There’s a growing list of fantastic online musical “instruments” and games that are a great resource for teachers in the music classroom.  They can be effective when used with students on laptops and desktops, but they also work really well in a one-computer classroom with a large screen or better still, an interactive whiteboard.

Get Creative with Pentatonic Improvisation

1. Tone Matrix by Andre Michelle

  • Add (or remove) sounds by clicking on a box on the grid
  • Press the space bar to clear the whole grid and start again
  • Based on the pentatonic scale

2. iNudge

  • A layered version of the Tone Matrix
  • Create multiple patterns with different instrument sounds
  • Share your creations via email or embed them in your website or blog

3. AudioTool

  • The big brother of the Tone Matrix and iNudge
  • Add drum patterns, other sounds and change the tempo

Online Instruments

The next few online “instruments” are a bit of fun and would work really well with an interactive whiteboard.  Many don’t allow you to record or export your songs, so don’t go composing your masterpiece using these apps unless you’re notating it as you go!  The better ones allow you to play notes using your computer keyboard in addition to clicking on keys or buttons with your mouse.

4. Virtual Keyboard

  • A large on-screen keyboard
  • Includes alternative instrument sounds, drum beats

5. Virtual Piano

  • Another one!

6. Virtual Drum Kit by Ken Brashear

  • A photo image of a drum kit that you can “play”

7. Drum Machine

  • A loop-based rhythm generator

8. Drum Set

  • An online drum sampler

Online Music Games

9. Incredibox

  • A cappella fun
  • Create your own arrangement using vocal percussion, backing parts and lead vocals

10. Don’t Worry Be Happy game (Bobby McFerrin)

  • Another a cappella “game”
  • Also good for discussing arranging techniques
  • Activate parts in one at a time by dragging the part name across to the white area
  • Notation allows you to follow each part

11. Ball droppings

  • Physics and music combine
  • Draw lines across the screen to make the balls bounce and create different pitches
  • Good for interactve whiteboard

12. NY Phil kids

  • Excellent collection of educational music games for primary and middle school students
  • Create a minuet
  • Match composers or instruments
  • Beat Polly Rhythmic in the percussion showdown
  • Sort instruments into their families
  • Experiment with instrument sounds in the Orchestration Station
  • and more

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