I am learning the clarinet at the moment so I was looking for tutor books in order to teach myself. I nearly bought a book with a CD but then I realised that I no longer have a CD player because I play everything on Spotify now. So I thought, maybe there is a tutor book on the iBooks store with the backing tracks already on it? And there was. And it’s really good. I just put the iPad on the table and connect it to the Bluetooth player for a good clear sound. Every song has a track you can play along with. Here is one of the pages:
It was about 6 pounds, so not too expensive at all and no more fiddling around with CD’s and music stands. I also bought a viola iBook because I need to learn alto clef properly as I still play the viola like a violin.
This would be a good resource to get for schools who have a “Bring your own iPad” scheme combined with a First Access (what used to be known as Wider Opportunities) class instrumental program. Parents could each buy the book for 5 or 6 pounds for use at home and teachers could use the resource on the IWB and teach multiple instruments at the same time. I know a lot of schools use Charanga, but this is a viable alternative and could work well. I would be very interested to hear from any teacher who is already doing this.
The other thing I have found by learning the clarinet is how knackering practice can be when you are a beginner. I was really running out of puff on one song and my mouth was a vibrating mess so I asked a few friends who were clarinettists why I was so rubbish. They told me it was perfectly natural and it will take time to build up muscles in your mouth, so its best to only practice for ten minutes at a time. Learning a new instrument is good for music teachers as it makes us understand what it is like to start from scratch. I had certainly forgotten how hard it is to start – perhaps I will have more empathy with my students as a result!