App Love: Spotify Radio

I love searching for songs and recordings on Spotify, everyday. Although I only signed up for its basic (free) membership, I’m able to enjoy millions of streaming tracks and organize my favorite tracks into playlists. When the Spotify mobile app came out, I downloaded it to my phone without hesitation.

But I deleted the app just as fast because the app only worked with paid membership :-).

Spotify sent out emails to users on Wednesday, June 20th with the heading: 


Spotify Radio is a Pandora-like feature  that allows the listener to choose a genre (or style of a specific singer/band). You can build your radio station by giving Spotify’s music pick a ‘thumbs up/down’. This is screenshot of a Blues selection – Muddy Waters(!) – before I liked it:

Each ‘liked’ song is saved as a playlist file (i.e.‘Liked from Radio’) and easily accesible. If you don’t like the song Spotify has picked for you, it lets you skip up to 6 songs per hour. Pretty reasonable, I say.

This app was terrific to use when I was stuck in traffic yesterday. I listened to many more artists and recordings than I had in my mobile music collection. I enjoyed recordings of familiar artists like Sir Neville Marriner, John Mayer, and Stevie Ray Vaughan. And listening to Friendly Fires, Calla, Dropkick Murphys, and Rumer for the first time was just fun.

A few caveats: 

1. All kinds of ads can be heard a few times during your listening period. If you’re connected to your car audio through Bluetooth, or using the speaker on your device,  just know that your kids can hear these, too. Some ads are just for adults.

2. Since it’s not a regular FM/AM radio, there are explicit songs.

3. Spotify Mobile Radio feature is just for iOS right now. Android users, just wait a little longer.

Family Idea: Listen to music together 

Make music listening a part of your family’s summer. If you have younger kids, choose  a genre you want to listen with your kids and listen to new songs with them. If you have a preteen or a teenager, it might be fun to take turns picking new genre of music to listen together. As I mentioned earlier, there are many explicit songs in the database so pick more family friendly genres. For example, ‘Soul’ would have less explicit songs than ‘Hip-hop’ (although the topics that the songs from either of these genres might be equally adult-ish!). You, the adult, can decide what would make sense for your family.

As a test, I gave my phone to my 13-year old daughter. She naturally turned to ‘Alternative’. It was funny that the first song we listened to on this app was Ed Sheeran’s Lego House. This song happens to be one of her favorites so she was happy. She was also quick, though, to point out that Ed Sheeran should be classified under ‘Singer-Songwriter’, not ‘Alternative’. We listened to other genres, including the ‘Blues’ which she thought was cool. I loved spending our car ride talking about music.

I recommend it! Try Spotify Radio & experience more music! ~Yoon

If you like: Read my NPR Music App review.

September ’11 Music Education Blog Carnival

Happy New School Year! 

It is with great pleasure to {finally} publish the September edition of Music Education Blog Carnival here. I want to thank many teachers who submitted great posts. Their thoughts, recommendations, and philosophies, I believe, stretch our own thinking. For those of you who are  beginning a new school year, I want to bid you a great year of deep learning. May the learning in these months ahead transform us so that we can be better musicians and teachers. [Personally, I want to work on listening to my students with understanding and emphathy (Kosta and Kallick). I hope to blog about it some time this year…]

Enjoy reading this edition of Music Ed Blog Carnival! I encourage you to comment on the posts you read. And if you would like to host Music Ed Blog Carnival, contact Dr. Joe Pisano at @pisanojm or visit his site,

{Forgive me if I made mistakes on your posts! There were just too many submissions!

Cheers! ~ ysl 😀

Music Education

Music Advocacy

Music Listening & Performance Review

Music Software/Hardware

Music Technology

Music Tips/ Learning Reflection

April iPhone Picture Project

I heart my iPhone! I use it for just about everything –  (ironically) with the exception of making phone calls (because I hardly ever phone people).

So when @aforgrave tweeted this to me and 4 others,

I’m thinking of an April iPhone-Pic-a-Day theme. Who’s in?

he got my attention. I’ve been learning to use whatever camera I have better. I have to say that some apps have made my picture-taking hobby really fun. Read Andy’s post here and join the fun!

We’re using the hashtag #iPPP and tagging pics as #iPPPDayXX. I’m also thinking of suggesting to my multimedia class to take daily pictures on their smartphones and share. I’ll see how that goes as the boys who are in this class are really into making movies right now.

Perhaps I can get @berkshirecat or @teaching_music on this project!

Here’s one of my iPhone pics I took today!

Caught my eye2


symbalooEDU: Personal Learning Environment Made Super Easy

Since my last raving post on Symbaloo, I have introduced MS Music Now webmix to my 5th, 7th, and 8th graders. Many students are enjoying to explore many resources on this webmix.

Yesterday morning, I received great news from Symbaloo:

Hi Yoon we are launching SymbalooEDU today hope you can take a look, give feedback and help spread the word

So when I finished teaching morning classes, I checked out the link.

Ladies and Gentlemen, here is symbalooEDU –

What a great learning environment for everyone in a class! I love that the EDU Teachers webmix (pictured) gives you essential tools like Google Docs, Evernote, and Teacher Tube in the middle of the webmix. Visually, this layout is simple and clean. In addition, where you see the Writing, Reading or other subject-specific tiles, teachers can embed a list of documents and applications directly onto tiles. So this means I can post videos, homework, handouts, and student work directly into my webmix. How brilliant is that?

