Guitar Hero To Use Real Instruments?

Guitar HeroI often mention Guitar Hero in my blog posts.  Not because I am fascinated with the game so much as I am fascinated with the hold that it has on my band students.  Students that I can't get to practice for ten minutes on their clarinet will instead play for hours at a time on Guitar Hero Garage Band.  Many times I have lamented that if only Activision would do something to incorporate REAL instruments into the franchise that music educators would stand up and beat a path to their door.  Well, it may be time to start lining up! 

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Mac Users Unite For Science

Red LightThis may be a little off topic for a music education site, but since so many music educators also are avid Macintosh fanatics I thought it might be fun to post it anyway.  Considering the recent Illinois earthquake it seems a little timely to show how people with a mac computer can now help to analyze the jolts from the next big earthquake.


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The Habits of Musicianship- Initial Reactions

Music ImageAt the 2008 MENC Conference I was able to attend a session given by Robert Duke of the University of Texas at Austin and James Byo of Louisiana State University regarding a new instrumental band method book that they have been working on over the last several years.  Since the conference the method has been getting some significant attention on the MENC message boards from teachers who are looking for something new and innovative to replace the old, traditional method books that have been used in our classes for decades.   What is making The Habits Of Musicianship generate such a buzz?  Maybe it is because many of the premises behind it make so much sense.  Maybe it is because the progression of activities in the book is completely different than almost any other method book out there.  Of course, it could also be that "The Habits of Musicianship- A Radical Approach To Beginning Band " is radical in that it is FREE for use by anyone that chooses to download it! 

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Recording Sound On Paper and Stone

An antique record playerFor over a hundred years school children have been taught that Thomas Edison was the first person to make a viable audio recording.   Well, get ready to do some revising of the history books...

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The Wind Repertory Project

Music RepertoryI have seen many different online wind band music information sites come and go over the years.  When I was a grad student I even made one myself as part of a class project.  Of course, it died as all the rest have as a result of an apparent lack of interest by the music education community as a whole.  Today I was informed of a new site that in my opinion may have the ability to break free and survive in the long term.  Organized and edited by dozens of collegiate faculty and graduate students, the new Wind Repertory Project may provide what many band directors have wanted for a long time.  A comprehensive, useful source for information on a large variety of wind band literature.  Read on to find out more!


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Pranks Against Teachers: The Teachers Fight Back

Angry teacherWe have all heard the stories of teachers being goated into losing their temper in class by students whose motives were to record the event and then upload it to YouTube for the entire world to see.  Some of these stories are not pretty, some are incredibly mean, and others are enough to make a teacher give up on the profession alltogether.  An arguement could be made in some cases that these teachers allowed themselves to get to this stage through poor classroom management or through inadequate preparation or training.  That is not and should not be the point, however.  No matter how it is spun, such an attack on any teacher goes beyond being a simple student vs. teacher prank.  Luckily some school districts and local communities have seen the light to defend their teachers and take serious actions against students that would be so blantantly evil. 

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Musical Oddities and Strange Songs

computerIf you enjoy hearing about strange and interesting new pieces of music read on to find out about the latest piece discovered on YouTube by Professor Joe Pisano.


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Think Your Kids Have Discipline Problems? Try These Instead!

JailAs music educators (and educators in general) we will all complain about discipline issues in our classes.  Perhaps there is one student that just drives you nuts, or one that spends more time in the office than in his chair.  Take heart music educators, it could be worse.  What if you were teaching music in a prison?


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Student Incentive Programs Revisited

A Gold MedalThis week I thought I would do a little mash up of some of the most interesting articles and blog posts from other music educators that I happened to find recently. My interest in reading these various bloggers was fostered by the continued dedication to the cause set forth by Joe Pisano and his 100 ME Bloggers campaign. His efforts have met with some great success. Here is one of ...

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Travel Troubles: Leave Your Laptop At Home

Laptop ComputerDeparting a bit from music education for a moment I wanted to share some information I received today regarding international travel and problems people are having bringing technology across the border.  Specifically having to do with laptops, the US customs service is apparently taking the position that a laptop is the same thing as luggage and should be open to being searched (giving them your passwords, etc).  For any teacher getting ready to take an international band or choir trip (or a personal one) you may want to read on to save yourself a whole lot of headaches and humiliation.


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Music's Place In Our Schools: Schools Districts Work To Bring Back The Fine Arts

Girl Playing GuitarMusic educators have complained about the small amount of instructional time they are given during the school day for as long as music has been incorporated into the curriculum.  How severe this misallocation of time is varies between school districts and even more widely between the individual states, but no one can deny that No Child Left Behind compounded this negative effect on music and fine arts class time.  Recently however, we have seen several examples of school districts that have realized the vital part that music education plays in the education of their students.  These forward thinking schools are trying very hard to find ways to bring back or increase the amount of music instruction in their schools.  This article examines a few of these forward thinking districts and their conventional wisdom breaking ideas.

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