Woodwind/Brasswind Big Clearance Sale

Acoustic BassLooks like the Woodwind and Brasswind is holding a big year end clearance sale on a lot of their accessories and intermediate/pro line instruments.  Pretty nice deals from what I saw there, espeically on mouthpieces and used instruments.  

New Method Book From Focus On Music

Scale and Rhythm Chunks Book CoverThe guys over at Focus On Music have just released a new set of method books called Scale and Rhythm Chunks that are designed to provide a systematic approach to improving fingerings and other skills.  From the Chunks press release:


Each "Chunk" exercise is short enough that directors can easily evaluate each student quickly and effectively and students can easily "digest" new information. This affords students the opportunity to have frequent assessments to help them develop good habits for performance during the earlier stages of development.


Scale and Rhythm Chunks is the perfect tool for every developing player.  The books are designed so that students will be motivated to take home their books and learn new notes, rhythms, dynamics and articulations on their own in a simple and straight-forward way.  It can provide remedial help for learners who need more time to develop and provide extremely high goals for your advanced learners in need of a challenge. 

 For more information visit them over at the Focus On Music web site.

MakeMusic Announces Free Finale Notepad 2012 and Viewer for iPad

Finale Viewer For iPad Screen ShotMakeMusic announced today that their upcoming release of Finale Notepad 2012 will once again be a free download beginning on February 15th just as it was back in 2008.  No real details on the new version are available and I have not yet seen the finished product, but it looks as though the features and capabilities of Finale Notepad 2012 will be roughly the same as in past versions.  

Alternative Ways To Help Challenging Band Students

Flute Player Playing InstrumentAnyone that has taught band, orchestra, or any instrument based music class has doubtless had students that can only be described as challenged when it comes to playing their instrument. I’m firmly in the camp that almost every student can learn to play an instrument if they have positive experiences and if they are dedicated to practicing, but we all know that there are other issues that come into play that can wreck even the most brilliant teacher’s plans. Regardless of what those outside stresses might be there are a few things that any teacher should consider before they allow themselves to discount a student’s potential. These are tricks that I have used that I have had success with.

Essential iPad Apps For Encouraging Musical Creativity

Seline HD iPad App IconThe iPad is an incredible device when it comes to helping children express themselves in new ways.  When used with some equally creative iPad apps it opens up a host of new possibilities not only for creativity but also for personal expression and musical learning.  Check out this week’s featured list of iPad apps that are essential tools of the trade for your young Mozart in training.

The Best Free Online Metronomes

It seems like almost every day I find myself giving my beginning band students a recommendation of a free online metronome for them to use at home as they practice. A real one or even a mobile phone app is almost essential for any musician but the online variety works equally well, especially when faced with the financial issues many music parents have these days.  If you know where to look you can even find online metronomes that do complex rhythm patterns and have most of the features of the expensive hand held units.  So what free ones do I consider the best?  Check out this quick list to find out and then bookmark your favorite.


Another Reason Music Education Has To Change

MoneyRecently I saw the results of a study by Kenneth Alpus and Carlos Abril (2011) on the current demographics of instrumental music students in our high schools.  To put the results simply, males, non native English speakers, Hispanics, and low income students were much less likely to stay in instrumental music into their high school years, if they even participated in them at all.  A free analysis of the study is available over at Science Daily.   A similar study of middle school students by Daryl W. Kinney (2009) found many of the same generalities in that students from higher income families and two parent households were more likely to join and stay in the band program through the end of middle school.  In light of this maybe it is easier to see and understand why enrollment in United States high school music classes have fallen to around 20% nationally while at the same time over 40% of Americans could be classified as being “low income.”

New Fusion iPad Gig Bags For Musicians

Fusion iPad Gig BagI’ve always been a fan of the Fusion line of music instrument bags since they first came out in the US several years ago.  Now their new Micro Workstation Bag (AKA iPad Bag) is set to make me a fan once again. Read on for the full video review and to find out why this might be just the right iPad bag for you.

Did The Idea of Stereo Sound Begin In Venice 400 Years Ago?

Basillica AltarThink that the concept of stereophonic music began with the invention of modern recording technology?  In past years scientists have travelled to places like the Rosslyn Chapel to discover that stone carvings in the walls actually represent the visual representation of the tones in an ancient motet.  A team led by music technology student at New York University named Braxton Boren has converged in Venice and believe that the churches and the Basillica of San Marco display architecture that was contructed specifically to make the wealthy dignitaries be able to hear the music of the choir in stereo.

Will A Guitar Class Kill My Band Program?

Snare drum with standI just came from listening to a keynote at the Iowa Music Educators Conf. By NAfME President Scott Shuler and in many ways was blown away by what I heard...  And a little scared too.  It brought up something that I have noticed more and more in doing my research for the tech articles in Teaching Music.  The reality is that traditional music education is changing, and perhaps now more than ever it needs to.  At the same time it seems as though we music teachers are doing the profession a disservice by resisting that change.    In any given school you have a choir, a band, and/or an orchestra.  The problem is that society and students have changed so much that these ensembles no longer attract students the way they once did.  You want to play guitar?  OK, here's a trumpet!

I read about and talk to teachers all over the United States that tell me of their district's guitar programs or mariachi ensembles that complement their own bands or other music technology classes and it seems so foreign to me, yet also so very logical.  The thing is that as a band director I am personally scared a little about the idea of guitar classes or mariachi bands becoming a curricular subject.  Thanks to budget cuts band directors and music teachers no longer feel the strong sense of job security that we had grown to take for granted.  Now, all that many band directors can think of is that  if their band enrollment drops as a result of these alternative ensembles pulling away their students then there are even fewer reasons to keep the band guy around.  

SoundTree Opens New Online Professional Development Site


SoundTree Institute LogoFinding useful, topical professional development courses for music educators has always been a problem.  Few districts devote any professional development resources to our specific area of teaching, leaving teachers to go out of their way to find useful, meaningful classes that assist them in their own classrooms.  SoundTree seems to be trying to fix that problem by providing a new opportunity for teachers and musicians called the SoundTree Institute.   This new site seems aimed at finding ways to let teachers get training and information on many of the technology tools that we are now using in our classrooms.

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  • Newly posted- Music Education, Technology, and The New NAfME Standards: Real teachers share their music tech secrets http://t.co/Kb6WF6KIXD

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    ow.lyReal world classroom examples of how some of the best music teachers are using technology to reach the 80% of students that drop out of music by high school

  • Newly posted- Music Education, Technology, and The New NAfME Standards: Real teachers share their music tech secrets http://ow.ly/uflTS

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