Smitty’s MusEd Corner

Music Education and Music Technology in a college student’s life.

Response to Music Education and Technology

Owen Bradley’s article seems to be an eye opener for educators.  Incorporating education in the class is an aid and a nuisance.  He offers great advice for educators of all sorts and gives some insightful experiences he has had.

He forewarns us that “to proceed in the world of technology very carefully!  It seems that in today’s world of technology that is out of date as fast as it’s released.”  It is important to resist the temptation.  It is a note that is worth re-mentioning in my article because it is true!  I remember my family buying our first computer in 1999- a Gateway computer.  It was the coolest thing on the block, yet when we I went to my cousin’s house the next year, his computer was half the size and ran faster.  Be careful when you buy technology.  It is the best at the moment, but a month or so later it will be all but obsolete.

“It is way too easy to try tot incorporate too much technology at one time.  The best rule of thumb about technology is that it is only relevant to you ifpicture1.jpgit helps you educate.”  Bradley’s point he makes here puts the student first.  Sure it would be awesome to have all sorts of MIDI technology and an array of Music Software that helps you, but does it help the student?  Picking one aspect of technology to augment either public relations or the overall education facet allows the user to adjust and accept the new technology.  Having a website strictly for communication, as Bradley uses and my high school I graduated from, utilizes this technology and has proven to be beneficial for everyone.

Whenever I get my own band or music class, I will be sure to utilize one piece of technology at a time and use it to the fullest.  We have to stop and think of what we are trying to accomplish.  It all boils down to one question educators must ask themselves one thing when dealing with technology: is it going to help or hinder my class?

Click here to read Owen Bradley’s article on Music Ed and Technology at

Click here to read about technology in the classroom by Vicki Davis

Picture courtesy of


April 11, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Questions on Copyright

Are ensembles allowed to film themselves and freely distribute the video to those within the ensemble either “for cost” or at “no cost”?


Is it legal to tape or record a band concert?  Well, I have been to many honors bands throughout my high school and collegiate career.  For every concert I have attended, I have purchased a CDorchestra-1.jpg of our live performance.  Even the TV Productions class in high schools video tape concerts, plays and musicals then broadcasted them onto their local broadcasting station.  Therefore I would assume it is legal: but is it really?  Let’s look into this using some insightful resources found at Prof. P’s sight.

According to MENC (The National Association for Music Education), you are allowed to make recordings.  The catch [and there always is a catch] is you must:     1) only use it for review 2) if used fordistributing [with our without profit] you must have the permission of the copyright owners for each piece of music performed on the videotape 3) as well as the parent’s permission to videotape the student.

There are some simple rules one must follow when dealing with this matter.  Bands of
have some helpful reminders.  Simple rule #2 states: “if you want to duplicate, arrange, or record, a published work, or otherwise alter its fundamental character, you need to get permission from the publisher. Along with this rule goes the following: DO NOT ASSUME ANYTHING; WHEN IN DOUBT ABOUT THE RIGHTS TO A WORK, ASK!”
According to Copyright law,If you use a copyrighted work without authorization, the owner may be entitled to bring an infringement action against you.”  In other words, GET PERMISSION.  This is the law of our land on Copyright; this is a pretty serious offense.  If you do not obtain proper authorization for publications such as a video there can be some consequences to be paid.  James Frankel has taught Music and Technology for over 14 years and has a sight dedicated to Copyright.   As I read Dr. Frankel’s website I could not help but feel guilty.  Over the past nine going on ten years [wow], I have had recordings of honors bands and marching band festivals I have partaken.  I never gave it one thought if what I am listening to or watching is illegal.             

When Prof. P had started discussing copyright laws, my perspective of what I can and can’t do as an educator just boggles my mind.  Fair use and education laws just appall me.  On one hand you can make a copy of something for class, but on the other hand you cannot make twelve extra copies of music for your flutes because every band director’s nightmare is that first day of elementary band and you face 79 flutes.  The best way: just buy another score (it is cheaper). 

March 23, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Early Education Center Visit

Hello Folks:

One on-campus feature of Grove City College’s Education Department, is the availability of a pre-school.  This pre-school is referred to as the Early Education Center, or just EEC.  Here, many Early Childhood Education majors get the experience of what teaching children as young as four years old would entail.  Four times this year, the music education majors have gotten the same experience that would, for me at least, would last a life time.

