The Music News Feed for the MPLN... Created by Dr. Joseph Pisano (http://mustech.net)
Created by pisanojm on Oct 30, 2010
Last updated: 01/25/12 at 09:26 PM
Tags: music education news blogs pisano mpln
Matt Ercolani:Prior to participating in the 2012 TI:ME Leadership Academy, I was skeptical about technology’s applications in music education. I thought it was a gimmick. I thought it was overcomplicating education, and made teachers teach their students about technology, not music. After attending the Academy, I am a believer. I believe that it is truly possible to do as Barb Freedman says: “Teach music. The technology will follow.” I now realize that technology is the future of music education. We as educators can use it as a tool to make music accessible to more students than ever before. Non-traditional music students have so many musical outlets and tools available to them on the computer, and educators have a responsibility to learn about them in order to reach as many students as possible. If music is important to study, it’s important for everyone to learn about, not just those in band, orchestra, and choir! We are on the forefront of a movement. I can’t wait to help shape it! Matt Ercolani is in his third year as an undergraduate music education major at Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey. At Rowan University, he is the Vice-President of the Rowan chapter of Collegiate NAfME (National Association for Music Education), and helps lead the most active collegiate chapter in the state. He is also in the process of starting a collegiate chapter of TI:ME (Technology Institute for Music Educators) at Rowan. Mr. Ercolani has taught at music camps across the country, including as a member of the all-volunteer SWAG Team at the 2010 Music-For-All Summer Symposium in Normal, Illinois. He has attended numerous regional and national music education conferences. Most recently, he was selected for participation in the first-ever TI:ME Leadership Academy at the 2012 TI:ME National Conference in Louisville, Kentucky. Mr. Ercolani is an active freelance private teacher and musician in the South Jersey area. His research and teaching interests include early childhood music education and utilizing technology to teach non-traditional music students. You can find more about him at http://mattercolani.wordpress.com.Related posts:2012 TI:ME Leadership AcademyCollegiate Leadership Academy at MENC’s Music Ed Week2012 TI:ME/JEN Annual National Conference
Currently, Dr. Scott Watson, author of Using Technology To Unlock Musical Creativity - a fantastic resource for any music educator looking to get technology into their classrooms to facilitate creative opportunities for their students-is presenting at METOS, which stands for the Music Education & Technology Online Summit, hosted at the SoundTree Institute. Scott is discussing and presenting samples of excellent works created by his students. He terms it "new clothes for an old tune," which is using the tools of multi-track music production, students make their own fresh, new (popular music style) arrangement of a public domain Baroque or Classical period keyboard work. His examples are amazing and compelling.Scott has eight principles of music creativity, as seen in the picture above. His book goes over these principles in-depth along with many great examples.I will be presenting right at the very end of the conference displaying creative examples from PreK-grade 3. Along with me, Richard McCready, TI:ME Teacher of the Year Barbara Freedman, and Nick Jaworski will also be presenting great examples of their students' creative works. Please stick around to hear us present!Hope to "see" you there!
Special thanks to Dr. David Williams for the Leadership Academy photos! See more at the bottom of the page!Last week, I had the opportunity to attend the TI:ME National Conference in Louisville, Kentucky as a part of the first-ever TI:ME Leadership Academy. I was chosen as one of eight music education students to participate in this academy, and was blown away by the incredible ideas and conversations generated by participants and instructors alike.ParticipantsAnn Dorgan, Senior Music Education Major, University of Massachusetts at AmherstMatt Ercolani, Junior Music Education Major, Rowan UniversityBrian Rivers, Junior Music Education Major, University of Cincinnati College – Conservatory of MusicAlyssa Hoffert, Senior Music Education Major, Case Western Reserve University/ Cleveland Institute of MusicT.J. Wolfgram, Senior Music Education Major, University of MichiganSophie Taft, Senior Music Education Major, Northwestern UniversityCamden Ritchie, Master’s Student/Graduate Assistant, Cincinnati College-Conservatory of MusicAndrew Ritenour, Senior Music Education Major, Grove City CollegeInstructorsRick Dammers, Chair of the Music Department, Rowan UniversityDave Williams, Professor Emeritus of Music and Arts Technology, Illinois State UniversityV.J. Manzo, Music Technology Director, Montclair State UniversityThe Other 80%The participants and instructors of the 2012 TI:ME Leadership Academy discussed the research done concerning music education at the high school level referred to as The Other 80%. The research shows a pyramid effect, where there is a large number of students receiving a music education at the elementary grades. As grade levels increase, a smaller number of students are reached by music education with the largest drop occurring around the high school grades. This leaves the percentage of high school students receiving some kind of music instruction during the school day around 20%. Much of our discussion used this research as a starting point, exploring both the positive effects and concerns about changing curriculum to include these students. One of the biggest fears often expressed by teachers is that offering courses in music technology would take students away from traditional ensembles, causing numbers to drop. But research actually shows that this does not usually happen and in many cases, music technology courses recruit students to participate in traditional performing ensembles.The Non-Traditional Music StudentMany great thoughts were shared on how to engage and reach this other 80% of students in high schools, referred to as the non-traditional music student. Making up the large majority of the student body, this student is not the typical band/chorus/orchestra/music theory student. Rather they are the students involved in rock bands or audio recording. The leadership academy discussed the fact that these students are at a severe disadvantage in our music education curriculum today as there are often no courses offered to help them create and perform music.TI:ME Leadership AcademyThe Leadership Academy brainstormed ways to reach the non-traditional music student using music technology. The participants were assigned the task to create a 3-lesson unit plan using music technology that would engage non-traditional music students and reach out to the other 80% of students who don’t participate in traditional performing ensembles. This task required quite a bit of out-of-the-box thinking and consideration of new software, hardware and web-based resources. Using software including GarageBand and Mixcraft, Audacity, Ableton Live, hardware like the Blue Snowball Mics and Zoom H4N Handheld Audio Recorders, and online resources like Aviary’s Myna, Tone Mantrix and Noteflight, the Leadership Academy participants created several effective plans to reach these students. Since non-traditional music students often can’t read music, notate rhythm or have basic music theory knowledge, these lesson plans involved quite a bit of differentiated instruction designed to scaffold each student from their individual level of understanding, to a platform where they could make and understand music.Overall, the TI:ME Leadership Academy discussed and agreed upon the need for current music curriculum to be expanded to include music technology. Society and times are constantly changing. In order for music education to remain relevant to our society and to our students, our instruction must change and our curriculums must expand. While the core aspects and standards of our curriculum will remain the same, we must find a way to not only change the way we teach this curriculum, but broaden its to reach as many students as we can. Music technology offers many opportunities for music education to remain relevant in our students’ lives. Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR. A special thanks goes out to Dr. Rick Dammers, Dr. David Williams and V.J. Manzo for their outstanding teaching and inspiration! Check out other reflections from the Leadership Academy!Matt Ercolani Related posts:2012 TI:ME Leadership Academy ReflectionCollegiate Leadership Academy at MENC’s Music Ed Week2012 TI:ME/JEN Annual National Conference
Last week, the Technology for Music Education (TI:ME) joined up with the Jazz Education Network (JEN) to hold its 2012 National Conference in Louisville, Kentucky. The conference was filled with many excellent sessions that varied from iPads to GarageBand to digital recording and more. Some of the best sessions featured TI:ME's keynote speakers Grammy-Nominated Producer Fred Bogert, legendary producer/engineer Ken Scott, and best selling author Bobby Owsinski. One session I attended was Bobby interviewing Ken about mixing an album for the Beatles. Listening to the play-by-play of his mixing of certain songs was remarkable. It was also wonderful to honor our 2012 TI:ME Mike Kovins Teacher of the Year, Barbara Freedman. Barbara is an outstanding music educator from Connecticut. She presented exceptional sessions on free technology to iPads in the music room. Barbara inspires her students daily and her new book on composition and creativity in the music classroom is coming out soon.One of the best aspects of our conference is networking with other music educators who also utilize technology in their classrooms. It was so cool to see many educators actually meet live for the first time though they have read each others' blogs, contributed articles to each others' websites, and have read each others' tweets numerous times. If you were able to attend the conference, I hope that you enjoyed it as much as I did. If you could not, Joe Pisano did a great job of archiving all of the tweets that contained the #timejen12 or #jen12 hashtags in them. Check out the transcript here.Finally, Mike Lawson, the Executive Director of TI:ME, worked diligently to revamp the TI:ME website and did an amazing job premiering it at our conference. Mike was able to make the website into a social networking website for its members, he was able to bring back the free subscriptions to Keyboard, Mix, and Electronic Musician to our members, he was able to activate forms and the chapter pages again and more! If you are a member of TI:ME, please check out the new site and create a login and password so you can see the new social networking aspect of the site. If you are not a member or have let your membership expire, now would be a wonderful time to come back to TI:ME and join the music education/music technology/music industry network!
METOS: Spotlight on Creativity
Mark your calendar! The SoundTree Institute will be holding another FREE METOS event for its members on Monday, January 16, 2012 from 1:00pm – 4:00pm EST. METOS, which stands for the Music Education & Technology Online Summit, is a completely online conference opportunity that has been very successful in the past. New this year is a special edition of METOS – focusing on fostering creativity in the music classroom. Our Keynote Speaker will be Scott Watson, author of Using Technology To Unlock Musical Creativity – a fantastic resource for any music educator looking to get technology into their classrooms to facilitate creative opportunities for their students.
In addition to Dr. Watson, METOS will spotlight the best practices of four exemplary music educators: Amy Burns from Far Hills Country Day School, Barbara Freedman from Greenwich High School, Richard McCready from River Hill High School and Nick Jaworski from the University of Illinois – Champaign-Urbana.
The schedule of events for METOS: Spotlight on Creativity are as follows:
1:00 – 2:00 – Keynote Presentation – Using Technology To Unlock Musical Creativity by Scott Watson
2:00 – 2:25 – Best Practice: Barbara Freedman
2:30 – 2:55 – Best Practice: Nick Jaworski
3:00 – 3:25 – Best Practice: Richard McCready
3:30 – 3:55 – Best Practice: Amy Burns
3:55 – 4:00 – Closing Comments – Jim Frankel, SoundTree Managing Director
To attend METOS: Spotlight on Creativity you must first be a member of the SoundTree Institute. Enrolling is easy, and an annual membership gets you so much more than just this fabulous event. Once you are a member, simply Enroll in METOS: Spotlight on Creativity on the Upcoming Courses page of the Institute.
After a 6.5 hour drive with Dr. Joseph Pisano, I am finally here! This year, the TI:ME (Technology Institute for Music Educators) Conference, held in conjunction with JEN (Jazz Education Network) is taking place in Louisville, Kentucky.TI:ME Leadership AcademyI have the privilege to attend the conference as a part of the TI:ME Leadership Academy. I am very excited to be participating in this way, and look forward to collaborating and working with the other participants of this academy. The participants all look to be very qualified, which should make for some really interesting discussion. Stay tuned, as I will be sharing my thoughts and lessons right here on MusicEdMajor.Net!Follow Along!To find out more about TI:ME and the conference, visit the TI:ME homepage. To follow along with my experiences, follow the hashtag #timejen12!If you are attending this conference, I would love to meet up with you! Send me a Tweet @andrewritenour, or email email@example.com!Related posts:2012 TI:ME Leadership Academy2012 TI:ME Leadership Academy ReflectionMENC’s Biennial Conference Approaching
It doesn’t happen often, but every once in a while I have a student who requires more than a convincing argument to believe that something I’m making them do is important. For example, fingering. I find this aspect of playing to be particularly challenging for students who learn to read the notes quickly. They seem to think that as long as they get to the right note at the right time, it doesn’t matter what finger(s) they use. Well, that may be true when they’re playing pieces at level one, but several years down the road, I assure them they will pretty much die musically if they haven’t developed the habit of using good, consistent fingering. That’s when I sometimes get the look – as if to say, “uh-huh…I don’t believe a word you’re saying.”
When I asked her recently, one of my students who has struggled with this for at least a year affirmed the above statement. She didn’t, in fact, think that fingering was important – contrary to what I’ve been telling her every week. So, it was time to come up with a creative and memorable (i.e. sticky) way to convince her that this reluctance would be her undoing in several years if she didn’t put in the effort to fix it now. We discussed it briefly and she was anxiously anticipating what I would come up with to convince her.
After considerable thought and prayer, I finally settled on an object lesson of sorts that I thought would do the trick. Enter: Dot-to-dot drawing sheets!
I printed off two of each of the following free dot-to-dot worksheets:
Since this student comes with her brother, I gave each of them a pencil and clipboard with the smiling flower dot-to-dot affixed. I instructed them to complete it as quickly as they could and that the winner would receive a complication coin (part of our An Italian Intrigue practice incentive theme this year!). The only hitch was that on my fingering-challenged student’s worksheet, I erased (via a computer program) all of the numbers.
Her brother finished a split second before her, but she didn’t seem to notice the lack of numbers and it didn’t faze her too much. On the second one however, it was a different story altogether! When I gave the signal to begin her brother was rapidly connecting dots while she sat in confusion connecting a few random dots, then erasing, then trying to figure out where to draw next. Eventually she got them all connected, but it didn’t look like a seahorse, and it took her almost a whole minute longer than her brother.
As I handed him his second coin, I explained that doing a dot-to-dot without the numbers is like trying to play a piece of music without using the correct fingers. At an early level you may be able to get by okay and play the piece how the composer intended it to be played, but at higher levels, it will take much longer to learn a piece and you may or may not be able to perform it as the composer intended it to be played. Using the correct fingering can make all the difference in the continuity, accuracy, and musicality of a piece.
When I finished the brief analogy my student was smiling (in spite of the fact that she lost out on two coins!). Only time will tell if it works, but I think she finally gets the importance of fingering now. She asked if she could keep the dot-to-dot coloring sheets and take them home with her. Of course I readily agreed. And added that she should display them prominently on the keyboard rack of her piano so that she is reminded to use good fingering every time she practices.
The next two Tuesdays, December 6 and 13, I will be teaching an online SMART Board Course for novice SMART Board users through the SoundTree Institute. If you have not joined the SoundTree Institute, I highly recommend it for the following reasons:They offer online courses, with the option for credit.Most of the webinars are free.Their courses and webinars include current topics in music education such as Youtube in the Music Classroom, SMART Board, GarageBand, Mixcraft, and more.You have access to numerous articles and lesson plans written by the top educators in their fields.They have a variety of options to social network with various music educators from around the world.They give you wonderful videos of how to use specific software and hardware from the Korg GEC, to Auralia, to Groovy, to Sibelius, to Finale, to Garageband, to Mixcraft, to so much more!Currently, you can take a tour of the institute on their website and they are now offering a special discounted rate of $49.95. This is a wonderful offer that should be taken advantage of so that you can begin using these excellent resources today.If you need to be convinced further, check out Joe Pisano's article at http://mustech.net/2011/11/soundtree-institute-music-development/!
