Wordles – Looking back on the year and more!

At this time of year, it seems everyone is reflecting on “a years worth of tweets/status updates.” So, of course that got me thinking about doing the same. I really enjoy using Wordle, so I decided to make two – one of my most used words on twitter (from TweetStats) and from this blog. Here are the results. First from Twitter:

It’s no surprise that some of the largest words involve “band”, “music”, and “students.”

Here’s the wordle from this blog:

Again, very similar.

I’m pleased with the results, and it’s fun to reflect back on what I have been tweeting/writing about. Try it out for yourself! I’d be interested in seeing what you come up with!

Here’s wishing you a happy, healthy and prosperous 2010!

My First Experiences in Second Life

A while back, I posted a tweet on my Twitter after reading some posts by other educators who use Second Life. I immediately heard back from @msgregson

…I was convinced right away. I really didn’t need that much convincing anyway, but it was just the push that I needed to give it a try. I had been seeing lots of folks in my PLN talking about SL and their educational experiences with it, and it sounded really interesting to me. So, I downloaded the software, created my avatar and started exploring.

So far, every person that I have met in SL has been incredibly helpful, encouraging, and kind. I am grateful to @msgregson for encouraging me to do it, and especially grateful to @ejulez for basically being my SL mentor!

I have only been on SL for a few weeks now, and every day I am pleasantly surprised with all of the opportunities that exist there. I know there is probably even more that I do

Me in Second Life as Cosmo Lanley

n’t even know about. I am excited about the possibilities for learning!

I think the most exciting part for me is that I get to meet new people almost every day. And, most of those people are other educators from around the world. It is so wonderful to sit in the comfort of my pj’s and slippers and have great conversations about education, attend a virtual conference or presentation, or just hang out and have fun playing games, or even dancing (something I rarely do in real life)!

A while back I wrote a post about how I thought Twitter was helping me to become a more social person. Second Life has fostered that growth even more. I have to admit that I was even a little shy about interacting with folks in Second Life at first, but now I say hello to everyone I meet without hesitation. And, part of the reason that I am so comfortable with that is because of the genuine kindness of everyone that I’ve met.

My SL mentor, Julie Sugarplum has written a great post about her experiences with Second Life, and I couldn’t agree more with her. Julie sums up one of the best things about SL to me, “The networking alone is something no one should want to pass up and in my opinion is a more effective method of networking than the real world (inexpensive, less time consuming and you can do it in your jammies and fuzzy slippers).”  If you are an educator using Second Life in any way, or if you are interested in getting into it, please share your thoughts and comments! And, if you are already a SLer, please look me up!

How social media has helped me come out of my shell

I am the quiet observer type. But, I have found that using social media outlets, especially Twitter, has made it much easier for me to communicate with my colleagues, and especially people that I am just meeting for the first time. I find it easier to have meaningful discussions with new acquaintances.

Here are my personal observations. 1. I am more comfortable and confident holding conversations with colleagues & new acquaintances. 2. While holding these conversations, I feel that my thoughts are more succinct and clear. 3. I actually feel like I can communicate more effectively to my students. 4. I am no longer reserved about sharing my thoughts and comments with people who I hardly know.

I know there is a lot of talk, especially in education circles, about the use of social media by students. Some fear that using these online communication methods are somehow destroying students’ abilities to communicate effectively and properly “in the real world.”

My question would be this. Why then, have I found that my communications skills have improved? Is it simply because I previously learned proper social interaction before this whole social media thing happened? Or, has social media actually influenced the way I communicate?

I have always been a shy person, but I would no longer put myself in that category. Perhaps writing this blog has helped, too. Maybe through writing this blog and using twitter, I have realized that “putting my thoughts out there” isn’t a bad thing. In fact, maybe it’s a good thing…a really good thing. I have learned so much and had such great conversation with other educators and professionals through these social media outlets.

I don’t know that I can draw any conclusions about young people, but I know that these outlets have helped me to communicate more effectively and more comfortably. Just food for thought.

