Congratulations! You’ve received Specdrums Rings for your classroom! Now what?
Whether you’re basing your entire curriculum around Specdrums Rings or dedicating one week to new music technology, this guide will assist you in implementing these Rings into your classroom.
Let’s get started!
Step 1: Download Apps
Download two apps: Specdrums Music and Specdrums Mix apps.Check out Specdrums Support to see a list of all compatible devices. The Specdrums Music app is intended to be used for classroom and music education purposes. The Specdrums MIX app is a “DJ” experience with a focus on remixing curated sounds and can be a great creative outlet for students. You will use the Specdrums Mix app to update the firmware on your ring(s).
Step 2: Create Username + Password
On the Specdrums Music app, you will have the choice to create a login username and password. A login is not required to play with the rings. However, creating a username and password will enable you to log in to your Specdrums account across multiple devices in your classroom and access any saved kits you created for your class. Keep in mind that you will need to manually log in to your account with every device you use.
Step 3: Explore the Apps
Take time to explore the Specdrums Music and Mix apps without your rings. There is a lot to discover as you explore the apps. In the Specdrums Music app, you will have access to a large variety of instruments and sound effects. Move the home page color bubbles around with your finger and learn how to switch between notes and chords. You can also switch chords from major to minor, augmented, or diminished. Check out the “Scale” tab and turn the wheel to choose your key.
Check out our video tutorials for both apps:
Specdrums MIX (video series on Sphero website):
Step 4: Connect Your Rings
Specdrums Rings connect to your device via Bluetooth. Depending on how many rings you have, all of your rings will automatically pop up in the Ring Manager. If you don’t see the right amount of rings show up in the Ring Manager, make sure your rings are charged before using.
To connect rings to the Specdrums Music app, press the green “+” button and rings will connect. Tap rings to check connection. Make sure your volume is up and ringer is on (if using your phone). It is best practice to connect only up to six rings per device. Take some time to play around and explore the app with your new rings.
Step 5: Bluetooth Labeling
If you order multiple rings for your classroom or home, you may want to keep track of each ring’s Bluetooth name. This will help you take the guess work out of identifying the rings you want to connect to your devices. You will not be able to rename the Bluetooth name in either the Specdrums Music or Mix apps, but you can keep track of the rings in a couple of different ways. One way is to take a ballpoint pen or ballpoint marker and write down the Bluetooth name (SD-XXXX) on your ring. Another way is to create your own map of your rings using pen and paper (or other materials if you’re feeling creative). Draw circles on paper with the Bluetooth name under each circle. Place the ring in its designated circle.
Playing Your First Song
After acquainting yourself with the basics of the Specdrums Rings and Specdrums Music app, it’s time to play! But if this is the first time your students have played with Specdrums Rings, they may not know how to correctly tap the rings on surfaces. Never fear! Start Song is here!
We’ve created a song that helps your students learn how to play the rings correctly with the Specdrums Start Song. Simply download and print PDF. This is a group activity. Your students can sit in a circle or in lines. Give students just a few rings and have them play and sing this song together. After they’re done, they will pass the rings to the next students so everyone takes turns playing the song.
Make sure you are using the Specdrums Music app’s default color bubbles (set to C major). Or, you can go to the “Scales” tab and choose any major key. You can even switch major keys as students are passing the rings to each other.
Remember – the content we provide is a point of departure. Every music classroom is different and you might need to modify some activities to fit the needs and ability levels of your classroom. Classroom activities are posted and updated at www.sphero.com/education/specdrums-activities. We try to add 1-2 new activities per week.
If YOU have an activity you want to share, use #specdrumsedu on social media to share videos or posts about using Specdrums in your classroom. We will be working on a community activity upload page for our teachers to upload their own content within the year. Stay tuned!
For technical guidance, check out the Sphero/Specdrums Support Page or contact firstname.lastname@example.org
A Note on Technology
Implementing new technology into your classroom can be a rewarding yet time-consuming experience. Specdrums was created with the intent of making music playing accessible to all. We didn’t learn how to sing or play an instrument in a day (or DID you, you beautiful genius?). Think of Specdrums as a new instrument you’re learning. The bottom line of this technology is that you’re harnessing the colors of the world around you to make sounds. The possibilities for using Specdrums in the classroom are truly endless. We wish you the best of luck in your classroom!