I am thrilled to be heading to my first AOSA conference tomorrow in Pittsburgh. AOSA asked me to present SMART Boards in the Elementary Music Classroom. I will be showing numerous items from the very basics to the advanced to the best resources that are free and some that are amazing and at very little cost (have you seen Anderson and Thomas's Interactive Now? Great stuff for interactive whiteboards!). I have over 130 participants attending my workshop. If you are attending, please come up to me afterward and introduce yourself. I adore meeting new music educators and putting faces to names!My materials will be up on my website this evening, along with a pdf of the presentation. If you take any of my materials and use them in your own workshop, please credit the source. I would greatly appreciate it.Finally, are you looking for a SMART Board workshop in your area but cannot find one? Look no further! I am teaching a SMART Board course for novice users online this December at the SoundTree Institute. I will also be teaching a SMART Board course for intermediate users in early 2012 at the SoundTree Institute as well. Don't know about the SoundTree Institute? Check out my next blog post in the next few days to find out all about it and how it can greatly benefit you!
Musicians and singers face extremely strong competition for jobs. On top of that, education budget cuts from elementary schools to PhD programs often hit music departments the hardest. Music education majors should plan on having a backup career choice, and maybe even earn a double major or a minor in another field to ensure their career prospects will be solid upon graduation. Most musicians have day jobs, since few musicians and singers can support themselves on performance alone.Music TeachersMany musicians and singers choose to supplement their income by becoming music teachers. For those who want to teach music in public elementary or secondary schools a degree in music will qualify graduates for a state certificate to teach. Elementary and secondary school teachers earn a median salary of $47,000 to $52,000.For those who want to become college music instructors, a master’s degree in music will likely be required. College-level music instructors earn a median salary of $59,000. Another option for music graduates is to offer private lessons at local music stores, through local Parks and Recreation, or even online.Recreational TherapistsSome music majors choose to diversify their studies to become recreational therapists. Recreational therapists use music, games, dance, and arts and crafts to improve the well-being of their patients. The median annual salary of recreational therapists is $38,000.Musicians and SingersFor those who want to pursue careers in popular musical performance, it’s best to look for jobs in cities where recording studios and the entertainment industry are concentrated. Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York, Nashville, and Chicago are the best places to find work in the music industry. Musicians and singers may also find salaried work with performing art companies, religious organizations, or in the US Armed Forces. Full-time musicians earn a median wage of $21.00 an hour.Most musicians work part-time and are self-employed. The hours are typically evenings and weekends. Since the competition for long-term jobs is high, few popular performing musicians and singers have guaranteed full-time, long-term employment. For students of music education, performance is probably best left a supplement to a music teaching or other career.Music-Related ProfessionsThe following are other music-related professions music education students may be interested in pursuing: Accompanist Acoustical Engineer ArrangerArts Council Director Band Director Church Music Director City Cultural Events Planner Composer Conductor Electronic Music Technician Film Scorer Fundraising Director Instrument SalespersonInstrument Repairman Music Director Music Retailer Music Software Programmer Piano Technician/TunerIn 2008, musicians, composers, singers, and other music-related employees held 240,000 jobs. It’s worth thinking of the many professions related to music and music teaching when facing graduation from a music education program. Music students of any kind should make backup career plans in related fields to support themselves financially in the event their primary plans need to be propped up or just don’t pan out. Elaine Hirsch is a jack-of-all-interests, from education and history to medicine and videogames. She is currently working as a writer for various education-related websites and writing about relevant education-related issues.Related posts:What type of Grad Program is Right for Me? So you think you want to go back school to...Majoring in Music Education: Graduate vs Undergraduate Coursework I think the biggest difference between undergraduate work and...Surviving the First Two Years Once we’re past the introductions, information, and I’m past the...
Over this past week, I updated my website with students' works and performances that have occurred in my classroom since the beginning of the school year. Some highlights include:Kindergarten and PreK: Besides the in depth study of the "music book of the month," the PreK/Kindergarten students have been singing songs for their Halloween Parade. PreK/K prepared "Halloween is Coming," "Three Black Bats," "This Old Ghost," "Three Black Cats," "1 2 3 4" and YMCA. Unfortunately, their parade was cancelled due to power outages from the October snow storm. However, parents were happy to listen to the recordings of some of the songs on my website.First Grade: My first graders have been working diligently on accompanying themselves on Orff instruments in one and two parts and performing the "oo-oo-oo-oo" line in "Skin and Bones" on the Orff instruments. "Skin and Bones" integrates with a poetry unit that is occurring in their classroom. In addition to learning to play the "oo-oo-oo-oo" line, they sang the song, moved to the melodic direction of the line, experienced the hand signals for the line, and acted out the song.Second Grade: Every Halloween, the first and second graders read and perform the poem "Halloween Time." We perform this poem three times. The first time we read the poem. The second time, we read the poem and choose instruments to represent the characters: clock, goblins, witches, wolves, monsters, skeletons, jack-o-lanterns, and owls. The third time, we read the poem and use the instruments the author chose to represent the characters. In this activity, the students experience reading, interpretation of the story's characters and sounds, and orchestration of sound. The recordings represent the students' choices for instrumentation (grade 1, coming soon) and the author's choice for instrumentation (grade 2).Third Grade: _Each fall, my third graders learn to sing and move to the song “Long-Legged Sailor.” They also perform the ending phrase on recorder so that they can earn another recorder star for their recorder straps.Please check out the recordings. This year, these recordings were made on the iPad2 using the garagband app or a MAC desktop using garageband.
One of my curriculum goals this year is to feature a "Music Book of the Month" in my PreK and Kindergarten music classes. So far, I have featured Iza Trapani's The Itsy Bitsy Spider and Dan Yaccarino's Five Little Pumpkins.During several music classes throughout the month, I have read the books several times, we have sung the songs, we have moved to the music, we have acted out the lyrics, and we have drawn pictures representing the story. I have also written a sentence that they state about the story on their pictures. This is the first year that I have gotten so in depth with these books. In the past, I have read books to the story or sang songs that were accompanied with books. However, this year, I wanted to integrate books more into the classroom. My goal is for the students to experience them on a different level, differentiating the instruction so that all of the students would appreciate the music book in one way or another. I feel that this has been very successful mainly through observations. I feel like all of the students are enjoying the books in some way, shape, or form. Some students love singing the song. Some love acting out the story. Others love listening to the song. And others love to draw a picture that represents the story. It has been a great way for the students to discover and appreciate books a little more in music class. For the month of November, we will be exploring Eileen Christelow's Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed.
Welcome to the November Edition of the Music Education Blog Carnival. This edition features tons of great articles by old and new bloggers alike. Topics range anywhere from performance tips for the french horn to music pedagogy techniques. As always, if you like and article, leave the author a comment or insightful thought either here or on their specific article. Enjoy!Music AdvocacyKaren French presents Dr. Thomas Moore: Educational Consultant Early Childhood Development posted at Dr. Thomas Moore, saying, “This article could also be used in the Music Education Category”Music EducationSusie Ahrens presents An Interview with Tubist, Andrew Hitz (part 1) posted at For the Love of Tuba.David French presents Songs with scrolling lyrics posted at Tanbur Music Education Blogspot, saying, “Songs with scrolling lyrics are a feature of TANBUR MUSIC EDUCATION LINKS. You can discover several that are unique to the website, together with related links.”Eugene Cantera presents 6 Things I’ve Learned WhileTeaching Music posted at Discover, Learn, Play.Yiyi Ku presents How much should I practice? posted at Yiyi Ku Piano Studio Murrieta Temecula CA, saying, “Piano, practice, teaching, lessons”Natalie Wickham presents Congratulations on Brushing Your Teeth! posted at Music Matters Blog, saying, “Ever feel like you have to acknowledge every little accomplishment just to feed your students’ sense of self-worth and keep them coming back for more? This post highlights the importance of recognizing and praising true character to help students achieve greater success in all their musical pursuits.”Music PedagogyThomas J. West presents Teaching Chord Theory To Secondary Music Performance Ensembles – Thomas J. West Music posted at Thomas J. West Music, saying, “As part of a sequential curriculum in music education, my instrumental music performance students continually learn and practice written music notation. This begins with rote scale and arpeggio study. Once the students have become familiar with the first three key areas they are prepared to start talking about chord theory and simple harmonic progressions.”Music PerformanceLisa Hood presents The 10 Best Diss Songs in History posted at ZenCollegeLife, saying, “If we’ve learned anything from musicals, it’s that emotions are better expressed through song.”Allan Mathieu Perkins presents the Harmon Mute posted at The Oil Valley Hornist.Music TipsSusie Ahrens presents Play Louder Without Blasting posted at For the Love of Tuba.The next Music Education Blog Carnival will be hosted by David Ahrens (@MrAhrens) at http://www.davidahrens.us/soundeducation. It’s not too early to submit your articles for next month. Just visit the submission page to add your article. If you’re looking for articles from past blog carnivals, check out the index page.A special thanks to Dr. Joeseph Pisano for facilitating and maintaining the music education blog carnival! Related posts:November 2010 Music Education Blog Carnival It’s that time again! Welcome to the November 1, 2010...November Music Education Blog Carnival I am very excited to announce that MusicEdMajor.Net will be...May 2010 Music Education Blog Carnival It is my distinct pleasure to present to you the...
I am very excited to announce that MusicEdMajor.Net will be hosting the November 2011 edition of the Music Education Blog Carnival! The Music Education Blog carnival is a project of Dr. Joseph Pisano which seeks to offer music bloggers an opportunity to share their work. Each month, the blog carnival presents the blog posts of music, education and technology blogs from every corner of the web. Looking for some ideas of what to submit? Check out the categories below!CategoriesBloggers can submit articles of a variety of concentrations including:Music AdvocacyMusic PedagogyMusic EducationMusic PerformanceMusic Software/HardwareMusic TechnologyMusic TipsArticles can be of any aspect of the above categories.Don’t Miss Your Chance!To submit an article to the November Music Education Blog Carnival, just click this link. All you have to provide is a link to your post, your name and e-mail, and a short description of your post. It’s that easy!Articles will be accepted through Monday, October 31st. Are you a teacher, musician, or music lover? Please consider contributing to this awesome music resource. If you have any questions regarding the blog carnival, you can Tweet me or contact me through the “Contact” page above.Happy Blogging!Related posts:November 2010 Music Education Blog Carnival It’s that time again! Welcome to the November 1, 2010...Hosting the Music Education Blog Carnival It is with great excitement that I announce that MusicEdMajor.net...Music Education Blog Carnival – November 2011 Edition Welcome to the November Edition of the Music Education Blog...
So you think you want to go back school to continue your education? It seems like a great idea(and it very well might be) if you take the time find the right fit for your situation. The purpose of this post is to get you thinking about what path you might choose. Look for upcoming posts that go into more depth on the 4 main ways to earn your Master’s Degree.You might be itching to get back into working on your musicianship and teaching. Maybe your job is less than diserable or just not the right fit. You aspire to teaching at the collegiate level. Your district is offering compensation for continuing your education. Maybe you just need to be “recharge” your musical batteries. Of course, I would be niave to think that the salary increase isn’t a motivator on some level. Whatever the reason there are a variety of ways out there to earn your advanced degree.The four main ways to earn your Master’s Degree:1. Return to a university full-time for study.2. Earn your degree a few classes at a time in the evenings and summers.3. Summer only course of study.4. Online programs.There are advantages and disadvantages to each path. Ultimately, you must chose what is right for you. Let me offer a few suggestions.You are a full-time teacher who is happy with your job. You can’t imagine leaving your students or school, but you know you’d be a better teacher if you took some more coursework. If that’s the case I recommend looking into programs that will allow you to study evenings and summers while keeping your job. Many universities offer programs like this.You don’t want to leave your job, but you want to be more immersed in a program of study. I recommend finding a summer only program. Some of these programs can be completed in as little as three summers and will offer a more hands on approach to learning.For the teacher who is really strapped for time and doesn’t have a way to commit to a regular schedule of classes there are online programs. Even though I’m a techie, I’m not completely sold on these programs because of the lack of face time with your teachers. I’m not saying it’s not worth it, but if you’re planning on going on to a D.M.A. or Ph.D. these degrees will not hold as much weight. Make sure you really check out the accreditation of any online programs as well.If you are in place in your life where you can take the plunge and go back to school full-time, I recommend it. The immersion in your learning is worth it, if it is feasible for you (both personally and financially). In my opinion, this is absolutely neccessary if you want to get into college teaching or shooting for your terminal degree.I hope now you’re thinking a little about what course of study might be right for you. In the next series of posts I will roll out some specific information on each of the four ways to pursue a graduate degree. Stay tuned!Want to talk about it? Find me on Twitter @KFreesen or comment here!Related posts:Should I or Shouldn’t I? Things to Think About for Graduate School This summer I embarked on one of the most challenging–...Guest Post by Elaine Hirsch – Music Education Careers Musicians and singers face extremely strong competition for jobs. On...Majoring in Music Education: Graduate vs Undergraduate Coursework I think the biggest difference between undergraduate work and...
As many of you probably know, what was formerly known as MENC has changed its name to National Association for Music Education (NAfME). NAfME began as the Music Supervisors National Conference in 1907. The organization underwent a long line of name changes, first to Music Educators National Conference, and changing again to reflect the nature of the organization – MENC: The National Association for Music Education. In an attempt to clear up any remaining confusion about the name and purpose of the group, the national association completed their name transformation to reflect what we have today, National Association for Music Education.I had the opportunity to speak with NAfME representative Elizabeth Lasko about this transition and other exciting development in the national organization. Check out the interview below!What Is NAfME?NAfME WebsiteNAfME Press Release: Building on the Past to Shape the Future of Music EducationFollow @NAfME on Twitter!If you were part of the MENC Facebook group, be sure to “like” the new NAfME and NAfME Collegiate pages!MENC Changes Name to NAfME Special Thanks to Elizabeth Lasko for taking the time to do this interview with us!Related posts:MENC’s Biennial Conference Approaching MENC: The National Association for Music Education, has had it’s...America’s Giving Challenge-Help Win $50,000 for Music Education Anybody who has been around the arts (and especially those...Collegiate Leadership Academy at MENC’s Music Ed Week MENC has been planning for it’s 2010 Music Education Week...
