Luck is not chance, it’s toil. Fortune’s expensive smile is earned. ~ Emily Dickinson

Mr. Ahrens teaches band & choir at Bear River High School in Grass Valley, CA.


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Google Voice Playing Assessments


As a Band Director, there never seems to be enough time to carry out any number of brilliant ideas (or pedagogical necessities) that I need to do with my ensembles. One of the many things that I’ve had trouble keeping up with is individual playing assessments. It is difficult to justify the time during an ensemble rehearsal of listening to each student, one by one. I have tried a number of different solutions: I’ve attempted to listen to a few each day. I’ve had those students not testing listen to the ones who were and do anonymous peer critiques. I’ve asked students to come back on their own time to test. I’ve attempted working with SmartMusic assignments. None of these has had much success or consistency. . . . → Read More: Google Voice Playing Assessments

Weekly Practice Journal


When you’re focused on how long you have to practice, it can become torturous and boring – certainly not musical. Hitz suggested creating a journal that records what is practiced instead of minutes. When you practice because it’s fun and you love making music, time flies by and is spent more effectively. So for this year, I have created a new form – a Weekly Practice Journal. . . . → Read More: Weekly Practice Journal

Free Android Apps for Band Directors


I’ve recently entered the world of the smart phone with the purchase of my HTC EVO 4G. It is truly incredible what these devices can do and I plan to use it to the full as best I can. In looking for applications to help in music education, I’ve noticed a real lack in organized information on the subject. It is my intent to post a useful, running list of Android resources to be updated often. . . . → Read More: Free Android Apps for Band Directors

Teachers Teach – Technology Supports

While there is a general agreement that the effects of technology within the classroom have been beneficial, it is clear that there have been efficacy failings for a variety of reasons. Access to the best and most recent technologies is not available to most teachers. Few teachers or administrators have had a clarifying vision on technology. This should include research into and implementation of technologies that have the greatest impact on student learning. . . . → Read More: Teachers Teach – Technology Supports

Tech Innovations in Music Education

The topic chosen for discussion recently on the Twitter hashtag #MusEdChat was: “What innovations in Music Education have occurred over the last 10 years? What impact has it had on teachers/students?” There have been PLENTY of innovations recently. I thought I would write a reflection on the topic in a forum that allows . . . → Read More: Tech Innovations in Music Education

Time Management, Focus, & Vision Key to Maintaining Sanity

So, it’s not just selecting repertoire and rehearsing the band?

I’m not going to say that I was ever so naive as to think that being a high school band director was just about the music. However I certainly never imagined the actual amount of non-musical work that . . . → Read More: Time Management, Focus, & Vision Key to Maintaining Sanity

Twitter has just busted open for me

There are many things in the Web 2.0 world that are simply “cool”. The geek in me is attracted to websites that let me paint the screen like Jackson Pollock, or calculate my daily caloric intake, or send little messages out to the cyber world about what I’m doing at any given . . . → Read More: Twitter has just busted open for me