February 1, 2014

I have completed the switch over to my new site at:

All of the archived posts are now there and I will soon be closing out this site, so please update your bookmarks and I’d love to have you follow me!

I am going to be focusing on real-world use of technology including hands-on reviews of products and software along with discussions about how they fit in to our profession as music educators.  Since earning my doctorate in education, I have a new perspective on how music education fits in to today’s education climate- I think you will find it very interesting!

Please feel free to comment or ask questions and I’ll see you at the new site!


Big Changes Coming!

January 26, 2014

As you probably have noticed, I have not posted here on the Digital Music Educator for quite some time.  I have been very busy pursuing my Doctorate in Education and can now say that I have completed that goal!  The process was very long and labor-intensive, so I let the blogging go by the wayside, however I kept the blog up so that the older posts would be there for those who might find them useful.


I am moving the Digital Music Educator to a new hosting site so that I can expand and revise the blog and resume my research and work in the area of music education and technology.  You can expect a new look, new features, and lots of new content! As soon as the new site is ready I will post here so that you can update as needed.

Until then, THANK YOU for reading and following my blog!

Free metronomes for your students!

January 6, 2011

Teacher:  “Do you practice with a metronome?”

Student:  “I don’t have one.”

Teacher: “Why not?”

Student: “I don’t know where to get one and we don’t have the money to buy one!”

How many times has this conversation happened in band rooms across the country?  Today I asked this very question and the students were surprised to hear my response:  “If you have a computer, cell phone, ipod, mp3 player or cd player you can have a metronome for FREE!”  Blank stares from students….one hand is raised “Mr. B, no one has cd players anymore….”

Here are some online resources that you can give your students- these are all FREE solutions.  While I realize that these may not be the best or latest apps out there, this post is merely meant to begin the journey for the perfect metronome (and dare I say….TUNER) apps/freeware.

So the next time your students say “I can’t afford a metronome!” hand them this list:

Windows Computer:


iphone/ipod touch/ipad


mp3’s that can be burned onto cd:

Please feel free to post your favorites as well!

Realistic Guitar Controller- now we’re talking!

October 20, 2010

Ever since Guitar Hero came out I have been thinking about how great it would be if we could have a controller that was set up like a real guitar- thus encouraging real chord and note learning skills.  It looks like we are there!  This new controller by Mad Catz is the closest thing yet to a “real” guitar!

Just think of the possibilities that this opens up for guitar instruction!

Check out this video from CNET:

Drillbook app for Iphone

October 19, 2010

With the marching competition season upon us I just had to mention this.  We are witnessing a whole new era- no more set books (spiral notebooks) and pencils- you can even send to your printer- cool!

Drill Book App for Iphone

From Band Director to Band Dad

September 1, 2010

This year my Daughter started high school, and I’m really excited that she has decided to join the marching band.  She is not attending the school where I teach (band), but that is a long story for another time.  I have been a band director for 22 years, and one of the biggest reasons that I chose to become a teacher is the fantastic experiences that I had when I was in school band- the work ethic, the family atmosphere, and of course all of my friends and the great times we had making music together.

As my daughter begins her high school band experience, I find myself remembering and sharing stories and it brings us closer together.  I am so proud to see her enjoy the experience so much! In anticipation of her beginning high school, knowing that she did not want to attend my school (again, looong story- don’t worry the reasons are really pragmatic), I could not bear the thought of not being able to share the moments that I know are sure to come for her.  I have been fortunate enough to be in a position this year- taking a leave of absence from my position to work on my doctoral dissertation- to be able to “be there” with her, taking her to band camp, band practice, football games, competitions, and all that comes with the experience.

I have to say that it was a bit surreal chaperoning a high school football game as a band parent and not the head band director!  She is in a fine band program headed by one of my oldest and dearest friends, so I know that she will have a wonderful education and I have of course volunteered to be at every event.  It really is proving to be an eye-opening experience being on the “other end” of the band experience!  I look forward to a season of hauling water, taking students back and forth to the restroom during away games, cheering like a proud papa at competitions (that’s my girl!!!!), and being the taxi for her and her friends to the pizza party after the big game.

I know that she will have experiences (just like I did) that she will remember for the rest of her life- I am also glad that I have the opportunity to just be “dad” and shower praise and affection liberally and often rather than having to worry about the perception of favoritism that would always be in the background if she was in my program.  So, here’s to a wonderful year of being…dad.

15 Places to Find Free Music Online

July 28, 2010

By: Karen Schweitzer

There are many different sites that allow users to listen to and download free music online. Some sites even offer the ability to share music and playlists with friends through websites, blogs, and social media sites. Here are 15 great places to find free and legal music on the web.

Pandora – Based on the sophisticated taxonomy of the Music Genome Project, Pandora is an Internet Radio site that allows you to create personalized radio stations based on music you like. Simply type in the name of a singer, composer, band, or song you enjoy, and Pandora will create a free radio station that plays that music or music like it.

Playlist – Playlist is the world’s largest music community. Members can create their own personal playlists and share them through websites, blogs, and social media sites.

Qloud – Qloud is a free music library that can be used to play music online or share songs via Twitter. The site also shows songs that are being played by other Qloud users.

Songza – This site allows site visitors to browse for songs and artists or create a radio station that plays a mix of songs. Songza also offers featured mixes, such as pop hits, dance party, indie rap, and dinner party. – is an Internet radio network that features more than 250 genres of music produced by over 6,000 radio stations in 150 different countries. You can search for radio stations by genre or artist.

MixPod – This social music playlist community lets users create free online playlists, browse playlists created by other people, and share playlists on social media sites.

