Podcast Idea

Recently, I have done a lot of traveling, both on the road and in the air. I have become very familiar with the contents of my iPod-consisting of over 80% music and the other 20% videos, apps, and other files-during these travels. One feature of the iPod, however, that I hadn’t explored much in the past was the option of listening to podcasts. Despite the large volume of music I have, I have been listening to spoken-word podcasts almost exclusively during my trips. I subscribe to and download the podcasts using iTunes, and have configured the software to transfer the five most recent episodes of each podcast whenever I sync my iPod. The podcasts I currently subscribe to are:

All of these podcasts share fantastic thoughts on their specific subjects, and explore their niches with excitement and vigor. Many of these presenters also have blogs in their niche, which are the premier blogs on the subjects. The content is fresh, exciting, and extremely useful to the target audience.

This got me thinking, though. What makes these blogs and podcasts so successful is the appeal they have to their target audience. This is not a surprise; most successful ventures in any field are successful because they cater to the audience that they are designed for.

My blog, however, is unique in the fact that it has a few target audiences: namely music educators and people just generally interested in my life. Perhaps my blog’s readership isn’t as high because I don’t have a specific focus, but I like it this way; I have the opportunity to write about whatever comes to mind, without having to worry about turning away readers by writing an “off-topic” post. Another unique feature of my blog, especially the Music Education Blogger side of it, is that some of my posts discuss aspects of teaching music, while I haven’t ever actually held a job as a teacher! I try to bring as many ideas and thoughts as I can to the table considering my lack of experience, but I can’t by any means be considered an “expert” in that field, like Dr. Pisano could in the field of music technology, for example.

So what am I an expert in? Realistically speaking, nothing, but I feel I have a lot of experience at actually being a collegiate Music Education student. I’m not claiming to be an expert at the content we learn in our collegiate courses, but instead I am referring to my knowledge of the experiences that Music Education students have in the collegiate level, and my involvement in the field from a collegiate perspective. Is there a market for collegiate Music Educators who are interested in more information about opportunities to take advantage of, or other suggestions for their specific demographic? I think there is; there is a even professional organization dedicated to this-the Collegiate Music Educator’s National Conference (CMENC). CMENC is the collegiate sub-organization of MENC-The National Association for Music Education, and is the umbrella organization for the FCMENC chapter at UMiami, on which I currently serve as President-Elect.

I don’t want to add another “category” of posts on my blog, though; I fear that writing on too many more subjects increases the risk that people interested in one specific topic will be turned away by the likelihood that a new post will not be on the topic they’re interested in. How, then, can I share my so-called “expertise” on the topic of being a collegiate music educator with other like-minded people?

My idea: I am thinking about starting a podcast on collegiate music education. The podcast would have an extremely loose schedule of being updated once a month, with the decision on when to do a new one being dictated by me and my schedule. Included in the podcast would be tips for college music education students on subjects such as time management and choosing a school, interviews with professors or other professionals with information to share about the music education degree process, and updates on opportunities for music education majors. Each episode of the podcast would be roughly 10-15 minutes in length.

One concern of mine is the time commitment that this would entail, but I am confident that the flexibility of the schedule, and the fact that I could post on my own time, will allow me to share my experiences with everyone while still taking care of my other obligations.

What do you think? Do you have experience publishing a podcast? What advice would you give? Are you a college student? What topics would you be interested in hearing discussed? Please leave your thoughts in the comments!

Preparing My “Mosaic”

Those of you who check this blog with any regularity or subscribe to my feed have probably noticed it’s been a while (roughly two weeks) since I’ve posted here. For my personal expectations and desires for this blog, it’s been too long. However, I have struggled for inspiration before, and have no doubt I will again. At first, it concerned me, but composer Loren DiGiorgi (@DarkPiano on Twitter) made a great point about his composing, and I feel it applies directly to blogging, especially for me:

Ok if I try too hard to write a song, it just doesn’t work. I guess for me, songs just “happen” and are tied to life moments.

I began to think, what “life moments” have happened to me lately, and are worth writing about? There have been a lot of events that have happened for me, lately, including (but not limited to): the end of classes, saying goodbye to the graduating seniors, more work helping out a band director-friend in her band classroom, and a trip to St. Louis. However, one moment that I am soon to have sticks out as being worth mentioning and exploring: an trip to New Jersey that I will be taking, along with my mother, and my sister. I’ll be visiting Poppy Arnie.

