Girl with GuitarIt’s no secret that K-12 music education lags far behind the rest of society in utilizing technology to improve productivity and outcomes.

There are myriad reasons for this outdated approach to music education, not least of which are:

X Shrinking budgets,

X Fragmented and ill-structured technology solutions,

X Bureaucratic barriers, and

X Professional and cultural biases.

Now add to these long-standing issues the new challenge of the Covid-19 pandemic’s impact on traditional teaching solutions, and you have a worsening teaching situation that is driving educators to look for new solutions.

In this blog, I’m going to illustrate some of the challenges facing teachers trying to transition to education technology (EdTech) teaching tools, implement the flipped classroom methodology, and/or teach remotely. Then I will explain how Practicing Musician can help them succeed.

Let’s look at a fictitious elementary school music teacher named Ms. Johns. She is a composite of teachers being asked to implement EdTech driven teaching. Ms. Johns is part of a group of teachers on Facebook sharing their experiences in attempting to implement “flipped classrooms.”

The idea of flipped classrooms is to transform the classroom group learning space into a dynamic, interactive learning environment where the educator guides students as they apply the concepts they learn at home via online tutorials. The flipped classroom is an exciting concept that has transformed core subject classrooms but hasn’t impacted music education—which doesn’t have the necessary EdTech to facilitate at-home music instrument learning.

None of the teachers in Ms. Johns Facebook group are happy.

The problem is that there is no single EdTech solution to help them pull off this miracle, and even if there was, Ms. Johns and her fellow teachers have no budget for EdTech. After a lot of research and collaboration with other teachers in the same boat, the teachers have patched together a mishmash of technology and spent an inordinate amount of time creating teaching videos.

No one is satisfied with their results.

Along the way to creating their flipped classrooms, Ms. Johns’ group encountered a number of challenges, including:

  • Instructional videos: Ms. Johns makes her own videos for her students’ at-home instruction, using her smartphone. It’s a time consuming process, and she’s concerned the low production quality won’t keep the attention of students weened on CGI video games and movies.
  • Student access to lessons: She uploads the videos to a private YouTube account, confident in the knowledge this is one instance where her students’ online expertise will smooth adoption and use of this common technology. Ms. Johns must devote more time to learning how to upload and manage her YouTube videos. Eventually, she gets it done—but, how does she know they viewed the assigned videos and practiced?
  • Student at-home follow-through: Ms. Johns decides to have students “Like” their assigned videos and leave a comment. This way she can know they visited the page—although there’s no way for her to know whether a student actually completed their assignment.

Ms. Johns is on the verge of giving up when she runs across a Khan Academy style remote learning service for instrumental music education called Practicing Musician. Not only is the service a perfect single-source tool that provides everything she needs to implement her flipped classroom…she got the service free by entering Practicing Musician’s Big Music Giveaway for K-12 music educators, which is providing seven (7) KHS America band instruments to one lucky band director and four (4) Eastman orchestral string instruments to one lucky orchestra director. (It costs nothing to enter. Hit the link to sign-up.)

How did Practicing musician help Ms. Johns quickly and easily implement her flipped classroom?

Practicing Musician is an online music instrument learning service being used to deliver a private learning experience for K-12 music programs and at-home users.

The result of three years of development and use by educators, students and at-home consumers, Practicing Musician delivers a virtual private lesson experience that made Ms. Johns’ life easier by providing:

  • High production videos of world-class musicians whose interviews inspire, and whose lessons instruct;
  • Hassle-free access to sheet music;
  • Gamified assessment software that gives students real-time feedback (coming soon!), and;
  • Progress tracking

With Practicing Musician, Ms. Johns and her group are able to replace several incompatible services and apps as well as time consuming content production with a single service that gives them what they need to implement flipped classrooms. They can also use Practicing Musician to teach remotely.

In order to deliver our uniquely effective e-learning experience, the Practicing Musician team deconstructed the private lesson process:


Then, we combined that process with the most recent data from research that studied human development, cognition, and learning technologies.

Simplicity is at the heart of the Practicing Musician method, which walks students through meeting their world-class teacher—then completing assignments from Ms. Johns, using step-by-step video tutorials.

Ode To Joy Sheet MusicPracticing Musician seamlessly integrates sheet music and the industry-leading assessment software, gamified to make practicing fun. You will either play sheet music that has been previously demonstrated in video tutorials or sight-read sheet music to practice recently learned concepts. Assessment software (coming soon!) provides immediate feedback and post-playing assessment as if a private teacher had listened to you play.

Private teachers know that you will only learn if you are inspired and motivated to learn. Our video interviews and performances will inspire and motivate you, regardless of your level of proficiency. Practicing Musician teachers are top talent from prestigious and renowned music organizations, such as the Seattle Symphony and The Juilliard School.

Every music educator is invited to join the private Facebook group Music Educators Supporting Practicing Musician. In doing so, you can help us turn our consumer service into the ultimate K-12 teaching tool that will be provided to K-12 educators and their students free of charge for use in their music programs. Members of this group may also set up 1 on 1 meetings with Jake Douglass, Practicing Musician’s founder and CEO.

In addition, Jake will be hosting webinars all summer to teach educators current best practices for implementation in their classroom or for use as a remote teaching tool