The $42,000 piano

Posted April 16, 2008 by mus243 Matt
Categories: New Frontiers, Recommended Reading

Technology writer and former Broadway musician David Pogue has a review of a rather extravagant gadget:

Suzanne Vega on songwriting

Posted April 16, 2008 by mus243 Matt
Categories: Recommended Reading

The New York Times has been running a set of blogs on writing/creating music, and here is a wonderful entry by Suzanne Vega. FYEO (For Your Enjoyment Only—no response required)

Required Comment 1: What about the wiki?

Posted April 15, 2008 by mus243 Matt
Categories: Quick bytes

Comment before class on Thursday

Please visit the wiki for the Tchaik project. Given that this is a quick and dirty first try at something that might hold potential for integrating technology into ensemble settings, explore, comment, and critique.

We will do something similar next semester (I’m planning this: we’ll work with an already arranged Sousa march to create new parts, etc.; and we’ll notate a much shorter piece such as an overture for a spring performance). Given that, how might a wiki like this be used? What could be added? What could be enhanced? What would be educational and interesting for students in terms of resources and activities?

Thanks for visiting, and thanks for the great work that is evidenced by these artifacts. Here’s the site:

Required Comment 2: Reflect on the two assignments

Posted April 15, 2008 by mus243 Matt
Categories: Discussion, Do and Due

Please take a moment and comment on the Audacity and GarageBand assignments. How would you revise them? What was the biggest challenge? What did you enjoy? How much do you like your final compositions?

You don’t need to answer all of these, but do take a bit of time to reflect on and comment on those aspects that were most meaningful as well as most problematic

CAI in Music Education

Posted April 10, 2008 by Adam S
Categories: Discussion, Do and Due

This week we’ll be investigating several CAI (computer-assisted instruction) resources that teachers use in music. Under the category of intelligent accompaniment, we will take a look at SmartMusic ( which is made by MakeMusic; the company that makes Finale. We will also look at Sibelius’ new counterpart called Starplay ( The different uses of these programs will be discussed in class, but I would encourage you to take a look at the demo videos, and even download the free versions to try each of them for yourself.

You will also be assigned several CAI software titles that we have available in our lab to write a review on. Your reviews should be posted here by no later than Thursday (4/17) at 2pm. In your review, you should try to answer the following questions:

1. How intuitive was the software? Were you able to navigate easily? Would students be able to?
2. How effective is this title in teaching music concepts? What concepts does the program focus on?
3. What level(s) would this program be best suited for?
4. Would you use this title in your teaching? Why or why not?

Your reviews should take the format of title of the program followed by a paragraph review. Example:

Music Ace
Music Ace is a fun and interesting program for learning basic music reading, etc.

Write these paragraphs as though they were going to be published as reviews in a music education periodical (i.e. Teaching Music or Illinois Music Educator). The programs to review are:

Music Ace 1 & 2
Music Lessons 1 & 2
Sibelius Instruments
Sibelius Groovy Shapes
Practica Musica

Savin’ it!

Posted April 9, 2008 by mus243 Matt
Categories: New Frontiers, Recommended Reading

A great article regarding the new problem of saving, archiving, and organizing digital data. Incredibly, the amount of digital information in the world is expected to increase 10-fold in the time you’re here as a student. Here’s my favorite quote regarding some of the complexity:

“There might be 100 versions of a report on a company’s hard drive, but which one was the final draft?” Dr. Hestrom said. “How was the underlying data used? Which architectural drawings of the many versions generated for a project were actually used to erect the building, and what was the chain of decisions that led to the brick-and-mortar result?

“It’s not that the bits aren’t lying around,” she continued. “They may or may not be lying around. But being able to understand how they were collected,” and being able to ascertain how the underlying data was used, makes the information useful. People think that because the cost of storage is dropping “we can save everything,” she said. “But that’s based on a naïve view of what ‘everything’ actually is.”


Technologies of composition

Posted April 7, 2008 by mus243 Matt
Categories: New Frontiers, Uncategorized

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: