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Music Resources Home > Tips & Tricks

Tips, Ideas & Resources

Equal music for all

MENC is sponsoring a petition to mandate that the arts and music be part of the curriculum for every child. Their goal is to get one million signatures delivered on paper petitions to the new Secretary of Education on June 18, 2009. Find out how you can help by clicking here:

Travels with Music

Open up a world of music to your students! Every culture in the world has genius, and every tradition is worthy of respect. Travels with Music: Series One is an interactive exploration of 15 world cultures, with their master musicians as your guides. In Teaching With Music you can enjoy the richness and diversity of our world's tradition by viewing nearly 300 unique videos, by playing interactive computer games, and by hearing music performances that you won't find anywhere else. Includes a downloadable teacher guide.
Try this:
Travels with Music Series 1 $0.00 - Save $169.00

Teach the Teacher

Wanna learn something new or brush up on your skills, but don't have time to travel back and forth to campus? Check out, the online school presented by the acclaimed Berklee College of Music in Boston. With over 120 courses to choose from, you'll get world-class instruction from heavyweights in the music industry and top-notch educators.
Check it out at:

Steinberg Classroom Resource Pack

The Steinberg Classroom Resource Pack (CRP) provides teachers with comprehensive resources for teaching music to 11-18 year olds in schools. It contains all the necessary elements for teachers to deliver a wide range of innovative, modern music lessons and uses Cubase Studio 4 or Cubase 4 as the technology platform.

The Teacher Manual, 370 pages of detailed lesson plans and activities meticulously prepared for the teacher, is supported by two easy-to-navigate content DVDs that contain PDF worksheets and assessment materials, video tutorials, original music as multi-track Cubase projects, audio files, audio loops, MIDI files and video files intended for project work in the classroom. Try this:
Steinberg Classroom Resource Pack $0.00 - Save $520.99

Great Orchestral Sound and Notation all in one!

Here's a great deal get the acclaimed Finale 2009 and Miroslav Philharmonik Classik Edition together and save big. The Finale 2009 Miroslav Classic Edition Bundle is the perfect solution for composers and music enthusiasts to start composing music with amazing sounds. Miroslav Philharmonik Classik Edition Module is a full-featured orchestral instrument covering solo instruments and ensembles with 250 sounds spanning the entire orchestra in 1.5GB of samples. This proves to be a very good complement to Finale 2009. Give your listeners a unique and realistic experience! Try this:
MakeMusic Finale 2009 Miroslav Classic Edition Bundle $0.00 - Save $869.99


Looking for opinions on what’s going on with music education? How about 100 different opinions? Check out the (Almost) Official List of 100 Music Education Bloggers at

Videos that Advocate for Music Education

Needs some fuel to advocate for retaining or growing your music program? Check out these professional level videos available on youtube that can help you make your case for MORE music, not less:

The Case for Music Education

Why Music Education Belongs in Public Schools

Mike Huckabee: Art and music education

Classical Music online

The Classical Archives is the largest classical music site on the web: 40,034 full length classical music files by 2,091 composers. Files are offered in several formats: live recordings in WMA and MP3, and in MIDI synthesized sequences. Check it out for free at

Touch base with Cubase

Need some help learning the ins and outs of Cubase? Check out Cubase 4 Power!: The Comprehensive Guide. This book provides a thorough look at the most common, as well as lesser-known features of this impressive digital audio production software. Beyond describing the features of the program and how they work, Cubase 4 Power! explains when to use certain features and how they are most beneficial to your project.
Cubase 4 Power! $0.00 - Save $39.95

Funding from Phish Fans

The Mockingbird Foundation is a nonprofit organization founded by Phish fans. But you don’t have to be a fan of Phish to take advantage of the generous funding opportunities that The Mockingbird Foundation grants to musicians and educators. Mockingbird is interested in targeting children eighteen years or younger, but will consider projects which benefit college students, teachers, instructors, or adult students. Find out more at

Cables do Matter

Is there a lot of noise in your system or room? Check your cables. Loose ends, kinks and other defects can cause hum and worse. There’s a reason why more expensive cables, well, cost more! They help deliver your signal without interference for clean, clear sound.
Try these Monster Cables:
Performer 500 Microphone Gold XLRs Cable - 20-Feet BUY NOW... Only $0.00
MIDI Cable - 12-Feet BUY NOW... Only $0.00
Keyboard Cables (Pair) with Angled to Straight 1/4" Plugs - 21-Feet BUY NOW... Only $0.00

Ableton Enablers

You can find free tips on using Ableton Live on their website at Brush up on your Ableton Live skills or dig further into the program. You can also read about what other schools are doing with Ableton Live and a whole lot more if you visit the Education section of their site.
Try this:
Ableton Live 8 with Free Messenger Bag BUY NOW... Only $0.00
Ableton Live 7 LE BUY NOW... Only $0.00

Great Gift Idea

Need a gift for your college or high school student? How about an Academic Superstore gift card? You know they’ll get the best deal of products that enhance their educational experience. Click here to find out more!

