Chrome Music Lab
Updated: Jan 1
Chrome Music Lab is free and is a web-based program that works without being downloaded or installed.
Here are suggestions from the Music Education Pre-Teachers about how to use the music lab in your classroom and online:
Chrome Music is a great way of teaching beginning composition without the students even realizing they are creating their own music.
Students can draw the music, make patterns, and “Paint by color” so to say. Using Chrome Music also takes the barrier of traditional notation out of the way. Sometimes students feel restricted when composing because they are unsure of how to accurately notate their ideas.
The interactive chord tab provides a great visual for explaining the pattern of half steps and whole steps in major and minor keys to younger students. The sound wave tab provides a great opportunity to discuss pitch and intonation with students. As I teacher, I could use this as a visual to explain that lower pitches are made of slower sound waves, that higher pitches are made of faster sound waves, and that when musicians play in tune, the higher frequencies sit lined up inside the lower ones.
The harmonics page would be especially helpful when teaching brass students and string players about harmonics on their own instruments.
As a teacher, I could assess rhythms by asking students to program basic rhythms into the website as they see the rhythms notated on the staff that I would give them. I could also create a guidance worksheet for this website that would include questions for the students to answer such as, “what did you notice about the speed of sound waves as you move from high to low?,” or “what happened to the harmonics as they went on? How did the sound change? How did they change in appearance?”
I really loved the visual aspect especially in the arpeggio section. Being set up as the circle of 5ths, not only does it allow the student to hear the chords and see how they are placed in the circle, but it also helps them hear the arpeggios in relations to the keys right next to it. I think that aspect really makes the circle of 5ths easier to understand since you are able to hear it see it and compare it to the keys around the circle.
I think it could allow for students to practice items they're assessed on - the youngest groups focusing on rhythms, while older moving onto chords! This could also fulfill composition requirements for their education. You could create compositional lessons with direction, as for length and even pitches/intervals! Rhythm lessons would be easy enough to record them clapping the rhythms with the sound, or creating their own way of replicating the rhythms they hear in their free-time music or band music. As students advance, it would be easy to create lessons on harmonics and arpeggios that they can study at home if they desire, as I feel in younger musicians it is a topic easier learned together in class.
Song Maker. The colors and distance between the notes can also lead to a lesson regarding pitch class and intervals. Knowledge can be assessed by giving certain guidelines for compositions such as "Write a piece using only green, orange, and pink notes" In the program, this is a major chord, and a little ear training could be done after this!
I also think the Song Maker or Rhythm tools would be great for young jazz band. Students could create their own "backing track" and practice improvising over that. Their final product could either be recorded and submitted, or played for the class during rehearsal. Assessment could be based on matching style of the solo to the backing track, or their use of an assigned scale or chord progression.
The rhythm program would be a great way to teach students about how their individual rhythms are a part of a composite rhythm, or a fun visual and tactile way to explain subdivision within music.
Write a rhythm that goes, 1, 2+,3+, 4." Then I can see if the students actually comprehend the big beats and small beats
Use the arpeggio tool to learn about keys as well as chord progressions.
Piano roll uses multiple styles of learning and this one involved visual and auditory. This one would be helpful to show the students maybe how phrases and forms work, as well as showing the intervalic as well as rhythmic relationship.
Harmonics and the strings. I think those are nice because it shows you how the frequency increase, or decrease in the length of string will raise the sound and vise versa with lengthening. A way to maybe assess for this one would be to have the students listen to the strings being played and have them determine if the string is long or short based on the sound.
UPDATE -- I also found this article with great Chrome Music Lab lesson ideas: