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Peer Review

Symphony No. 9 From the New World by Antonin Dvorak



Overall Numeric Rating:

4.75 stars
Content Quality: 4.75 stars
Effectiveness: 4.75 stars
Ease of Use: 5 stars
Reviewed: Mar 26, 2014 by Music
Overview: As part of the Carnegie Hall listening Adventures, the Symphony No. 9 "From the New World" presents the four symphonic movements with basic animated images, text, and activities. Emphasis is centered on orchestral instruments and composer information. A timeline permits listeners to return, pause, or fast-forward through material. This interactive website provides some historical background and analytical insights. The user can skip to various movements and sections allowing comparison. Each module also includes a glossary and a series of activities, such as Unscramble the Themes, and “The Dvorak Challenge” that reinforce the information provided.
Type of Material: This resource features Antonín Dvořák's Symphony No. 9. As you listen to and view this animated version of the symphony, you will learn about the music, about the instruments of the orchestra, and about the composer. There are also fun, interactive music activities available throughout the symphony. (from the website. A glossary is included.
Recommended Uses: Music appreciation classes; aural/thematic skill building; music vocabulary building; orchestral instrument identification; conducting practice.
Technical Requirements: Two versions are available – dial up users and broadband internet users. No issues in IE, Firfox or Chrome. Instructions on how to use the site are available in a “Getting Started” section. Flash 5 is needed.
Identify Major Learning Goals: This site provides biographic information for Antonin Dvorak and a listening outline with instrument identification, of the four symphonic movements. The site builds student's musical vocabulary and the ability to identify themes within each of the movements. This site introduces the historical background of Dvorak's Symphony No. 9 and includes a discussion of it's musical form. During a recorded performance, the user experiences an animation that highlights the various sections of the work along with the instruments that are highlighted.
Target Student Population: Elementary and middle school grades targeted but appropriate for any beginning symphonic audience.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: Minimal musical background and basic computer skills.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 4.75 stars
Strengths: A clear, concise and accurate website that explores Dvorak's 9th Symphony. With excellent graphics, interesting animations and engaging activites, this site will easily increase a learner's appreciation and understanding of thi Dvorak work.
Concerns: Would be advantageous to also show live orchestra members playing the instruments for instrument identification (rather than clip art picture). The snip-its for the listening activities use an electronic keyboard rather than the orchestral instruments which were previously presented. No picture of composer presented.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4.75 stars
Strengths: With excellent animations to guide the listener through the work as well as easy "do-over" control, the site will make learning the Dvorak Symphony quite enjoyable. The site also contains excellent and low-risk activities that test learner retention and understanding
Concerns: Animation may be too basic to maintain student attention. Activities are individual: unless each student has access to a computer, the classroom teacher will need to find creative ways for all students to partake in the provided activities.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: This site is very easy to clear, clearly designed and contains easy "Getting Started" explanations for those who may not intuitively understand how to engage with the site.
Concerns: Scroll button is same color as main page and difficult to find at first. Students may need this to be pointed out to them. There is no voice-over or closed captioning for the site making it difficult, if not impossible, for some users.