I need music tech help!
As you can imagine, I receive A LOT of music tech questions. Every day. Hundreds of them in fact.
In the early days of running my business I answered every single one.
Unfortunately, there came a time when I simply couldn’t keep up and I needed to spend my time doing the things that would have the biggest impact – such as creating courses, running live webinars, and most importantly – helping the members of my paid online professional development community (the Midnight Music Community )
I had to draw a line in the sand and stop answering “how-to” questions and requests for advice that came in via email.
One of the reasons I launched the Midnight Music Community (MMC) in 2016 was to provide personalised help to paying members, but also to provide a forum in which I could share answers and advice to ALL members at once, rather than to one single person at a time in an email.
So – if you’re not a member of the MMC and you still have a burning question, what should you do?
First of all, if you’d like to join us inside the MMC we’d love to welcome you there!
Otherwise, there are a number of options open to you.
6 tips for finding the answer to any music tech question
1. Read the software manual or help section
I know, I know – you HATE reading manuals. But honestly, looking for your answer there first will likely save you a lot of search time. My biggest tip? Open the manual (it might be a PDF or a webpage) and press Control+F on Windows or Command+F on Mac. A search box will open and you can type in a keyword or two to search for what you’re looking for. That shortcut (“find”) works almost EVERYWHERE. I use it on regular web pages, on Youtube videos (to search the comments for specific mention of something covered in the video), on recipe pages (again, to search the comments), inside Google Docs or Spreadsheets, inside PDF documents and lots of other places.
2. Google your question EFFECTIVELY
There is a way to Google tech questions effectively. Use any or all of these tips to find what you need quickly:
- Use just a few keywords (ie. “GarageBand export iPad”)
- Include the software/app name AND the current year, because a solution from a couple of years ago is likely out of date and no longer relevant (ie. GarageBand iPad export 2020). Things change quickly in the tech world!
3. Search directly on Youtube
Even though Youtube videos may have turned up in your search results when you Googled, I find it can be useful to search directly on Youtube itself because you can see more video results at a glance. After you’ve searched, check the date of the video to make sure you’re viewing the most recent solution and not one based on a previous version of the software/app.
4. Search for the software error message
If you are getting an error message of some sort, copy and paste the EXACT message into Google (the whole thing) and see what turns up in the search results. It’s likely that someone has had the same problem before you and you might find an answer in a video, article or in a forum.
5. Go straight to the source!
If you’re experiencing a technical problem with the software or app (ie. it’s not working as expected, it keeps crashing, you or your students can’t log in, it won’t load etc) contact the software or app developer directly via email, or their support pages. It’s their job to keep their product running smoothly and to help you out.
6. Post in a Facebook group or on Twitter
There are numerous Facebook groups where music teachers hang out and you might find that one of the members has experienced the same issue. In addition to some of the general music teacher groups (Music Teachers, E-Learning in Music Education, Music Educators Creating Online Learning, I Teach Music Technology and many others), there are many software-specific groups which can be highly useful (like SeeSaw For Music Teachers, Google Classroom For Music Teachers, MusicFirst Teachers
Twitter can also be an excellent place to get answers to questions. Post your question and include the Twitter handle of the software app/company, plus any relevant hashtags for best results.
I still need help!
If you’d like personal help from Katie, other music tech experts and from your fellow colleagues, please come and join the Midnight Music Community (MMC). Katie is in the MMC everyday answering questions (often via a video made just for you!) and offering advice, plus there is a wide range of courses, training and other resources.
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Looking for More Resources for Music Teachers?
Hello! I’m Katie Wardrobe – an Australian music technology trainer and consultant with a passion for helping music teachers through my business Midnight Music.
I’m a qualified teacher but no, I don’t currently teach in a school. I help teachers through my online professional development space – the Midnight Music Community – where there are tutorial videos, courses, links and downloadable resources.
I like to focus on easy ways to incorporate technology into what you are already doing in your music curriculum through a range of creative projects. I also run live workshops and have presented at countless conferences and other music education events.
If you want simple, effective ideas for using technology in music education, I would LOVE to help you inside the Midnight Music Community.