METOS will be held in the SoundTree Institute on Monday, October 10th, 2011 from 11:00am until 4:00pm ET. Registration for METOS 2011 is FREE with a paid subscription to the SoundTree Institute. Registration for the SoundTree Institute and METOS will open on Monday, September 12th.
Estimates indicate that some 80% of middle and high school students do not participate in school music performance activities. Combining music technology with creative activities presents a unique opportunity to reach these students through technology-based music classes. The Music, Education & Technology Online Summit (METOS 2011) will offer a wide variety of perspectives, strategies, and practices from notable experts and teachers in the field who have successfully implemented technology-based music classes and programs to reach non-traditional music students (NTMs), those that make up the majority of “The Other 80%”.
Keynote presenters will include Dr. Lucy Green (Professor of Music Education, University of London), author of How Popular Musicians Learn: A Way Ahead For Music Education; Ken Simpson (Director of Jazz Studies and Music Technology, Brookwood High School), one of the pioneering success stories of reaching out to NTMs; and co-presenters and conference organizers David Brian Williams (Emeritus Professor of Music and Arts Technology, Illinois State University) and Richard Dammers (Assistant Professor of Music Education, Rowan University). The Williams and Dammers website, www.musiccreativity.org, offers many resources and in-the-field profiles on this topic.
The METOS conference will also feature showcase presentations by teachers who have implemented innovative programs to reach the “Other 80%,” showcasing programs with a mix of grade levels, school sizes, budgets, and software and hardware solutions. The conference will conclude with online breakout sessions for Q & A time, and guidance on selecting software and hardware resources and seeking funding sources.
The overarching focus of METOS 2011 is to provide music educators with tools to implement successful programs in reaching non-traditional music students–The Other 80%–with curriculum and instructional strategies for technology-based music classes along with examples from practice, research data, and suggestions for next steps. Join us online for an exciting afternoon of mind-expanding, out-of-the-box ideas, experiences, and “evangelism” for using technology to reach the many students untouched by our school music curriculums.
We are thrilled to announce that SoundTree is the new educational reseller for one of the most iconic brands in the music business – Moog Music. That’s right. If you have always wanted to add any of the amazing products from the Moog line, all you need to do is contact your SoundTree Account Manager to get the best possible educational pricing. Our staff has the knowledge to help you select a product that is right for your teaching situation – whether you are teaching the basics of analog synthesis with a Minimoog Voyager XL or a Little Phatty Stage II; or want to use the incredible Etherwave Plus with special needs students, we can help! We now carry the complete line of Moog products on our online store, and we encourage you to request our educational pricing. We look forward to working with the folks at Moog to bring their amazing products to schools across the country.
Ever since high school, I knew that I wanted to be an educator and performer. Thanks to great private teachers and music educators (shout outs to Mr. Czarnecki, Mr. Schadel, Mr. Beavers, Doc, and Mr. Marapodi), and to my church for letting me teach PreK church education, I knew that I wanted to be an educator and a performer when I entered the work field. As I worked for my Bachelors in Music Education and Music Performance from Ithaca College, I thought about how nice it would be to teach music. I thought about the ways that I could introduce instruments to students, how to teach musical concepts through varieties of musical activities, about concert planning, and I thought about how to change my students' lives for the better with music class.Although, these are still items on my mind today, I was not quite prepared for the reality of being a music educator. I do perform those items that I dreamed of, however, I (and most music educators) do so much more. Now having taught over 15 years, here are some items that I feel I perform everyday and would have never thought about these back when I was an undergrad:Child Counselor: Whether you teach the youngest or the oldest, you are still a counselor. Concepts like social problem solving, family concerns, learning disabilities, IEP, and more, all come to fruition and are very important in order for an educator to teach successfully in a classroom everyday.Parent Counselor: There are numerous times when speaking with a parent brings a brand new light to the situation with his/her child. I have had parents tell me that their choir directors told them to lip sync or they had a terrible experience with their music teachers when they were young, which spills over to their children and to you. There are other times when the parent confides in you about the situation at home and how that is affecting his/her child. Advocacy: I grew up loving music class and thought that every school provided this wonderful class. As I began teaching, I realized that this is not the case. We as music educators must advocate for our subjects every day. In NJ, music programs are dwindling and not reaching the students. They are being cut due to budget cuts. Plus, when research is proving that 80% of students in high schools elect to not participate in a traditional music program, then advocacy and thinking outside the box are a must.Working all year round: I knew this back as an undergrad, but when you first begin teaching, you are also working all evenings and weekends too. I do not mean that you are working another job-though my first teaching job was PT so I worked as a private teacher and in retail-but that you are constantly working on lesson plans, materials, activities, arranging music, etc, so that you can improve on your teaching. Those first few years were tough because I constantly had to revamp my lessons to fit the students whom I was teaching.Utilizing Technology: Since music technology was not a requirement for when I was an undergrad, I would have never thought that I would or even could use it the way I use it today in my classroom. Technology is an amazingly effective tool. When you think about how children these days are growing up in a technologically advanced world, it is important to utilize this tool as another way to reach students. Carrying everything in two arms: I am always amazed when I can carry numerous band equipment, orff instruments, and more in my two little arms so that I can make fewer trips to the auditorium.Composer/Arranger: My instrumental band is small and consists of flutes, clarinets, keyboards, trumpets, trombones, violins, and violas. It is tough to find music arranged for such an eclectic group. Instrumental Repairwoman: I knew that this course was important as an undergrad, but I never knew how important until the soloist breaks his/her instrument right before the concert. There was one concert where I had the drummer perform a long drum solo as I repaired a student's trumpet so he could play his solo that was coming up after the drum solo.Doctor: After having a student fall off a riser (he was fine), I now look for flu symptoms and such with each performer so that I can prevent that from happening again.Being a music educator is one of the best jobs in the world. A music educator can reach every student in a variety of ways and make them feel successful. If you are working towards your music education degree, stick with it because you will live the adage: "If you love what you do, you'll never work a day in your life."
Imagine it being mid-May and you just performed in your last high school concert EVER. All you could have played during your entire high school career has now come to a close. What do you do until that late August date where you begin your new journey called college?Stay InspiredI’m going to be pretty honest when I say I fell out of love with my instrument for a brief period. I am not in any way saying that will happen to any upcoming freshman. What I am saying is in order to remain at the same love for your instrument that you might usually have, I recommend doing whatever you need to do to stay inspired. Keeping yourself inspired will help keep you excited about your art form and help you in those down times.When I had nothing up and coming, no concert, no placement audition music, nothing but etudes and solos I was working on just for the sake of repertoire, there was nothing pushing me and keeping me intrigued. Don’t let yourself fall into this pit hole.But even if you do, there is always time to jump back on the bandwagon and get back into the swing of things. Ever since I’ve moved into college, a very long ways from home, I have managed to keep myself inspired and trust me – in college this is an easy task. At a music school, there’s music changing constantly all around you, every hour of the day. Whether it be marching band, concert band or even just piano class, there’s always something to keep you on your feet. It’s great to regain my passion and drive for music. I feel wonderful now and wouldn’t change a thing.Making the TransitionSo even if you’re feeling a bit apprehensive about being a music major after going through a lower valley of learning, don’t worry! Just stick it out and you’ll be just fine. Also, if you choose to go to a school far from home like myself (NY to TX) just be aware that their lingo might take a few days to adjust to. Music is music no matter where you may be, but different ways of counting or different terminology may occur when entering a completely foreign territory. Not a hesitation though, you will catch on quick if you know your stuff! Stay inspired and keep a positive attitude…Transitioning from high school to college will be a breeze.Related posts:Researching Schools: Where Do I Look? So, you’ve decided you want to study Music Education. Now,...#MusEdChat Recap- Retention (11-22-10) I believe that a good balance of challenging and familiar...Music Education… Is this truly for me? Hello, Sari speaking- the new and exciting high school senior...
The first day at our school is quickly approaching and I am looking forward to numerous items so that I thought it would be nice to share them as a top ten list for this post: Concert planning. I adore planning for the upcoming concerts with listening and playing through some wonderful songs. Hugs. I teach students as young as three years old and when they arrive to music class, they come in the door smiling, ready to sing and dance, and offering up sweet hugs.Working with my colleagues. I work with some of the best colleagues!Singing with my colleagues. Enough said because they are good singers! "Aha!" moments. Those moments when a student who has had difficulty understanding a musical concept, finally gets it and you see the accomplishment and excitement in his/her face.Singing. My Prek through grade three students sing in a variety of ways on the first few days of school. Some belt out tunes with no inhibitions. Some are extremely shy. In my classroom, I welcome all kinds of singers. I adore working with the very confident singer and bringing out the musician in the shy singer.Performing on instruments. It amazes me every year to how much my students have grown with performing and accompanying themselves on Orff instruments.Clean slate. No matter what happened last year (though, for me it was a great year with the addition of my second daughter), I learn from it all and begin the year with a new perspective on teaching.Taking pictures of the students in music class. I post these on my bulletin board and on my school music website.Electricity. Hurricane Irene hit this area hard and many colleagues had no power for days. Our school ran on generators for our meetings. We all have a new appreciation for electricity, running water, flushing toilets, refrigerators, and more.
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For years, I have maintained a music classroom website that can only be accessed by parents and students. This is separate from my website, amymburns.com. I love having a classroom website because it does many things:Communicates with parents the curriculum, concert dates, concert dress, etc.It displays and showcases my students' musical creations, such as improvisations, compositions, and podcasts.Advocates my program by getting my program out of my classroom and into the hands of the parents.Shows pictures and videos of performances and classroom items.Has forms that can be downloaded, filled out, and emailed or turned in.On snow days, it displays musical activities that can be done at home.Hosts a performance calendar.Hosts information such as my expectations for the classroom and my musical philosophy.Practice and accompaniment files.Provides links to other musical and educational websites.A website is a must for your new school year. If you do not have one and the school does not require one, you can easily set one up in various ways. One way is to utilize a wikispace, which is free. You can set up the wikispace so only you can edit it, or make it more interactive and have your students leave comments to musical questions that you pose. Some items to think about when you create a music classroom website, besides the ones listed above:If it can be publicly accessed, then you will need signed permission forms from parents on whether you can display their child's image. If it can be publicly accessed, then any items that are copyrighted (songs, accompaniment files, etc), require permission to post.If you allow your site to be interactive and students can post comments on it, then make sure you can approve all comments before they can be seen by the public. What items do you post on your classroom website?
Hello readers of MusicEdMajor.net! As our new editor in chief has announced, the group of editors has grown! I couldn’t be more excited to be joining the team as the Graduate Editor. I decided to use a post to introduce myself and ask you for your input. I’m looking forward to helping in any way that I can.My name is Kyle Freesen and I’m currently a graduate student earning my MM in Wind Conducting Performance at Wright State University. I am lucky enough to have my own ensemble here and a graduate assistantship. I direct the WSU Raider Pep Band(@WSURaiderBand), teach High Brass Methods, assist with undergrad conducting, and serve the assistant conductor of 3 wonderful ensembles(Chamber Players, Symphonic Band, and Wind Symphony). I am halfway done with the program at this point and school starts up soon. It’ll be bittersweet as I start having my “lasts” as a masters student. Oh and I’m also on staff with the Centerville Jazz Band, one of the nations premier marching bands.Before I decided to go back to school I was a music educator in Illinois. I taught in two different schools in my first three years teaching. I’ve taught every level of instrumental music. Fourth grade general music through university classes and everything in between. I think that helps make me a strong candidate for whatever comes next.On a personal note, this summer I married a wonderful vocal music teacher. We met when she student taught with the choir teacher at my first job. It’s a perfect match and I’m lucky to have someone who was willing to pick up and move out of state so I could pursue my next goal. Trust me a support system goes a long way when working on an advanced degree!The upcoming months are critical for those that are thinking about taking the plunge and going back to school(or staying in) so I will try to update pretty often. Some possible topics include: the decision to go back to school, the application process, full time vs. evening or summer programs, online music degrees, finding the right school for you, what degree should you get?, staying in school or get out and teach?, and the list can go on and on…Let me know what you would like to see. I welcome any discussion and I’m pretty easy to get ahold of through the great Internet! It’d be great to hear from grad students out there too if your lurking about the site.If you want to find my web presence outside of MusicEdMajor.net, I’m on twitter @KFreesen , Facebook(most likely posting in the Band Director Group), and my blog Comment, tweet, or email me any time with ideas and topics that you want to see here.Until then, enjoy school starting back up!Related posts:About MusicEdMajor.Net was founded by Andy Zweibel in the summer of...MusicEdMajor.Net is Expanding! It’s hard to believe that summer 2011 is coming to...Should I or Shouldn’t I? Things to Think About for Graduate School This summer I embarked on one of the most challenging–...
On August 2nd, NJMEA held its fourth summer conference at The College of New Jersey. It was an excellent day of music workshops that included Kodaly games and songs, choral reading sessions from elementary to high school, a Pro Tools session, Garageband sessions, and more. I was honored to present a SMART Board session for elementary music educators that included the basics of the board to the advanced techniques of creating lessons with the lesson activity toolkit, utilizing multimedia items with the SMART Board, addressing how to use both notebook and ActivInspire files on the SMART Board, and finding multiple web resources.One of the items that occurs when presenting is getting a question that you do not know how exactly to respond to because you had never thought of it from that point of view. Case in point: At this presentation, I was showing the educators how to use zamzar.com to convert youtube videos to flash videos so that you can display any youtube videos in your notebook file. This is advantageous because many schools block youtube and you can convert the video from home and have the video for class. In addition, many youtube videos have inappropriate comments or ads that this conversion process would eliminate. However, one educator asked me why should you go through these steps when you can just download the plugin from firefox that allows you to download videos directly from youtube? This was a great question that I did not have an answer. In hindsight, I am glad to show the conversion using zamzar because it can be used on any operating system and on any web browser, which helps me to reach all of the participants, not just the participants that use firefox. However, as I state at all my presentations, how you choose to go about reaching a goal is up to you and should be the best way for you to reach the goal easily and effectively. If you are interested in my handouts, they are still on my website for a another week.
