iPad: Review of Early Edition

Here is a new app that has a lot of potential if you prefer a more "newspaper-like" blog reading experience. It's called Early Edition and sells for $4.99. There are a few bugs/issues that need to be worked out, but a very nice initial effort that takes advantage of things the iPad does well.

Sorry for the low light iPhone video, but at least you'll will get the idea of this app.

Update: Bug regarding Posterous feeds has been fixed!

Elizabeth Gilbert on Nurturing Creativity

This is a fantastic TED Talk given by author Elizabeth Gilbert in February of 2009. Since that time it has remained one of the most popular videos at ted.com, which is further evidence that creativity continues to be on everyone's minds these days. As you watch it, resist the assumption that ensemble music students are creative by default, and instead think about how you can empower your students to become more involved in the creative process of bringing music to fruition. Further, what does it mean for music teachers to be creative?

What do you think? Leave a comment, it only takes a moment.

Sometimes we're just approaching problems from the wrong direction

Have you ever felt like you were this close to getting your ensemble onto the right track, but something elusive was in the way? Sometimes all the pieces are there and we just haven't put things together in the proper order. Sometimes we realize later that we had the cart before the horse, but it's not always easy to tell when we are in the moment. Take a look at this video and you will see what I mean.

Thanks Alan Levine for hipping me to that great video.

Don't mess with band parents


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(from Lawrence, Kansas)

Contentious budget talks ended abruptly Tuesday night as Lawrence school board members approved a plan to bridge the district’s $5 million budget gap for next year without closing any elementary schools.


Band cut restored

The plan was not all well-received because it involves a $43,520 cut to restructure school nurses. Board member Marlene Merrill proposed an amendment to strip that cut from the plan, but it failed, 4-3.

One development from Monday’s cuts played a major part in Tuesday’s compromise. Board members had cut sixth-grade instrumental music programs to save $295,000, and a large group of high school band students and parents showed up at the Tuesday meeting to protest.

Band members played in the parking lot, and they also filled the hallway during the meeting and held up various music trophies. Parents and band members feared the sixth-grade cuts would cause a ripple effect because the teachers who were reassigned would possibly have seniority over both high school band directors, causing them to lose their jobs.

Morgan, who did not support the band cut Monday, included restoring the sixth-grade band cut as part of his compromise that ultimately passed.

“I think it does show that the board has a mind for fine arts, and certainly we see that as an important part of the education in our city,” said Terry Jacobsen, co-president of the Lawrence High School band parents organization.

After weeks of tense meetings and forums, board members were able to make at least two large groups of people happy Tuesday night, but they said the district may not be out of the woods yet. If the state’s budget picture worsens, the district could be looking at having to cut more than the $5 million gap they closed.

“What this does tonight, what we did — assuming the Legislature does remotely part of its job — we are ready to go in to next year with a balanced budget,” Morgan said.


Ken Robinson: What's Wrong With Education

If you are currently teaching public school this video clip from Sir Ken Robinson will resonate with you. Robinson's comments about teen stress, depression, and falling prey to doing what society deems important at the expense of finding one's true passions are spot-on.The arts have a key role to play in bringing the joy of learning back to schools across our country. That is, if the government doesn't continue to stand back and let the current funding crisis snuff us out first.

Authenticity in Music Ensembles

I'd been mulling over a post dealing with what it means for an ensemble (and its music) to be honest and/or authentic. I know it's based on trust. You can't make meaningful music without trust. But beyond that I hadn't written it because I just didn't have my mind fully wrapped around the entire concept.

And then I saw this video. What else is there to say? It's all right here: Trust, Honesty, Authenticity.