Andy’s Blog… Jive Aces, MuseScore

Hello Choir Members!

Firstly, I don’t know exactly what a ‘blog’ is, but when I described to our wonderful web site committee ( John Rosseel, Susan Hara and Ruth Hayward – very ably assisted by Brian Burt) what I wanted to do .. this is what they set up for me.

It’s a location where I can write to you, sharing my mind, asking questions, pointing out cool things I’ve discovered. I can assure you that not a week goes by that I don’t spend a good deal of time day dreaming about our choir, thinking how I might teach the songs better or try something new… And just about every week I learn about new music and great things other choirs are trying.

Sometimes this blog may contain serious problem solving or teaching content, other times, it will be just for fun.  I’ll  try to make it worth checking, so on with it…

1. I got a tremendous smile out of  these two songs… Bring Me Sunshine, and Nothing’s Too Good For My Baby.   You can listen to them at

Totally retro, great swing, great dancing…. a huge grin.

2.  Our theory classes through the fall and winter were a blast ( I miss you students!)   Now, I’d like to build on a concept instilled in me by my music education mentor Clifford Crawley. Cliff was my  education prof. in my undergrad at Queen’s and had a huge influence on everything that came afterwards for me as a teacher.  Cliff beleived that reading and writing music were two sides of the same coin, and that the best way to become a good reader , was to get writing. I always taught composition as a high school teacher and had very good success with that. When computers came along, I started to teach my students to use music software to write out their practice exercises, to prepare parts for their small instrumental ensembles and for writing thier own compositions. Indeed, students that did a lot of note entry became very good theorists, readers and performers.  And if they used a music keyboard for note entry, they became good piano players! Cliff’s idea was true for sure.

I’d like to do a few workshops with members, teaching them to input  music notes into a computer using music software. One of the challenges is that music notation software is expensive, and a bit complicated. Well, we can get around the expensive part because there is a FREE, public domain music software program called MuseScore. It’s virus free, very capable, and I’ll tell you where to get it below.

The reality that it’s a bit complicated can be overcome through a few simple hands on lessons.  I’m hoping that a bunch of choir members might down load this software, especially into thier note book computers, and that we can have a few workshops so that a bunch of you can start writing out your own practice tracks, and playing around with music. It will absolutley be an interesting way to learn thoery and sharpen your reading skills.

You don’t need a music keyboard instrument, you can do it all with just a computer, maybe a mouse and headphones or speakers, the rest is icing on the musical cake.

There are very good video tutorials for MuseScore at the website linked below.

If any one DOES this and is having fun, please let me know! Let’s give it a shot.

Til I Blog again,   Andy