Five Great Online Tools For The New School Year

File-O-FaxAs the new school year opens I thought I would offer my top five picks for useful online tools to help you get organized as well as to find and retain the information you are looking for.  All of these sites are free (although some also have paid versions for additional features). 
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Music and Educational Technology Grants

As the school year begins anew here is a quick look at some useful educational grants for classrooms and teachers to apply for.  Most of them are tech related, but isn't everything these days?


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Finale 2009 First Impressions and Review

Finale 2009 BoxWhen I received my copy of Finale 2009 last week I was anxious to get started on doing an in depth review of it. Now that I have had few days to kick it around I am confident I can give you preliminary review of the newest music notation software product from MakeMusic. One that is not without its ups and downs.


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Finale 2009 Released

Finale 2009 Software BoxI am a big fan of both Sibelius and Finale and have done reviews on them here at MusicEdMagic in the past.  I recently received word that the newest version of Finale, Finale 2009 , is being released tomorrow, July 17th, 2008.  According to the press releases there are some nice sounding improvements to MakeMusic's flagship music notation software package, namely things like easier entry of expressions by simply dragging and dropping them into the score,several different playback enhancements to the sound library, and my personal favorite, easier creation of SmartMusic accompaniment files from ensemble scores!

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Music Quality of MP3 Recordings Can Have Negative Effect On Emotional Impact

Stereo PlugsThose that say that MP3 recordings of music have no soul may be more correct than they realize.  One of the things that makes music memorable is the emotional impact that it can have on a human being.  It turns out that compressing audio into MP3 format can actually strip out the pieces of the musical recording that help to initiate that emotional reaction in our brains turning a feast for the senses into little more than a metophorical hamburger and fries. 

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Duct Tape Lands Choir Trip Chaperones In Sticky Situation

Those of us who have spent many long semi-sleepless nights on band trips corraling hormonally challenged teenagers into their hotel rooms can take heart with this story.  Good old duct tape.  A million uses, several of which might get you sued...

Thanks to newsletter subscriber Rich Nicklay for bringing this one to my attention! 

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Virtual Classrooms Train Teachers About Discipline

Classroom DisciplineImagine a preparatory teacher classroom where a beginning teacher could actively learn how to deal with classroom discipline problems without the risk of "damaging" a student's academic or emotional abilities.  Every teacher has made a mistake in the classroom where they say something they shouldn't have by responding to a student sarcastically or by losing their self control and yelling.  The problem for beginning teachers is that until now there has been no real way to practice such classroom management techniques without putting themselves directly into a classroom.  Now, thanks to a research project between Lockheed Martin and the University of Central Florida teachers may one day be able to learn how to deal with classroom discipline problems without ever coming within earshot of a real student. 

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Talent That Can Make A Grown Man Cry

Boy Singing on British IdolI ran across this video this evening while preparing other articles for the site.  The film is of a very brave thirteen year old boy striding out onto the British version of American Idol and in front of thousands of live audience members and millions at home, singing what can only be described as an incredible performance of Pie Jesu.  This kid is scared to death, but it only makes you wonder what he could do if he wasn't.  Such talent, and yet he is so humble.  Check it out!


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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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