Still Here

So when I realized that my last post was OVER a month ago, I decided I had better write something. To tell the truth, a lot has been going on, I just haven’t had the time/motivation to write about it. So, I’ll see if I can go over what’s new:

1. Taking masters level lessons with my undergrad saxophone instuctor. I have been slowly working on getting my Master’s in Music Ed., but after taking a number of classes, I have been extremely unmotivated to even finish it. I think this is due mainly to the fact that I am doing my Masters at the same school I did my Undergrad at – Therefore, I feel like the classes that I’m taking are exactly the same stuff I did in Undergrad, just with more reading and writing of papers, which I can’t stand! So when I found out that I could take a lesson as an elective and it would still count towards the MusEd Masters, I decided to go for it. My teacher is Jim Umble, easily one of the 10 best in the world. Anyway, I have been loving studying with him again, and now am even considering changing my Masters to a Performance degree. Stay tuned for an update on that! I had been longing to really study music “seriously” again. What I mean is that I have longed to work on the saxophone again at a level that really challenged me. I have been playing consistently even since I finished my undergrad 7 years ago, but have not really “practiced” much since then. It has been great to get “back on the horse.”

2. Renewed energy for teaching in my current position. I’ll be the first to admit that I have been less than enthusiastic about my job, or at least where I am, for most of this school year. However, after a few happenings lately, I have been more energetic and encouraged. I have had the opportunity to work with some of the other teachers in the building who are really dedicated and who a really great teachers, and they have really invigorated me! I have also found that since beginning the work on my instrument again, my mindset about teaching has changed slightly for the better. I don’t know if I can put my finger on it, but I feel like I am expecting more from my students, and I am getting better results.

3. Considering major changes to our music programs’ curriculum and scheduling. I am hoping to drop our 4th grade band program in an effort to give more time and attention to the 5th & 6th grade students. I feel this will lead to greater interest and better retention in the program. I teach in three elementary buildings in addition to the middle-high school, and right now, I only see the elementary students once a week for 30 minutes. It is just not enough time to have a solid program…it has not worked in the 5 years I have been here. I also hope to get my senior high concert band scheduled at a different time than our choir, so that I can have the whole band in one period and 5 days a week. (I don’t have either right now. – This makes it difficult to work on more advanced concepts like blend and balance.)

So, that is the quick update…I hope to be more productive on the blog in the near future. In the meantime, you can always follow me on Twitter.  That is where I have been doing the majority of my “blogging” lately.

The Official 100 Music Education Bloggers!

Dr. Joe Pisano over at MusTech.net has officially posted the 100 ME Blogger list.  I have reprinted it below, but be sure to visit MusTech.net for further explanation and info. Congratulations to all of the bloggers on the list! Check them out today!