It’s hard to believe that summer 2011 is coming to a close! In just a few short weeks we will all be heading back to school or going back to work. Many band directors already have begun their summer camps in preparation for the marching season to come. We here at MusicEdMajor.Net are also gearing up for another academic year with some fresh new changes. This site has undergone quite the transformation this summer, and has hopefully become an even better resource for Music Ed Majors of all walks of academia. Check out some of the new changes below!New EditorsIn the beginning of the summer, I had the honor of taking over as Editor in Chief of MusicEdMajor.Net. In doing so I not only wanted to continue the mission of MusicEdMajor.Net, to be a great resource for undergraduate music education majors, but expand to become a resource for high school students considering Music Education as a career path, and also graduate students building upon their undergraduate education. With this thought, I quickly realized that I needed help. While I can easily write and discuss issues dealing with undergraduate music education, I have no experience as a graduate student, and it’s been four years since I was a senior in high school. That being said, I would like to introduce the new additions to the MusicEdMajor.Net blogging team!Sari Feinstein will serve as the High School editor for MusicEdMajor.Net. Sari comes to us from Commack High School and has had experience as an author of quite a few guest posts right here on MusicEdMajor.Net. Sari will be attending the University of North Texas as an incoming freshman Music Education Major in the fall. We have seen many great posts from Sari already on the process of applying, auditioning and choosing the right music school. We certainly look forward to many new posts from her on making the transition from high school student to music major and tips for living life as a music ed major.Kyle Freesen will serve MusicEdMajor.Net as a Graduate Editor. Kyle is currently a graduate wind conducting student at Wright State University. At Wright State, Kyle serves as a graduate teaching assistant, teaching Brass Methods and serving as an assitant to conductor Dr. David Booth. He also has much experience blogging at his own site, The Virtual Podium. Prior to attending Wright State University, Kyle graduated from Western Illinois University and has taught as a band director at all levels of public school. We look forward to many blog posts from Kyle regarding a wide array of aspects from the graduate music major perspective.MusicEdMajor.Net Reading ListOne of the best ways to continue learning about a particular subject is to dig in to a good book. The big question is where to start? MusicEdMajor.Net is making this process a little bit easier for you with our interactive reading list. Just head over to this page to find a list of books that deal with music, education and technology uses in music education. If you find a book that’s intriguing, just click on it to be taken to Amazon for ordering! We would love your input on this list! If you have read a book that belongs on this list, let us know via the contact page, or Tweet us (@MusicEdMajor)!Stay TunedThese are just some of the great changes coming to MusicEdMajor.Net. With the addition of the specialized editors, we hope to have current and relevant information being regularly written for the site for every type of Music Ed Major. Get the RSS feed to stay updated with the latest posts! And as always, we value any input to the articles posted here. Just leave us a comment with your thoughts!Related posts:About MusicEdMajor.Net was founded by Andy Zweibel in the summer of...A Busy October! Hey all! A few exciting announcements about where MusicEdMajor.net will...BREAKING: Andrew Ritenour New Editor-in-Chief of MusicEdMajor.net It is with great pleasure that I announce that Andrew...
Technological innovations have been shaking the music industry for a decade, and it’s inevitable that many of the innovations first dreamed up for professional artists have trickled down to become available to music students. However, not all technological innovations are created equal, and music majors at traditional colleges or taking online college courses should pick and choose with care how they spend their money. Plenty of software applications and recording devices are essential to the music major — from good sound editing software to MIDI links — but you shouldn’t invest in technology just because it’s purported to be the latest and greatest. To help you sift the diamonds from the dross, below is a list of five of the most overrated or unnecessary musical technologies available today and why they just don’t live up to the hype. 1.) Digital Musical InstrumentsYes, digital instruments are great for experimentation, but they’re next to useless when it comes to actually teaching you how to play an instrument or compose. One need only check out a free website like Virtual Musical Instruments.com to spot the problem. While these digital versions might give you the basic sounds of the instruments they represent, they won’t teach you the tactile skills needed to make that instrument sing. Investing in software applications that use digital musical instruments to teach technique or composition can actually wind up harming your musical progress more than helping it. 2.) Microsoft KinectFor those interested in music technology, Microsoft Kinect might seem like an obvious investment choice. It’s been used to create plenty of music software applications, but it has one major problem. As noted by Synthotopia, Kinect is prone to musical latency of up to 1/10th of a second. This means that the time between when a note is struck and when it is audible can actually vary by one tenth of a second, thus rendering your performance rhythm off by one second for every ten seconds that are played. This certainly isn’t helpful for practicing true performance. You’re much better off charting your performance the old-fashioned way: record yourself while playing. 3.) Smartphone Audio EditorsThe truth of the matter is you won’t be doing much audio editing when you’re on the go. You can’t get the sound quality you need to make nuanced tonal distinctions and decisions from your headphones while sitting in Starbucks, so it’s really not helpful to have an application that will let you edit while on the go. One need only check out a smartphone audio editor like Twisted Wave to see that in addition to lacking the sound quality that budding professional musicians need, it doesn’t offer the editing and mixing possibilities of audio design programs designed for your full-fledged computer. That software that might cost a good bit more (often $50 to $100), but opens a world of sound editing possibilities. 4.) Ear Training SoftwareYou don’t need to spend upwards of $50 on software to learn how to recognize notes by ear. EarMaster 5 might offer musicians the chance to train with a variety of instruments, but you can learn just as much (albeit without the snazzy bells and whistles) if you use a free equivalent like good-ear.com. It offers similar opportunities to train your ear to recognize notes, and eventually play by ear. 5.) Sound Boards, Amplifiers, and Other Big Ticket ItemsYes, you might really feel like a professional musician if you have an amplifier in your basement or a soundboard in the spare bedroom, but this is hardly important if you’re living on a budget. Colleges’ music departments provide the big bells and whistles. You’ll have to book time in the recording studio or check out the amplifier, but you don’t have to buy your own right away. Let the school cover the bill for the expensive equipment. If you should worry about any technology of your own, it should be making sure your computer is the best miniature recording and editing studio it can be. Technology is making it easier for musicians to compose, edit, and format their work, but that doesn’t mean that all music technology is something students need. Some of it is useless to serious musicians, or just extraneous. Other items are simply too expensive to justify buying yourself, especially if there’s a way to gain access to it for free through your school. Whatever the case, it’s best to do some serious research before handing over hard-earned cash for the latest technology.Related posts:#MusEdChat Recap- Innovations (10-4-10) Innovations in music education and technology are great and have...Music Technology Presentation I had the opportunity on Friday, September 25th to see...Session Notes: Great Two-Track Recordings These are my notes from a session presented at the...
Two weeks ago, I had the pleasure of teaching a daylong workshop for SoundTree at the MENC Headquarters in Reston, VA. Good friend and SoundTree Managing Director, Dr. Jim Frankel, was holding a TI:ME 1A course for the week and he asked me to teach a daylong workshop on websites and software for the elementary music classroom, ways to integrate technology into the elementary music classroom, and how to utilize the interactive white board in the music classroom. I thoroughly enjoyed the day. The teachers were wonderful to work with, asked excellent questions, and were open to so many new ideas. To see my handouts, you can download them from my website, http://www.amymburns.comTomorrow, I am heading to Trenton to present on SMART Board applications at the summer NJMEA conference. If you are attending, please stop by room 104 between 3:00-4:30.
I thought that I would dust off my blog and write again. With it being summer and adjusting to our new baby, my blog was put to the side. I thought that this post would be a great way to get back into blogging.Last week, I taught at the Summer Music Institute (SMI) held at Central Connecticut State University (CCSU). SMI has been a staple in excellent summer music programs for graduate credits. I attended it for six summers while earning my Masters of Science in Music Education. I was thrilled that two years ago they hired me to teach a week-long course. This year, I decided to teach a week-long course about the SMART Board. I am so happy that it turned out to be a great success. It was a full class with more on the waiting list. The class was geared towards all SMART Board users from novice to advanced. I was happily surprised that there were more novice users than advanced and that some have never used the SMART Board. The variety of levels was wonderful because we all learned from each other during the week.I broke the five days into the following presentations:Day 1: SMART Board Basics, Interactive Websites, and SoftwareDay 2: SMART Board: More Than a Glorified Projector! and Resources So You Do Not Need to Recreate the WheelDay 3: Review of Day 2's Class Utilizing Notebook Software and Utilizing Such Devices as ELMO, Recording Lessons, Animation, and Adding Video with Your SMART BoardDay 4: SMART Board Response System and Classroom Management and Technology: What This Means to YouDay 5: Final Projects, Our Week in Review, and Interactive White Boards Being AttackedIt was a wonderful week and I learned so much about how to improve this course. I have been asked to teach the course next summer and I requested to teach two courses: SMART Board for Novice (those who do not have one and those who have one but do not know how to use it or use it as a projector) and SMART Board for Intermediate Users (those who have a SMART Board and use it regularly).If this interests you, please utilize the RSS feed on this blog so you will get updates on if these courses will come to fruition and when they will be held.If you have not checked out CCSU's SMI, then I highly recommend that you check it out. You do not need to be enrolled in their graduate program to take the courses. It is a great way to network with other music educators and you learn so much from the courses that you take that you come back to a new school year rejuvenated!
It’s time for… your final decision! Where will you be in the next few months? Time to weigh the options.After hearing back from your schools you must lay out the following: 1. Money Unfortunately, in today’s society, money has become a major factor when choosing a school. For me, I fell in love with every school and let the money decide. Some things to keep in mind- financial aid are loans you have to pay back. Scholarships and grants are free money- you do not have to pay them back. When receiving money from schools factor in what you must pay back and what you don’t. Will you spend the rest of your life paying off student loans? Also, if you did not receive money or as much as you wished for, feel free to email the school. Send an email to the director of financial aid and scholarships and your professor. The professor, if he or she really feels strongly about you attending, will fight for you. Many times, certain negotiations can be made, depending on the school. Factor in some future possibilities. Do I plan on studying abroad? Will I have enough in my budget if I attend this school over that school? How many credits am I walking in with? Could I possibly graduate early and save myself a year’s worth of tuition? Do I plan on going to graduate school immediately after I receive my bachelor’s degree? These are things you must consider. Check out if any ensembles will pay you. With some schools, if you play in their basketball or marching bands, will give you a stipend for books and other expenses. You can even travel with the team for some away games! Playing in ensembles is a great way to meet people and spend your time (if you have any free time that is!), and you may even get free books!2. Professors Can you see yourself working with the professors for four years? Did you have a connection during your audition? Do you feel comfortable talking to them, emailing them, etc? Do you feel like it will be worth your while? You have to trust your professor(s) completely. If any or all have written any books, which many have…read them! You’ll definitely have a brownie point for it over the rest of your studio, but more importantly you’ll learn their style before you even begin with them! If you took a lesson with a professor, how’d it go? Try to go off of those teaching styles and the connection you experienced in the lesson. Could you do that every week for the next four years? Will you be bored? Constantly intrigued? You definitely want to have a great relationship with your professor(s). Make sure you are 100% content with who you’ll be learning from in the coming years.3. Social Life Can you see yourself easily making friends and having a great time? Is there life outside of the music school (if a university) where you can maybe meet non-music majors? Sometimes, we have to step outside a music- contained environment, even if it’s just for five minutes, to just escape for a short period. College can be stressful. Are there ways to release that stress in a healthy way? Can you get involved in any non-music extra activities? How is the dorm life? Do all the music majors live together? How are the dorms set up? These are other considerations. You will be living here for a while, and will you be okay with these living conditions.4. Distance How far is the school from your home? Will traveling there and back be more of a strain? Are flights the only option and would that fit in your budget? If you want to go home for a weekend, is it possible? Are you normally homesick? These are things to factor in as well. If you are in dire need of momma’s apple pie, can you get home for it? Or are you waiting until Thanksgiving? Is this okay with you? Going to a school that is close could also have a lot from your area attending. Do you want to be around the same people or experience a completely different culture? How many hours can you remain inside of a car before aliens attack your body and you completely lose it? This is all up to you. All of these significant categories will help you lead to your final decision. But in the end, it is where your heart is. What can you call “home” for the next four years? Where can you see yourself truly succeeding? You know best. Go with your gut, because that’s always your best bet. And good luck, music majors. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed advising, and hope I helped you with your college process in some small way! Related posts:College Shopping- School Visits! This is the realization moment for all of us youngins....Researching Schools: Where Do I Look? So, you’ve decided you want to study Music Education. Now,...Applications Applications… Now it’s time for the “fun” stuff. Actually spending the...
Ok so you’re all dressed up, pacing the floors, sweating in places you’ve never sweat before, and you’re mind is racing at a mile a minute. One word – Breathe.Just breathe. Here’s the most important piece of advice I was ever told about college auditions. Professors WANT you to do well. Professors WANT to see you succeed. Remember they WANT to recruit you. Professors don’t want to go about teaching their freshman the basics, they want to get down and dirty to the hardcore musicianship. If you show in an audition, not necessarily perfection, but raw material, that a professor can easily work with, then you are on the track to acceptance. Don’t freak out. Just remember these smiling faces are actually excited to meet you! They need freshman and you are potentially one of those freshman! Think before you play. You’ve probably heard this statement billions of times from your private teacher before. I’m telling you, you’ll probably forget so I’m reminding you once more. Think before you play. Breathe. Relax. Professors understand the stress and want you to play your absolute best. So make sure you make the most out of those 10 minutes and show them confidently that you can play. Also, be yourself. Don’t choke. They want to see your personality too! Have fun with them.Smile.. Always remember to smile and walk in with confidence in your music. Let the professors enjoy your song for that short moment you have with them. I’ll tell you a short story from personal experience. I, myself, have never been a performer. I love playing, but solo performances have never sat right with me. And I’m a bundle of nerves going in to play for people. But trust me when I say that auditions are only as scary as you make them out to be. Go to your happy place. Do any pre-performance rituals you normally do. Wear your lucky shoes or listen to your piece on your iPod on repeat for three hours before hand. And most importantly, stay calm and breathe. Make the most out of the time you have. And enjoy it! Related posts:Choosing Audition Repertoire Alright so you have your schools all listed out, you...College Applications: Prioritizing Schools Are you finding yourself bombarded by tons of brochures? Junk...Music Education… Is this truly for me? Hello, Sari speaking- the new and exciting high school senior...
