The purpose of this resource is to demonstrate the wealth of web-based software tools that are available for music education, many free or available for little cost. Web-based software requires access only to the Internet and a web browser. These software tools do not need to be purchased, installed, updated, or upgraded--that all happens automatically behind the scenes. Many permit realtime MIDI keyboard input or live recording with sound and music files stored in the Cloud of the Internet. There are a few limitations: software requiring Flash [ FLASH ] will not work on an iPhone or iPad web browser (those are noted below); some of the newest offerings are designed to run with the Chrome web browser or Chrome OS and coded in the list as [ CHROME ].
Many of these titles have been available for several years but languished due to the attraction of smartphone and tablet music applications (see coach4technology.net/tablemusic for a list of some of these applications). However, the recent Chromebook movement in schools is breathing fresh air into web-based music software for music education and also providing a variety of exciting tools for musicians to manage their activities and business. A Chromebook is essentally a laptop that only runs a Chrome web browser and web- or cloud-based software. Watch this video for a short introduction to Chromebooks running Google Chrome OS.
Enjoy the list and I always welcome recommendations for new titles to include.
David B. Williams, Illinois State University Emeritus (Updated February 2015)
MUSICFIRST WEB-BASED ONLINE CLASSROOMThe MusicFirst Online Classroom [ Video intro to MusicFirst Classroom ] [ Video how to create a class ] [ Request a Demo of MusicFirst Classroom ]
MusicFirst Classroom (musicfirst.com) is a comprehensive, online learning management system for education. The MusicFirst Classroom is all web-based and conveniently packaged for schools. The Classroom offers a complete suite of software solutions (all listed below) that can be integrated into curriculum, lesson, and task planning with links to specific levels and tasks within any of the software solutions for the elementary (Elem), Middle School (Mid), or High School (HS) levels. Scheduling, record-keeping and assignment tracking, assessment, music standards including NCAS and more components are part of the Classroom. A rich library of resources with engaging content is included: 500 content items including Units, Lesson Plans and over 160 customizable assessments for K-12 music teachers and students.
THEORY, EAR TRAINING, BASIC SKILL, MUSIC PRACTICE, AND MORE [to the top]
- Auralia First & Cloud Versions: Elem (First), Mid (First), HS (Cloud & First) [ Details & Request a Demo ] [ Video demo ] [Requires download file to Mac or Win PC]
Engaging and easy to use, Auralia is the most comprehensive ear training package available today. The aural training exercises are perfect for everyone from beginners to advanced students, and ideal for both classical and contemporary musicians.
- Musition First & Cloud Versions: Elem (First), Mid (First), HS (Cloud & First) [ Details & Request a Demo ] [ Video demo ] [Requires download file to Mac or Win PC]
The comprehensive Musition music theory and musicianship software package is designed for students of all ages and abilities. Musition provides interactive drill-based teaching, 34 topics, an elegant interface, and intuitive record-keeping features.
- Sight Reading Factory: Elem, Mid, HS[ Details & Request a Demo ] [ Video demo 1 Video demo 2 ]
SRF allows you to customize and generate virtually unlimited sight reading examples instantly, on demand for beginning through advanced level students. Sight Reading Factory can be used for band, choir, orchestra and even elementary general music. Sight reading exercises can be generated for solo voices, instruments, and even full ensembles. Project sight reading exercises to the front of your classroom, read right off of a computer, tablet or smartphone, or print out the exercises.
- Subotnick's Music Academy: Elem [ Details & Request a Demo ] [ Video demo ] [ FLASH for Create module, Listen okay ]
Music Academy teaches listening skills and encourages creativity for students in grades K-6. The goal of the ear training in the ‘academy’ is to empower each student to hear and recognize the richness of musical expression. There are three sections to the Academy: Create, Explore, and Score. With Create activities, a creativity playground separates “writing” music from performing or playing music. Students are visually guided to use a “piece of paper” that they draw on onscreen; students can “draw” their own compositions, hear them back and modify them. The Explore section incorporates hundreds of lessons and exercises sectioned into three levels with short videos for each lesson and includes game-like activities that reinforce testing. The Score section is designed to test students’ musical hearing and to train the ear starting with simple tasks that lead to more complex exercises in identifying differences in pitch, time, timbre and dynamics. Requires Flash so animations will not work on iPad and others.
