My Presenting Debut

Tomorrow morning (Friday, October 1), I will be making my debut as a presenter when I speak to the Music Education students at the University of Miami on blogging in the music classroom. I am extremely excited to have been given this opportunity, and I’m looking forward to getting to share some of the concepts I have discovered in my “online life” with my peers at school. The presentation is titled “Music Teacher 2.0: Blogging Your Way to a Better Classroom,” and focuses on how blogging can help improve a classroom by helping the teacher with professional development, ensuring that administrative tasks are accomplished efficiently, and engaging the students in their assignments. I have included a few polls and interactive portions of the presentation to help engage the audience more, but it doesn’t stop there!

I NEED YOUR HELP!

The end of my presentation focuses on the use of Twitter (a micro-blogging service) for professional development. This is where I need a hand from my wonderful Twitter network. I have set up my presentation to automatically tweet certain thoughts/ideas/questions during my presentation, using the hashtag #mt20. If you are on Twitter and available from 9:00 until 10:00 am EST tomorrow, please fire up your favorite Twitter app and respond to some of my thoughts/questions as I present! I will have TweetDeck open, and we will be checking in using hover notifications to see your thoughts throughout the presentation! I’m hoping, as well, to get even a few people in the room involved with Tweeting through text message. Let’s show them the power of Twitter!

As an aside, my presentation materials (including an audio recording) will all be available on a landing page at MusicEdMajor.net during and after the session. I will update this post with a link to the landing page once it’s up, and I’ll also auto-tweet a link to it during the session.

I look forward to seeing you on Twitter tomorrow morning!

I’ve Been Busy…

Well it’s been almost three months since I’ve posted here and I’m feeling, in a word, ashamed about it. This was intended to become a blog to chronicle the goings-on of my life, and has turned into a dormant feed filled with old thoughts and outdated information. So while I try to figure out how to increase my posting frequency here (any/all suggestions on what topics you want me to write on are welcome!), here are a few updates on what I’ve been doing while I haven’t been posting here:

  1. New Website Design – As you may have noticed, my website has a new design! I chose this for a few reasons: first, I want this website to act as my virtual resume and portfolio, so I chose to showcase my “vitals” on the homepage as opposed to displaying outdated blog posts. Secondly, and on that note, I try to “market” myself as someone interested social media/blogging in music education. While I do have a regularly updated professional blog, I thought it was a poor representation of me to have my personal homepage display a very outdated blog. Finally, I wanted to add more social media integration into my site, which I have done through the Twitter integration on the homepage, and my new “Connect” page. If you have any other thoughts/suggestions about the new design, please feel free to let me know!
  2. Personal Life – This summer has been fairly low-key for me, as I’ve been working two jobs. The first is a 9-5 day job at the IT Service Desk for the UM School of Business Administration. This job lets me exercise my “techie” side, as I help professors and business students troubleshoot their technology issues. My other job is for the Frost School of Music, working in the concert halls as an usher/set-up-person/whatever-else-they-need. Outside of work, I celebrated one year with Liz in early June, and I’m already gearing up for next school year!
  3. Online Activities – I have been very busy online since my last post. On Twitter, I created #MusEdChat, an online twitter chat for Music Educators. The chat has gained a significant amount of popularity, and I had the opportunity to give a short presentation about it while I was in Washington, D.C. for MENC’s Music Education Week in June (I live-blogged the event with three other pre-service music teachers). Additionally, I have been continuing my posts at MusicEdMajor.net, with the help of my co-editor Andy Ritenour. Finally, I have been participating as a member of the launch team for the new MusicPLN, which launches tomorrow at noon. It has been an incredible project, and I would encourage any Music Educators (or Music Ed Majors) to join us!
  4. The Future… Scary isn’t it? I only have one year left of school before I’m out there on my own, doing who-knows-what! I’ve spent a lot of time this summer thinking about what I’m going to do come June, and I’m still not completely decided, but I know in my first few years out of my undergrad, I want to do two things: teach high school band (and music technology, if possible), and start a Master’s degree in Instructional Technology. Whether I pursue this degree full-time and if I start it right away remains to be seen, but as I’ve spent more time exploring technology for music education, it has become clear to me that this is the way I want to take my career. Stay tuned for a more detailed post about my future and a call for advice soon!

Holy cow! As I said, I’ve been busy. At any rate, that’s just a small sampling of what I’ve been up to over the past three months. I’ll try my best to keep this blog updated more frequently over the coming months, as well. If you would like me to blog about any specific topics, please leave a comment, and I would be happy to oblige!

P.S. – Only three days until I celebrate the first anniversary of my 21st birthday!

Time Flies…

First off, I think I’ve figured out why my blogging has become so infrequent. I try to make every post I write a huge “production,” with lots of planning, proofing, and editing. I have come to realize that blogging, especially on a “personal” website like this one, can (and perhaps even should!) be spontaneous, short , and off-the-cuff. It’s my hope that I’ll be able to post more frequently on this site with that principle in mind.

That being said, on to my topic. I wrote in August about how some events this past summer caused me to feel “old” for the first time. While that idea has continued to permeate my life, the more present thought lately has been how quickly the past few years have passed by.

