“Why do you take the time to blog?”

The second question I was asked today, on a personal level, was why I take the time to blog.  My blogging–in and of itself–does not generate any income.  I’m not a fan of blogs that are pasted with advertisements from various sponsors.  I get why those ads are there, I just don’t want them on my page.  Wordpress does put ads on my pages now and then, particularly on the mobile version, to cover the costs of hosting the WordPress site that hosts my blog (it’s a free service).  But I never collect any income from those ads.

In truth, my knowledge has led to the opportunity to earn a small amount of money when I present training sessions for individual schools or state agencies, and in full disclosure, I usually earn $250-$400 per day for those sessions, not including fees for transportation.  Most of my freedom to do this sort of training is limited to summers and weekends, as I have a job as a high school choir teacher and tech coach.  If I ever have to do sessions during a school day, I would have to take a day of leave without pay, and request that the sponsoring organization pay that cost as well.  That hasn’t yet happened in my “tech” career.  I was able to make enough income this summer to cover my wife’s extended absence (unpaid) after the birth of our son in March (she works 4 hours a day, part-time), but that’s about it.

I also have the iBook(s) for sale.  To date, sales of my book on the iBookstore have brought in about $300.  I was quite pleased to learn that one college recently used my iBook as a textbook for their music education technology course.  Although my initial start-up costs have been covered (ISBN fees, Copyright Fees, Software [before iBooks Author was released]), I haven’t yet broken even for the amount of time that I spent writing the book.  I’m working on revising the book for a second edition, but it will be some time before it comes out.  At $4.99 per sale, I’m certainly not on the path to be a millionaire.

In regards to presenting at state music conferences, I need to let everyone know that you are not paid for these events.  One state has offered to cover my hotel and gas; but the others expect you to pay for the cost of housing and travel–often times expecting you to also pay for registration for the conference.  I’ve been told that you can solicit sponsors (If any sponsors would love to step forward, send me an e-mail), but in general, all of this is out-of-pocket, and it requires that I use my contractual personal days at school because my school will not cover my sub time for me, even though I’m representing our school across the country (and my school has even used this as a point of Public Relations announcements!).

So, if I’m not in this for the money, why do I do it?  Here are some reasons:

A) I love technology.  It gives me an excuse to stay connected to music and technology, as well as to pay attention to what is new and emerging in the field.

B) I love helping my peers.  I see myself as a coach that can help others along.  I am a tech coach at my school, where I walk teachers through all kinds of issues, and I actually do quite a bit of tech coaching through e-mail (I really do respond to e-mail) across the country and the world.  What is a bit amazing is how many people ask questions, and you send them a reply, and you never hear from them again.   I try to follow up, but the lesson I’ve learned is to try to send a “thank you” to people that help me.

C) I like writing.  I know there are typos here and there, and I’m sure that I make grammatical errors.  Even so, my blog is geared towards letting me express to other teachers what I’m finding as I use technology in my classroom.  When I see a glaring error, I try to go back and fix it.

D) I really like presenting.  I like exposing my colleagues to things they might not know.  If you ever come see one of my presentations, I think you’ll be able to tell that I’m in my element there (just as I am in my classroom).

E) It might lead to something else someday.  My “dream job” is to be the second choral director in a small college, directing a men’s or women’s ensemble, teaching pedagogy, teaching music theory, teaching music technology, and overseeing student teachers.  That doesn’t mean that I’m unhappy doing what I’m doing–but that would be my dream job.  This summer, I’m slated to teach a course in Technology in Music Education at the University of St. Thomas (MN) Master of Arts in Music Education Program, which, if enough people enroll, will be my first venture into collegiate teaching.  I’m really looking forward to it (Side ad: if you are looking for a week-long tech course and live in the Minnesota area, consider taking the course from the University of St. Thomas!).   I might be open to working on music education technology outside of education someday–you never know what chances life will bring (I jokingly posted that I’d be open to being the CEO of MakeMusic this past summer–but all joking retains some element of truth).

My goal is to keep this blog (relatively) ad free.  If you want to support me, consider buying my iBook.  I make $3.49 for each sale…meaning that if you buy my iBook, you’ve just bought me a cup of coffee (although we have a Kuerig Coffeemaker).  I’d also encourage you to follow the list of bloggers that I have listed to the right of this screen…they are all masters in their respective fields, bringing the best thoughts to the topic of technology in music education.  And if you are a blogger and think your blog belongs on that list, e-mail me.  If you know of an app I haven’t mentioned, let me know.  If you see a life-changing form of technology, send me an update!  Trust me–I learn as much from you as you do from me.

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