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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The Role of Technology In The New National Music Standards

Pages of Sheet Music

For two decades we have used the old Nine Standards For Music Education to shape our classroom curriculum but over time their generalities and simplicity has been overshadowed by a national move toward a core curriculum. In many circles this in turn has lead to our old standards being seen as educationally insignificant. With the newly revised 2014 national music standards we are now at a point where we can hold our own and give validity to the importance and significance of music’s place in our school curriculum. Luckily, along with the new standards we also have a host of new technological tools that can be used to meet them in ways that not only enhance our current offerings but push us toward the ultimate goal of creating well rounded, passionate musicians.

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AudioScore Ultimate 8 Review

AudioScore Ultimate 8 Screen Shot

Neuratron's AudioScore Ultimate 8 seeks to automate a task that few musicians enjoy doing, that of transcribing audio performances of music into written music notation.  The technology has come a very long way since its early iterations but is it solid enough to bother with?  Read this review to find out!

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Current Marching Band Technology Options

Blue Coats 2007 Drum Corps Marching Band- via Wikipedia

When one thinks of the use of technology in music education one does not often think of the marching band field as being a very high tech area. However, many of the same technologies that we use in the music or general education classrooms are now finding their way onto the field as well. Here are just a few of the ways that the well orchestrated use of tablets, apps, computer software, and other techno gear can breathe new life into traditional outdoor marching rehearsals and performances.

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Music Technology For The Visually Impaired

Braille Music Notation

Imagine if you will the first day of school with a new group of students in your classroom. For most teachers their first task is to get the student making music either by singing or playing on an instrument and then, over time, teach them how to read music notation and relate the notes written on the page to their instrument. But what happens when the student can’t see the notes? If a visually impaired student was added to your classroom tomorrow how would you go about providing him with the potential to be just as successful as any other student?

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The Ocarina vs. The Recorder in the Music Education Classroom

A Blue Pottery Ocarina

In my neck of the woods most elementary schools teach the recorder starting in or around the 4th grade.  As a band director I understand the reasoning for teaching recorder to kids as it helps build many of the skills needed to get them into the band once they get to fifth or sixth but I’ll be honest, I hate the sound of the recorder.  The ocarina on the other hand seems to be the unwanted step child in the music classroom even though (in my opinion) the more earthy resonant tone of an ocarina is almost always superior to the sound of a cheap $3 soprano recorder.  So why don’t more people use it in their classrooms?

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Trumpet Hand Position Problems and The Horn Grip Solution

The Warburton Horn Grip Tool

Bad hand position is the bane of most beginning band teacher’s trumpet sections.  We may start each student with the admonition that an open, C-shaped right hand is necessary for proper trumpet technique but despite those reminders many of our students will allow their hands to collapse down against the valves leading to lazy finger technique and minor valve problems.  So what is the best way to fix this problem?  For many kids it’s not enough to repeatedly admonish them to hold the trumpet correctly.  Instead for some kids we need to offer a more tactile reinforcement until the good hand position habits are firmly rooted.  Read on to find out how to do this with this cool new tool.

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A New Look At Teaching Beginner Clarinetists

Clarinet Pieces On A Table

Unless you have been playing it your entire life teaching a beginner to play the clarinet can be a challenge. Lesson books can help, but the vast majority of lesson books used these days in a public school band setting are ensemble books that by nature have to progress in a certain way. In a new article over on the Vandoren reeds website clarinet pedagog Paula Corley she goes through a step by step progression of concepts that she uses with her beginners.

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