Social Media and Communication In The Music Classroom

Social Media-Photo by ePublicist-

There was a time, not so long ago, that having a web site for your music program was considered cutting edge communication technology.  Today though, over forty years after the birth of the Internet and in this age of instant information, having a simple, static web site just don’t seem to be adequate any more.  The growth of text messaging and sites like Twitter, Facebook, and others have changed the way we communicate.  At the same time our increased usage of smart phones and other mobile devices means that people are beginning to expect more from us than a simple static HTML web page.  To really get our message out we have to be willing to get a little more social.

GarageBand For iPad Goes FREE! But There's A Catch...

A GarageBand Project- Photo courtesy of

Recently Apple decided to make GarageBand a free app for the iPad.  While this may seem like an awesome deal don't get too happy about it until you take a closer look.  Apple, like so many other software companies, has adopted the freemium model for Garageband.  What once cost $5 for all the bells and whistles is now free, but there is a BIG catch.

Neuratron's Awesome NotateMe App For iOS and Android

NotateMe App Logo

Neuratron is known for their Photoscore software that many people use to scan music and convert it into a music file that can be read by Sibelius, Finale, and other music notation programs. Now they have come out with an incredibly useful and handy app that does much the same thing on the iPad, iPhone, and Android devices. NotateMe takes hand written music, made with your finger or a stylus on your device's screen, and instantly changes it into a form than can be printed, edited, or exported to a music notation program. While this is pretty cool by itself the features they have planned down the road blow make it almost indispensable.

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MusOpen Project Seeks To Record All of Chopin's Works

Chopin and Dellacriox - Wikipedia Commons is pressing forward with a campaign to professionally record over 240 of Chopin’s works.  When it is done you’ll be able to download all of them from their site, possibly for free!  Read on to find out more about this unique project and why it is so important to the music education community.


A Teachers FAQ On The New SmartMusic

SmartMusic Per User Login Info

With all of the new changes in SmartMusic including the new iPad app they released last winter I have been confused as to how exactly things are going to work for my students this fall with SmartMusic's change to a new per-user login system. I asked a bunch of questions to the SmartMusic guru's from a list of my own personal frequently asked questions about SmartMusic and how subscriptions will work between multiple computers or portable devices.  Some of these answers may be explained in other places, but it took me so long to find the answers that I finally decided to write them all up in one place to hopefully help out any other teachers that are struggling with this.  SmartMusic is a powerful program, but it does not always work the way you might expect it to. 

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Zoom Releases New H6 Digital Audio Recorder

The Zoom H6 With mid-side microphone capsule

I've long been a fan of Zoom's handheld digital audio recording products.  My personal favorite, the H4n is currently one of the most popular products on the market.  Now Zoom has released the new H6 model with an impressive array of upgrades and flexibility of uses that may just wind up overthrowing their own top dog product.  Is the H6 worth the extra cash in return for the extra bells and whistles?  Read on to find out my take on this cool new digital audio product.

Using YouTube In The Music Classroom

YouTube Logo

The growth of YouTube is changing the way many teachers incorporate video presentations into their curriculum. No longer is it necessary to purchase or maintain a large collection of DVD's or music files as the vast majority of that same content can now be found online with just a simple web search. We spoke to Tom Rudolph, former director of music at Haverford Township School District in Havertown, PN and the author of the book YouTube in Music Education to get his insight into how YouTube and other online video sites can help us improve and expand on the educational opportunities we provide to our classrooms.

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Preventing Hearing Loss In Music Teachers and Other Music Professionals Through Technology

Hearing Protection for Musicians

A musician's ears are the most important sensory organ they possess yet every day music students and their teachers irreparably damage that precious resource while participating in common everyday activities. We spoke with Mead Killion, Chief Technology Officer and founder of Entymotic Research and Joseph Pisano, Associate Chair of Fine Arts at Grove City College to dig into the realities of hearing loss by musicians and how we can use these tools effectively while still protecting our student's hearing as well as our own.


