Music Lab Task Cards Q & A

I’m really happy with the feedback I’m getting from the Music Lab Task Cards. With excitement, comes questions so I thought I would go ahead and add a Q & A page for the Music Lab Task Cards as the questions are coming in…

What is Music Lab? Music Lab is an extension of a students lesson time but separate from the actual lesson. Independent time where students can work on theory, rhythm, ear training and so on through an app, computer, keyboard, etc… Some call it “tech time”, others call it “off the bench” time. Music lab is probably the’ oldest’ title and one I decided to stick with as I feel it best fits what it is. After all the definition of a “lab” is a place for practice, observation, and testing. 

What is Music Lab Task Cards? Simply put, music lab task cards are a tool to keep students focused, engaged and on task during their music lab time. Whether you want students working on the iPad/Tablet, Computer, using a Game, creating something fun on the Keyboard or writing on a worksheet, these task cards make prep time a snap! (Be sure to watch the video that is linked at the end of this Q & A.)

Do you have a list of apps that are included? I want to make sure that I have those apps already.  I did not include a list because the music lab task cards are meant to cover more than just apps. I would constantly be updating the list since technology is always changing. (Yay for free updates!) To give you a better idea, in the bundle I give you enough task assignments that could literally last you for YEARS without ever repeating a task card. It is NOT meant to go out and purchase everything on each card. Just use what you already have and if you are interested in some others you can look at them and decide if that is something you want to get or not. But it’s not necessary to have everything. I don’t…

I bought the bundle but am not seeing any instructions or the video tutorial, etc. What am I missing? You can find all the instructions and details, including how to join the Facebook page, a link to the video tutorial, etc… in the ‘READ FIRST’ file. If for some weird reason you are missing that file (it seems to be that some computers are blocking this file from being downloaded), please email me or send me a private message on Facebook because you NEED this file!

Wow! You include so much. That is going to take a lot of printing! Do you have a solution for this? Yes, while you certainly can print the task cards (if you are a member of MTNA use your discount card, or if you have an HP printer, there is a great ink subscription service you can sign up for), you don’t have to. In your “read first”  file, I include a link to a video tutorial in how I work around the printing issue through an app. Another thing to think about is to print just the task cards and do the reflection cards digitally OR visa-versa. Matter of fact, I would recommend using these task cards digitally. Because there are so many different ages, levels, needs of students, I had to be pretty ‘general’ in the assignments. If you have something specific that you want a student to really focus on when they are doing the assignment, simply type in a note for that student in their digital folder. (see the video example below)

I can’t afford the bundle right now, can I purchase just one edition now and apply that price towards the bundle? Oh, how I wish there was a way to do this! Unfortunately, TpT doesn’t have the ability to do this yet. They are aware of this, and hopefully, it is something that will be implemented in the future. But for now, it’s just not possible.

What if I have an app or software program that you don’t on a task card? Not a problem! I anticipated that this would happen, so I included 2 different editable options. Just pop in your resource and you are good to go!

You mention there are 3 free updates a year, how do I go about accessing those updates? Yes, updates will be held 3 times a year in August, April and December. When the update is ready, all you need to do is go to “My TpT”, then “My Purchases” and then find the file and re-download. Great value! Also, remember to request to join the Facebook page where you can contribute to those updates as well as receive continued support.

These seem to be “general” assignments. For example, in Music Ace, it doesn’t tell them exactly what lesson to work on. I would like to be specific especially for certain students and different needs. How can I make this happen? Yes, while some of the task cards are more specific, there are others where the resource itself, like Music Ace or ClassicsForKids.com for example, is packed full of different games, lessons, and activities to do. Because of this, I had to keep them general. In those cases you can do a few things… 1) You can simply tell the student the specifics such as what lesson to work on, etc. (If you have a whiteboard in your studio, just quickly write it on the board) 2) You can edit the task card and copy/add/change/include what you want. 3) You can edit several versions of the task card depending on the students. And my personal favorite… 4) You can just go into that student’s digital folder (see video tutorial included in the file) and add in a custom note for them.  Remember task cards can be repeated. I include a tip on this in the file on how to repeat a task card in a different way.

You mention that you have editable options, how does that work? Yes, because teachers have an endless amount of needs (student levels, ages, special considerations, different resources the list goes on and on) I wanted to make sure that while the main work has been done for you that you can customize the little details to fit your students’ needs in particular.

