Music Education, Technology, and The New NAfME Standards

Audio Editing Software Screenshot

By the time our students reach the upper grades most schools see dwindling interest and enrollment in music education classes. Even in schools with strong music programs it is not uncommon to see 20% or less of the student body enrolled in music classes of any kind.  As has been discussed in previous technology articles here in Teaching Music, many teachers are trying to counteract that trend by offering classes that appeal to our student’s intrinsic need to create and perform through the use of technological tools.  Software programs such as Sequel, GarageBand, Pro Tools, MixCraft, Abelton Live, and many others are being used in a wide variety of these new classroom offerings, breaking down the psychological and educational barriers that had once closed this majority of students out of secondary school music programs entirely.

 

The Slick Slide Guide- Trombone Slide Lubrication

A Tenor Slide Trombone

When compared to the complexities of the mechanics of other instruments, maintenance and repair of the slide trombone is often overlooked.  Having a slide that glides quickly and smoothly is of paramount importance to the enjoyment and development of young trombonists.  Being able to make minor repairs and to show how to keep a slide properly lubricated and maintained is an essential part of being a good teacher of the instrument. 

Rhythm Calculator App Update Adds Value and Features

Main Interface of Rhythm Calculator

When I first saw Rhythm Calculator many months ago I was impressed with the idea and was intrigued to see how it might be used with students who struggle with reading complex rhythms. Today the company is releasing an update to the app that adds several useful features that make it even more valuable as a teaching aid and as a tool for almost any musician. Read on to find out more!

Ear Beater Ear Trainer for iPad

EarBeater is a new, very extensive ear training app for the iPad that goes far beyond the capabilities of most apps in the category, especially in terms of depth of instruction and evaluation. What makes it so useful? Read on to find out!

Drum Pants- A Band In Your Pocket

Drumpants iOS Interface

So who doesn't have a drummer or two in their bands that are constantly drumming on their legs, table, or anything they can in absense of a pair of sticks?  Here's a cool Kickstarter project (that is already funded) that is a perfect match for people that just can't stop playing.  

Drum Guru App for iPad

Snare Drum

If you're a drummer or if you teach drummers at the middle or high school levels you might want to take a closer look at a cool app for the iPad called Drum Guru. What does it do? It's a collection of videos and written out drum set patterns that you can use to learn and practice new techniques. The app itself is a freebie and it comes with seven sample lessons. Additional lesson packs are available for $3.99 each through in-app purchases.

Neuratron Releases Free Version of NotateMe Music Notation App

NotateMe App Logo

I've written about Neuratron's great new NotateMe app for Android and iOS in past articles here at MusicEdMagic.  For those that aren't aware it's a new handwriting recognition app that translates your own hand drawn music notes into clean, professional looking music notation that can then be printed or downloaded as a MusicXML file for use in other music notation programs.  My only real problem with the app was that it was so expensive.  Well, I received word from Neuratron that a new version called NotateMe Now has already been released on the Android store and is awaiting approval from Apple over the next few days.  The NotateMe Now app only lets you write on a single stave, but from a music education perspective this is going to be perfect for use in class especially since it comes at the low low price of FREE!  

Connecting With Your Local Music Retailer

Guitars on sale in a music store

If you truly want to enjoy your job as a teacher you have to have a strong network of people around you that look out for each others interests. In a school setting we think of this as being other teachers, our administrators, and in some cases extending out to our students and parental organizations. There is another group of people out there that are also working hard to make sure you succeed. They may not be directly tied to your school or your ensembles, but their success is directly tied to your success. Those people are the music retailers and shop owners in our communities that provide us with the music, supplies, instruments, and specialized services that are a vital part of making music in both public and private school and they can help you in many ways you may not have been aware of.

 

Exceptional Resources For Teaching About Copyright In The Classroom

Sheet Music Score

Teaching our students about copyright law and fair use is not something we probably enjoy spending time on but it is, nonetheless something we need to do. Here are a few useful resources for teaching music students about the concept of copyright and how it applies to the use of musical compositions both in the classroom and at home.

Check Out These Free Music Styled Text and Image Fonts

Free Music Fonts

I was digging for a font the other day to use with a PowerPoint presentation when I came across a very useful resource for music educators. Chances are that you already know about the Maestro font that Finale and similar music notation products use to display music noteheads on the screen, but did you know that there are many more music themed fonts that you can use for free on posters, handouts, and many more?

Social Media and Communication In The Music Classroom

Social Media-Photo by ePublicist- http://www.flickr.com/photos/epublicist/

There was a time, not so long ago, that having a web site for your music program was considered cutting edge communication technology.  Today though, over forty years after the birth of the Internet and in this age of instant information, having a simple, static web site just don’t seem to be adequate any more.  The growth of text messaging and sites like Twitter, Facebook, and others have changed the way we communicate.  At the same time our increased usage of smart phones and other mobile devices means that people are beginning to expect more from us than a simple static HTML web page.  To really get our message out we have to be willing to get a little more social.

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