- PracticeFirst [Available August 1, 2015]: Elem, Mid, HS [ Details & Request a Demo ] PracticeFirst™ created by MatchmySound™ is an affordable, completely onlineweb-based practice and assessment tool offering innovative features. Accessible from any internet-enabled device, PracticeFirst allows students to practice anytime, anywhere, with instant feedback and flexibility that has never been seen before. Students can practice any instrument, including voice, using PracticeFirst™’s web-based, easy-to-use interface. Band instruments, orchestral, choral practice, even polyphonic instruments like guitar and piano can all take advantage of the intuitive lessons and feedback features.
MUSIC REPERTOIRE, APPRECIATION, INSTRUMENTS, HISTORY
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- Focus on Sound: Elem, Mid, HS Note: good reading skills required [ Details & Request a Demo ] [Video demo]
Featuring hundreds of photos, recordings, music scores, videos, and a fully integrated testing system, Focus on Sound introduces the sound of musical instruments and voices, and educates students on musical terms.
- Music Delta Planet and Music Delta Master: Elem, Mid [ Details & Request a Demo ] [ Video demo ] [FLASH for some sections ]
Music Delta offers a fun, graphical, interactive experience for primary students beginning music appreciation, general music, or music history. Music Delta uses animated characters to teach theory/fundamentals—and enables students to create their own versions of songs. Music Delta Planet provides introductory fun pages about music history, and a place to sing and play folk songs. Music Delta Master provides a deeper, interactive and curriculum based series of modules on music performance, theory, composition and history. Requires Flash so animations will not work on iPad and others.
- The Singing Classroom: Elem [ Details & Request a Demo ] [ Video demo ]
The Singing Classroom is a song collection come to life! It’s an ever-growing, searchable database of songs and music games for music teachers of grades PreK-6. Teachers can search the collection using a wide variety of criteria to find songs and games complete with scores, video, audio, printable posters, and animations
COMPOSING WITH NOTATION [to the top]
- Noteflight: Elem, Mid, HS [ Details & Request a Demo ] [ Video Demo for NoteFlight Classroom and NoteFlight Crescendo ]
Create, view, print, and hear music notation with professional quality—right in your web browser. Noteflight provides secondary educators and students with a private, secure online community. It’s perfect for group composition, repertoire sharing, and more. Many new features and new instruments added. All rewritten in HTML5 (no Flash required) so you can access from a computer without Flash and from an iPad.
- Groovy Music Online Edition: Elem, Mid [ Details & Request a Demo ] [Video demo] [ FLASH ]
Under the Sibelius label a wonderfully inventive series of three software titles were created around Groovy Music: Shapes, Jungle, and City. Those titles are how available through MusicFirst as online versions. Each theme contains palettes of animated objects representing musical building blocks such as melodies, rhythms, and chords. Students simply drag the objects onto the screen, where they snap harmonically into the song being created. Using the intuitive interface, students can overlay graphic notes and a musical staff onto their animated song to view and edit the music they have created.
CREATING WITH SAMPLES, LOOPS, RECORDINGS ETC [to the top]
- Soundation4Education: Mid, HS [ Details & Request a Demo] [ Video demo ] [ FLASH ]
Soundation4Education is a sophisticated online music-making application that lets students create and record in school and at home—with full access to their work from any location. Soundation has all the features of a traditional DAW, including audio recording, USB MIDI input, and more. This is a completely revised version for education use prepared for MusicFirst with classroom management and generous loops and samples.
- O-Generator: Mid, HS [ Details & Request a Demo ] [ Visit O-Music Website ] [ Video demo ] [ FLASH ]
O-Generator is a funky, simple, yet sophisticated music app that allows students to Learn, Create, Play Along With and Record Music. The software is aimed at 10 to 15-year-old students. O-Generator uses popular music and world music to engage and teach key music concepts. O-Generator is a 4/4 bar of music turned into a circle. It is broken up into 16ths. Each of the concentric circles is a musical instrument; drums, bass guitar, piano, saxophone and so on. The play head sweeps 360 degrees illuminating as it passes through them. Students make a choice on where to place the notes and beats in the individual smaller pads for each instrument. They create the music and develop it over multiple bars if they choose.
WEB-BASED MUSIC MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS
- MyMusicStaff.com [ video demo of scheduling a lesson ]
Music studio management. A complete management system for private music teaching with student and teacher access to scheduling & attendance, invoices & payments, music checkout, setting up a studio webiste, and more. [Dave's note: we personally run our music wind studio using this cloud-based software and it works well and their support for help on technical issues is fast response.]
