It has been quite a while since I have written a blog post. There are a number of reasons for that, and I will have a few posts coming in the near future. But I did want to give some insight into where I’ve been lately.
Ultimately, I haven’t blogged very much. This hasn’t stopped companies from sending PR materials to the address on this blog (there are only a few active music technology blogs these days…and this one has not been very active); and I occasionally get a request for guest posts (people looking to be paid to write content). As I have to explain to both companies and aspiring writers, this is a personal blog that reflects my use of technology in music education. The blog generates no income (if you see advertisements, they are generated by WordPress to provide the free hosting). In fact, I pay (for the domain name) to offer the blog.
I also get an e-mail from time to time from a company asking me to revise the content in an old post to reflect price changes, names of companies or software, and so on. I consider posts to be an archive of past information—a glimpse into the way things were at a point of time. Also, if people are getting current information about your product (pricing or features) from a post I wrote five years ago, instead of from your website…that company has an issue. As a result, I don’t go back and change old posts, unless the post is current and I have incorrectly stated information about a product.
So, all that said, where have I been? Well, I’m here, and I am actively using technology. But life is different1
- In 2013, I moved from high school choir to middle school choir. Middle school choir, in our district, is a tough assignment (students have to take music in grades 6 & 7, and if they don’t want to be in band or orchestra, they are placed in choir)
- In 2016, I adopted the ukulele to teach during part of the year that my middle school students didn’t have a concert. As a result, I started making resources for ukulele.
- In 2019, I was moved to an elementary position, and while I continued to use the ukulele, I also needed to make all kinds of content for my students (recorder and piano). Much of this content cannot be shared as it is based on published materials that I create for my own classroom.
- The pandemic hit in 2020, and my priorities changed somewhat as a result. We were all trying to survive teaching in a distance format…although I will say that my skills and experience— including the ukulele work—made that transition easier for me, and I heard A LOT of positive feedback from parents who would watch my lessons with their students!
- The Chromebook won. I still use my iPad as my primary device, and each version of the iPad and each version of Pad OS offers more and more functionality and power. Students in my school have iPads in grades K-2, and Chromebooks in grades 3-5. And all students in grades 3-12 use Chromebooks in our school. As a result of this victory, cloud-based apps that run on Chromebooks have improved (e.g. NoteFlight, MusicFirst apps, Flat.io, etc.) while developments for other platforms have been evolutionary rather than revolutionary as they were around the introduction to the iPad.
- Many technology sessions are no longer of interest to those that schedule music education conventions/conferences.
- While I have stated my creation of content for ukulele, I have understated its impact; my play along channel has nearly 100,000 subscribers and generates no income. I struggle with the amount of time it takes to create content with the lack of any financial incentive to do so.
- And most importantly, I currently have my health under control. During the pandemic, I went on a plan called OptaVIA, which is a controlled calorie deficit program, and lost 140 pounds between April of 2021 and February of 2022. I’m still doing great eight months later, and have a completely different relationship with food. But as a result, I will often choose to go for a walk or bike ride (inside or outside) instead of creating content or writing blog posts; and I don’t really watch anything (e.g. Andor; Rings of Power, SportsCenter) without being on a treadmill, bike, or elliptical.
So with all that in mind, there hasn’t been a lot that I have felt the need to write about, which is why I appreciate the continuing efforts of both Robby and Amy Burns (not related) in this field; the rest of us just haven’t had a lot to say, and many formerly active bloggers just aren’t writing any more.
You’ll still see blog posts here from time to time; and one of the things that I need to remember is that the tools I continue to use on a daily method are not being used by most of my colleagues, and collegiate students are still not being taught how to use technology in their teaching. I don’t know how to change this, particularly if technology sessions are not of great interest at most music education conventions/conferences. If you know of a conference looking for technology content, have them contact me; I can be brought in to provide multiple sessions at various skill levels at a very economic cost.
Thanks for reading this post and checking in with the blog; watch for some new articles soon!