Music for All

The Music for All Foundation is dedicated to providing access to valuable information and resources to support music and the arts in education and communities. Check out their site and you’ll find these resources and many more:

  • Advocacy Tools to Help NOW! Key resources to help anyone with an immediate need for help.
  • Information and Data contains quick access to statistics and information to aid in research or advocacy efforts.
  • Public Awareness Campaigns featuring two of the best efforts to help promote music and arts education to the general public with ways for you to help!
Find out more at

Summer Music Study

I know it’s too early, but summer will be here before we know it (we can only hope!). Want to recommend some great music-related summer camps to your gifted students? The April ’09 issue of Teaching Music will include the Summer Study directory, which will include a wide array of summer programs!

SmartMusic Tips

Just getting started with SmartMusic or need to brush up on some usage tips? Check out MakeMusic’s online resource library for how to videos, including lesson assignment and review tips. There are lots of videos for students and parents, too. Go to Click here for resources.

Technology and Elementary Music

Do you teach Elementary School Music? Not sure how technology fits into your music program at that level? Then check out this editorial from Amy Burns of Far Hills Country Day School that appears on the Technology Institute for Music Educators website ( Perhaps it will give you fuel for thought about what you can do to help young students learn music fundamentals using technology tools that they love to get their hands on!
Find out more here:

USB Transfer Express

Here's a really cool way to make sure all your students have the homework files they need. It's a stand-alone product called the Transfer Express USB Duplicator. You can insert a master USB stick and have it duplicate its contents onto up to 15 other sticks at the same time. Students then take their sticks home, bring them in the next day with their homework files saved on them and then insert them once again. You can upload all the contents of all the sticks at once onto one USB drive or any connected storage device or even erase all the sticks at once for the next day's lesson. Great for distributing audio files, worksheets, take home tests and much more.
Try this:
USB Transfer Express USB Duplicator $0.00 - Save $999.00

TimeLiner XE

Want a great way to have your students visualize music history? Try a project in TimeLiner. You and your students can gather, organize, and present sequential information in a fun and creative way. You can even collect all the building blocks to create a multimedia timeline - including graphics, text, citations and audio files - and have students assemble them in the correct order.
Try this:
Tom Snyder TimeLiner XE $0.00 - Save $99.95

VH1 Save The Music Foundation

Is your music program under-funded? Then maybe you qualify for a grant from the VH1 Save the Music Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to restoring instrumental music education in American public schools, and raising awareness about the importance of music as part of each child's complete education. Since 1997, the VH1 Save the Music Foundation has provided $43 million worth of new musical instruments to more than 1,600 public schools in more than 100 cities around the country, impacting the lives of more than 1.2 million public school students.
Find out more here:

You've got the power

You've got some great gear in your classroom. Make sure that old wiring in your building doesn't destroy it by using a power surge protector. An essential accessory when you're adding electronic gear to your classroom, a surge protector can allow you to plug in multiple pieces of gear into the same outlet while protecting them all from sudden power surges or spikes. You'll even find some that allow you to plug USB devices in, so you don't need to take up USB slots in your computer in order to keep those items charged up. Try this:
Belkin Mini Travel Surge Protector with USB Charger $0.00 - Save $24.99
9-Socket SurgeMaster Maximum Series 2655 Joules Surge Protector $0.00 - Save $58.99

Principal Rap

Here's a fun way to make a straightforward project sparkle. Use a report assigned from another class as the basis for a musical project. For example, a report on a community member could include a recorded conversation that is later cut up into a fun rap using loop-based recording as backing tracks. You can do this in Garage Band, Mixcraft, Sony Acid or others. Share it with the person interviewed and see their eyes light up. Here's one that my son did with the principal at his school. Listen to it here >>
Try this:
M-Audio MicroTrack II $0.00 - Save $499.95
Acoustica Mixcraft 4.1b $0.00 - Save $79.95
Sony Creative Software ACID Music Studio 7 $0.00 - Save $69.95

Vision from GenevaLogic

Wouldn't it be great to have a real time snapshot of what each of your students has on screen while you're teaching music in the technology lab? You can with Vision6 from GenevaLogic. Monitor student activity, share screens, monitor web browsing, launch or close applications on all screens at once and a whole lot more.
Click here to find out more:
Vision Class Kit $0.00 - Save $999.00

