Join me in my quest to develop technology skills in music

This semester I am embarking on a quest to improve my technology skills in the music classroom. Though I feel that my technology skills as a whole are strong, I realize that most of my skills are related to what I can do with technology and not necessarily what my students can do with technology. To improve in this area, I enrolled in an online technology course for educators because I want to find ways for my students to engage in authentic and relevant musical experiences using technology. I also want my students to have 21st century skills that they can use to be competitive in a global economy.

To guide my technology growth, I assessed my current technology skills, identified goals and objectives for areas that I want to develop, and outlined a plan to achieve those goals. I identified my focus areas by asking myself what technology tools musicians use regularly and what tools are readily available for students to engage in authentic musical experiences. I believe that because smartphones are becoming ubiquitous, they have untapped potential for use in the music class. I also believe that tools musicians use for composing, notating, and recording music can be accessed easily online or through a mobile device.

You can view my detailed analysis, plan, and checklist as a Google Doc. Please return often to cheer me on, follow my progress, and offer tips and suggestions to assist me in my quest.

Posted in Music Technology

Community Joins Band for End-of-Year Band BBQ & Concert

Nearly 500 people joined the Lakewood Mustang Band for their end-of-year Band BBQ & Concert. Volunteers began showing up after school to fire up the grill and prepare for the crowd. The weather was perfect for an evening outside with lawn chairs and blankets. 390 tickets were sold in advance and a total of $2,240 was raised for the band program. The money will go to fund camp scholarships for band students and trip costs for their trip to The Festival of Music at Worlds of Fun in Kansas City. Special thanks to the Lakewood Band Boosters for donating items for the BBQ and assisting with the fundraising.

At 7:00, the concert portion of the evening started out by the flagpole. Students performed a variety of pop songs and other music around the theme of “Following Your Dreams.” You can view and download a copy of the concert program here. The concert was Mr. Bley’s last concert with the Mustang Band. Next year he will be heading to Bowling Green State University in Ohio where he received a graduate assistantship with the music education program.

Posted in Performances

Mustang Bands Perform Halloween Concert

Students in the Mustang Band at Lakewood Middle School performed a Halloween Concert at the Salina Central Auditorium.  The groups dressed in costumes and performed spooky music.  You can watch the two videos below to see the entire concert.  The first video (Part 1) begins at 1:57 and you’ll see Mr. Bley do an awesome Gangnam Style dance!  Then the 6th graders perform The Beast, Walking the Planks, and Dance of the Jabberwocky.  The 7th graders then perform The Pit and the Pendulum and Ghosts, Goblins, and Witches.  The next video (Part 2) picks up with the 7th graders performing their last song, Aliens Landing.  Then the 8th graders take the stage to perform Werewolves of London, Evil Ways, Thriller, and On Salina.  The students did an excellent job and we are very proud of them!

Halloween Concert – Part 1

Halloween Concert – Part 2

Posted in 6th Grade Band, 7th Grade Band, 8th Grade Band, Performances

Marching Mustangs Earn Superior Rating at Marching Festival

Students in the 8th grade band performed at the High Plains Marching Festival at Fort Hays State University and earned a rating of superior.  Selections included Werewolves of London, Evil Ways, Thriller, and On Salina.  The band was joined on the field by cheerleaders, coached by Michelle Post, and feature twirler, Katie Boyer, coached by Linda Staven.  Congratulations!  We are very proud of your accomplishments!

Posted in 8th Grade Band, Performances

8th Grade Marching Mustangs Perform Halloween Pregame Show

The 8th grade marching mustangs performed their Halloween-themed pregame show at the Salina Central football game.  The 35-member group played Werewolves of London, Evil Ways, and Thriller.  Katie Boyer, featured twirler, performed a routine with the group.  The band was joined by the Lakewood Middle School Cheerleaders for their final number, Thriller, which included the famous Vincent Price voiceover.  Everyone performed the fight song as they marched off the field.

Posted in 8th Grade Band

Mr. Bley’s Week at Boys State

Hi Everyone,
I hope you’re enjoying your summer! I just spent this past week in Manhattan at the American Legion Boys State of Kansas. I finished out my 3-year term as Executive Director and we celebrated the 75th Anniversary of Kansas Boys State. Boys State is a leadership academy for juniors in high school (there is also a Girls State). As part of our 75th celebration, we produced this lip dub video of Carley Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe.”  You won’t see me in it because I’m the guy behind the camera.


Mr. Bley

Posted in Just for Fun

Central High Band Earns Superior Rating at Contest

The Central High Mustang Band earned a superior rating at large ensemble contest in Hays on Thursday.  The group performed two selections: Amparito Roca and Mazama.

Posted in Performances

Students “Play” at Band Lock-In

95 band students played their instruments and played games at the band lock-in at Lakewood Middle School.  Students rotated from sectionals lead by qualified musicians, to full band rehearsal, and to activities and games.  Students enjoyed a pizza party and movies beginning at midnight.  30 parent and teacher volunteers setup for the event and supervised students throughout the evening and into the morning.  It was fun event for students and adults alike!


Posted in Events

Students Perform at Band Festival

The Mustang Bands performed at the Salina Middle-Level Band Festival on Friday, March 2 at Salina Central High School. The morning consisted of full band performances with solos and ensembles performing in the afternoon.  The 6th grade band earned a rating of superior, the 7th grade band earned a rating of superior, and the 8th grade band earned a rating of excellent.

Students participating in solos and ensembles and earning a rating of superior included Elisa Backes, Brittany Blackim, Alex Botz, Molly Bradbury, Austin Chart, Tyler Chavez, Michael Gage, Jetta Greene, Quinn Hill, Harrison Jett, Angelica Lance, Reagan Montre, Ben Rost, Josh Rubino, Jack Shetlar, and Lauren Thompson.  Students earning a rating of excellent included Lenora Dyke, Mariah Garman-Brown, Matt Goldammer, Alex Guzman, Zach Hajny, and Sean Rahman. We are very proud of our students for their hard work and for positively representing Lakewood Middle School!

Posted in Performances

Band Boosters to Commission Work

The Lakewood Band Boosters are raising money to commission a composer to write a song for our band.  This exciting project will bring positive publicity to our band and provide students with the unique opportunity to work with a composer.  Preliminary work has begun and David Shaffer, a well-known composer for bands, has agreed to write the piece.  Shaffer is currently the Director of the Miami University Marching Band.  The commission fee will be $3000 and includes Mr. Shaffer traveling to Salina to work with students in class and premier the work at the February 2013 band concert.  David Cooper, grant writer with USD305, is working with the band boosters to apply for grants through the Salina Education Foundation and the Greater Salina Community Foundation to cover much of the cost.

Posted in Boosters

Why Music?

Jack Stamp on Music

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