Church choir and program management: organize music library, recordings and sheet music in tablet or phone app for rehearsing, scheduling rehearsals and performances, communication, projecting lyrics, attendance, and more.
- BandPencil.com [ video demo ]
Band or ensemble management: online system for managing members in a band or ensemble, scheduling of rehearsals and performances, communication between members, payment fees, and more
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WEB-BASED MUSIC SOFTWAREElementary/General Music Sites: Orchestra Educational Websites
- Dallas Symphony Orchestra Kids
- Kennedy Center ARTSEDGE
- Kennedy Center Live Webcasts and Millennium Stage
- New York Philharmonic Kidzone and SphinxKids
- Carnegie Hall Online Resource Center: For K-12 Educators, Games & Listening Guides, Master Classes, For Teaching Artists, Performances, and Artist Interviews
- San Francisco Symphony Kids
Elementary/General Music Sites: Government [to the top]
- PBS Kids Music Games
- "From the Top": NPR Radio program featuring young classical musicians around the world
- Learn Listening Online: Scottish government project but very useful for all music teaching
- ArtsAlive.ca - Music: Canadian Government Site
- Smithsonian Folkways music site
- America's Story from the Library of Congress (music materials throughout the stories)
- Musical Instruments at the Library of Congress
Elementary/General Music Sites: Other [to the top]
- Naxos Music Library: [Try a Quick Tour] [Try a 15-minute Free Demo] Naxos Music Library is a vast online library of classical, jazz, country, world, rock, pop, and blues music. With complete catalogues and selected recordings of over 650 independent labels, students can discover an almost endless collection of music—and stream it instantly.
- Classics for Kids
- Classical Music Quizzes and Classical Music Trivia -- Fun Trivia
- Online Music Theory Flash Cards -- Musicards.net
- Isle of Tune [ FLASH see iPad version ] [Video demo] Gaming strategy for creating musical "islands" from street layouts where the roadside elements are your instruments and cars are the players. Share your island for others to play and vote on.
- Groovy Music Online Single-User Edition [ Details & Request a Demo ] [Video demo] [ Flash ]
Under the Sibelius label a wonderfully inventive series of three software titles were created around Groovy Music: Shapes, Jungle, and City. Those titles are how available through MusicFirst as online versions. Each theme contains palettes of animated objects representing musical building blocks such as melodies, rhythms, and chords. Students simply drag the objects onto the screen, where they snap harmonically into the song being created. Using the intuitive interface, students can overlay graphic notes and a musical staff onto their animated song to view and edit the music they have created.This is a single-user option that does not require the MusicFirst Online Classroom.
- Charanga Music World: [Details] [Video Demo] [ FLASH ] Charanga Music World is the perfect addition to your beginning instrumental music program. Children learn in a fully personalized and stimulating online world—with design inspired by some of the most popular and successful children’s websites and game formats.
- SMART Board Collections: Solfege, Band Instruments, Ethnic Instruments, Orchestra Instruments, Rhythm, and PB&J ingredients
- NoteFlight Learning Activity Templates: materials for primary and secondary level music study to use with Noteflight online notation app
Music Theory [to the top]
- Ricci Adams' Musictheory.net: one of the most comprehensive set of theory training online materials
- Teoria: Music Theory Web: another long-standing, comprehensive set of online theory training materials
- Breezin' thru Theory [FLASH] [ video demo ] A music theory and composition curriculum designed for secondary school students "that makes learning fun and gives students the thrill of music making."
- HookPad and TheoryTab: [ video demo ] unique interactive interface that lets you create songs with chord accompaniment (HookPad) and study the form and chordal structure (TheoryTab) of a large library of popular music
- Sojurn: The Canons and Fugues of J.S. Bach: advanced but most comprehensive Bach internactive study materials online
- eMusicTheory: [ JAVA ] Comprehensive with teacher and student management of accounts; some free access with classroom monthly access fees
- Drumbot Piano Chord Charts: an interactive tool to explore chord progressions in any key with audio and piano fingerings. [ œTRY ]
- NoteFlight Learning Activity Templates developed by Vermont MIDI Project (materials for primary and secondary level music study
- Otomata [ Video demo ] tone matrix generative music sequencer (now with iPhone and iPad versions as well as web-based)
- SheepBeats: [ FLASH ] "Sheeps get their grooves on" simple but fun loop generator
- MusicShake: [ FLASH or see iPad App ] [ Video demo ] Fun, click and select menu to build music in a variety of styles with extensive loop library of options
- Incredibox with 4 Versions: [ FLASH ] [ Video demo ] Voice samples and loops with enjoyable animations for creating vocal mixes and compositions; there are now four versions: Original, Little Miss, Sunrise, and The Love.