Back in December, I wrote a post entitled “My Mosaic” that has turned out to be the most popular one (traffic wise) that I have written so far. The post was about my grandfather, known better as “Poppy Arnie,” and the book that was published as a compilation of his years as a journalist with the Times of Trenton. He wrote about all sorts of joys and tragedies, of subjects ranging from war to family, fishing to politics. In the end, the book’s title: Mosaic: Warmth, Wit, and Wisdom, was chosen because, as Poppy says in the closing comments:

We are all the same really. We are all a mosaic, a portrait of the bits and pieces of our lives.

I drew the parellel in my last post that this blog is my version of the “mosaic,” including all the bits and pieces of my life as it unfolds. As I prepare to see my grandfather for the first time since writing this post, I thought about what the encounter would be like. I’ve spoken to him on the phone a few times since, and my mother sent his wife a copy of my last post to read. I called him and had a great chat about writing; all four eyes involved in the conversation were wet by the end. I have since received my own copy of Mosaic, inscribed by my grandmother (Poppy can not write any more) with a personal message to me.

As I think about it, I want to be able to bring something to him, to show that I’m still adding to my “mosaic.” I’ve decided that I’m going to compile some of the best posts on this blog, printed in a small binder, so that just as I have a copy of his Mosaic, he can have a copy of mine. Obviously, the phrase “best posts” is extremely subjective, so I am interested in your opinion on this one: what are some of your favorite posts from my blog? Subject matter is irrelevent, in fact I would prefer to include a diverse range of subjects (updates on life, music education related posts, general musings). Please leave your thoughts in the comments-I am extremely interested in your opinions. I will, of course, let you know which articles I end up including.

My own “mosaic” hopefully has many more pages to be added to it in the future, but it’s always a good idea to stop and appreciate what has already been accomplished. As the school year winds to a close, and what will likely be a very emotional trip to New Jersey awaits, I think this is the perfect time to compile my “mosaic” for the first time. Please help me share the joys that this blog has brought me (and hopefully you) with a man who has been a huge inspiration along the way.

Page Overhauls

I have a bad habit of procrastination (I should be writing a Music Theory paper right now), and one action that I have been guilty of procrastinating for ages has been updating my Music page. This page, which was intended to showcase recordings of myself and ensembles I have performed in, did nothing more than showcase broken links for months. Finally, I sat down and fixed these links, as well as adding another recording (some solo work I did with the UM Symphonic Winds this fall on Persichetti’s Symphony No. 6 for Band). Be sure to check out these recordings on my Music page!

Also, I have updated my “About” page, putting my biography in the first person (at the request of a friend–I agree, it feels more personal now!) and including a short section about how my blog came to be what it is today. Feel free to read this as well, and leave any thoughts you might have about me or my blog in the comments of this page!

Do you have any other suggestions for the site? What would you like to see more of? Less of? I’m interested in your opinions-leave your thoughts in the comments to this post!

New Writing Opportunity!

As I’ve become more active with blogging, and specifically blogging about Music Education, I have had a few opportunities open up for me. The first, of course, was when I joined Joe Pisano of MusTech.net as one of his 100 ME Bloggers in December. Another one of these opportunities has recently come up, and I am absolutely thrilled with the potential it has!

Last week, I was approached by Chad Criswell of MusicEdMagic. He sent me a Twitter message (find him at @musicedmagic) saying that has been looking to expand his writing staff, and he was wondering if I was interested in joining his staff to write about Music Education-related topics, and share my experience as a brass player and a future teacher with the site. MusicEdMagic is one of the most highly-trafficked websites for Music Education articles, so I feel truly honored to be a part of it! I will be aiming to write at least one article per week over there.

What does this mean about my Music Ed blogging here at my personal website? I will focus it mostly on personal experiences in music education, rather than the more “general” subjects I have blogged about in the past. I will try, though, to make a quick post here anytime I make a post I’m particularly proud of at MusicEdMagic. In the meantime, I would highly recommend you check out MusicEdMagic, and consider subscribing to their feed to stay updated on the latest articles on Music Education!

Oh, and be sure to check out my first post ever at MusicEdMagic, entitled “Improving Tone Quality and Musicality Through Listening” 🙂

How Did You Get Here?

As I reach an interesting crossfoards in my blogging carreer (I’ll explain more later…), I have found myself going back to thinking about why I started this blog to begin with. As I’ve said many times, I write this blog for the readers more even than for myself. After all, without people reading what I have to say, I would be blogging to myself! As such, I would like to get a better idea of where the active readership of this blog comes from. I’ve created a poll below, so please respond with the answer of what first brought you to my site. If you have any specific explanations of how you came to find the site, please feel free to leave a comment!

[polldaddy poll=1592844]