I know only being a junior in college, nor will I ever be, am not an expert in teaching.  What I have to offer can be helpful to many teachers to be.  I know this much: keep them interested, moving and in line.  On Preschool Express, I found many great ideas for teaching very young students.  They have a lot of songs to sing, activities and learning ideas to incorporate in the classroom. 

The students need to be moving around.  It is impossible to keep the students in one spot and expect them to listen and actually gain something from the lesson.  I found these articles helpful in finding a way to help the students move in class.  The EEC came to visit the Music and Fine Arts building and I along with my group introduced the auditorium to the students.  One activity we did with them is we told the story of Sleeping Beauty.  One special idea we had was having the story “produce sounds” when a word appeared.  So we had the students say “ouch” when the story teller said “needle” and had the kids snore when “sleep” was read.  This kept the students interested during this long of a story and kept them motivated to be

On their first, along with my first encounter with the EEC, we played with Boom Whackers and rhythms sticks [Boom Whackers are pieces of pipe when struck they produce certain pitches].  The Boom Whacker song played and when a color was sung, the students had to recognize this color in order to play with the Boom Whackers.  This article had a few good points on rhythms in preschool.  Myself and my partner agreed along with the article that rhythms helps the students be creative and show emotion.  Therefore, we had the students sit in a circle with two rhythm sticks.  From there, we played rhythms for them to repeat to us.   Also, we had a few students create rhythms for the group to repeat back.

When I actually visited the EEC to teach them This Old Man, I was amazed as to what happened.  I taught, as well as my teaching partner, the first three verses.  I also cross-referenced counting with the song.  Children love to sing.  From the Creative Institute, I learned “They like songs that repeat words and melodies, rhythms with a definite beat and words that ask them to do things. Preschool children enjoy nursery rhymes and songs about familiar things like toys, animals, play activities, and people.”  This is why I chose to teach them the song This Old Man .  The song has a strophic melody, using the same music accompaniment with different lyrics as a hymn in church, with a reoccurring melody in the refrain.  Each different time we sang the song, we added a number along with some body part that rhymed with that number [1 thumb, 2 shoe, 3 knee, etc…]. 

Finally, a music educator must know how to teach.  This may sound redundant, but teaching takes a certain personality that not everyone possesses.  My good friend Brittany Baker also agrees.  The hardest part about a music education student’s first teaching position is figuring out how to teach at a younger level.  As I have said in an earlier blog, I have many student leadership roles here at Grove City College.  I am used to working with college level musicians and my peers know how to fix their mistakes or already know most of the activities i ask them to perform.  If Mr. Groves, our Elementary Music Methods professor, had not taken our class to “get our feet wet” in the EEC by watching him teach, I would have been in big trouble.  You have to get to the younger children’s eye level, think as they do as well keep them involved.  Take every piece of advice given to you: it maybe worthwhile after all.

March 17, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Welcome to Smitty’s Music and Education Corner

Hi Folks:

This is a blog that our Music Technology class at Grove City College, a four year highly competitive school in Grove City, Pennsylvania, had started up as an in class project.  This site will be dedicated towards my experiences as a student looking foward to be a professional in the Music and Education fields. 

As a junior in college, I have had the training thus far in many aspects in Music and Education fields.  I have had many experiences in different fields of music: in a scholarly setting[Music Theory, Solfeggio, Music History, etc…], ensembles [Marching Band, Wind Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble, etc…] as well as leadership fields [Band President, Jazz Ensemble Student Director, Guest Artist Public Relations Coordinator, etc…]. 

What my future holds,  I do not know at this point.  I imagine myself as a High School Band director one day, but from there we will see what happens.  This site will be here to show my progress as a student, teacher as well as my progress as an educator.  I am sure I will make mistakes in my life.  I hope I can learn as well as the reader can learn from mistakes I have made.

March 16, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Hello world!

Hello World!

My name is Nick Smith.  I am a junior at Grove City College.  Born and raised in the Pittsburgh area, I cheer for the black and gold: Steelers, Pirates and the Penguins .  I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, playing my saxophone in various ensembles and like to watch movies.

This site is dedicated to many blogs on Music education, Technology, and what I feel is important to me at the time. 

I hope you enjoy what I have in store for you.



March 9, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment