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Mr. Myers' Blog

Online Resources for Student Interactivity and Engagement in the Music Classroom

            The use of games in education is not a new concept. The music classroom, whether it be a general music class or an ensemble, is often a place where student engagement and interactivity is high. But why is student engagement and interactivity crucial to learning? Oftentimes, educators struggle to attain student engagement from an entire class. In music education, student interaction and engagement is, generally, obvious when students are actively performing, exploring, and creating music. However, student engagement is multi-faceted. There are three generally accepted forms of student engagement; cognitive, behavioral, and affective (emotional). “These three dimensions of student engagement can be generally defined as doing, feeling, and thinking…” (Pedler et al, 2020). Agentic engagement is a fourth, albeit recent, type of engagement specific to students in the 21st century. “Agentic engagement is what students say and do to create a more supportive learning environment for themselves” (Reeve & Jang, 2022). Students who are intrinsically motivated become agents for their own learning and will explore other resources and information on their own when agentic engagement is present (Reeve & Jang, 2022). As educators, we know the value of student buy-in and how it is crucial for a high depth of knowledge. We know how important it is for the student to know that we care about not only what they are learning, but that we care for them and their well-being. The emotional (affective) engagement can be simplified to the quote, attributed to Theodore Roosevelt, that “people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” The student behavioral engagement is prevalent once they become emotionally invested. After that is established in and out of the classroom, cognitive and agentic engagement should be present.

            If students are having fun while learning, it is safe to say that they are engaged. Using technology and gamification is a way students can immediately engage with a lesson. There are challenges to using technology to engage student learning. In my experience, the fastest ways to derail a lesson that utilizes technology are if the internet stops working or students ‘forget’ to bring their internet capable device and/or have it charged. 

            Outside of potential connectivity issues with the local school infrastructure, there are advantages to using websites and game-based learning in any classroom setting to positively affect student engagement. “As educators embrace the possibilities afforded by game-based learning, they can harness its transformative potential to create meaningful and impactful educational experiences for students” (Ashraf & Mohanty, 2023). According to Ashraf & Mohanty, facets that contribute to student engagement are challenge, control, fantasy, competence, cooperation, and acknowledgement. The student engagement shifts from teacher-centric to learner-centric (Alam & Mohanty, 2023). The benefits of music education, especially in the elementary classroom, can bolster student learning and cognitive domains such as, executive functions, memory, and intelligence. In the meta-analysis of formal music training, (Perez-Eizeaguirre et al), “…musicians obtain better scores in the three cognitive domains studied: executive functions, memory, and intelligence” (Perez-Eizaguirre et al, 2023)). The authors continue to say, “[F]ormal music study appears to improve these cognitive domains at all ages and also preserves executive function in the older group, which implies beneficial results at all ages for those who have done these studies” (Perez-Eizaguirre et al, 2023). Considering the benefits of music education as a whole and the utilization of game-based learning, the advantages far outweigh any challenges posed with using technology to further advance learning in the music classroom.

            Considering factors for choosing specific educational technologies or websites are ease of use, data management, and access outside of the classroom. The two most widely utilized educational technology websites for music educators are and Kahoot. A third, and more recent, website is Considerations for using these websites as teaching tools in the classroom involve: connectivity, integration, cost, support, and classroom design.        is an excellent tool for introducing the foundation of music literacy, which has a direct correlation to understanding how music is constructed.  

     Connectivity concerns with using this website are basic. All you really need is a stable internet connection and an internet capable device. Students and teachers can use this website on any traditional computer that has an internet browser. For iOS and Android tablets or devices, you can access the website through safari, google chrome, or any internet browser. There are two applications associated with this resource, the “Tenuto” app and the “Theory Lessons” app, however the applications requires purchase and only work on iOS devices. For all other devices, the website will still work, free of charge. 

     For the most part, support for the website is standard with a “contact us” button, though program runs pretty smoothly. The program is very compatible with any device, as long as you are using a web browser. The simplest way to use this in a classroom setting is to project the website on a classroom projector or television and move through the selected lessons. If using a computer or tablet to project the website, the teacher will need any associated cable connections. Generally, most computers and projectors can be connected with an HDMI cable or a VGA connector. Mac or Apple users will need an adapter in order to use most projectors. Students who may need more time can also work through the lessons with the teacher on their own device synchronously or asynchronously. Most of the lessons have sound, so external speakers are helpful, but not necessary for most of the lessons.