How do I join the Facebook group? What can I expect there? There are instructions in the READ FIRST file on how to join! This is the place to collaborate with others who have a music lab, give input on updates that are needed, share resources and ideas, ask questions and more! I also share some Tech Tips, and plan on some Facebook Lives in that group highlighting particular resources that are on a task card. Hope to see you there soon!

For a 30 minute session about how many cards would you recommend for a little one (5-8), tween (9-12), & teen (13-16)? Great question! This is going to vary really on the particular task card. Here’s an example… If I wanted to focus on Music History that week, I might start off with a QR code video for them to watch. The length of the video will first determine how many other cards that I will have time for. If it’s a 3-minute video than I’ll know that I may want one or two more depending on the next card. For the little one if they are receiving an early childhood QR code card, many of those have them drawing as well, so they might only need one more task. For the older ones, I might follow up with an app and a keyboard activity if there is still time. My recommendation is to give one more than you think they’ll need. Have that “extra” one available “if time”. If there isn’t time, no problem.

How many cards are included in each edition?  In the bundle? Another great question. This information is in the descriptions, but I’ll answer it here too! The bundle currently has 488 task cards. (Creativity- 100; Ear Training- 48; Early Childhood- 64; Music History- 56; Note Reading- 52; Rhythm- 36; Sight-Reading- 44; Theory- 88). Keep in mind that these numbers will continue to grow with the free updates!

Since I can’t really preview the lab cards, just wondering if they coordinate with any particular theory program? I’m assuming the ideas are pretty general? If so, is it fairly easy to put together a lab program each week without hours of pre planning by using these lab cards?  Loving these questions! They do not coordinate with any particular theory program. I did this on purpose because there is SO much out there. Also, I prefer to give lab assignments based on themes. So I might concentrate on rhythm one week, theory the next or I might do monthly themes where we only do rhythm and then the next month composition, etc.  Just to quickly clarify before answering the second half of the question. You CAN preview the lab cards. In the bundle when you click on preview, it will open up some pages. Now that preview is harder to see, so what I would suggest is clicking on the individual editions such as theory and click on that preview. That will give a bigger preview to look at. Hope that helps! Now back to the other half… While I don’t personally coordinate lab to specific pages or programs a student is doing in their lesson, I would imagine it wouldn’t be hard to glance at the cards and see what would work with a program. Because they are pretty general, you may have to add a little more to it (see “general” assignment question) for a specific student but you can take that on a weekly or monthly basis. I won’t promise that these cards are so detailed that you won’t have to edit at all. That just isn’t possible with so many teaching situations to work around. I personally plan on adding little notes either digitally or just writing on the white board. I don’t want to make it any more complicated than it has to be. (Also see Rosemarie’s answer in the comments below, thanks, Rosemarie!)

Are the task cards separated into particular levels? While I would have loved to do that, I found it was going to be way to complicated and time consuming as I came upon way too many variables that I would have to consider. The only exception and the reason I decided to make separate cards for early childhood was because I wanted to separate apps that were for younger students in the age range of 4-6 years old or early beginners. For my studio, I don’t even bother to organize them by level. I simply look at what I want to do that week or month (I like to go by themes if possible) and pull out cards I think would be a good match for most of the kids. Then if I have a couple students that could use an added challenge, I might pull out a couple different ones for them OR on the flip side if I had a couple one’s that would struggle with the cards I chose, I would pull out a couple different one’s for them. So basically a card A group and a card B group and possibly a card C group. It’s best to just plan a month in advance (I know a teacher who did her whole year in advance- that is my goal for this coming school year) and figure all that out and then it’s done. I do know there was another teacher that did go through all the cards and leveled them. You can ask in the forums who that was so she can chime in. Of course, you are certainly welcome to do that. 😉 I think once the initial time to do that is done, than any updates shouldn’t be as time consuming.

I don’t currently have a lab. Are these task cards something I could use? Unless you plan on implementing a lab in the future, I would not purchase them.

I’m brand new to music lab? Any advice? Yes! Matter of fact I have a FREE course just for you. Check out The Basics of Starting a Music Lab.

If you have any other questions, please leave a comment below and I will add it to this page. And don’t forget to please watch this video preview of the music lab task cards.  To purchase the music lab task cards or look at some previews (in addition to the video) click here.