  1. http://www.mustech.net
    Dr. Joseph M. Pisano- MusTech.net
  2. http://digitalmusiceducator.wordpress.com
    Owen Bradley -The Digital Music Educator
  3. http://etobiasblog.musiced.net
    Evan Tobias- Catalysts & Connections
  4. http://musiced.about.com/
    Espie Estrella -About Music Education
  5. http://jamesfrankel.musiced.net/
    Dr. James Frankel-  Music Technology in Education
  6. http://weblog.siba.fi/msalavuo
    Dr. Miikka Salavuo-  Music Education, Technology & Social Media
  7. http://pwhitfield.edublogs.org
    Pete Whitfield-  e-Learning for Music
  8. http://www.musicedmagic.com
    Chad Criswell- Music Ed. Magic
  9. http://jsavage.org.uk/
    Dr. Jonathan Savage- Jonathan Savage
  10. http://musictechforme.com/
    V. Keith Mason- Music Tech. for Me.
  11. http://tjweller.wordpress.com
    Travis J. Weller- Composing Like Mad
  12. http://mystro2b.edublogs.org/
    Ken Pendergrass- Music is Not for Insects
  13. http://www.soyouwanttoteach.com/
    Joel- So You Want to Teach
  14. http://stengel99.wordpress.com/
    Steve Engel- Music Ed. Lounge
  15. http://fsharpbflat.wordpress.com/
    Linda Granite- Bb, F#
  16. http://doublebassblog.org
    Jason Heath- Double Bass Blog
  17. http://musicisfree.ning.com/
    Robert Brannan- The Music is Free
  18. http://dvzmix.wordpress.com/
    Deborah Valdivia-Zwolinski- DVZ’s Mix
  19. http://choirteachers.blogspot.com/
    Kyle Gardner- Choir Teachers
  20. http://www.pauldraper.org
    Paul Draper- Draper’s Blogspot
  21. http://johnwilborn.wordpress.com
    John Wilborn- John Wilborn’s Weblog
  22. http://iknowithink.blogspot.com
    Leo Park- I Know…I Think
  23. http://gluedtothestring.blogspot.com
    Stan Haskins- Glued to the String
  24. http://musicedtech.wordpress.com
    Barbara Freedman- Music Ed. Tech.
  25. http://tomrudolph.berkleemusicblogs.com
    Dr. Tom Rudolph-  Make the Most of Notation Software
  26. http://teachingthewirechoir.com/
    Dale Lewis- Teaching the “Wire Choir”
  27. http://docandry.edublogs.org
    Dr. Kevin Andry-Dr. Andry’s Band Blog
  28. http://sperham.wordpress.com
    Steffany Perham- Perham’s Prattlings
  29. http://alexruthmann.com
    Alex Ruthmann- Alex Ruthmann’s Blog
  30. http://www.beatechie.com/
    Carol Broos- Be A Techie:)
  31. http://musicanthology.org
    Geejay Arrioloa and Jeffrey Langlois -Music Anthology
  32. http://southiowamusiced.blogspot.com/
    Michael Compton -Southern Iowa Music Education Network
  33. http://qachsband.edublogs.org/
    Eric Wright- QACHS’s Band Blog
  34. http://alleyjazz13.wordpress.com/
    Alison Hulihan- Marching Music
  35. http://rogerwhaley.blogspot.com
    Roger Whaley -The BandEd ToolShed
  36. http://mgrondin.edublogs.org
    Martha Grondin-Artful, Tuneful, Beatful
  37. http://percussioneducationonline.com
    Kevin Tuck -Percussion Education Online
  38. http://www.musicteachersblog.com
    Janice Tuck -The Music Teacher’s Blog
  39. http://bnceducation.blogspot.com
    Steve Raybould, Kriston Feldpausch -Band and Chorus PMS/PJHS
  40. http://musicedshare.wordpress.com
    Kyle Krstolic -Music Education Share
  41. http://musicedforall.blogspot.com
    Dan Leeman -Music Education for All
  42. http://amymburns.musiced.net
    Amy Burns -Elementary Music/Music Technology
  43. http://www.music.erinnwrobel.com
    Erinn Wrobel – Notes From The Mitten
  44. https://dougbutchy.wordpress.com
    Doug Butchy – Confessions of a Band Director
  45. http://studiobeemusic.com/mutech
    Rich Blenkinsopp – Studiobee Music
  46. http://musicmiddleschoolandweb20.blogspot.com/
    Susan Hurst – Music, Middle School and Web 2.0
  47. http://www.kirki.co.uk
    Dr. Phil Kirkman -Music Education and Technology Blog
  48. http://tufsdblogs.org/winze
    Ann Winze- WI Orchestra
  49. http://thirddivision.org
    David DeVoto – Third Division
  50. http://collaborativepiano.blogspot.com
    Dr. Chris Foley – The Collaborative Piano Blog
  51. http://bandguys.wordpress.com
    Matthew Pelandina and Mike Lewis – The BandGuys’ blog
  52. http://tanbur.wordpress.com
    David French -The Music Education Blogspot
  53. http://musicteachers911.blogspot.com
    Larry Marra -Music Teachers 911
  54. http://www.pianoteacherblog.com
    Rebecca Brown -Piano Teacher’s Retreat
  55. http://wordtogo.wordpress.com
    Steve Mugglin -Creativity and Songwriting in Music Education
  56. http://totalmusiceducation.blogspot.com
    Greg Albing -Total Music Education
  57. http://teachingmusicbs.com
    Ben Baker -Teaching Music
  58. http://susanadavis.blogspot.com/
    Susan Davis -Music Technology Musings
  59. http://www.howtopractise.com (yes it’s a “s”, it’s an English spelling)
    Mike Saville – How To Practise
  60. http://www.free2create.com/blog