Now it’s time for the “fun” stuff. Actually spending the time, filling out every single detail of your life from your dog’s name to your social security number and everything in between.Suggestion #1: Fill out your applications and have a rough draft of your essays BEFORE school begins. Accomplishing all of this early will save you hours and hours of headaches when stressed at the beginning of the year with IB and AP classes, marching band seasons (if you’re a band participant) and every other rehearsal that may take up your time. It may be difficult to get that work ethic going before school is in session, but just take the week before and fill out everything you need to. Also, see how many schools of yours accept the CommonApp Application. This saves you a lot of time as well, but don’t get too excited- there are always supplements!Suggestion #2: Know your limits. Please know that for simply applying to schools, there is a fee. To send SAT scores there is a fee, which must be paid for each school you wish to send them too. To send ACT scores there is also a fee, which must be paid for each school you wish to send them too. Applying can get pricey so make sure that whoever is laying out the money for applications is okay with the amount of schools you are applying to.Suggestion #3: Uniqueness- It’s Essay Time This part you can actually have fun with. You can write about almost anything for the CommonApp, and a lot of the time individual schools with their own applications have fun with the essay portion, and give you a very out-of-the-box topic. Be creative. Think of a completely random experience that you can look back on as if it was a movie scene, and you know you’ll never forget it. Or think of the time that you realized who you truly were. I can’t tell you which experience or person or place to talk about as I have not lived your life. But think of something that no one else can say “Oh, that happened to me too!” Be unique. Be original. And if you have fun writing it, the schools will have fun reading it.Suggestion #4: Don’t be afraid to ask for help. The minute school begins, knock on your English teacher’s door and say “Can you read this?!?” Ask for as many opinions as you can find – guidance counselor, teachers, parents and all. Do not be afraid to ask for opinions and don’t be afraid of a little constructive criticism. The school officials and family members are only there to help you. No worries!The added stress of college applications is not what anyone wants, especially when beginning your senior year of high school. But, it will be much less painful if you get the dirty work done in the summertime. Remember to always be yourself and let that show in everything you write. Let colleges hear your voice and don’t stress!Related posts:College Applications: Prioritizing Schools Are you finding yourself bombarded by tons of brochures? Junk...Hire Me! Tips for Finding Your First Music Teaching Job After Graduation You walked across the stage and accepted your Bachelor’s Degree...#MusEdChat Recap – Relevance (3/29/2010) The #MusEdChat on 3/29/2010 focused on making music relevant. The...
Alright so you have your schools all listed out, you have created that handy dandy chart so all is laid out in front of you on one simple sheet, but you’re left to do one more thing before the mad practice sessions begin. What will you play? I’m here to help you choose some repertoire.Step 1: Take a look at that chart you’ve made. When looking at every school’s audition rep list- Is there an overlap for any of these pieces? Now, I most likely guarantee that you won’t be playing the same program for every school but if you could possibly find a program that you could play at more than one school, you are in good shape my friend.Step 2: Take a look at the dates for auditions. Do you think you are going to be able to play this music at the same caliber, three months apart? You must look realistically at the big picture here. If you are a disciplined practicing musician, then I definitely say you’ll be fine but if you know after the first audition you won’t want to pick up the piece again, then maybe it’s not so smart to choose the same program. Step 3: This is massively important I tell you. Do you like the music? If you don’t like the music, and it shows when you play it, don’t choose it. Times spent trying to make yourself love something you simply are sick and tired of, may not pay off as much as you would think. Make sure you’re excited and eager. Go to YouTube right now and check the pieces out! Find ones that you love. Step 4: Which pieces that you have narrowed this down to, really show your strengths as a musician? You want to show off what you got in a sense. You want to have a well- balanced offering of pieces and a strong and equal stance on all. These pieces need to help you, not hurt you. So choose wisely! And make sure you like them. Trust me, you don’t want to be stuck drawing hearts on your sheet music to make you play with joy. Have fun with it!New music, get excited. And break a leg!!! Related posts:College Applications: Prioritizing Schools Are you finding yourself bombarded by tons of brochures? Junk...Music Education… Is this truly for me? Hello, Sari speaking- the new and exciting high school senior...#MusEdChat Recap- Connecting With Repertoire (11-29-10) Having students connect with the music is very important to...
CourseworkI think the biggest difference between undergraduate work and graduate work is the depth of coursework. The scope of undergraduate coursework is typically very broad, as universities want to prepare students for a variety of possible teaching scenarios. Consequently, the courses you take in your Bachelors are not always the most interesting or even directly related to teaching music. Graduate work is much more in-depth and specific to music education. Most Universities typically require only a few specific courses for the degree, which typically include some type of introduction to research course and some type of bibliography course. The rest of the degree programs are outlined by elective categories and or a specialization track you choose. You may be have the ability to focus on performance, pedagogy, research, etc. depending on the school you attend, and the resources they have available. I don’t think the degree defines the person, but the person defines the degree. With careful planning, one can hone in on very specific skills within the music education Masters program. I want to really emphasize how important this point is because I believe a number undergraduate music education majors have an impression that they have to get a conducting degree to be an excellent conductor. One can have the best of both worlds!Course Loads and Class TimeReflecting on my undergraduate experience, I’ll never forget the semester I took 21 hours or the semester when I had 13 classes! This is a familiar story for many undergraduate music education majors. In graduate school, course loads are much more reasonable. Full time graduate students typically take between 9 to 12 hours, which translates into 3 to 5 courses. I tend to focus more on the number of classes rather than the number of hours since each course will require a lot of work regardless of how many credit hours you will earn. It’s also important to take into account any time commitments that an assistantship may bring.Final Thoughts & Things to ConsiderMany schools require proficiency exams in music history, music theory, aural skills, piano, and possibly more. All I can say about this is good luck!Prior to entering a program, get familiar with some of the most common music education journals and read a few articles (hint: skip the statistics-laden results sections for now).Be prepared to do a lot more reading and writing than you have ever done!Finally, I think it is imperative that a person goes into graduate work with very specific goals. For me, the key to establishing my goals was spending a few years outside of the college environment teaching. This may not be the route for everyone, but it certainly can’t hurt anyone to enter graduate school with some time away from higher education. Related posts:Should I or Shouldn’t I? Things to Think About for Graduate School This summer I embarked on one of the most challenging–...4 Tips to Starting the Semester the Right Way The beginning of a new semester is an exciting, informative,...Don’t Waste Your Electives! The thought of pursuing a highly competitive major during a...
I thought that I would continue with this train of thought from my last post "10 Reasons Why I Adore Teaching Music to 3 and 4 Year Olds" and list the reasons to why I love teaching music to Primary School students, grades K-3. They are sponges. Just as 3 and 4 year olds absorb the music you teach them, grades K-3 not only absorb it, but take it to the next level and you can see them comprehend and utilize these musical concepts. Which brings me to...The "Aha!" moment. I absolutely love the "Aha!" moment with students in grades K-3 because it is when they look at you and comprehend the concept that you have been trying to teach them for weeks.Concerts. Students love to perform at these ages and they are still so cute. Even if your younger students are very shy, they still look adorable when performing. However, more to the point, I love watching my Kindies get excited to watch the 3rd graders perform and how they want to be those "big kids" and perform like them when they get older."Bring Your Parents to Music Class." Each year I invite the parents of PreK-grade two to come and join their children in my classroom. It is not a performance or an informance. It is a way for the parents to experience the curriculum when we are not preparing for a concert. The students love having their parents (or grandparents, aunts, uncles, nannies, etc) join them for the class.Performing on instruments. I love seeing the growth the students make when they begin playing the recorder, percussion instruments, Orff instruments, and more throughout their K-3 years.Singing. I love hearing their voices mature throughout their K-3 years.Consistency. I teach music to students as young as three years old until 3rd grade for general music. I teach instrumental music to students in grades four through eight. It is wonderful to be teaching these students consistently for years. Not only do you see their constant growth as musicians, you also learn how to organize and teach your lessons well so that the students benefit greatly.Appreciation. Students in grades K-3 show their appreciation for your teaching through smiles, hugs, pictures they draw for you, thank cards they write for you, and more.Improvisation. Young students improv all of the time. They will come into my classroom and begin singing songs that they made up on the playground. These songs range from what they ate for breakfast to what they are wearing to a song they made up for their friends. I adore their improvisations and will usually record them to email to their parents or give to them on a CD. The students feel very proud and a great sense of ownership when they receive a CD of their music.Resources for elementary music educators. Whether you are a veteran or novice music educator, there are so many philosophies, methodologies, approaches, tools, and resources out there that as an elementary music educator, I am continuously learning and improving my teaching.
Today is MusicEdMajor.Net’s 2nd birthday! This past year the site has seen some major changes, and continues to evolve into a better and better resource for music students everywhere. Check out some of MusicEdMajor.Net’s projects and accomplishments below:Live-Blogging Music Education Week in June 2010Midwest Clinic 2010 ReviewThe 100 Music Education Majors on Twitter ProjectThe continuation of #MusEdChat, including Transcripts and RecapsNumerous Guest Posts by current students and professionalsLive-Blogging METOS 2010Being listed on eCollegeFinder’s list of 75 top Music and Arts Enthusiast Websites.Also, here are some of the top posts from the last year:Music Education Week 2010 Live-BlogHire Me! Tips for Finding Your First Music Teaching Job After Graduation (guest post by Thomas J. West)In addition to these many accomplishments and projects, MusicEdMajor.Net has experienced some other changes. With the graduation of Andy Zweibel, I was given the opportunity to fill his position as Editor-In-Chief. Andy has founded and grown a fantastic resource for music students everywhere. While he will still be helping us with some of the technical aspects of the site and writing some guest posts, Andy truly believes that the day-to-day responsibilities and content of MusicEdMajor.Net needs to be run by music majors. I am very excited for the opportunity to do this and continue the growth of this site that Andy has started.Please continue to check back to MusicEdMajor.Net as some more great changes will be occurring! Also be sure to follow @MusicEdMajor on Twitter, and like us on Facebook to stay updated! If you would like to contribute to MusicEdMajor.Net, let us know via the contact page!Related posts:Happy Birthday! While on a Skype Call with my dynamic and enthusiastic...Happy Birthday Andy! Just a short post to wish Andy Z. a very...Year in Review: 2010 Hard to believe it, but the year 2010 draws to...
Yesterday an iPad app (soon to be released for iPhone and iPod Touch as well as Droid platforms) was released that will change the way music teachers teach. With the release of this App comes a more simplified (and much less cluttered) way of organizing all of the tools needed to teach music, all in one App! As a summer instrumental lessons and drumline instructor, I am very excited to be able to utilize such a handy tool in my teaching. Check out all of the features below!Simple LayoutThe Music Master Pro makes finding all of your tools easy with it’s simple layout. The home screen (pictured above) is a series of 3 circles with the major and minor circle of fifths at the center. When one of the chords is touched, you iPad will play the correct chord – making this an awesome tool to teach chord progressions and the major and minor modes. Even better is that the major chords on the outside line up directly with their relative minor chords on the inside! Around the circle of fifths are the many tools and options offered in this app. Simply tap on what you need to use, and it will pop up, ready to go! When you are using one of the tools in the application, these same options appear as a “toolbar” at the bottom of the screen so you can easily navigate from one tool to the other.Tuner/MetronomeAt the top of the metronome are the two most common tools used by music teachers – a tuner and a metronome! The tuner has a simple interface with a large meter at the top. When a note is played, the tuner displays the note being played and how in-tune (or out-of-tune) the note is being played. In addition the tuner has a tone generator allowing you to touch a note and have it be played. The volume slider by default is silenced, so be sure to touch the silence button to get the tone to play! This handy tuner also allows you to calibrate the tuner (to A= anywhere from 420 – 460 – the default is A=440) and change the octave of the tone generator. The metronome is also a very easy-to-use interface. Based on a series of sliders, you can change the volume, change the beats per minute, and alter the meter. In addition, the metronome allows you to preset up to 5 metronome settings, allowing you to quickly achieve your metronome preferences with the touch of one button!Audio RecordingA very useful feature in the A.P.S. Music Master Pro is the Audio Recording feature. This allows you to record more than 68 minutes of the Best recording quality either all in one shot or in segments. It also allows you to alter the mic level to suit the mic in you iPad (or an external mic). As you can imagine, this is crucial to any ensemble. The ability for the group to hear what they sound like (and hear their own mistake) is essential in the teaching and assessment process. In addition, it could be useful for things like auditions and playing exams to assess individual playing.StopwatchHave you ever been in the pre-concert rush attempting to get timings of all of your pieces to ensure you have enough material to fill a concert without going overboard? The Music Master Pro makes this process way easier with the integrated stopwatch. This allows you to time a piece, stop the time, and save the recording with the name of the piece. All of the recordings then appear at the top of the screen so you can see how many pieces are there and how long it takes to play them.Score PDFYep, the Music Master Pro has that too! With this tool, you can upload scores (or any types of PDFs) to your iPad, and open them in this App. This could be scores, attendance charts, drill charts, or even seating charts! What’s even better? You can edit these documents from within the app, allowing you to mark your scores, make corrections on your drill charts or even take attendance! With this one tool, you could mark your score in score study, take attendance on your seating chart, rehearse your score changes, and then have you marching band play their halftime show – all using files within this one App!CalendarThe Music Master Pro comes with a built-in calendar, allowing you to add your rehearsals and other commitments, what time they take place, and set up a series of reminders to make sure that you never miss a meeting. There are also options to view this as a traditional Month layout, or view all of your commitments in a list.InternetNeed to look something up to show your band during your rehearsal? No need to even leave this App! There is an integrated Web Browser that allows you to visit your favorite sites from within Music Master Pro.GlossariesThis is where the Music Master Pro distinguishes itself from any other app out there. Included with all of these very useful tools is an arsenal of glossaries which includes pretty much all of the information you will need to know… ever. First on the Table of Contents are fingering charts. Once you click on the fingering charts option, it brings you to another table divided into three categories: Brass, Strings and Woodwinds. From Conn-Selmer, Inc., the fingerings are provided for all of the common band and orchestra instruments including French horn (double and single), Trumpet/Cornet, Euphonium, Trombone, Tuba, Piccolo, Flute, Clarinet, Oboe, English Horn, Saxophone, Violin, Viola, Cello, Bass and Guitar. All of the fingerings are presented in a clear format so there is no question to what the fingerings are. Next on the Table of Contents is the User Manual for the App, which explains the many different functions and how to use them. Also included in the Glossaries are Instrumental Range and Transposition charts. These easy-to-read charts show the basic information for each of these instruments on a staff. For instance, if you are teaching a saxophone lesson, and can’t remember what the transposition interval is, just click on saxophones and the information is there. If a saxophone plays a C (octave above middle C), the actual sounding pitch of the instrument is an Eb (above middle C). In addition to that information, this glossary also shows the complete range of the instrument, the practical range of the instrument, and the “sweet spot” or best sonority of the instrument. Looking for the ranges of the voice? No problem – this app shows those too! The next glossary helps for those of us who are linguistically challenged. The Music Master Pro includes a list of glossaries of Common Terms, Dynamics, Instruments, and String Directions. The list of instruments and string directions represents each term in 4 different languages – English, Italian, French and German. The final glossary offered in this app is a list of common score orders in various ensembles like Beginning Band, Marching Band, Orchestra, Young/Developing Band, Contemporary Full Score and Traditional Full Score. Whatever information you need to look up, it is probably contained in one of these handy glossaries.What More Could You Want?The Music Master Pro is literally an all-inclusive app for music educators. Covering all aspects of the teaching process, there is no need to jump from one app to another, or lug around bags full of tools and charts. All you need is this app and your iPad and you’re set. This App is available on the iTunes App Store for only $14.99! You can’t buy each of these tools individually for that price, so it really is a steal. In addition you get the convenience of having everything in one place so that you can quickly and easily access whatever tool or piece of information you need at that particular moment. A.P.S. Development has effectively created an App that will revolutionize the music teaching process. Be sure to check them out at their Website and Facebook pages, and follow them on Twitter (@apsdevsllc)! Related posts:Top Apps for Music Ed Majors Apple now has three products that all run apps from...Session Notes: This Rehearsal is Available to You in HD These are my notes from a session presented at the...Benefits of Drum Corps for a Music Education Major (Part 1/2) Drum corps these days seems to have transformed into an...