A few tips before/after purchasing:

  1. If you bought anything from TpT and haven’t left feedback yet, do it. This will give you credit towards your purchase.
  2. After this purchase, leave feedback and earn TpT credit for your next future purchase.
  3. Read the “READ FIRST” file first. This will break everything down for you. It will also give you information on how to join the Facebook group! You will want to join that group!
  4. Try not to get overwhelmed. If you purchase the bundle it will be very easy to get overwhelmed because there will be so much included. Remember, these cards are supposed to help you simplify your music lab. You may want to start with just printing certain pages out or by transferring the files over to a pdf app if sticking with these digitally and getting that set up. It will take some time to process everything so take some time to do that. If you are wanting to use them right away, I would suggest finding 3 cards you want start with and then going from there.

Here is the Facebook Live recording where I shared some more tips…

Don’t want to print? No problem! Here is one example of how you can organize your task cards digitally…

13 thoughts on “Music Lab Task Cards Q & A

  1. Since I can’t really preview the lab cards, just wondering if they coordinate with any particular theory program? I’m assuming the ideas are pretty general? If so, is it fairly easy to put together a lab program each week without hours of pre planning by using these lab cards? I have been waiting to see these since you first mentioned them!! For example, I think you use the keyboard gymnastics program in your studio??? Do the lab ideas correlate with it?
    I can’t even imagine the hours you have spent on this. 😜😜

  2. Hi Jennifer, Quick question regarding the Creativity task cards. Should page 23 have only 2 task cards or am I missing the other half of the page? Just want to be sure my computer isn’t hiding something on me. Lol.

    1. Rosemarie, occasionally you will see that there is 2 task cards on a particular page (very seldom) but yes it is correct. I just ran out of 2 other things I could add in that space (for now anyway…). Be sure you join the FB page because this is a great place for that kind of question. 🙂

  3. Saundra,
    You won’t regret purchasing these cards. I have started numbering the task cards & there are nearly 100 activities in the creativity set alone!
    I’m starting lab time with my students this year & love that this will correlate with the different method books, ages, interests, etc. of my students. Many of the activities were apps, but there is also quite a few videos to reflect on as well. Rounding it out are websites, software (the only section I won’t be using at this point), & activities away from any tech. We, as teachers, look completely organized but Jennifer did all the hard work for us. The hardest part for us is to choose just a couple activities for each lesson. 😉

  4. I don’t have a ‘lab’ nor do I really have the space to have a separate dedicated area for students to work during/before/after the lesson. Could the activities on these cards be assigned as homework for students who have iPads, etc? How many use apps that students can download for free? Or are most of these geared for apps that the teacher subscribes to and the students use? Like, I guess, something I’ve heard about called Music Learning Community (I think)?

    1. Hi Kathy, the cards are very versatile. I have heard of at least one teacher that has sent cards home with students. There are cards for apps (yes there are cards that have free apps), there are cards to watch videos on YouTube, there are cards for activities to do on the keyboard, computer (even free websites), etc…

      The file is also editable so if you decide you wanted to add in a resource that you have or want the student to do but it doesn’t already have a card for it, you can easily add it. Or change it…

      You certainly do not have to use all the cards. (Matter of fact you will find there are a ton more cards then you will be able to get through in a given year.) You also don’t need to own all the resources that has a card. I don’t. I just wanted to make sure I included as many resources as I could so if you do have it then you can easily use it. Very few of the apps that I included are subscription based but because I know that there are teachers who do have those subscriptions like Music Learning Community, I include them. Just because it’s a card, doesn’t mean you have to use that particular card. Just use what you have already and go from there. 😉 Hope that helps!

  5. I’m a gen. music teacher at a primary school (K-2), and I’m getting my very own iPad cart for the classroom next year! I am trying to think of ways to implement them, especially with this age group, since I haven’t had them until now, and I was thinking of having them in centers/stations. Would these music lab cards be good as assignments for iPad center work? I’m looking around trying to find a good way to use the iPads thoughtfully without just saying “play this app!” and not have them actually learn anything or show their work. Thanks!

    Mary

    1. Hi Mary, Yes, definitely. Basically the task cards show them what you want them to work on and then have them reflect on what they just did. In your case, you may opt to use a reflection sheet for reflection instead of the cards just because you would have so many students but either would work. Let me know if you have any other questions.

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