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College Bands Embrace Virtual Assessment Tool

Blue Line Media ImageAs university band directors prepared for a virtual fall semester due to COVID-19, they were left with a massive question:

How do you assess members in a virtual setting?

With most college bands structured as classes and taken for credit, the assessment piece was critical for directors and administrators to figure out.

Band directors in the Pac-12 conference looked for an answer and found it in the form of a new app called Marching Band Pro.

“We started using this app in August, following the cancellation of fall sports,” said Chad Shoopman, Director of the Pride of Arizona.
“Marching Band Pro has been incredibly helpful for our students to learn, practice, and demonstrate an understanding of the musical elements associated with our diverse repertoire."

Blue Line Media ImageMarching Band Pro is a practice and feedback platform specifically designed for collegiate marching bands. MatchMySound™, the technology that powers the app was developed in 2014 and licensed by major US print music publishers to engage music students with their method books and educational resources in a new way.

Marching Band Pro offers collegiate band directors the ability to upload scores, assign parts to their members by the individual instrument and offer feedback on performances. Band members use the platform to play and record their parts, submit their performances, learn through guided feedback and receive comment from their director.

In the Spring of 2020, MatchMySound launched the mobile app version of Marching Band Pro with two new features: a video assessment tool and a Zoom portal. Both features were released just in time to assist bands with remote learning, practice and recording during the pandemic.

Blue Line Media ImageThe video assessment feature verifies each band member's performance, automatically providing the member with feedback and the band director with an automatic score. Listening to each and every member is very time-consuming and requires tremendous staff resources. MatchMySound's unbiased technology does all of that or the staff.

"The immediate feedback provided by the app's assessment capabilities helps our students connect the areas of their performance that need improvement, in real time," said Shoopman. "In addition, my staff and I are able to listen and provide feedback of our own, giving students a more personalized assessment. It is such a valuable and efficient tool, we will continue to use it even after the COVID pandemic has come and gone."

At Washington State University, Dr. Troy Bennefield, Director of the Cougar Marching Band, knew that trying to assess each student via zoom would take up valuable instructional time that they didn't have.

"With all classes at WSU being online, it's much more difficult to get performance data and give timely feedback," explained Bennefield. "Even though we're much smaller this year with distance-only learning, it would still take hours and hours to hear submissions and give each individual their feedback, plus assign grades. Now the students can get immediate feedback from the system on a full piece (or segment) and we're able to give individualized feedback to those that might need it more. We also can use our Zoom time more efficiently since we can utilize the system for some of those needs."

"It simply gives us more flexibility when we're all trying to find better ways of teaching in this format."

Band Directors never could have imagined being in this type of situation and many have had to develop their own assessment strategies on the fly to keep things moving forward. Thankfully, with technology like Marching Band Pro, directors now have one less thing to worry about.

For more information about how Marching Band Pro can help your band, contact Steve Freeman at sfreeman@matchmysound.com or visit them online at https://matchmysound.com/marching-band-pro/

See Marching Band Pro in action HERE


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