Announcing…For the Love of Music!

After many, many hours of work, I am thrilled to announce that our latest project is finished and ready for the world! 🙂 I could write all about it, but instead I’ll let you watch the trailer that Joey and Jed put together for it:

For the Love of Music is a 5-day course to help pianists develop a love for skillfully reading music. Joey and Jed were my inspiration for this course because they are both fabulous musicians, but both struggle to sight-read fluently. We spent an intense week working together to produce a course that they have gone through and that we hope will be a great help to pianists around the world who face a similar challenge.


You can visit the Music Matters Blog Store to read more about what’s included in the package (including a special bonus offer worth $15!). For the Love of Music can be used by any individual who has experience playing the piano and a basic foundation in music theory. The boys especially enjoyed going through it together, and competing against each other between each class to see who could sight-read the most measures of music (they both played 8,000+ measures of music over the course of five days!).

It was lots of fun and very stretching for us and we hope it proves to be the same for everyone who goes through For the Love of Music!

How to Prepare for Your Music Education Degree – Guest Post

If you will be juggling full-time work plus earning an online music education degree, you’ll need to have a plan in place that could help streamline your life. In addition to taking college seriously, setting goals, managing expectations, and making the most of support systems like family and friends, you should understand how to best prep for your music education degree as a nontraditional student.

Knowing exactly how you will use your degree can help get you through the tough times ahead. While it may not be easy to balance current career demands with studying for finals or writing papers, if you remain focused on your goals, you should find earning a college degree a great way to jumpstart a new career.

Here are some tips to help you make the most of your online music education degree:

Expectations. When you apply to a college to earn your online music education degree, there are certain things typically expected of you. You should have:

  • some type of background in vocal or musical performance, so experience with playing instruments or singing will be a plus.
  • basic music theory is often assumed and/or covered quickly when in college.

Also, be prepared to audition since some music programs require it as part of your application process.

Coursework. As an online music education student, you may take classes such as Basic Ear Training, Music Notation, Counterpoint, or Arranging:  Rhythm Section. It may also be a good idea to keep a portfolio of your accomplishments, as you earn your online music education degree, since you usually receive hands-on music education experience in the form of juries and recitals.

Careers. As an online music education major, you have already decided upon your college major or specialty. However, what careers could you have with a music education degree? Depending on your level of higher education and whether or not you earn a bachelor’s, master’s, or PhD, you could be a Music Professor, an Early Childhood Music Educator, a Music Consultant, or a School Music Educator. Skills like teaching, leadership qualities, musical talent, and thorough music knowledge could help you jumpstart your career upon college graduation.

Accreditation and Certification. It is important that the online music degree you are earning is from an accredited college should you need to transfer credits or seek employment after graduation where a certain type of accreditation is desired. In addition to the importance of accreditation from a legit accrediting agency, most states require you to have a bachelor’s degree in music in order to be certified. If you want to teach music education in your state, you should check in advance to ensure the music education program you enroll in will grant teacher certification upon graduation. The National Association of Schools or Music (NASM) is a great resource to check out.

Social Media and the Internet. Make the most of tools such as the Internet and social media when you are researching colleges and music education programs. Setting up a LinkedIn profile may help you connect with other music education professionals and network. Use Pinterest to organize your college search by creating boards and pinning school info and college tips that you find helpful. Conduct regular Internet searches that may turn up links to sites which offer free sheet music or K-12 music education resources.

Earning your online music education degree, while working full-time in another career, doesn’t have to be overwhelming. If you follow the tips mentioned above, you should discover the process of going back-to-college and simultaneously having a career may be fulfilling as well as rewarding. Be sure to think about where you want to live after graduation in addition to frequently perusing job openings in those states.


Liisa Jaaskelainen works for eLearners.com where she manages the online community. In her free time she enjoys spending time outdoors and working out.

Saving Money on Expensive Music Software – Guest Post by Chad Criswell

When you think about the music technology software that we use on a regular basis in the classroom you start to realize just how expensive it can be to upgrade to the newest versions.  Worse yet is if you don’t own the software to begin with and have to purchase a new license for Finale or some other program at prices well above $300 per copy even with a teacher’s discount.  There are some other options though for people that simply want to get their music down on paper without having to spend the big bucks for the big name titles.  Here are some suggestions for ways to find low cost music software alternatives.

High Tech Low Budget
The first, and highly recommended place to find alternative options to high priced software is an article over at MusicEdMagic called, simply enough, High Tech, Low Budget.  I put this together to accompany a presentation I made at the 2012 Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic and I keep it updated with new products as they come onto the market.  It’s packed with dozens of ideas for music notation software, audio recording and editing software, video editing software, music theory software, and many more as well.

AlternativeTo.net
For any music software programs that you can’t find on the High Tech Low Budget list check out the website known as AlternativeTo.net.  I use this one all the time for finding alternative software recommendations, both paid and free, for almost every product under the sun including lots of music related programs.  The only problem I have with them is that they make it confusing to find the link you need to actually go visit the website of the product you are looking at.  They like to keep you on the site as long as possible.  Other than that though it is a great little site with plenty of great low cost alternatives.

OSALT.com
Open Source Alternatives is another useful site for those that are seeking other software options for common everyday tasks.  It’s not as friendly to use as AlternativeTo is and is not categorized like the HTLB article but it has one of the largest lists of alternative software programs available.  Plus many of them are open source and quite often free.

Between the three suggestions given above you can find just about any piece of software you might ever need.  Remember, for every high priced piece of software there are almost always some low cost or free alternatives.  Before shelling out hundreds of dollars for a commercial music program check these lists to find a more budget friendly alternative.


Chad Criswell is a noted music educator living and teaching in a suburb of Des Moines, Iowa.  His articles have appeared in dozens of publications both online and in print.  He currently serves as the national music technology writer for NAfME’s Teaching Music Magazine and webmaster of MusicEdMagic.com.