Seline HD - new iPad music instrument

Take a look at this new iPad app called Seline HD. For those of you interested in using iPads in a music class for live performance, this could be your ticket. It provides a logical approach to modes, provides expression capability (volume, vibrato, pitch), and has numerous sound choices. The input method is really unique. It's great to see developers present viable alternatives to a traditional piano keyboard.

The Hits Just Keep On Coming

If nothing else, I need to keep posting these from time to time as a reality check for my own teaching. When I taught elementary school I was quite proud that most of my students could play all of their major scales. Hm.

Teachers: It might be time to give Twitter lists a try

Here is a quick screencast to show you how easy it is to create lists on Twitter. Lists can help organize twitter users by criteria you choose so that you can narrow or focus your reading from time to time, rather than just using your timeline view. For example in the video you'll see my Admin list which is comprised of over 50 principals and superintendents that are using Twitter regularly. I review this list a few times a week to get a sense of how admins are using Twitter and to see what they are reading and discussing. Since I don't particularly interact with those folks on Twitter I chose to assign them to a list rather than follow each one of them. This frees up my timeline for people that I regularly interact with on Twitter. In addition to assembling your own lists, it is also very easy to "follow" public lists that many of us have already created.


Visit my page if you'd like to see my lists and follow any of them:

Air Projector for iPhone: A great app for the classroom

Thanks to the folks at qrayon for giving me a pre-release code for their cool new app for the iPhone, Air Projector. Here is a quick video to show you just how easy it is to get photos and pdf files onto another computer/LCD Projector.



I'm really going to enjoy not being tied to the computer. I can easily be anywhere in the classroom while referring to what is on the screen. As I said in the video, I would love to see the ability to vary the size of the laser pointer, and maybe even a simple highlighting tool. As it is, it's still an incredibly useful app, and you're going to love it!

Thanks again @qrayon, I really appreciate the sneak peak.

I'm too busy to go to the doctor, and other teacher avoidance-techniques

Nose and finger (Stockholm)

I've been building a Professional Learning Network (PLN) for about half a year now, and while the people I am meeting are great, one segment of the profession is noticeably absent: High school ensemble directors. There are a few of us online, to be sure, but nowhere near the participation we are seeing from general music, middle school music teachers, private teachers, and college music majors. So, while I am thrilled to be interacting with those folks, we're usually not able to converse much about the classroom, which is of course the biggest reason to build a PLN.

So where are these directors? I generally find that they are "too busy" to try one more thing. This is something that I have heard regularly over my 20 year career. Too busy to run small ensembles, too busy to travel, too busy to switch kids to bassoon, too busy to go to the doctor even though I feel terrible... you get the idea. I am guilty of these statements at various times (especially the last one, which resulted in pneumonia, very dumb), but I think that overall I was fortunate to learn early on that the investment of time into pedagogy, tools, and philosophy pays dividends, and the dividends ultimately result in working smarter, not harder. 

"I'm too busy to have successful students" is of course a crazy statement. But our actions demonstrate our beliefs, and most of us work extremely hard doing the same things we've always done, hoping for better results. 

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

~Albert Einstein

Our music department has six concert bands, five choirs, three orchestras, five big bands, three vocal jazz groups, and AP Theory all within the school day in a school of about 2,000. We're pretty busy. I feel I have no choice but to work smarter at this point, and my guess is that you need to work smarter as well.

So back to my PLN. My focus has been simply to (a) share what I find and (b) share what I'm thinking about. By doing so I've met many people who are also sharing, and as a result we quickly reached a tipping point: we now receive far more ideas than we give. It's simple math. If everyone in your PLN shares one idea, you are going to get a LOT more in return than you give, and you don't need to feel guilty about it either!

Many of the ideas I've received via my PLN are now being used in my daily planning and teaching, and this is resulting in students that are more engaged and learning faster. It is leading to better record keeping, project management, assessment, and being able to look further down the road to see if where we are headed is in agreement with where we expect to go. I am able to get more done in the same amount of time....working smarter not harder.

With my workflow in pretty good shape, I'm wanting more dialogue about repertoire, instrumentation, equipment, curriculum, and so forth at the high school level. If you feel like your nose is just above the water line I encourage you to take a deep breath, join Twitter (make an account specifically for PLN building) and and start by sharing one idea per week. Pretty soon you are going to find your head above water, and eventually maybe you'll even be standing on the shore again. See you there.

I think @listimonkey emails are going to work great for keeping track of important Twitter subjects

Twitter lists are OK fot grouping users (roughly) by interest. But let's face it, lots of Twitter users are pretty diverse. I recently created a list of iPad-toting educators. Well, not surprisingly they do tweet about other things. It can be time consuming to wade through the posts looking for stuff about iPad.

And of course you could do a twitter search, but at that point you are searching ALL of Twitter, which at times is just too broad. So how can you quickly find topics within your lists? Enter Listimonkey.

I think @listimonkey emails are going to work great for keeping track of #iPadInEd posts, see pic. Just head over to to try it yourself with any Twitter list. Enter a Twitter list, keywords to filter (optional) and your email. Boom, important tweets collated to your inbox. I wish they did rss!

Incidentally, keyword filtering would be a KILLER feature within Twitter lists.

Alan Watts: Music and Life

A friend posted this today, and I found it quite enlightening.

Even within our music programs we can easily create a feeling that the main purpose of one ensemble is to get into a higher ensemble. What's in it right, that is of value and significance to your students? Don't we need to find the music within the music, so to speak?