I have been trying for the last few hours to get a demo video embedded into this post from the SmartMusic web-site. I really wanted you to see Wynton Marsalis describe the cool features of this software in his inimitable style.
When I first heard about this program, I thought it was a glorified digital recording program and I figured what I had available to me with Garageband would suffice. After taking a class on the various features of this program, I was convinced that SmartMusic could be a very powerful tool for encouraging my instrumental students to enjoy practicing, to maximize their skills and to provide almost immediate feedback and assessment.
The base subscription rate is $100 a year for your first computer, then $25 per each additional computer or $25 for a student subscription that gives your students access to all the features of the program at home. This is the powerful part of the program and allows kids to receive immediate feedback from the computer when they play and then have an email of their practice sent to the teacher.
Accompaniments and exercises from all the popular instrumental music methods are included in SmartMusic- over 30,000 titles and nearl 50,000 exercises. If that is not enough, you can create your own files using Finale to create your own exercises.
Intelligent Accompaniment is what really sets this program apart: imagine playing along with a pre-recorded accompaniment and as you slow down or speed up, the accompaniment will stay with you. I have tried this, and it works. Now you can turn your kids loose in a practice room with a "virtual accompanist" who will keep up with your tempo changes.
There are so many features, I encourage you to check out the web-site and watch the SmartMusic flash videos and the video endorsements from Wynton Marsalis.