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]

Greetings From a New Host!

As I mentioned a few days ago, I recently made the decision to switch web hosts. I had used hosting from MyInternetServices.com since I bought the domain and space back in June of last year, and recently have been disappointed with some of the load speeds and the amount of times where the site was down all together. Another bothersome issue with MyIS (and this is a pet peeve of mine for all commercial companies) was the customer service, or lack thereof. Now don’t get me wrong-MyIS did their job effectively, and solved any problems I had, but I am interested in more than just a company who can fix my problems. I want someone who’s going to take a vested interest in my needs and in what I’m doing!

It was with this in mind that I sent a very simple update out over Twitter the other day: “I am looking for a good inexpensive web-host for my web page. Any Suggestions?”  Not 39 minutes later, I was first contacted by a representative from PinchHost over their Twitter account (@PinchHost) with a just-as simple response: “I have a suggestion…” This representative (who I came to learn later goes by Alex!) and I “tweeted” back and forth for a while, talking about general information about the company and the services they provide. I told Alex I wanted to sleep on the decision, and to please “tweet” me in the morning. Sure enough, at 5:45 am the next morning, I had a message waiting for me asking if I slept well!

That morning, Alex and I discussed some more specific details about PinchHost’s hosting plans on Twitter, and by lunch time I had made the decision to switch over. Alex suggested we speak via Skype to discuss final details, payment, and to get everything set up, and proceeded to spend the next 3 hours connected on Skype with me as we set up my new space! Not only did he help set up the webspace, but Alex also helped me set up email accounts for my site using GoogleApps, and took the time to re-download and upload all my information when the first file transfer created problems. All in all, Alex probably spent almost his entire day at work helping me get set up!

As the next few days went by, I waited for the namserver change to propagate across the world. For those of you non-techie folks, this basically means that I was waiting for andyzweibel.com to stop looking at the old host for my files, and start looking to PinchHost. I ran into a few problems when the UM campus took longer than expected for the change to occur, but Alex was there right beside me the whole time, doing what he could to solve the problems, and suggesting I do things that he wasn’t able to (such as contact UM’s IT people-thank heavens I didn’t have to do that!). After a few days, the problems sorted themselves out.

I thought everything was set up, and the transfer was over–in fact, I even started writing this post–when I received another email on Saturday from Alex:

Hi Andy,
I’d like to move you to a different server almost twice as powerful. The change requires very little action on your part. If you confirm, I’ll carry out the process and send you anything you need to know about the change.
Kind regards,
Alex

I had been a customer for all of 3 days, and he already wanted to move me to a more powerful server? My answer, of course, was a resounding “yes,” and by that evening, the move was completed and andyzweibel.com was at it’s (hopefully) final resting place! It is this new, more powerful server that you are viewing my site on at the current moment. Hopefully, you notice a difference–I know I have already!

I want to take this oppotrunity to thank Alex and the PinchHost team for all the time and effort that have been put into helping to get my information moved over to the new host. I love everything about PinchHost, from their personal approach to support to their pro-active approach to problem solving. The pricing is the best I’ve seen (I am paying significantly less than I was before), and the quality of the hosting has been fantastic. In my book: great people + great pricing + great products is a formula for success in life! Congratulations to the folks at PinchHost for having it figured out!