    Valerie Kampmeier – Free 2 Create
  61. http://musicmattersblog.com
    Natalie Wickham – Music Matters Blog
  62. http://theresawhite.edublogs.org
    Theresa White – Education In Music
  63. http://africlassical.blogspot.com
    William Zick – Africlassical
  64. http://discoverlearnplay.blogspot.com
    Eugene Cantera – Discover, Learn, Play (MusickED.com’s Blog)
  65. http://mstrismusic.com
    Ms. Tris – MsTrisMusic.com
  66. http://www.learn-theory-music.com/learn-theory-music-blog.html
    Julian Partridge – Learn Theory Music Blog
  67. http://www.guitarticles.net
    Tennyson Williams – Guitar Articles.Net
  68. http://creativekidmusic.wordpress.com
    Dan Thompson -Creative Kid Music
  69. http://educacionmusical.blogspot.com
    Oscar – Educacion Musical – Music Education (Our first, in Spanish, ME Blog!)
  70. http://rizzrazz.vox.com/
    Dr. Eric Rasmussen  – Rizz’s Blog
  71. http://reband.wordpress.com
    Mr. ReBand
  72. http://www.techtempo.com
    Brenda Muench – Tech. Tempo
  73. http://www.thomasjwestmusic.com/blog.htm
    Thomas J. West
  74. http://musictech4ed.edublogs.org
    Andrew Spang  -MusicTech4Ed
  75. Click this link. (A very log blog URL…)
    Jon Ensminger -Pedaplus
  76. http://techtoysandtunes.blogspot.com
    Richard McCready – Tech Toys and Tunes
  77. http://downpressup.wordpress.com
    Derek  -Downpressup
  78. http://listenlearnmusic.com
    Rachel Rambach – Listen and Learn
  79. http://jazzworks.wordpress.com
    Allan Perkins – Jazz Works
  80. http://msgallant.edublogs.org
    Alexandra Gallant – The Misadventures of a First Year Music Teacher
  81. http://www.acousticpath.com/blog
    Cameron Grant – Acoustic Path
  82. http://musicteachercafe.viviti.com/
    Scott Ashby – Music Teacher’s Cafe
  83. http://www.frogstoryrecords.com/player_journal.html
    Stever Carter – Frog Story Records/Player’s Journal
  84. http://thirdstream.musiced.net
    Cary Stewart – Third-Stream Music Education
  85. http://michiganstatepianopedagogy.blogspot.com
    Derek Polischuk – Michigan State Piano Pedagogy
  86. http://fromthevoiceof.blogspot.com
    Elizabeth McDonald -From the Voice of…
  87. http://urbanmusiceducation.org
    Sarah Johnston -Urban Music Education
  88. http://musiced.jasoncrews.net/
    Jason Crews – Music Education Resource Blog
  89. http://www.classicalguitarblog.net
    Christopher – Classical Guitar Blog
  90. http://willie42.globalteacher.org.au/
    Andrew- Split Three Ways
  91. http://mjsheetmusictips.blogspot.com/
    Marilyn Johnson – MJ’s Music Teaching Tips
  92. http://www.musicteachershelper.com/blog/
    Brandon Pearce – Music Teacher’s Helper Blog
  93. http://jeane-metroyo.blogspot.com
    Jeane Goforth – Scrollworks and Metropolitian Youth Orchestras
  94. http://www.oparp.blogspot.com
    Dr. Robert Phillips – The Opinionated Arpgeggist
  95. http://www.wikyblog.com/CynthiaWunsch
    Cynthia Wunsch  – The Unlikely Entrepreneur (Click the Blog Tab)
  96. http://mineoladrama.blogspot.com
    Joe Owens – MHS Theater
  97. http://andyzweibel.com
    Andy Zweibel – Music Musings and Other Randoms…
  98. http://musicschoolsbc.blogspot.com/
    Stephen Robb – Music Schools BC
  99. http://paulbailey.us
    Paul Bailey – Paul Bailey’s Blog
  100. http://edubuzz.org/blogs/alancoady/
    Alan Coady – Alan Coady’s Musical Blog

Twitter & Music Educators

If you are not yet familiar with Twitter, I encourage you to check it out. Rather than try to explain it to you, I will quote Wikipedia:

Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service that allows its users to send and read other users’ updates (otherwise known as tweets), which are text-based posts of up to 140 characters in length.

Updates are displayed on the user’s profile page and delivered to other users who have signed up to receive them. The sender can restrict delivery to those in his or her circle of friends (delivery to everyone being the default). Users can receive updates via the Twitter website, instant messaging, SMS, RSS, email or through an application such as Twitterrific or Facebook. For SMS, four gateway numbers are currently available: short codes for the United States, Canada, and India, as well as a United Kingdom number for international use. Several third parties offer posting and receiving updates via email.

I have really just recently started using Twitter, and have come to find that I have some colleagues in my own school district that are new users as well. What I would like to do, however, is figure out some way for music educators to start following each other on Twitter, so that we can share information, etc.

So, if you get a chance, please find me on Twitter, and we can start “following” each other. I am on Twitter as “dougbutchy.” Hope to hear from you soon!