Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ category

Back at it again

July 29, 2011

With a new school year comes new challenges and opportunities. I’ll try to keep you up to date.


Moved on

April 16, 2009

In case you were curious, yes, this blog has moved on and we’re now tucked away in an undisclosed location:

Keep on keepin’ on!

Technologies of composition

April 7, 2008

While we are working with technologies that allow composing (Audacity, GarageBand, notation software) the industry is also working on new technologies that allow and support composing.

Microsoft has a new technology, “My Song” which appears to be in a demo/beta phase. The program will create plausible chords to a melody sung by the user. Enjoy the demo video here:

Of course, there’s positive and negative possibilities within this technology, but I thought it novel/interesting enough to merit sharing.

Source: I learned about My Song from a post on, where you can read hundreds of comments:

Horns and Politics

March 27, 2008

Here’s the link to the in-class survey:

In the mean time, I visited NYC for the conference of the American Educational Research Association, but also stopped by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which has an amazing musical instrument collection, including this beautiful horn:

French Horn at the MET

Copyright Caper #3847

March 19, 2008

The NYTimes does it again: a great copyright caper that gets into rights as they are experienced by college marching and pep bands. Here’s a juicy quote, followed by a link:

In theory, bands need to get approval and pay for the rights to use songs. They often start with the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (Ascap) or Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI), which license music and distribute royalties to songwriters and composers. They deal with sheet-music publishers, such as Hal Leonard or Alfred Publishing, which combine to control the majority of the popular-music catalog.

Rights to a song can cost $50 to $350, according to Jeni Paulson, president of CopyCat Music Licensing. Her company, a type of middleman, works with many Pac-10 and Big Ten band directors. They call, usually in the summer after making a wish list for the coming school year, and say which songs they want to use. CopyCat does the research on licensing and returns with a price.

“Not all directors know that they’re supposed to ask permission,” Paulson said.

Some artists and songs are simply off limits. Van Halen’s “Jump” is a popular request, but always denied. So are the works of the composer John Williams, meaning that the familiar chords of “Jaws,” “Star Wars” or “Raiders of the Lost Ark” should not be heard blaring through arenas.


Nerds like us (or, at least, me)

March 18, 2008

Many lovers of science fiction and fantasy are mourning recent passing of Gary Gygax (creator of Dungeons and Dragons) and Arthur C. Clarke (science fiction writer perhaps best known for the film 2001: A Space Odyssey).

The New York Times quotes Clarke talking about the relation of imagination to technological progress in a way that music educators might enjoy:

Mr. Clarke was well aware of the importance of his role as science spokesman to the general population: “Most technological achievements were preceded by people writing and imagining them,” he noted. “I’m sure we would not have had men on the Moon,” he added, if it had not been for H.G. Wells and Jules Verne. “I’m rather proud of the fact that I know several astronauts who became astronauts through reading my books.”

Here’s the whole obituary:

Ken Robinson and Creativity

March 14, 2008

Here is a link to the video that we watched in class on Thursday. I highly recommend checking out some of the videos on TED’s website. They are very inspiring and thought-provoking. In addition to this one, be sure to check out the talk done by Evelyn Glennie.