It's fabulous for some of my kids who just don't get it when I tell them they're playing wrong notes. With SmartMusic, they see on the screen the note that they should have played, next to the note that they DID play. Very helpful, especially for younger brass players, and especially for the parents who don't believe me when I say their kid doesn't play well.
For my overachievers, it can be stressful. Some of them do it over and over again, trying for the elusive perfect score. It's nearly impossible. There are too many possibilities. Background noise can have an effect, or they're just a smidge early, or technical issues with the connection. I almost always round up a SmartMusic grade when I put it in the gradebook.
The downside - the kids have to have a good internet connection for the program to work. Our wifi here at the school chokes too often. I have kids who record a great take, then the connection dies when they submit and it's lost. Several have started taking screenshots of their score before submitting. It's to the point that I have to accept the emailed screenshot for a grade, because I know the technology fails so often.
Other tech issues - lower instruments, especially quiet lower instruments like bassoon or bass clarinet, don't register as well. SmartMusic often thinks my bassoonist is playing a P5 above what she's actually playing. It gives her terrible scores, and I have to manually grade her assignments. She just made all-region, and with the music we're playing the bassoon parts are well below her skill level. The software just can't distinguish low pitches, especially when they aren't loud.
Maybe you'll have better luck on MacBooks. My kids have Chromebooks, and they tend to choke on the web-based software. The built-in mics are not great, and many of them are dying an early death, so the kids' recordings are full of static.
Big shortcoming - the New smartmusic doesn't have the library that the Classic does. If you can get the Classic, I hear it's better. Yes, you can write out whatever you want in Finale and upload it, but you have to upload one part at a time (can't upload a whole score). It's pretty tedious, and by the time I do all of that I could have just graded playing tests. Generally I do tests on video for a piece that isn't already on SmartMusic.
For my beginners it's really amazing. We use EE2000, and I assign lines from the book in SmartMusic. We do a mix of SM and live tests. SM doesn't even attempt to judge tone quality, articulation, etc; so we focus on those when we do a live test. The kids definitely practice better when they practice with SmartMusic.
We don't use the PlayPlus at all. I've told the kids they're welcome to buy it if they want to.
: I am considering implementing SmartMusic. I
: teach at a private school, all of our
: students have their own MacBooks.
: What are the advantages of using SmartMusic?
: What are the short comings?
: What are the advantages of the PlayPlus? Is
: it worth the $20/student?
: How do you implement SmartMusic in your
: Thank you,