Friday, March 15, 2013

MakeMusic This Week

It was a busy week at MakeMusic.

The new pricing schedule for SmartMusic seems to have caused a ruckus with band directors.  Enough so, that the plan is on hold and will probably be revised.  

Hopefully, that moves quickly as the my school is asking what the band fee should be for next year.

We are using SmartMusic everywhere a kid can access the internet.  Including the home computer.  We have been getting a bulk-purchase price.  It is some work, but I think it is worth it.  Subscriptions for everyone!

The cheaper plan (but not nearly as comprehensive) is for the teacher to order enough to cover his practice rooms and send/receive his assignments through SmartMusic Grade Book.  Students do their work at school.

That might be too good a deal for the teacher and student side.  Server space does cost someone money.

So it will be interesting to see how this shakes out. There is a need to cover the costs AND a need to not tick-off the customer. What is the magic price? 

The other thing happening over at MakeMusic is the purchase of the company by LaunchEquity.  MakeMusic is going private.  Hopefully, that just means we can't follow the company as close as we have by watching the quarterly reports.  LaunchEquity is putting some money into the company, so it is hard to believe they would do anything drastic enough to upset the business.  That is probably another reason why the pricing is under review.  Hopefully, they remember that school music programs with big fat budgets aren't exactly commonplace.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

MakeMusic is Bought Out

Visit Tech In Music Ed for some analysis.

I really hope that MakeMusic can continue to deliver SmartMusic and the tools that support it.  It has really made a difference in my teaching practice.  I have no reason to believe they won't, but this kind of change always makes me nervous.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Copper Street Brass was Here Yesterday.

Every once in a while something comes along and you remember why you got into teaching.

Yesterday was one of those days.

My teaching partner is constantly looking for listening opportunities for our students and has the energy to chase down grants to make those opportunities happen.  Thank you Westonka Foundation, Target Foundation and Band Boosters for your generosity.  Let me assure you it was money well spent.  Thanks, Gretchen for making it happen.

The Copper Street Brass Quintet has as varied a repertoire as any brass quintet that I have heard.  I was expecting baroque and got Brubeck and Adele too.

Virtuoso players and a great rapport with the young audience made for an enjoyable afternoon concert in our "gymnacafatorium."  It is hard to entertain and teach middle schoolers the day before a long weekend, but this group held their attention well.  We have pretty darn good kids here, but you have about 2 minutes to impress our kids before they check out on you on a day like this.

Performance-wise, I was impressed with the members of the group.  Frequently, brass quintets seem to be forums for show-casing trumpet players.  This group has the trumpets to do that, but the horn, trombone and tuba get their chance to shine too. (and BOY do they!)  It has been a while since I have heard masterful trombone, tuba and horn soloing.

Spreading things around like that will do wonders for my program, if for no other people than my low brass players.

Thanks again to everyone who made it happen.

If you get the chance, check out the CSBQ.  Visit their website.  Have them over.  It will be good.