Music Education PLNThis is a new series on MusTech.Net that pulls a number of the topics from the Music Educators Professional Learning Network (MPLN) into the “spotlight”.     Because the MPLN is FREE, but requires registration – I’ve decided to not have it indexed by the “bots” like Google and Yahoo.    However, this non-indexing means that people looking on the web through online search engines will not be able to find information that may already have been discussed on the MPLN…

The goal for the MusTech.Net integration with the MPLN is to post a number of recent and interesting topics from the MPLN and have them indexed here so that people may find them if they are interested.  Also, to provide a brief  topic summary to encourage even more activity on the MPLN.    I will be parsing the names from the original posters of the MPLN when I’m posting here to maintain a partial modicum of privacy and the postings are verbatim, i.e. [sic].

The links posted here will be active, BUT you will have to a member of the MPLN to visit the actual posts and participate in the conversation: if you are not a member you will simply be taken to the MPLN home page (where you can sign-up if you would like).   Again, membership to the MPLN is FREE, but registration is required.

Current Topics of Interest on the MPLN for week of September 12th, 2011:
           (Please note our zero-tolerance-disrespect and SPAM polices below)

    • Food for thought: does creating live music with a sequencer and loops in a concert setting (like a DJ) meet the second national standard? Please comment with thoughts.   ~ Link to this post (Free membership required to view)


      • Summer Music Theatre Prgrams – Any suggestions for good educational Musical Theatre Summer Programs for Young Students?
        –> Stagedoor Manor might be something worth looking at! I never went but have tons of friends who did and as you can see from the list of alums (including Natalie Portman and Zak Braff), they’re the real deal
        –> The programs at my company, iTheatrics in NYC! We run a series of week-long summer workshops where students learn the material for a potential new Broadway JR. or KIDS collection title and then perform a staged reading at the end of the week. This means scripts are in hand, but no costumes, sets or props…  ~ Link to this post (Free membership required to view)


        • Adding A Music Appreciation/Theory Class Next Year .. Advice Please?-I have been away from this site for over a year (sorry, don’t banish me), but am going to make a concerted effort to be here more for information and to offer whatever it is I can offer.  My question here is: We have moved away from a 4×4 block schedule to a traditional 8 period (43 minute classes) day. Because of this, we can offer a Music Appreciation/Theory class starting next year. What sort of materials/software is recommended? Right now, I think I am sold on the Alfred’s Essential Music Theory books and possibly accompanying software. What about Finale? Sibelius? We already have the basic Garage Band that comes with our Mac laptops, but I was also thinking of adding all the additional sound packs? Any other ideas and/or pitfalls to watch out for when creating this class from step one?  We also intend to incorporate videos of musicals, sharing different types of music, etc. to keep it on the “appreciation” side of things so we don’t completely frustrate them with theory only. By the way, this class is to be offered to any student in the high school, not solely band or choir students.   Thanks for any input or help! ~ Link to this post (Free membership required to view)


          • Parents Involvement – What is your relationship between you and the parents of your students? Do you ask them to stay during the lesson, especially when teaching young children in a private studio setting? What are your strategies to educate the parents? I often feel that this is an important topic as we, teachers, spend half an hour or an hour a week with the students, but the parents have a lot more time with them. For this reasons, it seems worth to me to make them aware of their role in their children musical life. What do you think?
            –> I have about 8 young students that I teach private piano lessons to, ranging in ages 5-12, and none of the parents ever sit in on the lesson. I think some of them don’t have the time to sit in, or they’d prefer to use that time for themselves, or they understand the dynamic is different (in a beneficial way) when it’s just me and student. I do explain what was covered with most of the parents after the lesson, and I always write the student”s ‘goals to achieve for the following lesson’ in a notebook, so the parent can refer to it. Parental involvement is important to facilitate musical growth…But it’s tricky, because a child could be resistant to a parent’s “coaching” throughout the week…And how could you blame them if the parent doesn’t coach like a good piano teacher would?… ~ Link to this post (Free membership required to view)


            • Creativity – How do you measure creativity in your students’ compositions?
              –> I think creativity can be measured by students’ satisfaction level on their work. It will sound a little strange but I believe that creativity can really be developed when we love the process. If the student’s satisfaction level on their work is high, that means he/she is pretty reliable on what they are doing and it really push them to go to the further steps. When they try to go to the next step, creativity starts to be developed. ~ Link to this post (Free membership required to view)


              • FREE/Simple Notation Software – I’m looking for free and simple notation software to teach simple rhythms for students. Does anyone know free software?
                –> Here are the two best free ones as mentioned above… You can search my for more information about them or just visit them: MuseScore and Noteflight… both unbelievable!
                –> Hi all. To clear up any confusion, NotePad 2012 is indeed free. Available in Feb. It has added features, so is much more powerful than the NotePad you’ve known in previous versions. More info here: … ~ Link to this post (Free membership required to view)


                • Group Update (Primary Music Education) – Spring Program Idea: I am pulling together a simple K-2 spring program using songs with the names of colors in the title (Ba, Ba Black Sheep, Little Red Caboose, etc.) I’m calling it A RAINBOW OF SONGS. Each grade is assigned a color and wears clothes in that color. Thinking of inviting my older chorus kids to perform a few rainbow songs (Somewhere Over the Rainbow, The Rainbow Connection, etc.) to round out the program. ~ Link to this post (Free membership required to view)


                  • Piano Recital – Similar Ages, Varying Levels… Thoughts? How do you handle varying levels of performance amongst students of a similar age at a piano recital? I have one student in particular whose feelings I’m concerned about when he performs at the recital because his level of performance is not around the same level as other students his age. I have some ideas, but curious how others deal with this…
                    ~ Link to this post (Free membership required to view)


                    • Recording Concerts & Copyright Issues –  I constantly record my HS and JH Band –I play back for rehearsal purposes. I record most of my rehearsals & listen back before my next classtime in order to prepare my rehearsal notes.  I always record my concerts and archive.  I would love to post these on my website—as parents and students like to go back and listen to their accomplishments.  I am so confused as to what avenue to go about obtaining copyright permissions.  I know there are hundreds of youtube video out there of HS concert bands—in fact this is the main avenue I use to find new music.  I seriously doubt that a good percent of these are posted legally.  Should I contact the publisher direct? If all I am doing is posting a video of the concert—do I need both a sync and mechanical license or broadcast license?  I looked at songfile from the HFA, but it seemed a bit expensive—and in order to post the recording online—-they were with the understanding that you were allowing downloads of the material and thus, were charging accordingly. If anyone out there has any first hand knowledge/experience of how you have handled this—-I would appreciate any insight.  It seems that the publisher and/or composers of band music would appreciate having their pieces recorded—and sharing is the best method of getting the word out & selling more compositions! … ~  Link to this post (Free membership required to view)
                      • Book Club: The role of community – “As musicians, we constantly and dynamically exist in the atmosphere of a larger community. That larger community can be defined as small as one or extend to hundreds. The relationship with an accompanist is community. The relationship with an audience is a community. The relationship between music teacher and classroom is a community. The interaction between a conductor and ensemble is community.” –>Talk about community in your personal musical life and your professional musical life. How can we help establish and maintain social and musical communities in our classrooms? ~  Link to this post (Free membership required to view)


                      * BOLD-type indicates a forum post – others are personal or group-based updates.

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