A March Madness Tournament Style Practice Incentive Idea

Tournament Style Practice Incentive for Music Ed Programs

Need a fun, seasonally appropriate motivation tool to help keep your students practicing? Although it works best if you do this during March to coincide with March Madness there's no reason why you can't use it at any time of the year. Special thanks to Elaine Menke, 5th and 6th grade band director at North Polk Community School District for passing this idea along. She uses this tool each year with her students but it works just as well with pianists or almost any music studio setup.

The Classroom Recording Studio- Building Your Studio

Recording Studio microphones

Scott's Valley is an excellent example of what an educational recording studio curriculum can look like in a secondary school setting but teachers don't have to go that far in order to reap the benefits that even a small studio can provide. Teachers can turn a modest investment in equipment into a recording studio that will meet a wide variety of needs. Richard McCreedy, music technology teacher at River Hill High School in Clarksville, MD and Dennis Mauricio, music technology teacher at Hilltop High School in Chula Vista, CA are two such teachers with a wide range of ideas and experiences to share on the topic.

The Classroom Recording Studio

Woman singing in a recording studio

No one can deny the benefits that recording our soloists and ensembles can provide. From an educational standpoint recordings of rehearsals and performances can provide many different opportunities for critical evaluation and enhanced learning in the classroom. Those same recordings can often be used as public relations, marketing, and fundraising tools as well. However, there are others who think of a classroom recording studio as much more than a way to record and listen to student performances. Some see it as an educational class all to itself. The growth of digital music distribution has garnered a related growth in the recording fields, pushing recording and audio engineering classes to be created at community colleges and universities all over the country. A few secondary schools are also picking up on this and beginning to offer classes in these areas wherein the students walk away with a certificate in the recording arts as well as an extensive portfolio of their own work to show to potential colleges and employers.

The Classroom Recording Studio- Suggested Equipment

Recording studio mixer

You don't have to have high end recording gear to create a decent classroom recording studio setup. Here are some suggested places to start:

How To Get Your Ensemble On Disc

Blank CD-R discs

Having a professionally produced CD or DVD of a significant performance can be a great way to bolster the pride and prestige of any performing arts organization.  Whether the recordings are produced as mementos of an event or as discs to be sold as a fundraiser getting the recording reproduced in large quantities can be a complicated process.  We spoke to Tim Anderson, Orchestra Director at Autrey Mill Middle School in Johns Creek, GA, and  Ted Henderson,  Dean of Visual and Performing Arts, Alum Rock School District, San Jose, CA to get some help in understanding the process of taking your ensemble‚Äôs recording from plastic to platinum.

Teaching and Using Recording Technology in the Music Classroom

A recording microphone

I was sorting through my old Google Drive documents the other day and realized that over the years I had done a lot of writing related to the topic of teaching with and using recording devices in the music classroom.  Some of these articles were published here on MusicEdMagic but many more of them were originally written for the tech column in NAfME's Teaching Music magazine.  Until recently, due to copyright agreements, I had been unable to publish them on MusicEdMagic.  Now however, thanks to a very helpful and gracious agreement with NAfME I am now able to republish some of these articles in their original unedited form.  Over the next few weeks I will repost a few of these articles that directly relate to topics such as selecting recording devices, using them to increase student achievement, setting up classroom recording studios, and teaching basic recording skills to your students.  

New Documentary On Inner City Music Ed Needs Your Help

Movie Clapboard

There are many great, inspirational music advocacy videos out there. Why we should have music in the schools, why all kids should have access to music education, etc. A new documentary film, currently slated to hit the festival circuit in 2014 titled Some Kind of Spark is one that didn't set out to be an advocacy video but does so anyway. The documentary follows the young musical lives of seven inner city kids from New York that are just beginning their musical journey by being accepted to the Julliard School's Music Advancement Program. From what I have seen the video looks like it will be very inspirational and a great way to advocate for the necessity of music education programs.

Techno Bling On The Marching Drum Corps Scene

Drumline Video Capture

Kudos to my wife for finding this video, apparently passed on to her by another music teacher friend, who found it from another friend, etc. etc.  In any case the video is quite impressive.  At first I was like, oh, thanks honey, an indoor marching band video (like I haven't seen a lot of those in my time..) plus the hats and knee length pants made me think it was just an old drum corps video from ten or fifteen years ago.  Then I actually watched it and about halfway through it hooked me.  Nothing like a little LED sound activated bling on Pearl marching snares to make me take a second look.  

In case you are wondering it is a Scottish drum corps called Top Secret.


Easy Clarinet Sheet Music For Free

Free Clarinet Sheet Music List

If you are looking for some easy to play, beginner level clarinet sheet music for free the list below might have just what you need.  All of the over 80 free sheet music files on MusicEdMagic are written in keys that are easy for almost any clarinetist to play as long as they have had at least a few months of dedicated instruction on the instrument.  The clarinet sheet music found on MusicEdMagic is listed in several categories from Christmas and sacred, to folk music, patriotic music, and more.  Use the listing below to find what you need and if something is missing be sure to send us a message and we may be able to arrange it for use in the future.

Weezic Augmented Sheet Music App Review

Sax player

SmartMusic has yet another competitor in the intelligent assessment space with the introduction of the Weezic Augmented Sheet Music app for iPad. The app listens to you as you play and marks the notes correct or incorrect, all while keeping a running total of your score at the bottom of the page. It's a free app, but this very early release has a very limited number of songs available, and not all the instruments in a traditional wind ensemble (the poor trombones never get any love). Is Weezic worth the bits it takes to download? Read on to find out.

Music Advocacy- First Tell No Lies

Music education programs across the country are coming under fire during tough economic times.  In every corner of every state booster organizations and music education advocates are tuning up to try to save their local band, choir, orchestra, and general music programs.  In order to provide a powerful, positive defence of why music should be in the schools we have to have powerful, valid arguments for why it is important.  The problem is that some of the commonly held assumptions about music education are no longer valid.

When going before a school board and pleading a case for your local music program you have to have solid, verifiable facts, preferably with numbers showing your data is relevant the local issue.  This article focuses on one of the more popular myths and assumptions about music education that may actually weaken an argument rather than strengthen it.

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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

    Real 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
    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

    Real 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...
    www.musicedmagic.comReal 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...


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