Friday, June 4, 2010

Too Busy to BLOG...We're One Busy Music Academy

By Mark T. Burke

Oops!  We've been bad.  We've been so busy that we put blog posting on the back burner....something we don't like to do.  We know what we've been doing is important please forgive us while we keep a lot of different projects moving forward.  We're becoming great jugglers! 

So, what's going on around our shop?

Exploring Music Course
Our goal to provide a broad set of courses to meet the needs of students everywhere has been our goal since day 1.  We know there are tons of students who want to make music but don't play a band instrument.  We think the solution is...well, right under our fingers...right now in fact.  Making music with a computer is a great way for students to express themselves. 

Our "Exploring Music with GarageBand" and "Exploring Music with MixCraft" *** courses will provide instruction on the elements of music.  Application of those elements provides students the tools needed to create music using software like GarageBand and MixCraft.  Becky and Bill Ciabattari have been nose to the grindstone writing the content, mapping the assessments and designing the projects.  Joe Runciman, our programming and graphics guru worked hard to give the course a fresh new design.  We're pretty darn proud of this new course. 

Summer Camp for Saxophones 
We know, we're a "CYBER" school.  We're supposed to just focus on online instruction - right?.  Well, our goal from the day we created viaAcademies has been to be first and foremost a music academy for all students.  The team has deep connections in our local musical community and through those connections, we provide musical opportunities every chance we get.

This summer, viaAcademies is teaming up with the Keystone Sax Quartet and Central Oaks Heights, a local music retreat and arts center, to host the Summer Saxophone Quartet Workshop 2010.  One of the students chosen for the workshop is Kate Anderson (Graduating Senior from Hughesville HS).  For students who enroll in our Saxophone course, you will see and hear Kate in action in the Practice Partner Videos.  Other members include Jake Russo (Montoursville HS), Ben Titman (Graduating Senior from Danville HS) and Rob Bingaman (Graduating Senior from Selinsrove HS).

Our concert will by July 16th.  If you're in the area, join us.  We even have a guest soloist, Mr. Jason Laczkoski, doctoral student at the University of Iowa.

Yep, we've been playing games. Well, really we've been designing our Exploring Music educational simulation.  Some would call it a GAME.  The game will be embedded in the Exploring Music course.  Why 3D?  Well, game play combined with engaging environments are extremely affected educational tools.  We're cutting edge for a reason though.  We don't just want to look pretty.  We use educational strategies that work and gaming WORKS!  The game will help students master the topics throughout the course because the game is PART of the instruction, not just an add on.  We've teamed up with the great folks at Bloomsburg University to build the game.  We've learned a ton and we're continuing to learn more each day.  We'll be demonstrating the game soon....let us know if you would like a tour.

Professional Development
We're not too proud to say we're getting a bit of reputation. We're working closely with the BLaST Intermediate Unit in Williamsport PA to bring area schools innovative music in-service programs.  Music often gets left out of in-service programs throughout the year and we want to change that.  We don't think music teachers should have to wait for the annual state conference to learn about new tools, instructional methods and creative instructional programs.  We will be talking about this more in the future, but until then, we would love to learn more about your in-service needs. 

A friend of mine says, "If you want something done, give it to a busy person."  There's a ton more to say, but I actually need to get back to work.  It's almost 7am and I am running behind...:-) 

Stay in touch, stay in tune! 

*** GarageBand is a TM of Apple Inc. (
*** MixCraft is a TM of Acoustica. (

For more information on viaAcademies, visit us online at or write to us at  Join us on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date with all the latest news and information. 

viaAcademies is a division of viaEdTechnologies, LLC, Bloomsburg PA. 

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