Friday, April 30, 2010


Are there too many tenor saxophone majors? College music performance programs have expanded over the past few decades while music performance jobs seem to be shrinking.

I believe there may be a conflict of interest at many schools. They require tuition money to survive. Can they counsel performance majors effectively about the economics of playing music?

Are there more than three full time tuba players in Connecticut? How will any tuba majors find work?

I get the "music for its own sake". I took 50 non-major credits at Oberlin. I studied it because I wanted to. I also knew there was no chance I would beat out my classmates for serious trombone jobs (they are now in Vanguard band, etc..).

Seth Godin recently wrote about changes coming in higher education. If there is a demand for musicians will we see a return to the "University of the Streets"? I don't see how this economic model where students are paying more per year in tuition than they will ever earn in a year surviving.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


My week so far:

1. We are working on Alleluia (SSAA version) and we actually made it all the way through with piano. I'm hopeful we can make it. I have used this primarily as a device to learn how to read rhythms and it seems to be working fairly well. really doesn't sound good yet. Hopefully we can get out of the score soon.
2. I gave my three clarinets in developmental band a trio to learn on their own. They really seem to be tackling it, analyzing it, and fixing stuff on their own. I hope they stick with it.
3. We played through most of Band Room Rock with the 4th graders. I'm running out of time for concert and pulled this out hopeful that we could basically read it. I need to really do some concert prep and plan things out.
4. Finished writing the iPad grant. We need equipment here and we need it badly. The iPad would be a great tool for us.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

CMEA 2010

I spent the weekend at the All-State Conference here in Connecticut.

Some highlights:

1. The groups were fantastic. I had two students in the choir and they learned a lot. The band had a great sound, the jazz band had some great soloists, and the orchestra was very precise.
2. I wasn't overwhelmed by the sessions, and I didn't hear of any "must sees". There was a lack of energy around. Perhaps less people attending. However, the presenters were engaging and pleasant. I enjoyed seeing James Frankel. Funny guy.
3. I think the Honors Elementary Choir went well and I am glad they did it.

Some challenges:
1. This festival is way too expensive for students and teachers. Lets reinvent this idea.
2. There is a startling lack of food options and the convention center.
3. Lack of wi-fi is a pain.
4. Music educators are not thinking about sharing their work using technology. There is a very different feel at other conferences. Try to find a picture or video from the conference. Only one presenter was podcasting.
5. I really do not understand the no-applause-after-National Anthem thing they do.

Thursday, April 1, 2010


I started working on an online international music festival. Interesting how this can get started. We are using twitter and google wave to communicate. I'm working with people I have never spoken to before--only through twitter or blogging.

I was thinking that verbal communication across distances is fairly new. We have only had widespread telephone use for about 100 years. Before then it was common to work only by common goals--even letters might take 9-10 months to reach their destination. Information traveled very slowly a few centuries ago.

Now we are editing documents in real time, even though we live thousands of miles apart.

I hope to announce more soon. If you are interested in participating in the process please let me know.