A Focused Approach

Mike Lawson • Archives • February 17, 2011

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Richard Kessel

Technological advances are being made at such a dizzying pace that it takes a significant amount of time and energy to stay current with the latest trends. Maintaining a deep understanding of all of the innovations that are affecting our profession is nearly impossible, except for maybe those who happen to be full-time technology teachers. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of software programs that could be used effectively in school music programs for notation, recording and sequencing, marching, tuning, grading, and much more. In the publishing field, we, too, have spent significant resources on technology to make this magazine available in multiple formats, including digital, on the Web, and through e-newsletters. Accessibility is key, which is why you can now take advantage of our digital magazine from virtually anywhere in the world. Forwarding articles is a cinch, and much of our content can be e-mailed and shared with the click of a button. Also, researching past articles on virtually any topic pertinent to a specific field of interest is a piece of cake. Yet, when it comes to simplicity, the print edition often trumps these newer, more sophisticated offerings.

Hardware is also changing at an equally rapid rate. One challenge this causes is simply determining the best time to jump in and make a purchase. Whether to wait three months for the next, more powerful model or purchase today at a discounted rate can be a confounding dilemma. Determining the best tools for implementation in the band room can be a challenge, as well. There has been a movement towards the integration of hardware that can be utilized for many different applications. Now, instead of having a separate tuning device, recording unit, e-mail device, camera, and many other applications, hardware such as tablet computers, iPhones, iPads, and other electronic devices can often do a decent job as an all-in-one product. However, dedicated devices are often superior in whichever area they serve as they are designed and configured exclusively for a particular task. Their functions may be accessed more quickly and manipulated more easily with just the turn of a knob as opposed to pulling up software, waiting for it to load, and then operating the unit. For example, an iPhone makes a great tuning device, but having a clip on tuner on-stage or on the marching field would often provide a much more effective solution.

This issue of SBO could also be considered with regard to the question of ease of use, accessibility, and centralized location for a wealth of information. If you know what resources you are looking for, then “Googling” could suit you just fine. However, if you type “music festivals” into Google, you will find 12 million hits, and most of them have nothing to do with school music. However, this simple-to-use SBO guide, whether in print or online, is certain to provide you with a wealth of resources and, more importantly, just what you are looking for…

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