Jango – Jango is a free social music service that allows users to play unlimited free music online. Simply type in what you want to hear, and Jango will create a personalized radio station for you. You can share your station with friends and tune into stations other people have created.

iLike – This MySpace site calls itself a “social music discovery service.”  After creating a profile, iLike users can share music, playlists, music recommendations, and personalized concert alerts.

Piano Society – Piano Society maintains the largest library of free classical piano recordings on the web. Site visitors can download free music and read about more than 200 different classical and contemporary artists and composers.

SkreemR – SkreemR is a free mp3 search engine that can be used to locate music, remixes, podcasts, recorded radio, and other audio files on the web. More than 12 million mp3 files from over 100,000 websites have been indexed by SkreemR so far.

FindSounds – Similar to SkreemR, FindSounds is an audio search engine that allows users to search the web for free music, sound effects, file formats, and more.

8notes – 8notes is a free sheet music database. The site also offers free riffs, lessons, and tools for musicians and music fans.

Mutopia – The goal of the Mutopia Project is to make sheet music and classical music freely available over the web. Mutopia visitors can download, print out, perform, and distribute nearly 1,700 pieces of music. – This site offers a wide range of royalty free sounds and music. Many of these items on this site are free for everyone. Educators who sign up for’s classroom program can gain free access to additional tracks from the site’s stock music library.

BearShare – BearShare is free file sharing software. It can be used to legally download free music and share mp3 files with friends.

Guest post from education writer Karen Schweitzer. Karen is the Guide to Business School. She also writes about pharmacy technician training for

Famous Bands who started in college

July 28, 2010

A while back I was contacted by Kaitlyn Cole about an article on the Online Universities website.  I was really blown away by who was on the top 10 list including some of my favorites (R.E.M, Pink Floyd, Queen- guess I am dating myself here…)

What a great conversation starter for any general music class or as an answer to the ever present question- why do I need to study music when I have my own “band”?

Check out this great article!

15 Resources for Elementary Music Teachers

February 8, 2010

The web is an excellent resource for music teachers who need free education materials for the elementary classroom. There are a number of sites that offers articles about music education and teaching strategies, lesson plans, classroom tools, children’s songs, fingerplays, and other helpful materials. Here are 15 sites to explore throughout the school year. – Created by Dr. Prof. Joseph Pisano, this music technology site is a good place for elementary teachers to read about music education, music technology, and music advocacy. Other site features include links to music-related hardware, software, and freeware.

The Lesson Plans Page – HotChalk’s Lesson Plans Page provides hundreds of detailed lesson plans for music teachers. Lessons are available for elementary, middle school, and high schools students. – More than 100 music-related lesson plans are available for elementary school students at Lessons are also available for middle school students.

We the Teachers – This social networking site was not created specifically for music teachers, but it is still a good resource for lesson plans and other classroom tools. Teachers can share lesson plans, ideas, and philosophies in the forum and meet other teachers from around the world.

The Children’s Music Network – Created by teachers, musical performers, and parents in the U.S. and Canada, The Children’s Music Network (CMN) is a non-profit organization that shares songs and ideas about children’s music. Teachers can use the CMN site to find classroom resources, view upcoming events, and learn more about organizations that promote children’s music.

NNCC Fingerplays Plus – The NNCC (National Network for Child Care) offers a large selection of fingerplays and rhymes for elementary school children. Suggestions for related activities are also provided.

Judy and David’s Online Songbook – This no-frills website is a good place to find songs for children to sing in the classroom. Hundreds of songs are available on almost every topic imaginable.

Soundpiper – Soundpiper provides free children’s song lyrics and activity suggestions for the classroom. Teachers can also learn more about methods of music instruction and get tips on making homemade instruments.

Music from Across America – Created for grades K-5, this EDSITEment music learning unit introduces students to different instruments and sounds from various cultures and geographic regions. The unit includes multiple lessons, suggested activities, and other materials for the classroom.

Essentials of Music – Essentials of Music is a classical music site with a large glossary, biographies of famous composers, and information about various eras of music. The site also provides audio excerpts of some of the most famous classical music pieces.

Naxos – Naxos, one of the world’s leading classical music labels, offers an enormous glossary of music terminology as well as a basic introduction to classical music and instruments.

Free Kids Music – This site provides free music downloads from independent children’s music artists. There are songs for learning and education and songs for fun and play.

Free Songs for Kids – Sponsored by Songs for Teaching, this music site provides free kids’ music (lyrics and audio), children’s song videos, printable sheet music, and other useful elementary classroom materials.

Music Teachers Blog – The Fun Music Company offers a Music Teachers Blog with free lesson plans, teaching strategies, and other useful resources for elementary music teachers.

Music Teacher’s Helper – This web-based computer program for music teachers tracks lesson schedules, invoices, payments, and more. It is free to use for teachers who have three students or less.

Guest post from education writer Karen Schweitzer. Karen is the Guide to Business School. She also writes about online degree programs for

Get “hip” to your kids’ music with playlist and Lala

December 23, 2009

Before the Christmas break, my alternative music class was working on their projects- “covering” their favorite song, learning the tabs (or notation) and preparing a performance for recording. In the past I have always used itunes to download the songs they were working on so that I had a “frame of reference” but even at $.99 it can get a bit pricey ($30 or so for the class). Since I need to have an idea of what the songs they are working on sound like AND I don’t particularly want to add their music to my itunes library (although some of it is pretty good!) I needed to find a site that I could listen without actually downloading (and do it legally!)

Playlist and Lala are social music sites that allow anyone to upload and share music. It’s a great way for you to “get hip” to what your kids are listening to. Not that we get out of touch as we get older 🙂 Try it out by asking your kids to do a journal of what they listen to in a week (journal exercise).  Type the titles into Playlist or Lala and you will get a window into their world- and realize why they swing like a rusty gate in jazz band…

Now- direct them to the “Jazz” category in Lala and do some listening assignments!