Improving Flute Tone In Beginning Musicians

Flute player with music

A very common problem for many beginning flutists is the issue of being able to get a good, solid tone on the head joint but then losing that tone when playing on the fully assembled flute. The frustration that accompanies this problem often makes the already challenging task of learning the initial fingerings even more difficult as the student often cannot tell whether it is their lip or their fingers that are the cause of the problem. To learn how to fix this tone quality issue we spoke to Emily Osby, music teacher at Stevens Point Area Public School District to learn some straight forward ways to help young flutists have a better chance at success.

Free Patriotic Sheet Music Solos For Your Kids

Patriotic American flags

July is nearly here and what a better way to keep your kids (and music students) practicing over the summer than to get them to play a little patriotic music for the family at your next gathering!  Be forewarned, a lot of the composers who wrote many of the most familiar American patriotic songs did not really have beginners in mind when they wrote them.  Most of these pieces are playable by beginners after about one year of training, and whenever possible I rewrote them a bit to make their easy enough for my 6th grade band classes to play.  Here is the full listing of United States patriotic songs that we have available here at MusicEdMagic:


Infographic for Encouraging People To Pursue A Music Ed Career

Musics Next Step Poster

How many of you went to college, majored in music, and felt like you didn't have a clue what was going on for the first two years?  Theory?  Aural Training?  What the heck are those things?  As a group we tend to send students off to college woefully unprepared for what awaits them.  As any music major can attest to there is a huge difference between what most of us were taught in high school and what we were expected to learn about in the first few years of college.  Wouldn't it have been nice if someone had REALLY prepared us for what was ahead?  

Someone did!

I'm happy to share this one with all of you as it comes from my very own state music association.  The Iowa High School Music Association released a cool poster infographic titled Music's Next Step that helps lay out the steps a student should consider if they are seriously considering pursuing a career in music education.  Download it, print it, and put it up in your room this fall.  Better yet, have all of your music teachers from 5-12 do the same.  The more that potential music students see this kind of thing the more likely they will be to make some good, informed decisions about the future education and career plans.

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3 New and Cool Online Music Practice and Accompaniment Tools


When it comes to interactive online practice solutions you don’t have a whole lot of choices for your students, especially when something like SmartMusic plays the part of the 300 pound gorilla in the room.  But a few online sites are trying their best to make online practice sessions an attractive option for young beginning musicians, and some of them might just fit your particular educational situation.  Here’s a rundown of some of the most recent and promising online music practice applications available.

ScoreCloud Studio Music Notation Software Review

A recent and interesting entry to the field of music notation software programs is ScoreCloud.  Available for both Mac and Windows ScoreCloud presents itself as more than just a point and click notation tool, in fact their biggest selling point appears to be the ease of which you can sing or play notes into the program using either the ScoreCloud desktop app or the free ScoreCloud Express iOS app.  In both cases ScoreCloud promises to record audio of you performing a line of music and transcribe that music into notes on the staff without needing to know the tempo or time signature of the music you are playing.  Is it too good to be true?  Read on to find out.

Blue Microphones Spark Digital Review


Up until now, like most musicians, I have had a bias toward using traditional XLR microphones when making recordings of myself or of my ensembles.  After taking the Blue Microphones Spark for a test drive this week though I am now rethinking that assumption, especially when doing direct to PC recording sessions.  The Spark has just as much clarity of sound as it does of design, and if you are in the market for a new solo mic for use with vocals, an instrument, or for podcasting it definitely warrants a closer look.  Read on to find out why.

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.  

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