It feels like just a month ago that I was having my first experiences as a student leader in the Band of the Hour, going through my membership candidacy process in Tau Beta Sigma, and taking introductory classes. Now, a full year and a half later, I’m applying to continue as Band Captain and have seen three more groups of potential members go through the candidacy process of TBS. It’s unbelievable to imagine that I am just a few short weeks away from being 3/4 of the way through my undergraduate degree. As a matter of fact, a year from now, I will be teaching full-time in my internship, and most likely looking for my first job. And I’m not talking about a part-time, get-you-through-school job, I’m talking about a full-time, salaried, in-charge-of-young-people’s-education job. Scary, huh?

For now, though, I’m going to enjoy the last year-plus that I have here, and make the most of it!

My Cooking Experiment

I have never been a chef. Before I came to college, the extent of my kitchen prowess was heating up canned soup, cooking store-bought pasta, and heating up frozen dinners in the microwave. I never really had to make anything more; my dad was the chef of the family, and put together some wonderful creations for dinner each night. When I started here at UM, the access I had to cooking appliances decreased, and my food consumption was limited to restaurants, the dining hall, and anything microwaveable.

However, things are now different. I have just moved into an apartment with a full kitchen, and have realized that eating at restaurants for every meal is just not financially an option. As such, I’ve started to do more grocery shopping, and making my own food. As I said, I am no Bobby Flay. However, I’m starting to get bored with spaghetti, Ramen noodles, and chicken nuggets, so I’m going to start experimenting with new recipes. This experience, of course, is likely to be a comical one, as I struggle through preparing most likely the simplest of entrees! For this reason, I’m going to try to share some of these experiences with you!

Being my compulsive self, I need to have a format for each of these posts, instead of just rambling on about cooking, so my format (for now, at least) will be as follows:

Entree:

Side Dishes (if any):

Materials:

Recipe:

Pictures:

What I Learned:

Hopefully, the “What I Learned” area will let me recap any earth-shattering (and prehaps comical!) conclusions I came to during my time in the kitchen! By the way, I’m not trying to steal an idea from the movie “Julie and Julia,” I just figured you guys could use a laugh or two 🙂

My first experience took place a few nights ago, when I went out on a limb and tried making Hamburger Helper. I’ll have a post up on it soon!

In addition, if you have any recipes you enjoy making (of any difficulty level!), I encourage you to head over to my Contact page, and shoot me a message with the recipe! Who knows, I might even prepare it as part of this little experiment 🙂

Getting Old…

A lot has happened in the month-and-a-half since my last post here. It can all be summed up in three words, however: I’m Getting Old!

While generally speaking, 21 is not an age that most would consider old, there have been a few things that have happened over the past 6 or so weeks that have made me much more aware of the fact that I’m “growing up” and soon will be in the “real world.” Allow me to list a few:

  1. Turning 21 – Yes, the biggest sign of my aging hit me on the 21st of July, when I celebrated my 21st birthday. While the evening was a blast, and a lot of fun to share with great friends, one of them said it best when he noted, “it’s all downhill from here!” 21 is really the last age at which there is any “reward” for a birthday (for those of you out of country-if there are any-I am now allowed to consume alcohol), so my friend made a great point when he pointed out that from here on out, there really isn’t anything to look forward to on a birthday except the knowledge that you’ve lived another year.
  2. Staffing a Band Camp – I have now participated in 7 band camps (plus one drum major camp) as a member of a marching band. In early August, however, I had the opportunity to work as a staff member for a band camp for the first time, helping a friend who recently graduated from UMiami with her second band camp as a teacher. This was a really eye-opening experience, and helped me develop my marching band teaching skills immensely. On top of that, it was downright fun!
  3. UM Band Camp – I began my third year as a member of the Band of the Hour this August, with band camp here in Miami. This year, I hold two leadership positions in the band; I am the Band Captain, as well as a Section Leader for the trumpet section. It’s hard to believe that I am starting my third year with the band, and even harder to believe that I only have one year left after this one.
  4. Junior-Level Classes – Since the first day I arrived on campus in 2007, I heard horror stories of the insane course load of Junior year in the Music Education program. I heard stories of people averaging 3 hours of sleep for the whole year, having to skip meals to finish projects, and having no sense of social life. While the semester has just started, it seems as though these stories may have been slight exaggerations. What really struck me, however, was the realization that all the projects I have heard the “older” Music Ed majors complain about for the past two years, the projects that classified someone as “old” once they had to do them, are now being found on my syllabi. Now, I’m the old person, who will probably be complaining about the massive load of projects an assignments come November.

All of these events, of course have been positive ones in my life, but when you put them all together, they are also a stark reminder that pretty soon, I’ll be graduating and starting a new stage of my life. Scary, huh?

In other news, the first football game of the season is just over a week away, as the Band of the Hour and the University of Miami family will travel up to Tallahassee this weekend to watch the ‘Canes take on rival Florida State in a prime-time game on ESPN on Labor Day. Keep an eye out for me on ESPN, and stay tuned for updates on this blog, and on my Twitter page!