I remember my first e-mail account. I was in tenth grade, and I got a free account with the local newspaper’s server (nando.net) because I was a student. I even remember that address – kjhickle. The k was because I was a sophomore, but don’t ask me why they chose k. Not long after that, my parents got an account with nando, and we got our first modem, a top-of-the-line 28.8 k model. And so I entered the world of the online.
Fast forward fifteen years, and I’m blogging. Fifteen years ago, the word blog hadn’t even been invented (unless it was used in some obscure sci-fi context), and now it seems that EVERYONE has a blog. My father even did a blog this summer while he was one of the chaplains at Philmont (go take a look, it’s quite cool). We have wi-fi, almost instantaneous downloads, and the capability to watch live events around the world from in front of our own computers. Fifteen years ago, I might have had an inkling of how this technology might change the world, but I don’t think I could dream of how far it could go. And now, I have no idea how we managed to do anything without it.
As a music therapist living in these times, I think it’s important that we make use of the technological tools that are at our fingertips. I’ve talked about a few from time to time, but I thought I’d put together a little list of sites you should know about.
- YouTube – No surprise here. There’s no better place to listen to songs you need to learn, as well as to see the videos. I’ve created an account specifically for the music therapy program at work, and have started setting up client playlists with songs they have requested or are working with.
- Pandora – I mentioned Pandora in passing a few posts ago, but I definitely want to stress its use in discovering new music. Basically, you enter an artist or song, and the program will start creating a radio station that fits your interests. As you rate songs, the program will try new stuff on you to try and figure out exactly what appeals to your sensibilities. I’ve created a company account here as well, and am building a few radio stations with a couple of my adolescent clients.
- Online Metronomes – If you don’t have a metronome, but still have a computer, you can have a tool to keep time. Just type in “online metronome” on Google, and you’ll get a number of results. I like Metronome Online, which is a simple dial with tempo numbers all around, as well as some information about usage. The Simple Metronome at bestmetronome.com is a little bit silly – nice animation of a pendulum metronome, but you have to wind it up first. It may be a little distracting to have this running. Web Metronome is nice because it flashes the numbers as it ticks, with 1 flashing red as the others count in black. It also gives you the capability to change meters. And there may be more, but those are some places to check out.
- Online Tuners – Again, this is nice to have if there’s not a tuner handy. However, you’ll usually have to rely on your ear. Get Tuned has a nice tool that allows you to tune every string to any not you want, which can be good if you want to do some open tuning or just to transpose your instrument from standard tuning. How to Tune a Guitar gives you the standard six pitches with several different tone qualities so you can match your instrument – electric, steels string, or nylon, and also allows you to customize tuning. Chordbook has an interesting app that allows you to adjust tuning by “turning” the pegs on a guitar. There are other online tuners out there, but they’re mostly variations on the same themes.
- Paper CD Case – If you’re like me, you always want to make more CDs than you have cases for. This website gives you a PDF you can fold up into a paper CD case. It works pretty well to, and it gives you practice with your origami skills.
- West Music – If you’re a music therapist, you’ve probably heard of West Music. It really is the best place to get music instruments of all types, and the fact that they have music therapists on staff means gives them more credibility in our profession.
There are many more online resources out there, but this is just a list of a few. I’d love to hear more if you’ve got them. Thanks for reading!
-Jesse (feeling much better today, thanks)