Wednesday, June 11, 2008
The Peoples Music School recently constructed a new building that cost over $1 million dollars. Evidently the have no problem paying construction workers up there in the windy city. I read a long list of supporters, foundations and 'individuals like you' - you that is, unless you are a music teacher. In that case you need to donate your time and talent because that's all you can afford to give. Does anyone else think this sounds whacky?
There's no doubt that free music lessons are wonderful for those students, families and communities on the receiving end. But let's take a good hard look at the health of our industry as a whole before giving away the farm. If music teachers were compensated on a par with other disciplines, maybe more of these schools would be popping up around the country.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
1.) Purchasing forests for the paper needed to print method books is REALLY expensive.
2.) Purchasing state of the art digital printers is REALLY expensive.
3.) Hiring 3rd party writers and artists to produce music publications is REALLY expensive.
4.) Warehousing and shipping those products to retail stores is REALLY expensive.
Even though the meeting was an initial success with a verbal commitment to 'work together', we realized we had better re-think our product and where our efforts would eventually be placed. We were willing to honor our casual commitment but literally on the return flight we decided to go about things a different way. These are the questions we asked ourselves:
1.) Isn't the internet an ideal tool for transferring information?
2.) Isn't a huge part of learning music deciphering a sequence of concepts?
3.) Wouldn't it be 'greener' to publish online?
4.) Isn't the internet here to stay?
5.) Do we have any cash?
Well, we set out to build our music learning software 'in-house' with a staff of passionate educators and a few, uh...nerds. We started by compiling a set of sequential musical concepts that all instrumentalists (and vocalists) should know. Next, we began to put in place some of the processes and hardware needed to complete our task.
It has been a long haul since our meeting with Alfred, but through everything we've kept our eye on the green goal. Our product is html based so there is no printing (we recommend GreenPrint for those of you who absolutely MUST have something on the music stand). There is no storage, no shipping and obtaining our brand of music education leaves a near zero carbon footprint. What's more, our users have the ability to directly contact the writers, editors and composers - try that with any other learning material!
Monday, June 9, 2008
1. No editorializing! Just the facts man...
2. Record the sound and video separately for the clearest quality. There's nothing like hearing a phone ring or a toilet flushing in the background of a 'how to hold your guitar' video.
3. Stay focused on the task(s) at hand. Show only the things users need to know to complete each task.
4. Be brief. Just about all of the videos are between 2 and 3 minutes long.
Have a look at the video below from our Alto Sax Info Center. It explains how to assemble the horn:
Feel free to let us know what you like or don't like. We have a variety of videos available for just about all instruments and we are in the process of adding more. We plan to use the same approach for our Unit Support videos and for the Jazz Series which is due out this fall.