It is with great pleasure that I announce that Andrew Ritenour, incoming senior Music Education Major at Grove City College in Grove City, PA, will be taking over the duties of Editor-in-Chief of MusicEdMajor.net, effective today! Andy has been an incredible co-editor for a long time here on the site, and has written plenty of posts both here and at FutureMusicEducators.net. He will be taking over responsibility for the day-to-day operations and the content of the site. About Andy RAndrew Ritenour is an undergraduate Music Education student at Grove City College, PA with a concentration in Tuba/Euphonium. At Grove City, he is active in many performing ensembles including the Grove City College Wolverine Marching Band, Concert Band, Wind Ensemble, Symphony Orchestra, Touring Choir, and two brass quintets. I has had opportunities to serve in leadership positions while at Grove City; he currently serves as the president of the 160+ member Wolverine Marching Band and has also served as a librarian in the past.Andy has also been given multiple opportunities to gain experience in the music education field. He currently serves as a summer lesson instructor to students from grades 4-12 in the Somerset Area School District, and also works as the Brass Instructor for the SASD Golden Eagle Marching Band.Various professional organizations Andy belongs to include: MENC – The National Association for Music Education; PCMEA (Pennsylvania Collegiate Music Education Association); Kappa Delta Pi – International Education Honors Society. You can find out more about Andy by visiting his online portfolio at AndrewRitenour.Com.The Past and Future for Andy ZI started MusicEdMajor.net almost exactly two years ago, with the intention of wanting to write on something I had experience and expertise in. Since I had never taught, I didn’t feel appropriate writing about teaching music. Instead, I chose to write about something I was an expert in: being a student. Doing this served me extremely well for the past few years, but it is that same philosophy that has now made me realize that once next school year begins, I no longer will be an expert at being an undergraduate student. I am beginning a new chapter of my life: I have finished my degree program and graduated, and am currently on the job hunt to become a “real” teacher (finally!). It has always been my vision that MusicEdMajor.net be a site run by and for Music Ed Majors. I cannot think of a more qualified person to take over than Andy R, and I am extremely excited to see how the site progresses under his leadership.As for me? I will stay on and share a few posts on my job searching experience and on the first year teaching, but for the most part will serve as an advisory role and as the “tech” guy, maintaining the website from a technology standpoint.You can always get in touch with me on Twitter at @Zweibz7. Also, I have a few other projects coming down the line, as well… stay tuned for some exciting information on those as more information becomes available.Thank you to everyone who has read MusicEdMajor.net over the past few years, and thank you in advance to Andy R for the incredible job I am sure he is going to do as our new Editor-in-Chief! Related posts:MusicEdMajor.net Welcomes a New Editor It’s my pleasure to announce that MusicEdMajor.net now has a...Happy Birthday! While on a Skype Call with my dynamic and enthusiastic...Music Education Professional Learning Network Opens to Public FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Music Education Professional Learning Network Opens to...
Recently, I have been missing my classroom, though I would not trade this leave and the time with my new daughter for anything. However, I do love teaching music and I am thrilled that I can do this for a living and will be able to return to my classroom in the fall. This week, I wanted to write some top ten lists about why I do adore teaching music. My first is why I love teaching early childhood music. I have taught three and four year olds music classes since I graduated college. In addition, when I was in high school, I used to teach at a church school and work with the three and four year olds. This age group is one of my favorites to teach for these reasons:This age group absorbs information like sponges! They are open to and will try anything.They look at everything in a new way which helps you look at it in a new way too. For example, when I brought out all of the drums to play, the students' eyes opened wide and they began telling me about the different shapes, sizes, and sounds of the drums. The original plan for that day was to play loud and quiet.They teach you as much as you teach them. When you teach this age group, you must be flexible and be able to resign your lesson to adapt to the students. In turn, sometimes you end up finding a better way to teach a musical concept.Their hugs! The way they sing with no inhibitions.Their honesty.The way they move to music. They truly feel the differences in musical styles.They discover to play the instruments in new ways.The "Aha" moments at this age are priceless.No matter how bad your day has been, they can bring a smile to your face in a few seconds.If you teach early childhood music, what are your favorite moments?
Now available at C.L. Barnhouse, check out Siege of the Dark Castle from the Rising Band Series. It is programmatic work with a 3 part fugue that was commissioned by the East Stroudsburg North 5th Grade Band. Lots of good choices out there I know, but consider this piece in your music selections next year!
Even though I am currently on maternity leave, I am thinking about the second graders at my school today because they are completing a project-based learning assignment that the second grade teachers, the Chinese teacher, the Spanish teacher, the drama teacher, and I have been collaborating on all school year. Project Based Learning revolves around an essential question that the students answer utilizing a collaborative process of investigation over a period of time. The second graders studied immigration and empathy and their essential question was "What was the experience of an immigrant?" In music class, we studied the life of Maria von Trapp and integrated the immigration and empathy unit into a SMART Board project that made the students think about why the von Trapps immigrated to America and what they would do if they were "walking in the von Trapp's shoes." This project culminates today with a huge Heritage Festival with the students ending the festival by stating some facts they learned about the von Trapps and singing four songs from The Sound of Music. We began this project in the 09-10 school year, but developed it more during this current school year. I was thrilled to collaborate with the teachers to teach this project. When the students were learning about the von Trapps in music class and learning about their trials and tribulations of immigrating to America, I was extremely impressed with their thoughtful insights. Some were: When asked about leaving the country (I typed what they said): "Confused because you are just a kid and you do not really know how you are going to adjust to a new life because you are used to your life.""Scared going to a new place.""Scared because I would never know what people would be like in America."Walking in the parents shoes: "Overwhelmed, because I want my family to be happy and safe and you don't want your kids to be unhappy."Other questions that were posed dealt with living in a country with a very harsh leader, what it would feel like to lose everything you had, and how you would feel turning a hobby into a profession.It was a wonderful and extremely insightful project that I look forward to continuing and completing next school year.
Andy Ritenour here to offer a bit of a challenge to all of you. As you may or may not have heard, MENC is in Round 2 of voting in the Chase Community Giving Campaign. They have survived Round 1 by being in the top 100 charities with the most votes. They have made it to round 2, but to win the $500,000 at stake, they must be the charity with the most number of votes. This is where you come in.The ChallengeThe first step of our challenge is for you to go and vote. It is super easy and only takes about 30 seconds of your time. All you have to do is:Click this link“Like” Chase Community GivingVote for MENCThat was the easy, yet necessary part of the challenge. Now for the real challenge. After you have voted, get at least 10 of your Facebook Friends to vote for MENC in the Chase Community Giving campaign! There are quite a few ways to do this:Message you friends and tell them why it is important to vote for MENC.Invite all of your friends to the Facebook event Vote for MENC in the Chase Community Giving Project and encourage them to do the same with all of their friends.Post on your friends’ walls.Why Vote for MENC?As part of the requirements to move on to Round 2 of the voting, MENC had to put their Big Idea in words, telling how they would spend the $500,000. Their ideas are very noble ones:Creativity, discipline, teamwork … just a few of the life-long benefits of music study. But kids across the country are losing access to music as school programs are cut back or eliminated. The most affected are those who need it most – kids in underserved communities. We will use $150,000 to provide 100 grants of $1000 -$2500 to school music programs in the most underserved areas to help students achieve success through music. We will use $150,000 to develop resources and to provide training to help teachers create music programs with strong foundations and also to help those whose programs are facing budget cuts. We will use $200,000 for a national web/social media campaign to encourage kids to study music and others to support school music programs. We will feature teachers and students in programs that have received grants – to show what is at risk and what stands to be gained. Our BIG IDEA: The study and making of music by allIn addition, here is a video created by MENC to show their Big Idea:Do Your Part!With over 70,000 members in MENC, getting enough votes for this grant shouldn’t be a problem. So now we are calling upon you to do your part to help music education! As of this morning, MENC was in 51st place with a mere 614 votes (1st place has over 5,000 votes). To catch up, we need not only for you to vote, but for you AND 10 of your friends to vote for MENC! In order for MENC to stand a chance, they need YOU to vote and spread the word! With the state of education today, we all know that Music Education can certainly use this money. So please step up to the challenge: Vote and spread the word to win $500,000 for music education!Related posts:America’s Giving Challenge-Help Win $50,000 for Music Education Anybody who has been around the arts (and especially those...#MusEdChat Recap- Retention (11-22-10) I believe that a good balance of challenging and familiar...#MusEdChat Recap – Community (8/9/10) Ensembles already are communities and always have been. It is...
My good friend, SoundTree Director, TI:ME Board Member, and ATMI President, Dr. James Frankel, wrote this excellent article titled "Making Music with iPads, iPhones, and iPod Touches." This article assists the music educator in picking apps and gear for their music classrooms. This article is highly recommended for all music educators! Click here to read the article.
My colleagues have recently been counting down on facebook how many more school days are left in the school year. This is getting me to plan the outlines and curriculum for the summer courses that I will be teaching in July.The first one is titled "SMART Boards in the Elementary General Music Classroom" and I will be teaching this course from July 11-15 at Central Connecticut State University. We will be working with interactive software applications and websites, the notebook software that comes with the SMART Board, websites where we can download SMART Board lessons for free, and much more. This class will definitely run and there is still more room, so if you are interested, please check it out.The second course I will be teaching is at the SoundTree Summer Music Technology Workshop at the Reston, VA MENC headquarters on Wednesday, July 20. I will be teaching an array of topics from SMART Boards in the elementary music classroom to integrating technology into the elementary music classroom. I was thrilled to hear earlier this week that the workshop is sold out.If these two courses do no interest you, but you are looking for music tech courses this summer, then definitely check out TI:ME's summer courses here.Finally, I am honored to announce that my second daughter was born at the end of April. Sarah Lynne Burns is doing quite well and happily settling into home life with her daddy, me, and her big sister, 2 year old Mikayla.
Making Music with iPads, iPhones & iPod Touches
by Dr. Jim Frankel
No doubt that you have heard of the wonderful ways in which people are making music with the iDevices (iPads, iPhones & iPod Touches) from Apple. Musicians everywhere are finding new apps for music making each day – and they keep on coming. Music companies the world over are trying to figure out how to deal with this paradigm shift, and many have already produced both apps and hardware peripheral devices to facilitate some pretty serious music making.
One of the most common questions that I have been asked lately is “How can I incorporate these devices into my music curriculum?” Those of you familiar with my previous writings on this topic know that I still don’t believe they are ready for wide spread adoption in schools yet – mostly due to the limitations of the apps and the lack of control over content. However, I am confident that the day will come when tablet devices like the iPad will be adopted as the primary interface for student computing in the K-12 and higher education environments. There are quite a few improvements that need to be made to make them a completely transparent learning tool – but it is possible. These are exciting times.
This article is an attempt to provide music educators with ideas on how to incorporate the existing (and previous) versions of these devices into the music curriculum, along with some specific recommendations for apps and hardware peripherals as well as resources that will help you find out even more.
Apps for Music Making
Before I start to list an assortment of my personal favorite music making apps, I think it would be helpful to categorize them a bit. For the purposes of this article, I will name those categories: Notation, Sequencing, CAI, Performance, and Music Readers. CAI stands for computer-assisted instruction, but all the other categories should be pretty self explanatory. It is by no means a complete list, but provides an overview of some of the most well known apps. Here we go:
In my opinion, you’re not going to find ANY notation apps that can hold a candle (or a match) to Finale or Sibelius. The current sized screens on these devices makes it difficult to accurately input notes onto a staff with your finger tips. Using them on an iPhone or iPod Touch is nearly impossible. But that hasn’t stopped app makers from trying.
Symphony ($4.99 on the iTunes App Store) – Probably the most well-known of the available notation apps, this is the basic edition of Symphony. For more features, step up to Pro. Pros: great sounds, multiple staves, accidentals. Cons: MIDI based files, no slurs, text or ties.
Symphony Pro ($12.99 on the iTunes App Store) – This is as close as it gets to “real” notation software on an iDevice. Lots of great features, and the app benefits greatly from the increased screen space on an iPad. Pros: a full-featured notation app for the iPad, improved UI, great sounds, exports files in a wide variety of formats including MusicXML, MIDI, MP3, and PDF. Cons: you need small fingers to use the app effectively. Check out http://www.symphonypro.net/ for more details.
PocketScore ($1.99 on the iTunes App Store) – A great looking and affordable alternative to Symphony. Definitely worth a look. Pros: MusicXML based files, better UI, better accuracy when entering notes, different clefs & time signatures. Cons: pretty mediocre sound set. Check out http://www.electricears.com/prod_tpl2.php?id=67 for more details.
