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Budget tight? Better cut music

It's that time of year again...Jobs are on the chopping block as administrators try to balance budgets.
Written by Christopher Dawson, Contributor

It's that time of year again...Jobs are on the chopping block as administrators try to balance budgets.  There are a couple of easy programs to cut, of course.  Music and physical education are often the first to go, despite real and demonstrated value.  Unfortunately, when these programs go, it falls to teachers, especially at the elementary level, to provide music education.  It looks like there may be some technological help on the horizon, though, for music teachers and general ed teachers alike.

According to eSchoolNews,

"Software from new companies such as eJamming, WorkshopLive, and In the Chair can connect students and teachers in online groups or in solo sessions to record and edit music online. The growing number of homes with access to broadband internet service has helped fuel this emerging trend."

Many of these pieces of software would facilitate participation by homeschooled students or allow private providers to supplement or replace programs more economically:

"Teachers may show examples of a melody or rhythm and have students group together in eJamming to re-create that example. The software also broadens the possibilities of teaching in an economical way--music teachers who give private lessons can teach more students at once and don't have to drive to their lessons. "

A similar program called WorkshopLive could even lend itself to outsourcing of music education online to save money yet maintain programs:

"Nearly a year old, WorkshopLive operates on the same premise as eJamming, offering keyboard, bass, or guitar lessons via a high-speed internet connection. Students can choose their instructor, and a patent-pending student-teacher matching engine helps select the right educator and lesson plan to match the student's ability and style of learning. David Smolover, founder and CEO of WorkshopLive, said his company has been in publishing for about 15 years and has produced CDs, DVDs, videos, and books--but none of those products give music students what they need to learn."

Replacing music teachers with a broadband connection is hardly an optimal choice, but when hard choices must be made, technology-enabled music education certainly beats no music education.

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