Today I had the honor to attend and present a session at the 2014 Illinois Music Educators Association Illinois Music Education Conference. The picture of the train on this post may seem strange, but as I left Peoria, I saw this engine and had to act quickly to take a picture of the train. The train is painted to honor the old Rock Island Railroad, which once spanned throughout the Illinois and the midwest. Two years ago, one of my men's choir sang “The Rock Island Line” published by BriLee (scroll down to the song here: http://www.carlfischer.com/partbypart/brilee/men.html), so it only seemed fitting to take a picture of that train. I love trains, although I don't spend as much time train watching and model railroading as I would like (as in: not at all).
My session today was on SmartMusic and Choral Music. I will put up the notes and presentations soon. What made my presentation interesting this time was that MakeMusic pushed out an update about 24 hours before I gave the presentation, most of the time which I was driving. I brought my two young boys to my parent's house near Milwaukee, and then drove the rest of the way to Peoria today (waking up at 3:30), and then back to my parent's house. We will return to Minnesota tomorrow (we actually live right on the Wisconsin/Minnesota border, so close enough).
There was a nice sized crowd to learn about SmartMusic and Choral Music, and a number of people stayed afterward to introduce themselves and to thank me for the blog. To those people, I simply say this: you have no idea how wonderful it is to hear that my blog is of assistance to you. That's why I write this blog, and why it remains free–I want to give back to the profession that has given so much to me. I believe that financial opportunities will find their way as a result of the work, making the free blog worth the time it takes to write. Those financial opportunities include selling copies of my books on the iBookstore, consulting and training, and even other future opportunities for employment.
The Peoria Civic Center is a wonderful place for a convention; Peoria isn't a huge city, so getting around is quite easy, and the facilities are wonderful. The vendor area is also quite nice, and a large number of exhibitors attend the conference.
In my presentation, I talked a bit about the costs of SmartMusic, which include the educator's subscription, individual subscriptions, and practice room subscriptions. I mentioned that I had seen my all-time favorite fundraiser in the vendor area, Ozark Delight lollipops. We used to sell them at one of my former high school positions, and they were a huge hit with kids. We stopped selling them when we could no longer sell during the school day because Minnesota has new “no sugar” rules in play during the day. However…you can sell these suckers before school or after school, and they really are the best product…they sell themselves.
I wasn't paid to mention the company (or paid to represent SmartMusic), but I mentioned them because they work as a fundraiser. Afterwards, I stopped by the Ozark Delight booth, and the gentleman from the company gave me a bag of suckers for mentioning the company (a number of people from the presentation had already been down to visit him), and I just wanted to disclose that. My own children will be in stock for suckers throughout the summer.
If you choose to sell these suckers, buy just one case and determine what suckers sell at your school, then custom order (yes, they do this for free) only the suckers that sell for the bulk of your order. I believe you make over $300 a case of suckers at $1 per sucker (back in the day, they were 2 for $1.00. Sadly, those days are gone).
I will post more about SmartMusic in the future (next few days), and I also need to address the update to PiaScore, which has been our free solution to reading music on our iPads, and was also updated yesterday.
So…thank you to those of you who came to the session. Make use of the links on the right side of this blog to find other blogs pertinent to your area of study. Please feel free to e-mail for help or suggestions at any time…I will do my best to be of assistance. And again, thank you to those that introduced themselves and had kind or personal words about the blog–it was great to meet you!