Scorio (FREE on the iTunes App Store) – a FREE notation app for iPad only, Scorio is a pretty decent way to experience notating music on an iPad. It is pretty clunky compared to the apps listed above – but it is FREE. Pros: FREE app for student use, supports multiple staves and lyrics, nice UI. Cons: difficult to change note duration, difficult to be accurate when placing notes on score as well as making menu selections. Check out http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/scorio-music-notator/id417227998?mt=8 for more details.
Unlike the notation category, there are a lot of terrific apps for sequencing and recording music on the iPad, iPhone, and even the iPod Touch. The only thing to be concerned about when using these types of apps is how much of your memory you use when creating music. One of the downsides to these devices is that they have relatively small amounts of memory available when compared to laptop ad desktop machines. If you are going to do some serious music making, you’re going to want to use a serious machine. The sequencing apps listed below are terrific for capturing ideas, and creating on the go. I know that there are many that are not on the list that are fantastic – but I was going for simplicity here for the most part.
GarageBand ($4.99 on the iTunes App Store) – hands down the best music making app available in my opinion – Pros: Utilizing USB microphones and keyboards for recording, incredible UI, loops, new “Smart” instruments, close to the original program. Cons: exporting songs is difficult (requires syncing), cannot edit MIDI once recorded in, does not work on iPhone or iPod Touch. Check out http://www.apple.com/ipad/from-the-app-store/garageband.html for more details.
Groovemaker (FREE – with options to upgrade) – This is a very different style of sequencer from GarageBand. It is geared more toward building up grooves in a step-sequencer style interface. You won’t be able to plug a USB microphone or keyboard into Groovemaker, but it is a fun way to make some pretty cool sounding music. Pros: great sound set, easy to learn, students will enjoy the vibrant UI. Cons: you only get one song with the free version – need to purchase additional packs at $9.99 each, no USB/MIDI recording. Check out http://www.groovemaker.com/ipad/features/ for more details.
FourTrack ($9.99 on the iTunes App Store) – looking for a simple four track (non MIDI) recorder for your iDevice? This is it. With built-in effects, amp models, and support for USB audio, it is a great old-school sequencer without all of the loops associated with newer sequencers. Pros: easy to use, great effects and amp models, export files to your DAW. Cons: no MIDI support or virtual instruments. Check out http://www.sonomawireworks.com/iphone/fourtrack/ for more details.
Rebirth ($9.99 for iPad/$3.99 for iPhone/iPod Touch). For musicians familiar with Reason, this is a perfect app for you. Using the same style of plug in instruments and drum machines, Rebirth is a powerful music making app. Pros: great sound set, similar to the Reason UI, exports to MP3. Cons: very crowded UI on iPhone and iPod Touch, clunky step sequencer. Check out http://rebirthapp.com/rebirth-for-ipad/ for more details.
This could be the biggest section by far, so I will try to limit it to five of my personal favorite apps that focus on teaching musical concepts. There are hundreds of apps for specific instruments, including fingering charts, chord diagrams, etc. I urge you to go to the iTunes App Store and browse through the many, many apps in the Music category and find your own favorite!
O-Generator Acoustic ($4.99 on the iTunes App Store) – Now for iPad as well as iPhone and iPod Touch, this is the iDevice version of the popular software from O-Generator, Learn To Compose. While it could fall into the sequencing category as well, the song writing tutorials are terrific. This is truly an app for learning how to create music. Pros: same interface as software version, great sounds, exports as AAC/WAV. Cons: no MIDI instruments or USB audio connectivity. Check out http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/o-generator-acoustic-music/id416576435?mt=8 for more details.
The History of Jazz ($9.99 on the iTunes App Store) – This iPad-only app is a fantastic interactive guide to the history of jazz (they also have a new History of Woodstock app out that is very similar) that provides users with an animated timeline that focuses on periods of jazz. Click through to artists and representative YouTube videos Pros: great information, great UI, great organization of media. Cons: somewhat limited artist roster and suggested listening choices. Check out http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/the-history-jazz-interactive/id411521458?mt=8 for more details.
Pitch Primer ($9.99 on the iTunes App Store) – This app has been around for quite some time, but what it does is very useful for musicians. You play an instrument or sing into the app and it tracks your pitch very accurately. It’s a great visualization of how well you play in tune. It also analyzes recordings that you import into it. Pros: has built-in exercises, works on iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch. Cons: it’s kind of a one-trick pony. Check out http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/pitch-primer/id339022431?mt=8# for more details.
Nota ($1.99 on the iTunes App Store) – This is a great app to help students learn how to read music. It has a number of different ways to learn the notes on a staff, chords and scales. It also has a great quiz feature. Pros: great interface, quiz feature is a bonus, has a HD version for iPad. Cons: no way to record quiz grades onto other devices. Check out http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/nota/id333179169?mt=8 for more details.
Chordmaster ($0.99 on the iTunes App Store) – this is a must-have app for any guitar player. The simple UI allows users to input a chord in any inversion or voicing and the app will display how to play it on guitar. Pros: easy to use, great tool, great sounds. Cons: none! Check out http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/chordmaster/id308730617?mt=8 for more details.
One of the most exciting aspects of the iDevice app genre is the performance tools that are available. Designers are creating both new versions of existing instruments and brand new instruments. Here are some of my favorite apps.
Korg iMS-20 ($15.99 on the iTunes App Store) – OK. I am a bit biased on this one, but I am so proud to work for Korg because of things like this. A perfect recreation of the legendary Korg MS-20, it works with USB MIDI keyboards, and even the MS-20 USB controller. A very serious music making and performance tool. Check out http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/korg-ims-20/id401142966?mt=8 for more details. iPad only.
Korg iElectribe & iElectribe Gorillaz ($9.99 each on the iTunes App Store) – Once again, Korg has faithfully recreated on of its legendary hardware devices for iPad – the iElectribe. And now, they let the band Gorillaz mod the app to allow users to remix some of their tunes. An amazing music making device. Check out http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/korg-ielectribe/id363714043?mt=8 and http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/korg-ielectribe-gorillaz-edition/id430288460?mt=8 for more details.
Bebot ($1.99 on the iTunes App Store) – one of the most popular music apps, Bebot has been featured in many YouTube videos and is a great way for students to make music with iDevices. It’s an affordable instrument and highly addictive! Check out http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/bebot-robot-synth/id300309944?mt=8 for more details.
AmpliTube ($19.99 on the iTunes App Store) – If you are a guitar player and an iPad owner, this is a must-have app. Period. Filled with different amp models, stomp boxes and effects, AmpliTube allows you to plug your guitar into your iPad and play through any amp! All for under $20. Check out http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/amplitube-for-ipad/id373750924?mt=8 for more details.
MorphWiz ($9.99 on the iTunes App Store) – created by DreamTheater keyboardist extraordinaire Jordan Rudess, MorphWiz is an amazing sounding instrument for your iDevice that will amaze you. Check out http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/morphwiz/id377345348?mt=8 for more details.
One of the easiest ways to translate music to an iDevice, specifically the iPad, is using it a music reader. While it is certainly possible to use the iBooks App ads well as apps like GoodReader to import PDF versions of your scores to then read, the following apps have some extra features that are pretty cool.
ForScore ($4.99 on the iTunes App Store) – ForScore is one of the most popular music readers available, with developers who implement user suggestions quickly. Compatible with Bluetooth page turners, ForScore has great annotation and organization features to help you mark up scores, and keep track of them when you’re done. Check out http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/forscore/id363738376?mt=8 for more details.
Medley ($4.99 on the iTunes App Store) – this is another great PDF music reader for iPad, with annotation and organization tools. Before making a choice between this an ForScore, I would recommend checking out the provided links and reading the reviews. They both do essentially the same thing. Check out http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/medley-music-score-reader/id348530524?mt=8 for more details.
MusicNotes (FREE on the iTunes App Store) – Although this app used to have an in-app purchase option to buy sheet music, it has been removed as per request from Apple (I guess they want to sell sheet music too?). A free music reader is a great option for education, and the app doesn’t skip any features. Check out http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/musicnotes-sheet-music-viewer/id369741034?mt=8 for more details.
Aside from these four categories of apps, there are many, many other creative and fun apps for music making. I suggest asking your students what their favorites are and then ask them to play with them. See if you can find some pedagogical uses of their apps. Now on to hardware.
One of the most exciting ways to expand the music making possibilities of an iDevice is to connect a hardware peripheral such as a USB microphone or a MIDI keyboard controller. The iPhone and iPod Touch do not have as many possibilities as the iPad in terms of connectivity, but there are some interesting options listed below.
In terms of the iPad, the most important first step for any one wanting to make music is to purchase the Apple USB Camera Connection Kit (http://store.apple.com/us/product/MC531ZM/A). At a cost of $29.99, this small device converts the 30 pin connector at the bottom of the iPad to a USB port, allowing you to connect virtually any USB device, including USB headphones, USB microphones (such as the Blue Snowball), and MIDI keyboards – including the very popular Korg nanoKEY2, nanoPAD2 and nanoKONTROL2. Unfortunately, the Apple USB Camera Connection Kit device does not work with the iPhone or iPod Touch yet, but it may in the future. There are many devices out there however that do not require this device. Let’s take a look at a few:
AmpliTube iRig from IK Multimedia
Available at http://store.soundtree.com/Amplitube-iRig_p_534.html
Paired with AmpliTube (mentioned above) the iRig helps turn your iPhone/iPod/iPad touch into the ultimate mobile guitar and bass multi-effect processor and mobile recording studio. Use the AmpliTube iRig interface adapter to connect your guitar to your iPhone/iPod touch/iPad through the headphone jack. You simply plug the 1/4” patch cable from your guitar into the iRig and you are off and running. Play, practice and record anytime, anywhere with world-class guitar and bass tones right in the palm of your hand. AmpliTube gives you incredibly realistic tones and effects, plus full multitrack recording capabilities in a convenient mobile app, all from the leaders in analog gear modeling software for professional recording studios.
IK Multimedia iRig Microphone
Available at http://store.soundtree.com/IK-Multimedia-iRig-Microphone_p_541.html
The iRig Microphone is the first handheld, quality condenser microphone for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad designed for all of your mobile sound needs. Now you can make professional audio and vocal recordings anywhere on your iOS device. It comes with an app called VocaLive that allows you to add effects to your vocals and to record them. It is a perfect addition to the GarageBand app – allowing you to make high quality recordings of vocals and acoustic instruments.
iKlip from IK Multimedia
Available at http://store.soundtree.com/IK-Multimedia-iKlip_p_535.html
The new iKlip for iPad (with a new iKlip for iPad 2 on its way) makes it easy for you to use your iPad in any live setting — on stage, in the studio, at school or in the boardroom. With its multi-angle adjustable design, you can now securely position your iPad for optimal viewing and accessibility, while all controls, buttons and connection ports remain free from obstruction.
Alesis iODock Pro
The iODock (also called the StudioDock Pro) from Alesis transforms your iPad 1 or 2 into a full audio recording studio. Just get your iPad in place, and get ready to start making great recordings. The Alesis iODock offers two XLR/TRS inputs, each with gain, phantom power, and guitar-direct modes. This is a unique product and provides music teachers with the only way to get so many inputs to your iPad for music making. However you use it, the Alesis iODock offers full recording, performing, and playback with virtually all audio/video apps in the App Store.
Akai SynthStation 25
Available at http://store.soundtree.com/Akai-SynthStation25_p_483.html
The Akai SynthStation25 transforms your iPhone or iPod Touch into a portable music production studio for mobile music creation. This MIDI keyboard controller gives your handheld device a two-octave set of piano keys and professional audio outputs, and it works with the Akai Professional SynthStation app, as well as other select third party apps. The SynthStation25 is powerful enough for professional musicians, yet virtually anyone can use is to easily create music.
Akai SynthStation 49
One of the most anticipated products of the year, the Akai SynthStation49 is a music controller designed specifically for use with the iPad or iPad 2 and the first true iPad performance tool for musicians. SynthStation49 provides unparalleled music creation capabilities, including direct in-app MIDI recording from its velocity-sensitive keyboard, nine MPC-style drum pads and array of transport controls. In addition to its integration with the SynthStation app, SynthStation49 is also completely iOS CoreMIDI compatible, making it instantly compatible with dozens of music apps already in the App Store and hundreds more on the way.
Line 6 MIDI Mobilizer
Available at http://store.soundtree.com/Line-6-Midi-Mobilizer_p_473.html
The only MIDI interface for Apple iPhone and iPod touch. Together with an Apple iPhone or iPod touch, and the free MIDI Memo Recorder app, MIDI Mobilizer can play, record, and backup MIDI information any time, any place. Whether you want to capture a quick musical idea or back up the settings of all your MIDI gear, MIDI Mobilizer is the most simple and compact solution for everything MIDI. MIDI Mobilizer is compatible with all models of iPhone and iPod touch.
In addition to these products, the following devices are perfect add-ons that can be used with the Apple USB Camera Connection Kit. While it is possible to use USB keyboard controllers and microphones that require more power than an iPad or iPhone/iPod Touch can supply using a powered USB hub, the devices listed do not require any additional power to work with iDevices.
Korg nanoKEY 2
Available at http://store.soundtree.com/Korg-nanoKEY2_p_537.html
The Korg nanoKEY2 features an advanced and up-to-date design. By combining the great-feeling “touch” that Korg has developed for its professional MIDI keyboards and the low-profile “thinness” of recent computer keyboard innovations, the nanoKEY2 provides a superior keyboard response for its class and size. It’s designed with ample key width and plenty of space between the keys, reducing the chances of a wrong note. The touch and velocity response have been carefully tuned, as only a manufacturer with Korg’s track record and know-how can, ensuring that your expressive performance will be conveyed accurately to your software. Just plug it in to your Apple USB Camera Connection Kit and you are ready to go!
Available at http://store.soundtree.com/Korg-nanoPAD2_p_559.html
Like all Korg nanoSERIES2 controllers, the nanoPAD2 had to be compact, lightweight and sized to work well with any laptop or desktop computer. In addition, the nanoPAD2 also had to pack in 16 great-feeling and dynamic-sensing pads – as well as leaving room for the X-Y touchpad! The Korg nanoPAD2 does all this and more. In fact, there are four banks of pad assignments, providing a total of 64 pad assignments.
Available at http://store.soundtree.com/Korg-nanoKONTROL2_p_557.html
In a body proportioned to fit perfectly in front of your laptop computer, the Korg nanoKONTROL2 provides eight channels of the controllers you need to control your music software. The nanoKONTROL2 also features a dedicated transport control section. The buttons have been carefully selected to be useful with your software, ensuring simple and intuitive control. Many software titles – including major DAW programs – are supported, dramatically reducing the need to make complicated connection settings. Works great with the GarageBand app!
