Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Why Does My Head Spin?

Why Does My Head Spin?...when I read the following list from NAMM - the National Association of Music Merchants. Here they proudly announce gifts of '$848,807 to support Innovative Music Learning Programs, Research and Student Projects'.

Granted, the 31 groups who benefit from NAMM's generousity may be worthy and are undoubtedly appreciative, but it is such a crying shame that our industry (music education in particular) has come to rely on these kinds of gifts for its very existence.

It seems that other industries have been very, very good at this; doctors, lawyers, accountants...the PGA! Organizations within these groups actually raise money and are able to help their communities. Why don't music educators learn from these models?
When will we break the stereotype of being 'needy, do-gooders' and take the bull by the horns to promote music education as a viable service that can be accessed by our general communities?

Here are a few shocking statements from a veteran music educator:

1. All music teachers do not aspire to be Mr. Holland - the 'band guy'.
2. Every person who studies music does not aspire to play professionally.
3. Not every kid who studies music is made smarter.
4. Not all music schools rely on the 'kindness of strangers' for support.
5. We don't need grants and funding to realize that learning music is important.

Shocking...I know.

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Clarinet Bulletin Board

This is a reply I posted on a Clarinet Bulletin Board (I know, I know...nerd alert!). Someone had asked if anyone knew anything about ''. As I read the responses I felt a little like a father overhearing kids pick on a son or daughter so I figured I'd set the record straight as best I could. Here is what I wrote:

I know this is probably an old post but I wanted to clear a few things up about, the software and what we have in store for the future. First off - the version that is currently available is the 2nd incarnation of what essentially was a beta product offered way back in 2004. It contained solid information but was delivered differently and had a tricky interface to navigate through our learning process. The current software was updated in 2007 - we made the delivery simpler and navigation easier.

The MusickEd curriculum is not meant to displace teachers although it can (and should) be used by individual learners who need help with everything from taking the instrument out of the case, assembling and making a sound all the way to learning chord/scale relationships. It can (and should) be used by teachers who all too often ‘scatter-shoot’ with students because they A.) assume the student will lose interest or B.) don’t have a plan. MusickEd software comes with educational support – that’s something that print ‘method’ books cannot deliver.

All concepts are presented clearly and concisely and most important - in sequential order - which is why it is perfect for students at all levels. I have advanced students who have used the software to go back to basics and cover things they have missed and beginning students who excel past their classmates because they use the same learning process from lesson to lesson.

We are currently completing the latest version called the Kore Series which is the culmination of literally 10 years of work. The content, design, learning process, amazing songs and play-alongs, support and community aspects make this product an amazing value - you can take a tour here:

Tour MusickEd

We are also working on a Jazz Series which we hope to launch within a year. It will use the same (trademarked and patented) learning process as the Kore Series and continues on with the jazz soloist/improviser in mind.

Thanks for the ear – Eugene Cantera – Partner