With Students’ Playing What I actually do is record my students the moment they feel ready for it. We try and see how it goes. If it still needs some polishing, we analyze the recording, find spots which need improvement, listen the rhythm accuracy, dynamics, accentuation, left-right hand volume relation, measure the tempo and so on. It is all right to try and record the same piece a few times during the same lesson. It often takes a few times to make it fine, as it’s hard for students to play correctly from the first go. Anyway, I always encourage them to continue with playing till the end of the piece, even though they made a mistake and know that we are going to delete that file. It is very useful to practice overcoming errors and to use that file for analyzing purposes. Once it goes smoothly, we replay it just to be sure that everything is just fine. After that, I record the short announcement of my student. He or she says his/her name, class, the name of the school and teacher, and finally the name of the composer and the piece he/she has just recorded. The announcement goes into a separate audio file, and I add it later at the beginning of a playing track. After recording process is done, I apply some basic editing, such as noise removal, normalizing, mp3 conversion to make the sound better and file smaller. I have created a Podcasting blog, dedicated to my students’ playing during this school year on site.

There I publish each new recording we made during the week. After each update, I send an email to all my students and their parents, informing them that we have some new recordings and invite them to listen to them. At the end of each lesson, I often plan a time to replay the recordings of other students. The students show much interests in listening to each other and always ask me to replay some of recordings. It seems to be very good practice for building healthy inter-personal relationships in a class, as well as motivating force for their own better engagement in practicing at home. I usually record my younger students during the lessons. With my older students, it’s a bit different. Most of the lesson time we devote to listening and analyzing the recordings they made themselves at home. So, finally, everything falls in its place. Practicing should be done at home, and suggestions and directions for better playing and efficient practicing should be given during the lessons. I have shown them how to install and use the audio editing software Audacity, so they may use their computers or laptops for recording purposes at their home. Nevertheless, they often use their cameras and the results are just fine. When they manage to record their playing, they copy those files to an USB flash memory stick or just bring me SD card from their cameras. While my primary goal is to teach them music and piano playing, I also strive to teach them how to use technology. It is something they will need in their lives, for sure. How To Use Podcast For Students’ & School Promotion Here are some ideas about how you may use the podcast for students’ and school promotions: • First, record students’ playing and post them on a podcast blog. • You may want to embed it in the class web site, as well. • This way tracking students’ progress is very easy. • You may use the blog to advertise your school to world audience, • or as a part of inter-schools exchange programs. • Make it a building block of students’ e-portfolio • and include it in a teacher’s e-portfolio (that is - yours) Suggested Equipment Equipment you may use includes some of these: • cell phone • iPod • mp3 player (with built-in microphone) • tablet • PDA (Personal Digital Assistent) • camera • computer - with external mic or headset

Free Tools For Publishing Students’ Recordings Concerning software and blogs, my recommendations are: Audacity – free audio editing tool, professional tool, but easy to use, cross-platform as well Blogger and Podbean - because they are free blogging platforms and easy to use. Useful links Audacity Podbean Blogger Ideas Applied On My Podcasting Blog On Podbean I invite you to visit my podcasting blog dedicated to playing of my students during this school year, and to listen to some of the recordings we have made. The link: You will hear various sound qualities, because we varied recording equipment. Although none of the recordings has professional features in terms of sound quality and level of music interpretation, they all fulfill their main goal – that is to inspire students to practice more efficiently, enjoy practicing time more than before, thus improving the quality of their playing. At the beginning of each track, you will hear kid introducing itself and announcing a piece it’s going to play. I find it very cute to hear their voices. I assume that you will not understand everything they say, because they speak Serbian, but you may catch the name of the composer and the piece to be played. Also, all the information are written in the blog post accompanying each recording. I hope you will be enjoying their playing, because the language of music is universal. Additional Recourses On the following link you will find a list of links about podcasting, sound editing application Audacity, free blogs, free podcasting host services and podcasting tutorials. The link: