Product Review: Collabra Music - Finally a Way to Track Students' Practice - Creative Music Education

Product Review: Collabra Music – Finally a Way to Track Students’ Practice

By Lynda Irvine | Piano Teaching

Dec 18

Collabra Practise App

Collabra is used to send video and audio recordings between student and teacher. Text comments can also be sent creating a conversation between student and teacher.

It’s an app that can help you keep track of your students’ practice and improve communication between you and your student outside of lesson times.

What Collabra Music App Does

  • Record video or audio lessons directly to the cloud, bypassing the need for storage on your local device and time-consuming manual uploading
  • Add bookmarks to make it easier for your students to review lessons and find what they need
  • Send lessons/backing tracks to one or many students with the click of a button
  • Archive and reuse lesson content with Collabra’s unlimited storage
  • Gain insights on students’ practice habits with immediate access to their recorded practice sessions
  • Leave real-time feedback on lessons or practices with timestamped comments
  • Keep students accountable by tracking their practice time with built-in practice reports and analytics

How I Use Collabra

As a teacher, I use Collabra to send students video or audio recordings of:

  • Listening music (a piece they are studying or a piece of similar style)
  • Backing tracks to play along with
  • Short recordings taken durng a lesson of tricky parts of pieces so the students can review or play along with them at home
  • Drumbeat recordings so students can practise their rhythm exercises away from the piano

How My Students Use Collabra

  • Send me video when they practise tricky parts of their pieces either when they get it right or if they are having trouble getting it right
  • Send me messages when I forget to upload a track I promised them
  • Send me recordings of their ‘noodling’ or just having fun on their instrument
  • To prove they practised this week!

Technical Things

Collabra is a multi-platform app and works on most devices. It acts as a secure connection between teacher and student and the transferring of files is automatic (don’t have to press send) and almost instant.

If students don’t have access to internet all the time, they can download a desktop app from Collabra for free that will allow them to still record onto Collabra regardless of how good internet connection is. This app will upload the recordings automatically as internet connectivity is available, resulting in higher quality recordings.

Collabra is free to educators but there is a student subscription. There are also studio/school pricing options if you contact the Collabra team. Visit their website by clicking here.

Why I Use Collabra

  • It is multi-platform and means every one of my students can access it if they have internet service
  • It has a very clean, no frills layout in both the teacher and student accounts which makes it very easy and intuitive to use
  • Really quick and very helpful assistance using the pink speech bubble on the website
  • It is the only platform I have found that easily connects teacher and student that you can use to exchange video and audio, which is so important as a music teacher
  • Sending videos, answering questions etc. from my student teachers.
  • Great for group lessons because you can assign a “lesson” (backing track/video etc) to a group of students with one click
  • I could probably use it instead of homework notebooks as well but haven’t done that on a studio-wide basis yet

 

Conclusion

I find Collabra the best solution to exchanging musical ideas/lessons/anything really in a format that my students relate to.

It’s ease of use and set up means most of my students use it on a regular basis and my parents almost forget it is there because the kids use it by themselves. I am always looking for new ways to use this app, please comment below if you can think of other ways it could be used in a music teaching scenario.

Are there any other ways you can track your students’ practice?

 

Lynda Irvine

About the Author

Lynda is an experienced teacher from Queensland, Australia. She teaches a number of instruments in her own private studio and also as a contractor in a school. She is also a mentor for student music teachers or teachers wanting to extend their teaching knowledge. www.music4all.com.au

  • Lynda Irvine Lynda Irvine says:

    Great to see someone else with as much enthusiasm for Collabra as me. I love it.And yes the developers are amazing to work with.

  • Allison Bryan says:

    I’m in Switzerland and use Collabra for my private voice students, my academy musical theatre students, my music school voice students, and for ensemble work in shows. I send warm-ups, exercises, vocal models, rehearsal tracks with harmony lines, etc. Students have warm-ups with them on the run, they can listen to rehearsal tracks on the bus/train, they can record their practices at home in audio or video. I can give them time-stamped feedback (“please review bar 20”), monitor rehearsal time and quality, and create assessments for grading and progress. I am a huge fan of Collabra. And the Collabra support staff are terrific to work with.

  • Lynda Irvine Lynda Irvine says:

    I know it’s a great app. I have a studio subscription so it is free to students. Go to the Collabra music website and give them a call, or ask for contact in the pink bubble, there is only a small staff and Eric or someone will get back to you. I had a Skype lesson with them before I signed up, they are really great to work with.

  • Erinn says:

    How does this not have comments yet? This sounds like pretty much the best piano teaching app ever! I literally just had a student last night ask me to add him on Snapchat because he wanted to send me pictures/videos of his practice assignments. Haha!

    Do you have any idea what the cost is to students if they get the app? I live in the U.S. Thanks for the heads up on this!

    • Lynda Irvine Lynda Irvine says:

      I know it’s a great app. I have a studio subscription so it is free to students. Go to the Collabra music website and give them a call, or ask for contact in the pink bubble, there is only a small staff and Eric or someone will get back to you. I had a Skype lesson with them before I signed up, they are really great to work with.

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