SmartMusic at NCS/STA

[edited February 10, 2015]

SmartMusic is a music software tool that allows students to practice with accompaniment, record themselves, get instant feedback, and submit assignments electronically.

To Get Started

  1. Visit the visit the download page on and download the application onto any internet-connected computer you plan to use. Their website is informational, but the application is what you'll be working with.The application works on PCs, Macs and iPads. External speakers are ideal but not required.
  2. call SmartMusic help at (866) 240-4041. Their hours are 10:30am-9:00pm Eastern time (they are located in Boulder, CO). They will help you:
    1. buy a student subscription (half-year subscriptions @~$20 are not current SmartMusic policy, but they will give an exception to NCS/STA students who call the help line; refer to SmartMusic account rep Brian Gruber if needed.
    2. setup your student login/account
    3. find your school (note: have them use "NCS/STA Instrumental Music" in ZIP 20016 as the name of the school), and enroll in your class. You can also quickly find the school and class by using the following links: Upper School Orchestra 2014-15Middle School Orchestra 2014-15Lower School Orchestra 2014-15

About Sound Settings

SmartMusic will work most smoothly if you have good sound coming from your computer, good sound going into your computer, and separation of those two so that the program knows what is you and what isn't. The ideal setup is external speakers for your computer—so you can hear the click and accompaniment easily—and a lapel-type microphone as shown in SmartMusic documentation.

SmartMusic sells mics for about $25 (PC) & $30 (Mac) on their website, and Mr. Wood has some while supplies last for $20 (note: students who previously borrowed a microphone from Mr. Wood should buy it from him or return it so someone else can buy it).

If you are not using a microphone and the assessment feature doesn't seem to be hearing you well through your computer's built-in mic, you can try turning off the accompaniment and/or turning down the overall volume coming from your computer. Anyway, Mr. Wood will be hearing a recording of you playing when you submit the assignment, so you don't need to worry about what the assessment shows if you know you played it right.

If you are using the SmartMusic app on an iPad, you should be able to use the internal mic on the iPad with no trouble.



Now that you're up and running, Mr. Wood will be able to send you assignments that you can complete within SmartMusic, and you can always use it to practice sight-reading, scales, and more.

There are helpful quickstart videos in the app and on their website. Please let Mr. Wood know if you have any trouble that you can't solve, if you see anything here that can be improved. Soon we'll have a number of student experts who can mentor their peers as well.

There should be no financial barrier to participation in SmartMusic—please let Mr. Wood or the appropriate scholarship administrator know so we can help.

St. Albans School, Mount St. Alban, Washington, DC 20016, 202-537-6435