Positive Reinforcement - Motivating your students

Sometimes you need a little help to keep your students motivated. Here's an interesting article posted by MENC that will help you get and keep students moving in the right direction.
Check it out here:

Smart Music Smarts - Creating lessons with Finale

Did you know you can create notation in MakeMusic's Finale and then use it to create a lesson in SmartMusic? Simply scan, play, click, or use a MIDI file to get your notes into Finale and then use time-saving wizards to save your music as a SmartMusic file. Now you can add your own solos to SmartMusic's extensive library!
Try this:
MakeMusic Finale 2009 Academic $0.00 - Save $600.00

Post it Live! - Uploading podcasts and music

Acoustica has just announced, a free service allowing anyone to upload their music, podcasts or sonic creations to share with the world. The site allows anyone to create an account, upload artwork and publish up to 100 megabytes of music. Each account has a forum and a blog to help foster a community and database. A great way for your students to share their music with the world!
Try this:
ACOUSTICA TM MixcraftTM 4.1b $0.00 - Save $79.95

Copyrights: Get it Right!

Want a resource to help your students learn about the business of music? Check out the ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) website. They have several articles about songwriting, publishing and more. Here's a link to an interesting article that explains what copyrights are. Your budding composers should find it very informative!
Try this:

Library Lessons

Did you know that you can use the Library of Congress database as a resource for primary research? You'll find scans of original manuscripts, period recordings of turn of the century music and more. Check it out: Try this for multi-cultural music resources and lesson plans: PassportM Travels with Music Series 1 (Interactive DVD + Teachers Guide Download) $144.95 Research Resource And speaking of libraries, don't forget your local library has way more resources than were around when you were a kid. Mine has access to thousands of newspapers and periodicals, movies, audio files and broadcast transcripts, full access to the circulation catalog and even complete books, all accessible from the comfort of your home or office online connection. Your students can find historical and current information on instruments, composers and current musical happenings. Try this for a unique interactive encyclopedia of instruments, bands, orchestras and ensembles:
Sibelius Instruments $0.00

Funding Tips Galore

Check out this informative article by Ralph Nelsen for some ideas for pursuing federal funding. Although not directed specifically at music educators, this entertaining and well written article gives you some practical tips that can help you navigate the sometimes complicated grantseeking process.
Check it out here:

Back It Up

Hedging your bets against technical problems isn't the only reason you should backup. Imagine that the first version of the song or composition you recorded weeks ago is much better than your current version. If you back up regularly, you can easily go back and start over from there. Need some more backup space?
Try this:
1 Terabyte (wow!) SimpleDrive USB 2.0 External Hard Drive $0.00 - Save $459.99

Slow and Steady

Use software like Ableton Live and Pro Tools M-Powered to slow down an audio recording without affecting pitch or changing the key. This is a great way to help students learn difficult parts - slowly bring them up to speed as they become more proficient!
Ableton Live 7.0 $0.00 - Save $599.99
Pro Tools M-Powered 7.4 Educational $0.00 - Save $299.95

TI:ME for a Change

Network with other Music Educators about technology integration at, the Technology Institute for Music Educators. You'll find tips, resources and an active community of technology buffs who live for integrating music into everyday teaching.

Make a Note of It

Find lots of free online resources from Sibelius, known for its award-winning notation software. Check out for FREE ready-made teaching materials to build your lessons, or upload and share lesson ideas too!
Sibelius 5 Notation Software $0.00 - Save $599.00

Sounds Good!

The Garritan Personal Orchestra Sound Library offers great sounding orchestral instruments sampled to perfection. Check out their FREE online course, "Principles of Orchestration," based on Rimsky-Korsakov's classic. In this interactive edition, you can simultaneously hear and see examples where audio follows the score. Online professors help moderate the course.
Find out more here: Try:
Garritan Personal Orchestra Sound Library for Mac and Windows $0.00 - Save $199.00

Digi Delivery

Check out the online archive of Digidesign's Digizine for free tips, tricks and resources for using Pro Tools and other Digidesign products. All past issues are available as PDFs for your perusing pleasure, free of charge.
Check it out here: Try:
Digidesign Mbox 2 for Mac or Windows $0.00 - Save $495.00

Communicate with the Community

Make sure your parent and community music education benefactors know where their money is going! A great way to highlight student achievement is to share the musical results. Toward the end of the school year, duplicate several CDs of your students' compositions and mail them to everyone who provided financial backing for your music classes, including parents, alumni, local newspapers, small businesses, corporations and foundations. The cost of CDs has come way down, making this an inexpensive but effective way to thank donors while generating future support!
Imation 100-Pack of 52X 80-Minute White Thermal Printable 700MB CD-R Discs $0.00
TEAC 52x 1 To 1 CD Duplicator - No computer required! $0.00 - Save $249.95