Using WordPress As A Music Organizational CMS

As many of you know that follow me and my WordPress exploits, I can honestly say that I have not found any website/blogging platform that is easier to use and yet offers, nearly, endless flexibility for creation and implementation.  I have recently finished the framework and template for a wonderful non-profit music honorary known as Phi Beta Mu, the Nu Chapter (PBM-Nu).  Phi Beta Mu is the International Bandmasters’ Honary and I’m proud to be an inducted member of the organization.

Anyone who has “mad computer skills” can relate to my plight… I’m constantly asked to perform magic with regard to anything electronic, whether computers, telephones, televisions, websites, building wiring, and just about everything and everything related.   So and thus… I found my leading the “team” to create a website for PBM-Nu.

In my quest for everyone to develop these “mad technological skills”,  I may be often found pontificating to my college students the benefits of learning how to become faster typers.   Let me type you a picture…

I’m in class telling my students the obvious: We are in a computer dominated worldYou are the generation that is expected to utilize these technologies from before graduation throughout the end of your careersThe importance of gaining speed in your typing/keyboarding skills cannot be underestimatedMr. Internet is your friend…Really the proxy DOES work…etc.

ENTER the SCENARIO:     I submit to them that it would not be uncommon, if not underestimating, that they will spend a minimum of one hour a day performing some sort of typing for at least 5 days of the week.  This amounts to 5 hours a week of typing time…times (x) 52 weeks a year for a total of  (=) 260 hours of typing or… 6.5, 40-hour weeks of constant typing. 

If they were to type at the very poor and common recreational typing speed of 20 words per minute they would type approximately 312,000 words over the course of that time frame.  In the end, they’ve written enough “words” to fill up about four standard length novels (Given 75,000 avg. words per novel).   Now, to tie this into something more useful (or not..stay with me here)…

Since we’re dealing with averages… know that the average college student can read about 300 words per minute.  Let’s store that little bit of information for a minute and abruptly go back to our typing scenario (it’s getting wilder)… 

I further submit to the students in my class that if they would take the time to simply learn how to double their typing speed to a slightly-speedy 40 words per minute (easily attainable by any person in a relatively short period of time), they would cut their time spent typing in half to a dazzling and super-reduced 3.25, 40-hour weeks of typing… thus, freeing up, literally, 130 hours for them to… sayread a book! ( Now, recall that stored little bit of information about reading speeds)  In the130 hours they saved by their speediness on the board,  the average collge student can read 2,340,000 words or approximately 31 average sized novels!   (… Ta-Da!)

OR… They could simply be more efficient at their jobs, get more work done in less time and have more time to do anything else that they could or would choose to do!  ALL because they took the time to learn how to type an extra 20 Words Per Minute Faster!  Personally,  I type 100+ words per minute fairly accurately…and now you know why I can get soooo much done! ;) … it’s both a blessing and a curse!

But, I TOTALLY DIGRESSED from the point and topic of this post (but it sure was fun!)…

Please join me back in WordPress world for the rest of this post.  The acronym, CMS, is used for a whole lot different things, but in this post context, in relation to WordPress, it is used for, Content Management System(s).  Many organizations (read music related organizations here, among others) are in dire need of an easy to use, EASY TO IMPLEMENT, user-friendly CMS that can be “up-and-running” in no time.   WordPress fits this bill, perfectly.

I’ve stated, and I’ll state it again, WordPress is unparalleled (not to mention FREE), and perhaps peerless, with regard to the easy customization of its engine for any type of application.  By implementing a few plugins and, possibly, a few slight code modifications, anyone can make a CMS WordPress solution like I was able to for the PBM-Nu folks;  a solution that provides for almost every aspect that you could want or anyone could ask for.

The CMS solution included many aspects:

  • Easily updated
  • Members Only Pages
  • Online Forms
  • Online Document Repository
  • Subscription ability (email and RSS)
  • Multi-user administration
  • Beautiful Graphics
  • Easily Backed Up
  • Low to No Cost
  • Calendar Support
  • Link Support
  • Widget Support
  • and on and on and on…

In case you are wanting to try this, here is a list of a few very useful CMS related WordPress plugins that were especially helpful for securing the site, dealing with content, and making a members and public section (these we’re all free):

  1. cforms
    http://www.deliciousdays.com/
  2. FeedSmith
    http://www.feedburner.com/
  3. Hide Pages
    http://www.instinct.co.nz/hide-pages-plugin/
  4. Page Restrict
    http://sivel.net/category/wordpress/plugins/
  5. Robots Meta
    http://yoast.com/
  6. WP-Sticky
    http://lesterchan.net/portfolio/programming/php/
  7. Events Calendar
    http://www.lukehowell.com/events-calendar/

The most updated versions of these plugins may be found at the WordPress plugin repository:
http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins.   It is important to note that WordPress.com users are not able to take advantage of the plethora and power of the majority of the freely available WordPress plugins.  You’ll need a website host and your own domain to make this kind of magic (only about $50-$80 USD per year).

I would encourage anyone with minimal web experience to consider giving up their old web building programs and consider WordPress for their next web project.  You would be surprised at how simple, powerful, useful, and fast your web projects become and are completed once you’ve made the switch to a 2.0 solution like WordPress.

While, the member side of my latest project is unavailable to the “public”, an idea of how this all works may be seen by visiting the public side of the Phi Beta Mu Nu’s WordPress site here:
http://pbmpa.org.  Visiting the site will provide you with a “real feel” for what can be done using a WordPress CMS solution.

             

Joseph M. Pisano, Ph.D. is the creator of many education websites, a lecturer, clinician, trumpeter, and conductor. He is currently the Associate Chair of Music and Director of Bands in the Calderwood School of Arts at Grove City College in PA. He been named a TI:ME Teacher of the Year, received the JEN Jazz Educator Award and the PA Citation of Excellence. He is a past Vice President of the Technology Institute for Music Educators and the current Vice-President of the PA Intercollegiate Bandmasters Association. He also writes for DCI Magazine, Teaching Music Magazine, and is the Educational Editor for In-Tune Monthly Magazine; he has contributed hundreds of articles to various publications. Find out more at his website jpisano.com.
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