Cool Online Instruments and Games for the Music Classroom

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

5 Responses

  1. […] Music Sites from Twitter – Cool online instruments and games for the music classroom Katie Wardrobe – @katiesw1… […]

  2. […] Recommended posts: “Tutorial: How to Convert Audio Files Using iTunes,” “Cool Online Instruments and Games for the Music Classroom,” ”Musescore in 10 easy steps,” and “11 of the Best Free Sheet Music […]

  3. What about Soundation studio, no other music making web app has, recording, 9 virtual instruments, 400 loops, 11 real time effects all free plus more paid features.

  4. […] had trouble sleeping especially after my first tour in Iraq. One night I came across this silly website that had some music tools. I spent all of my waking hours (that night) playing with these […]

  5. As a general music teacher, it has always been one of my goals to find unique and successful tools to inspire students in to learn more about music basics such as theory, history, sound performance techniques, notations, key and time signatures, scales, and harmony. I sincerely appreciate you finding these online instruments and online games and providing sound descriptions.
    Because most public school music teachers have threadbare or non-existent budgets, it is great that there are dedicated programmers who invest their time in providing free interactive activities that can motivate students to learn in a well-planned music classroom and/or at home. Many students have access to computers in libraries and after-school friendship clubs, if they don’t have technologies at home.
    The wise general music teacher will spend time in searching for computer applications that match music learning standards, so that the average 45 minute music class will be enhanced and expanded by unlimited online access. I agree that teaching using a Smartboard is a progressive way to involve general music students. There are grants available to acquire the equipment if the district stalls on providing the funds.
    Research has shown that hands-on-activities promote student learning which your references on this blog provide access to innovative student activities. I appreciate you referencing some of the activities as to what they can and can’t do, so that a music teacher’s time isn’t wasted. Composition is particularly tough on younger students because they don’t have the technical skills to put what is in the imagination onto the computer or into a midi-keyboard. Using multimedia based instruments such as The Virtual Piano promotes individual learning right away. It is one of my favorite sites as it has the capability for different keys plus adding chording.

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