Available at http://store.soundtree.com/Blue-Snowball_p_61.html
Finally, a USB mic that’s not only easy to use, but sounds as good on your desktop as it does in a professional recording studio. Meet the Snowball; the world’s first professional USB mic. Whether you’re recording a guitar at your kitchen table or a complete band in the studio, the Snowball can capture it with detail unheard of before in a USB mic. The Snowball works perfectly with the GarageBand app, and the iPad provides enough power to power the capsule. Terrific!
Ideas for Curriculum Integration
The best way to find ways to integrate iDevices into the music curriculum is to actually try it out for yourself through a process of trial and error. The easiest way to integrate an iPod Touch or iPod into the music curriculum is to use it to organize your music library for easy and fast retrieval during lessons. That is probably the way that most teachers use these devices when they first start bringing them into the classroom, but there are so many more ways to use them.
Make recordings of your students and performances – you can use apps like GarageBand and VocaLive to make recordings onto your iPad. There are also plenty of apps for iPhone and iPod Touches that do the same thing.
Learn songs - I have seen quite a few instances of teachers who have their students access videos on YouTube to learn songs. If you search “How To Play _______” you are sure to find plenty of videos posted.
Tuner/Metronome – there are plenty of free and paid apps that allow you to use your iDevice as a tuner and metronome.
Presentation Device - if you own an iPad or iPad 2, you do have the option of connecting your device directly to an LCD projector. The iPad 1 only has limited apps that will project (iWork apps like Keynote work great). The iPad 2 has built in HDMI support allows you you to project anything that you see on your screen to the LCD projector. You will need to purchase this adapter at http://store.apple.com/us/product/MC953ZM/A?mco=MTY3ODQ5OTY. I would strongly recommend upgrading to an iPad 2 just for this feature if you plan on using an iPad for presentations. If you have an iPad 1, you can use a document camera (ie an ELMO) to project your screen so that your students can see what you are doing.
Music reader - it is possible that the textbook of the future will be a tablet computer. If so, no doubt the students will carry their music to school and rehearsals on their devices. Music readers apps will be mandatory. I recently heard from a music teacher who scanned all of his music that his band was playing at a festival onto his iPad in case anyone lost their music.
Alternative performance ensembles - there are more and more iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch bands showing up on YouTube, and in schools. With the music performance apps listed above, it is possible to make some serious music with these devices. I am confident that these types of ensembles will become more and more common in schools in the future.
Music creation devices – iDevices are an affordable alternative to purchasing laptops or desktop computers for your classroom. While they are not a replacement for computers yet, using apps like GarageBand, students can create music with these devices.
At the time of this writing, there are no books available that deal specifically with integrating iDevices in to the music curriculum. You’ll have to look online to see what the early adopters have been doing. These trailblazers are really pushing the envelope to see what works and what doesn’t with iDevices in a school setting. There are quite a few issues that need to be solved (using cellphones in school, who buys the apps for the students, how to control the content on the devices, etc) before there is widespread adoption in schools, and we have those folks trying it now to thank. The following online resources are a great place to start if you are thinking of bringing iDevices into your classroom.
www.musicpln.org – The MusicPLN site is an amazing place to start looking for iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch resources. I would strongly recommend joining this free site and simply posting questions about how others are using iDevices in their classrooms. You can be very confident that you will get quite a few responses, complete with links to further resources.
www.mustech.net – Dr. Joseph Pisano’s incredible music technology blog has quite a few reviews of iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch apps with music education specifically in mind. You’ll find quite a bit of other amazing resources there as well.
http://mustechalley.com/ – the home of Richard McCready’s music technology program at River Hill HS in Clarksville, MD, Richard is doing amazing things with iDevices in his classroom. I would strongly recommend checking out this site and getting in touch with him. He is truly a trailblazer on this front.
www.musicedtech.com – this is the homepage of Barbara Freedman, a fantastic music educator in Greenwich, CT who is also doing great things with iDevices and her high school students. A great resource all around!
http://ipadmusiced.wordpress.com/ – another great blog by music educator Peter Shimmons. Lots of entries on music apps. Perhaps the most iPad-centered music blog I can find.
http://ipadeducators.ning.com/ – a Ning on iPads in Education. While not music-centric, it is a great resource on how other subject areas are using iPads in their classrooms. Lots to be learned here.
There was one other site located at www.ipmep.org (the iPad in Music Education Project) that was fantastic, but it seems that it has been taken down for one reason or another. I am sure that more online resources will be available in the future. Please let me know if you have suggestions to add to this list of resources. I can always be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. It is my sincere hope that this overview is useful to you, and has given you some ideas for incorporating iDevices into your music curriculum.
On my way to work today I ran into the baseball coach at my school. His son plays trombone in the bands where I teach, and he was in attendance at the spring concert last night.
“How come you never have a losing season?” he asked with a smile.
That is an excellent question, I thought. One of these days I might actually get it all figured out. Eternal optimist and music lover meets bureaucracy of public education – this should be an excellent read in about 15 years. In the meantime, these are 9 tenets around which I have built much of my teaching. They are not fix-all statements that will cure everything in year’s time. Much of this has been 16 years of my own teaching leading me to this point, my interactions with friends and colleagues, and the time I have spent in furthering my professional development as a band director. As you reflect upon the end of your year of teaching, I hope that 2 or 3 of these can provide further thought for you and your own ensembles.
1) Be positive. There is plenty to be down about right now in education. One area that we cannot be down on are the students who walk in our door. If we do not create an atmosphere of positive expectation and collaboration, I believe it will be very rare for them to take the initiative to do so. These are just kids – not professionals. Teach them. Lead them. Be positive.
2) You can love your band, but you don’t have to like them. This advice comes from Shawn Reynolds – and it is pretty accurate. In the teacher’s lounge, the copy room, the office, they are referred to us as “one of your band kids” – even though we know they have a school life in other parts of the building. But band is their family, and we, as directors, are surrogate parents and role-models. We must love them, but when they are doing things that we don’t like, or are detrimental to their success as people and musicians we must let them know about it.
3) It is their band. It isn’t my name on the middle-high school sign. This school and program belongs to them – I happen to facilitate sound decisions. I hope to continue to build a program that the students and the community are proud of. I hope the band program is responsive to the needs of the school and the community, and demonstrates to everyone we encounter how important music education is in the life of a child. I can’t do that if my name is the most important one on the concert program.
4) Listen to each other. The world is a better place when we learn to listen to each other. The ensemble is better when they learn to listen to everything around them. No one in this economy is too poor to pay attention during a rehearsal – especially when the benefit is making the ensemble play with greater awareness of expression and accuracy.
5) Have a band for all seasons. Not every student that enters my program wants to be in marching band. Some really don’t like concert band. Some enjoy small ensemble work more than large ensemble. We have maintained our success in part by providing avenues for performance and expression in ensembles of different types without departing and sacrificing the heritage of the American Wind and Concert Bands for which we are a part. Yes it means never having a non-busy season – but it also means less non-interested students.
6) Great moments are magical, take lots of work, and can happen all the time. Half-time shows. Adjudication/Contest. Festival auditions. Concerts. Sometimes it is hard to keep in perspective that those big moments are small snapshots of our ensembles’ and students’ growth and progress over the course of a year. If the process is good, the product will be. But in the moment when they happen and there is a perfect alignment of choice of music and talent of the group, the moments are magical. They are electrifying, uplifting, and inspiring. Celebrate that moment for what it is, when it is, with who happens to make it possible. The feeling created for the students is unquantifiable and worth every ounce of our focus, energy, and dedication as directors.
7) Put kids in the best possible position for success. Know your kids, know what they can do, and know what they don’t know. Know ways to help them know what they don’t know. Know why they should know it. It is not an art of mezzo-nothing teaching of mezzo-nothing literature. It requires thoughtful planning, evaluation, teaching, and modeling. If we are a family, then we should want what is best for each other, and we have their best interest as musicians and people in the forefront of our preparation.
No pressure, no diamonds. Sometimes at the start of the year our ensembles resemble lumps of coal – a little rough, a little dirty, and at face value not worth much. Given enough time, heat, and pressure (time, inspiration, and teaching) they are transformed into something that most people will agree is better to look at (listen to) and is more valuable. Truly, band directors work with clean coal technology every day. Those performances on our schedule give us a timetable to work towards that may increase or decrease the amount of pressure we apply to our “coal”.
9) Define your own success. Every band I have every year is different. While I say and teach the same principles and concepts each year, the change in personality and talent demands that I talk, instruct, and interact with groups a little different each year. That also means the goals I set every year are slightly different as well. Everything we approach and engage in is a learning experience – we learn about ourselves, we learn what we do well, we learn what we need to improve upon. We don’t chase trophies or plaques. We have standards in place that we hold ourselves accountable to, and we define our own success.
My thanks to Tad Greig and the Westminster College Wind Ensemble for their recording of “Rising Winds from the Valley”. The piece written for the Seneca Valley Freshmen Concert Band debuts tonight under the direction of good friends and colleagues Varden Armstrong and Bob Matchett. The piece is now available from Bandworks, alongside great music from Patrick J. Burns and Chris Bernotas!
I am very pleased to have received an Editor’s Choice for “Festival and Ballade for Winds”, a piece I wrote for the 2009 Pittsburgh Diocesan Honor Band. A recording should be up in the coming weeks at Wingert-Jones. Other new works coming this summer include “Moravian Dance” and “A West Highland Fanfare” from FJH, and “Siege of the Dark Castle” from Barnhouse.
I have some very exciting news about tomorrow, Monday, May 2nd! We have some incredible events occurring in the evening hours, and I want to extend to you an invitation to join us for these great initiatives. Check it out:iSchoolMusic Kickstarter Launch PartyYou may have heard of iSchoolBand before (Andy R has written about it), but tomorrow night, all your preconceptions will be thrown out the window! I am excited to announce that I have joined the iSchoolMusic team as they launch a Kickstarter campaign to raise funding for the project. If our project is fully funded, everyone will receive access to iSchoolMusic absolutely FREE for LIFE! Join us online tomorrow at 7pm EST for a live webcast of the Kickstarter Launch Party in Nashville by clicking this link (NOTE: Google Chrome not supported). Just after the launch party ends, hop on Twitter for a…Special Edition #MusEdChatI am thrilled to have a special edition #MusEdChat for this week’s chat. We are excited to welcome Leslie Denning, former public school teacher and author of the book How the West was Sung: The Story of the American Cowboy and His Songs. Leslie has been providing resources for Music Teachers for years, and is going to join us this week as the guest moderator for our chat. The discussion topic will be:What methods and procedures work best for engaging elementary general music students in singing?Be sure to stick around until the end of the chat, when Leslie will give away a free copy of her book! Hope to see you at these great events tomorrow night! Related posts:MusicEdNews.com Launches I am thrilled to announce the launch of MusicEdNews.com, a...Inaugural #MusEdChat I am extremely excited by the excitement that the announcement...#MusEdChat Recap – Summer Preparation (6-28-10) “Quite a few people spend the summer playing or performing...
I have written extensively on how I use Evernote to manage my daily life, and I hit a few times upon the fact that Evernote allows users to share any of their notebooks with the general public. I have taken the next step in my Evernote life by setting up my first such notebook, which I am excited to share with you today.There is so much great content out there. Between blog posts, web articles, books, recordings, and musical scores, it becomes difficult to keep track of all the “stuff” I want to consume. I have created a notebook, called “Things to Read” for lack of a more creative title, in which I am compiling all the books and scores I hope to purchase, the articles I plan to read, and the musical recordings I hope to hear. The notebook will be updated frequently with new content, and once I do read something on this list, I will remove it. This way, the notebook always only contains the most recent things on my mind.This is what my shared notebook looks like. Check it out!The notebook is publicly visible, and can be accessed at any time by clicking the link below. It is updated automatically when I make a change. Do you have any suggestions for books I should add to my reading list? Please leave them in a comment!Things to Read | Shared Evernote NotebookRelated posts:Evernote in Daily Life I have written many posts here on staying organized and productive (by setting...Evernote Series: A Primer I have written many posts here on staying organized and...Evernote for Student Teaching I have written many posts here on staying organized and productive (by setting...
I subscribe to 131 RSS feeds in my Google Reader, and in the past month have “read” over 2,500 feed entries. I say “read” because I generally skip over articles whose titles don’t interest me. I do, however, make it a point to read all the posts from some feeds I subscribe to, and the fantastic blog that Thomas J. West writes is one of those feeds. I came across an article Tom wrote this afternoon that sums up my feelings on the topic of Technology in Public Education, and wanted to share it.Tom (@thomasjwest on Twitter) is one of my favorite people in my PLN (Professional Learning Network). Another one of my favorites, Dr. Kathy Kerstetter (AKA @MiamiFlute), likes to discuss the concept of Technology in Education as a function of the digital natives (us young folk who grew up with technology) vs. the digital immigrants (educators who grew up without these technologies and needed to assimilate into the techie culture). I couldn’t agree more, and Tom also hits the nail on the head in his post:Back in 2004, I did a long-term substitute teaching job at a progressive school district in the Philadelphia area. During our in-service presentations that fall, we were showed how fast technology is progressing with demonstrations from Microsoft and Apple on innovations that were up-and-coming. The general message was, “Kids already use this stuff, and companies are looking for people who use it. You need to get on board!” This presentation seemed to have fallen on deaf ears, but now I understand that teachers simply don’t know how to incorporate technology into what they already do. Now, six years later, we are only beginning to incorporate technology into the classroom in ways that are effective and meaningful for students. It’s been a slow waking up process for everyone in public education, and even administrators didn’t know how to help teachers to move forward with this technology.Tom hits home with his last sentence, especially by pointing out that even the administrators don’t know how to help teachers educate themselves. Unfortunately, the fact of the matter is that this digital migration is going to have to wait until the teaching population is primarily digital natives. I just hope that education hasn’t fallen so far behind by that point that we can’t catch up…Read the rest of Tom’s article: How Public Education Is Playing Catch-Up With Technology and be sure to Subscribe to his blog for more great updates!Related posts:Music Education Professional Learning Network Opens to Public FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Music Education Professional Learning Network Opens to...November 2010 Music Education Blog Carnival It’s that time again! Welcome to the November 1, 2010...#MusEdChat Recap- Blogs/Podcasts/Wikis (6-21-10) “Blogging helps student musicians learn to think critically about their...