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Was Somebody Singing? The Extraterrestrial Music Education Advocacy Event Nobody Knew About

Is Somebody Singing- The Extraterrestrial Music Concert That No One Seemed To Know About

At some point in the past year you have probably heard about space station commander Chris Hadfield, the first Canadian to command the station and also apparently a very good guitar player and singer.  His cover of the song Space Oddity by David Bowie has already had over twelve million views on YouTube.  But did you know that back in February he did a music education event with the Barenaked Ladies music group of a song called Is Somebody Singing (I.S.S. for short)?  His space to earth performance of that song was broadcast in a way such as to allow bands and choirs all over the world to play along with it as a part of what some billed as the world's largest concert.  More importantly it was a very novel way to encourage and advocate for music education in the schools.  The bad thing though is that if you are like me, you totally missed it!  

Not to worry, you can still listen, watch, and perform the piece with your own ensemble, if you know where to look.  Read on to find out more and download the music to I.S.S. for use with your own band.

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Instructional Practices Inventory (IPI) Evals vs. Music Education

Defending  Music Education  Classes & Rehearsals Against Unprepared  IPI Evaluators

I recently heard some horror stories of a music teacher receiving poor Instructional Practices Inventory scores from the other teachers during weekly observations of the teacher's ensemble rehearsal classes.  For those not familiar with it IPI is a method many schools are currently using to evaluate instructional practices in teaching as they relate to students using the higher levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy.  If you are already a music educator then you know that what we do is completely encompassed within the top levels of Bloom’s.  Music education classrooms consistently use many of the best instructional practices, very rarely sliding down the pyramid of Bloom’s except in pedagogical cases where prerequisite knowledge of music notation and other musical topics is required.  When we are performing there are very few other subjects that keep students thinking at the analysis and evaluation levels of Bloom’s as consistently as we do.

This then brings back the question of why on earth was this teacher’s peers grading him in a way that he perceived to be below the true level of engagement?  It turns out they were saying that his rehearsals only ranked a 3 or 4 on the scale because they were “Teacher Led Instruction” rather than “Student Active Engaged Learning.”  Conversely in another case he was given the highest marks possible when the observers noted that his students (who had not practiced) were essentially sight reading their lesson material.  In blessed irony it was decided that that session was scored as being very high on the IPI scale because essentially “they were reading something new for the first time.”  

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Flipping The Music Education Classroom

Flipping The Music Ed Classroom

The concept of the flipped classroom is growing in popularity across the country as more and more schools adopt the common core. While we in music education are probably more "flipped" than most other classrooms we still resort to a traditional model where a teacher essentially lectures, demonstrates, then tells the student to go practice and come back in a week to prove they have learned it. That's not exactly the same thing...

In a flipped classroom the teacher acts primarily as a moderator, providing activities that help the student learn on his or her own. In essence, letting the student teach himself and thereby master the material more fully. How do we break with hundreds of years of tradition and "flip" our music education classroom to be more student centered? For many people it may require that we also flip our expectations of what we need to do in small group and private instrument lessons.

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  • An example of why we need to teach music and arts education in our schools:

    The Global Search for Education: The Master – Renée FlemingPosted By C. M. Rubin on Nov 19, 2013 “Study after study has shown that arts education develops students’ creativity and problem-solving skills, attributes that are crucial for success in almost any field.” — Renée FlemingL to R Vera Kahn,…
    www.cmrubinworld.comThe Global Search for Education: The Master – Renée FlemingPosted By C. M. Rubin on Nov 19, 2013 “Study after study has shown that arts education develops students’ creativity and problem-solving skills, attributes that are crucial for success in almost any field.” — Renée FlemingL to R Vera Kahn,…

  • Hey music teachers, download a free, complete, beginning band method book to use with your students this fall.

    A new band method called Sound Fundamentals is being provided for free. Print it or use it on a tablet with all of your beginning band students!
    www.musicedmagic.comA new band method called Sound Fundamentals is being provided for free. Print it or use it on a tablet with all of your beginning band students!


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