Monday, January 3, 2011

A Look Back - A Look Ahead

There were huge changes at MusickEd in 2010, both behind the scenes and on the site.

Most apparent to our users is an entirely new design of the website from the main page to the interface within the software. There are so many levels and so much information available within each lesson that it became a challenge to create an intuitive, music learning experience for the end user...but we think we've  accomplished our goal!

We also moved from a download and install format to a subscription service.  This required a massive amount of tedious coding and detail work by our staff  - there are 3,960 secured links for each of the 39 instruments in the Kore Series!. Kudos to all of you for your patience, perseverance, and a job well done.

Finale Reader was added to our site this year as well.  It's a wonderful product that allows us to maintain the look and feel of the songs regardless of the browser choice of our users. And,oh by the way, Finale Reader is a FREE product!

We also added song titles to all finale pages through lesson 12.  The titles not only look great when printed, but they make it lots easier to keep things in order through the learning process.

In 2010 we moved from StoreFront (which typically services shopping cart transactions) to Pay Pal which could more easily manage our subscription service. PayPal was an obvious choice as it reliably handles over 150 million online accounts from all over the world.

In November we created and published an audio primer that helps users (and future users) better understand our product and how to best use the software to expedite the learning process.  We have had lots of positive feedback about this addition

We made a major push to make social media components a larger part of the  MusickEd  community and experience.  Our blogfacebook, twitter, and youtube pages can now be viewed by members and non-members alike.  And we made our entire community (including the forums and webinars) more easily accessible from any of the pages within our software.

We introduced school, private organization, and church pricing plans as we began to see an increased interest from these organizations during the course of 2010.  We will be making a concerted effort to attract these groups by attending a few conferences next year, beginning with TMEA (Texas Music Educators Association) in San Antonio this February.

Video production of the lesson songs ramped up in 2010. Some of the videos completed include Kore Series songs for cello, soprano sax, soprano voice, baritone horn, and all 20 lessons of alto saxophone. We will begin a robust schedule of recording this January with a goal of completing all 20 lessons for all instruments by the end of 2011.

We've also begun to incorporate user videos within the software and we look forward to receiving many more entries this year.  Users can send their video performances of our songs (with the background only track) and we will add them onto the appropriate lesson and instrument page.  Several videos have already been published thanks to some of the students on campus at DSM.

The Jazz Series has also begun to take shape in 2010. Mr. Finkel has completed writing the original songs for all 20 lessons.  He has also recorded each song and the background tracks through lesson 14.  Noted Jazz Educator Dan Haerle has finished writing the text for 19 of the 20 lessons and has decided that lesson 20 will be dedicated to common chord progressions that occur in Jazz Standards. This will be an amazing series that bridges the gap between play along only material and practical jazz education. We're hoping to make some of the Jazz Series lessons available by June with the entire series expected to be completed by December.

Phew... there's no more time to waste, I've got to get to work. Happy New Year!

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