- noisegames.com: crazy off-the-wall thematic loop generators
- Drumbot and Drum Pattern Sequencer. [ FLASH ] Free online drum machines for non-drummers; there are many more as well
- JamStudio : [ Video demo ] [FLASH or see iPad App ] Enter chord progressions then let JamStudio build an accompaniment for you with piano, guitar, bass, percussion and more with various style options. Check the website for grants to schools for free access to JamStudio.
- UJAM Studio: [ CHROME ][ Video demo ] Unique web-based song creation tool; record your voice singing a tune or upload a recording, use online auto-form and auto-style features to guide you in make a complete song recording with accompaniment
- SodaSynth: [ CHROME ] [ Video demo ] Web version of the VST/AU audio plug-in and live looper for overdubbing loops with built-in synth presets.
- BeatLab: [ CHROME ] [ Video demo ] Grid-based sound sequencer available
- TwistedWave.com digital audio editor with web-based app [ FLASH ], iPad/iPhone, and Mac OSX
- Soundation DAW: [ FLASH ] [ Video demo ] Comprehensive online digital audio editor (this is a different version than Soundation4Education version above through MusicFirst Online Classroom)
- AudioTool.com: [ FLASH ] [ View demo ] Virtual synth space with mixers, sound generators, splitter, effect generators, etc. that all can be wired in many combinations
- Ardour 4 DAW:
- SoundTrap: : [Video demo 1 & Video demo 2 & Video 3] With Soundtrap you make music online, directly in your browser. Soundtrap works on Mac, Windows, iPad, Android tablets and phones, Linux and ChromeBooks. It allows you to start, edit and collaborate on your recordings wherever you are (free, pro, and premium subscription levels).
- Noteflight - Score Editor: Extensive online notation with support tools for classroom student work, templates for music study, and more.
- Inside Music: [Details] [Video Demo] This is a very unique software application the guides student in composing while using NoteFlight for their notation work. Inside Music provides a fun, all-encompassing guide to music composition—for beginner through advanced students. Designed to provide important resources for busy teachers, the lessons include listening examples, musical scores, and illustrations of important concepts. Designed to automatically integrate with NoteFlight for students composing work.
- SoundCloud: Upload sound files or record directly online to share recordings in a social-network-based online file sharing community. Very popular. Free 2 hours of recording; pay for more time. You can record directly to SoundCloud from your iPhone or Android phone.
- Audiosauna DAW: [ CHROME ] Digital audio workstation with an analogue synth, FM synth, and a sampler with layering that is completely web-based. Can be installed as an app in Chrome web browser.
- Notessimo: [ CHROME ] [ Video demo ] Web-based music making interface using graphic icons for sampled instruments placed on scrolling piano staves set in a community song sharing environment.
- Music-COMP: internationally acclaimed site in support of young children's music creativity now changed to Music-COMP (Music Composition Online Mentoring Program
- Amy Burns Site for Elementary Music Teachers (Amy is elementary music teacher in New Jersey and share a wealth on materials and experiences from her teaching and her students)
- Music Tech Teacher (Karen Garrett is instrumental music teacher in Birmingham AL and TI:ME Teacher of the Year Award winner)
- MusicEd Tech (Barbara Freedman's site, music teacher at Greenwich H.S. in Connecticut)
- MusicTech.net (a comprehensive website in support of music education and technology maintained by Joe Pisano)
- Technology in Music Education (Very rich content on music software for the classroom with heavy emphasis on iPad applications maintained by Christopher Russell)
- Tech4Music.org (Dave Williams' online music technology resources)
- MusicCreativity.org (Dave Williams and Rick Dammers website for "The Other 80%." Reaching students through technology based creativity classes and activities)
- Teachmusictech.com (Dave Williams and Peter Webster's website) and EMTBook.net (Dave and Peter's Experiencing Music Technology textbook home page)
Other Music Tools [to the top]