     After review of each lesson, there is an “exercises” tab that can challenge students in a timed game to identify individual notes, key signatures, intervals, scales, and chords. The “exercises” tab also allows for more advanced music theory knowledge and practice. Students can challenge each other to see who can identify or complete any of the exercises. In my experience, the students really enjoy challenging the teacher! Teachers can also customize the exercises to fit the level and needs of their students. Advanced students can use the “ear training” lesson, which does require headphones or an external speaker.       

         MusicRacer is another excellent website that allows students to bolster their knowledge and speed with identifying specific fingerings on their own instrument. is built on a basic engine that isn’t the most aesthetically pleasing, but it does allow for game-based learning and student interactivity. Students can choose whether to compete globally or locally or practice skills in a non-competitive manner. The host of the website does require prior authorization from the band director to unlock the competition side of the app through a school email address. Connectivity is the same as and only requires internet access and a device with an internet browser. This program works on both iOS and Android devices. 

          Support for this website is limited. The creator of this resource is a music educator, and he runs the whole website. The interface is basic and is very easy to use, but there is no tutorial. This website can be used synchronous or asynchronous.   



         The final interactive technology is Kahoot. Kahoot is one of the most used and popular tools for use in the classroom. Kahoot can be used as a game-based learning device for synchronous or asynchronous use. The games are set up as multiple-choice quizzes that can be played solo or as a group. The application allows for seemingly unlimited creativity of quizzes if the teacher (or student) wants to create their own. Kahoot also offers templates the teacher can use to create quizzes in addition to access to quizzes others have created. Teachers can host live games in the classroom or virtually. When the game starts, players are given a game code that they can use to play live. Teachers can use the results from the quizzes to monitor student progress or as a form of assessment, if you have the paid version.

Kahoot works on any internet-capable device. Students can use a set of classroom iPads or Chromebooks to play in real time during class. Connectivity for use in the classroom is similar to the other resources previously mentioned, however it does allow for students to participate individually or in teams during class time. The technology works seamlessly and also provides instant feedback to the students and teacher. The program has a free version and a paid version. The yearly, paid subscription unlocks more tools for the teacher allows for gamification that is student-led, as well as the incorporation of AI. The cost, however, is minimal for the individual teacher, but is more costly for bundled licenses through Kahoot! EDU. This program allows the users not only learn, but create and share with the entire class.


Try it!

          These three educational technology applications are outstanding ways to engage students in a way that makes learning fun. I would invite you to try out all three! My top choice is and a sample can be found here:

This particular quiz is set up to challenge the student to quickly and correctly identify notes in treble clef. There is a score keeper that keeps track of each exercise and students can choose to take the quiz multiple times to achieve a higher score. 



          At the end of the day, it’s about student engagement. The applications listed are only tools to engage your students. Regardless of what techniques or technology is used in the classroom, creating meaningful, positive relationships with your students is essential to student engagement. “[W]hen students actively participate in school, enjoy school, and have positive educational aspirations, these are shown to be desirable ends in themselves and also means to desirable ends”(Martin & Collie, 2019). Student engagement does not necessarily have to involve technology. Technology, specifically through game-based learning, is merely another tool in teacher’s toolbox to help engage students. Student engagement can be defined as, “the energy and effort that students employ within their learning community, observable via any number of behavioral, cognitive, or affective indicators across a continuum” (Bond et al, 2020). Engagement is not determined through technology alone. The interpersonal and professional relationships built with students is the keystone to getting students engaged in their own learning. Again, the idea, attributed to Theodore Roosevelt, that students “don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care” is where student engagement begins.



Alam, A., & Mohanty, A. (2023). Educational Technology: Exploring the convergence of Technology and pedagogy through mobility, interactivity,              AI, and learning tools. Cogent Engineering, 10(2). 


Bond, M., Buntins, K., Bedenlier, S., Zawacki-Richter, O., & Kerres, M. (2020). Mapping research in student engagement and Educational              

          Technology in higher education: A systematic evidence map. International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education, 17(1). 


Martin, A. J., & Collie, R. J. (2019). Teacher–student relationships and students’ engagement in high school: Does the number of negative and

          positive relationships with teachers matter? Journal of Educational Psychology, 111(5), 861–876. 


Pedler, M., Yeigh, T., & Hudson, S. (2020). The teachers’ role in student engagement: A Review. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 45(3),



Pérez-Eizaguirre, M., Vergara-Moragues, E., & Privado, J. (2023). Can the professional study of a musical instrument be associated with the

          development of cognitive processes? A meta-analytic study. International Journal of Music Education.



Reeve, J., & Jang, H. (2022). Agentic engagement. Handbook of Research on Student Engagement, 95–107.


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