Tuesday, March 20, 2012


My favorite tools are the those that easily allow me to easily create movies or slideshow presentations.  I can see using them to create a "How To" video on marching fundamentals.  In fact, I may use my student leadership this summer to actually create the video and have it available for incoming freshmen to view.

I also like the Google Sites application.  I foresee using it in my AP Music Theory class.  I know that there are many websites available on music history, composers, musical instruments, etc., but I think that having the students in the class actually create a website in a collaborative effort would be very interesting and effective.  I specifically would like to have a website on musical instruments (with pictures, sounds, history, etc.) and music history (different periods, music of the period, composers, etc.)

Up to now, I thought of technology in band as being limited to the use of computers for evaluation (e.g. tuning, Smartmusic, etc.) or to help with student self-recording.  I see a lot more ways that I can use technology.  I do have concerns about using a limited number of iPads and stations with a class size of 50+.  I also still have concerns about taking away from rehearsal/practice time to incorporate new types of lessons.  Much of our bands' successes come from developing technique (physical skills).


I think that the number one thing that I would want my students to understand about being good digital citizens is the reliability of their sources.  With all of the information that is available on the Internet it will be more and more important to teach students how to decide what is "factual" and what is not.  Second in importance would be having students understand copyright and fair use.  Finally, I would want students to understand their accountability for what they do on the web.

I plan on using the Slideshow by Wes Fryer on Copyright and Fair Use that is linked to the SBISD Ed Tech website to discuss copyright with my students.

I think that would "teach" digital citizenship to my students by showing them the various slide shows, etc. available on the Ed Tech website and then opening up a class discussion.  For the parents, I would provide links to these presentations in my weekly emails so that they too would have access to what their children are seeing.


The biggest thing that I see from looking through all of the Web tools is that there is a lot of technology out there for our use.  It will require a lot of time to explore and redesign lessons.  Technology for technology sake is not the answer; it must be tied to specific objectives.

I know of several interactive websites for Music Theory.

I really like the teoria website. It not only has lessons, but interactive questions and practice drills. It is a great resource for student practice in ear training.

The apps that I found for use with Music Theory are:
  • Karajan Beginner
  • Wivi Band
  • Virtuoso
They are not that powerful and some are only available on the iPhone. Of course there are also apps for tuning and metronome which would be useful. Right now I have computer software that is more powerful for Music Theory and it is designed with the AP Music Theory test in mind. It provides for practice as well as testing. Hopefully in the future they will develop an app to use in conjunction with the software. It was the capability of recording individual test scores.

I can see us using the iPads as actual "sheet music" in the future. With a central controlling station, the iPads could be sync'd and music downloaded to individual iPads. This would give us enormous flexibility. We could perform a piece in a given key and with the click of a button change the key for everyone instantly. You could also easily rewrite an instrument's part so that it played something else simply by cutting and pasting.


I'm excited about the new devices that we are getting in music.  I've already looked at many of the applications for the iPhone and iPad.  I really see a use for the devices and apps in my Music Theory AP course.  There are quite a few apps on music reading and music theory.  I am disappointed that many of the apps are currently for the iPhone and not the iPad.  Hopefully in the future there will be more available for the iPad.

I know that in the professional world that the iPads are being used in place of actual sheet music.  With a controlling device that these iPads are sync'd to, you can change an arrangement on the master computer and instantly change it on all of the parts.  This would be an exciting (and challenging) way to rehearse and work on music.


I think it would be wonderful to be able to find another band that is performing the same music that we are performing for our UIL contest and use Skype to allow us to perform for each other.  The students could interact about the quality of the performances as they would be listening for how their parts were performed and how the overall ensemble performed.

It would also be great to be able to interact with a composer.  We could possibly perform a piece by a living composer and get comments about our interpretation.

Finally, we could maybe use Skype to perform for a variety of people and get their critiques of our performance; although, I'm not sure as to the quality of the Skype transmission.


I chose to use Poll Anywhere and Twitter for this tool.
I can envision using the poll to collect information on a variety of subjects (e.g. marching shows, warm up music, etc.).  I see a limitation with my classes in that they are 50+ and there is a limit of 32 students answering each question.

I can see using Twitter on trips to send out information to students (e.g. check-in times, reminders, etc.)
I setup a Twitter account under DKastor

I see the Twitter account as being very useful since I can be in contact with students instantly.  The drawbacks are security and the fact that all students would need to have a twitter account and access to it.


I took a look at Stupeflix and Google Sites
They both look like easy ways of putting together videos.
Stupeflix Studio:
Google Sites:
I didn't create an actual lesson because I didn't have any pictures of the types of things that I would use for lessons.

I can see a ways that I might use this with my curriculum.
Here area few:

  • Video to help teach marching fundamentals
  • How to videos (instrument cleaning and maintenance, note reading, etc.)
  • Video to help with recruiting - what happens in band during the year

Saturday, March 17, 2012


For the Google Doc, I chose a to do something simple.  I usually send out an email weekly to the parents and students in band.  This email contains information about upcoming events such as concerts, contests, payments due, etc.  I am going to try using Google Docs to allow the other director to help me create the email that I send.  Hopefully this will cut down on the amount of time that I have to spend creating the email and then sending it to him for proofing.

For the form, I'll make a questionnaire for band officers to fill out and respond to about their impressions of our Band Spring Trip.

We can use the form ability to survey band students on various topics.  I can also use the form to create quizzes for my Music Theory class.  At this point, I'm most excited about using the form to be able to collect information from my students.


I foresee using YouTube the most to show videos or listen to recordings of music.  One thing that I found in addition to one of the pieces that we are performing at UIL is a vocal version which gives a little more insight into the Korean Folk Song that our piece is based on.

Here is a recording of the Tokyo Kosei Wind Orchestra performing Chance's Variations on a Korean Folk Song.

Here is a video of a performance of the folk song that I found on YouTube of
아리랑 (Arirang) - Korean Folk Song
Singer : The Members of Seo-Do Traditional Songs Institute by GOV supports.
Korean National Classical Orchestra. 

Copyright, as presented in the information in the tool, is confusing to me.  I'm still operating under a more restrictive understanding of the law.  The informational website http://librarycopyright.net was very interesting and informative.

I can see using Dropbox for recordings that students make.  They can submit them using Dropbox (although we do have the capability to do the same thing using our Charms website that the district Fine Arts office provides for us.


Tool Two was frustrating as well.  It has been awhile since I had looked at the 11 Tools so it took longer to remember how to login and post.
I setup a Diigo account and also used Google Reader.  I found several blogs that looked interesting in Diigo, but was not able to actually subscribe using the Google Reader.  I got an error message that said that it needed to be set up by the Google Administrator.
I went into Google Reader and searched and found some interesting blogs.  I searched using concert band and teaching and found a couple of blogs that I thought sounded interesting.  Upon examination, though, many of them appeared to be more sales oriented.
I chose the option of signing up and following other bloggers, because I think that I will feel very strange about posting on other people's blogs.
I did find a couple of band composer's blogs that I plan on going back and looking at.  There is also the Yellow Board which is more of a bulletin board where band directors can post questions and comments.  I didn't initially see a way to subscribe to a blog or RSS feed, but I plan on going back and looking at it more in depth later.