Is Marching Band A Sport? Pros, Cons, and a Reality Check

Bluecoats Marching Band

In recent years the question of whether or not marching band is a sport has been brought up time and time again for various reasons and by various groups.  On one side you have the YES crowd who says that marching band is competitive, physically demanding, and every bit as much a team event as any traditional sporting event.  On the other side of the coin are those who say no, that marching band is NOT a sport and it is a musical pursuit that happens to involve coordinated movements.  Both sides are right, but to make a final decision we need to look deeper into the facts.  Read on to find out what they are!

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The Best Tech Tools That I Use In My Music Education Classroom

An old phonograph turntable.  Not an example of what I use these days.

Last week I had the opportunity to present a session for the Heartland AEA's monthly Technology in the Classroom program.  While the room was rather slim for music teachers in particular (the mornings sessions were dedicated to fine arts and PE in general) I still got a bit of a laugh when people realized what the title of the presentation meant.  I called it "No! You Can't Call It A #Hashtag!"  If you don't get the joke just think about it for a bit. :)  

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A Review of StaffWars Live for iPad and iPhone

StaffWars Live Screen Shot- iOS

As anyone who reads my blog knows I am an avid fan of the StaffWars note ID training software products made by  I’ve used their PC/Mac versions for years, and was happy when a few years ago they came out with an iOS version of Staff Wars.  I was always hoping that they would also come out with a new version of StaffWars 2 which added the ability to have the student actually play the note on their instrument rather than just touching the answer on the screen.  Now they have released StaffWars Live which brings this live performance oriented feature onto the iPad and iPhone.  Mostly...  Why do I say mostly?  Read the rest of this review of StaffWars Live to find out. 

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The Best Free Music Editor Apps For PC 2016

Free Music Editor Screenshot- ProTools

Once you have your music recorded the job has just begun.  Very rarely is a recording perfect the first time, and even when it may seem to be a good one there are always things that can be tweaked a bit in a music editor app.  Luckily there are dozens of different audio editing programs to choose from, but here we are going to focus on what most people in the industry consider to be the best free music editor apps for the PC.  Read on to find out more. 

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EarMaster Pro 6 Review

EarMaster Pro 6 box shot

Ear training was never my strong suit in college.  Granted that was twenty years ago but even today I still can’t easily recognize certain chords by ear and transcribing melodies is sometimes an exercise in patience (and frustration).  To try to refresh my abilities in this regard I gave a solid try at using the new EarMaster Pro 6 ear training software program to see if I was really as bad I thought I was.  If you are looking for an easy way to drill and practice ear training concepts like intervals, scales, chords, and melodic and rhythmic dictation then read on for my full review.

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Improving Saxophone Tone

Two Saxophone Players

What exactly are the most important parts of producing a good saxophone sound?  Get advice from Scott Turpen, Professor of Saxophone at the University of Wyoming in this article that originally ran in the October 2015 issue of Teaching Music Magazine.

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Yamaha SILENT Brass Review

Yamaha SILENT Brass Trumpet Mute and System

Yamaha’s SILENT Brass series of products is a set of trumpet, french horn, and trombone mutes that when used properly allow the performer to listen to themselves while practice at full volume but muting the sound to everyone else in the room.  Some people swear by them, others not so much.  I’ve been playing around with the trumpet version of the Yamaha SILENT Brass system for a few weeks now and I have to say there are some very good qualities and a few that kind of bug me.  Read on to find out what those pros and cons are.

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Fixing Common Problems on the Oboe

Oboe on a red background

Few music teachers would deny that the oboe can be a challenging instrument to play well with respect to proper intonation and technique. We spoke to Dr. Sarah Hamilton, associate professor of oboe at the State University of New York at Fredonia to get her insight into ways to help young oboists fix some of the more common problems associated with the instrument.

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NinGenius Music Theory App Review For iPad

In the same vein as other music note ID training apps NinGenius goes the extra mile to make the tedious task of learning to read music a whole lot more fun.  But where other apps stop there, NinGenius goes even further by creating an incredibly useful tool that adds in the very important capability of being able to track student progress across an entire classroom.  Check out this review of NinGenius.

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The Music Education Monthly Podcast is Coming!

10 Years of MusicEdMagic

MusicEdMagic has been around for 10 years now, and to celebrate at the end of August I'll be premiering a brand new long form video podcast together with the help of special guest music ed bloggers and visionaries from around the world.  If you like the MusicEdMinute podcasts you'll love this one (and not just because there is someone other than me talking!).  

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SmartMusic Coming To The ChromeBook

Chromebook logo

In early July MakeMusic made a big announcement, that they were buying a company from France called Weezic.  On the surface that may not seem like a big deal until you realize WHY they bought them.  Until that point Weezic had been a competitor to SmartMusic, providing a different way for people to do automatic assessment of a musical performance just like SmartMusic does.  The big difference though was that Weezic was truly cross platform compatible, meaning that it could run on just about anything with a web browser.  Now do you get the picture?  If you work in a school district that has gone totally one-to-one Chromebook then rejoice!  SmartMusic is coming to the Chromebook!

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