I am very excited that when the initial “greeting” intro message from the middle search box vanished, I found this from the center box drop menu:

I love that I’m seeing educational search engines & reference links. I immediately looked to see how I can change my center “search” box to this reference. I found it under “My Symbaloo Preference” where you can choose a default search box or to customize one. If you click “I want to select a source myself”, you are given three choices:

1. Search Module
2. Widget
3. Newsfeed

Another drop-down menu is available if you choose “search” or “widget” sources to further customize what you want. Symbaloo really did think of ways to make this easy for its users!

I’m guessing since the last “source” option is for newsfeeds (RSS or a site), one’s webmix also can function as an aggregator as well as an organizer.

Since Symbaloo is asking for feedback, I’ve contacted them about a few things. They were super fast with replies, so I’ll include the answers from Symbaloo in italics:

  1. Question: Do teachers need a new account now that EDU site has launched? Answer: No, your log in is same. Log in with your existing email and password; it will take you to PLE of the new site.
  2. Question: Could you please add Sweetsearch as one of the search engines?  Answer: Mentioned Sweetsearch to developers. (I hope they will add it!)
  3. Suggestion I sent last night before writing this post: Instead of Glogster, it would be helpful to have GlogsterEdu in the tile. Answer: Will work on adding Glogster Edu on Edu Teacher webmix!

So here is a great tool where students and teachers can be organized! I am so glad that this invaluable tool is available for teachers and students. This service is free for all individuals!

Check it out and make your class webmix today (and give them a shout out: @symbalooedu). I’m looking forward to finding more ways to use this great tool.

Watch the edu video here.

Happy learning!

~ Yoon 🙂

PS: Gotta say, Kimmie Chann, the Community Director of Symbaloo is awesome at what she does. I had to contact Symbaloo for troubleshooting, and she helped me to resolved the issue. Thank you – I was able to use the webmix for classes today!

Symbaloo: Webmix for Music Classes

After watching this smart 7th grader introduce her PLE (personal learning environment), I started thinking how I can use Symbaloo for teaching. What is Symbaloo? It’s a place where you can create a visual list of online sites and resources. I love it because I no longer have to search or keep a list of reminder notes. I can simply go here or share all of the links with my students.

I can add or edit any of the blocks at any time. My organization from left to right columns:  Web 2.0 tools, Music Reference, Online Music Tools & Free Resources, Games & Fun Sites.

Click on the image above or this here if you’d like to use this particular webmix.

I’ll be asking my students (5th, 7th & 8th graders) to add their favorite music sites, so check often to see what’s been added.

And please share other helpful links you might be using with your students by leaving me a comment!

Happy learning!

~Yoon 🙂

App Love: NPR Music

I believe that apps were created to make our daily lives efficient and enjoyable. An app should make it easy for me to “do” a task. My criteria for keeping an app or actually buying one is simple: it has to be easy to navigate and use, the content on it has to make me think, and it has to be fun for me to use.

Last month, I saw a tweet from NPR about their new music app. Since I enjoy listening to many NPR podcasts, I thought I would give it a try.

As you open  this app, the front page features Top Stories with these


Rock/Pop/Folk, Jazz & Blues, Classical, World, Hip Hop/ R&B and Song of the Day.

One of the features I love is that I can read or listen to each story which had been featured on one of the 20 radio shows. I can scroll, touch~> listen, and touch~> stop whenever I want to move onto listening to something else. Most of the times, however, I find myself listening to the entire interview or concert performance because they are fascinating. There are genres and stories I would have never come across on my own! I frequently post these interesting finds for my Music PLN on Twitter using the app’s easy Twitter/Facebook integration. Finding new music and musicians is so easy and accessible.  Today’s Top Stories:

What does it take to find stories on the Canadian Soprano singing Wagner, or listen to School of Seven Bells’ song, or listen to a Raga Chamber Jazz or about women’s role in pop music culture now? Not much, except scrolling and choosing. Now I don’t have to wait for announcement-tweets telling where to look for such interviews or performances. I can just go to my phone and listen!

You can add segments you like onto your playlist to keep it for awhile. I like this feature a lot as I can save them for classroom use or to develop a project idea from a story or performance. Find even more music using live music stream from 75 NPR stations or purchase featured music through your iTunes.

All in all, I would recommend this app to anyone who appreciates music. Busy music teachers, especially, can search here for interesting articles, performances/concerts, or for classroom ideas. No more browsing for me: now I use this music smart music aggregator! It has become one of my favorite apps!

Note: This free app is available only for iPodTouch/ iPhone. I am sure NPR is working on making this great app for other smartphones!

June 22, 2012 Update

I still love this app on my phone AND on the iPad. Since my first post, NPR has released the app for other mobile devices. Enjoy!

I Linoit’d Today!

Since my Skype post, I’ve been Skyping quite a bit with my school classes 🙂

I received an email from my son’s teacher about her class assembly presentation (from here on I will call them chapels since this is what we call them in our school – although we are a non-sectarian school). Her class (4L Scholars) needed some help with choosing a song they will be singing at the end of their chapel.

I thought about couple of titles and sang a bit for my son to relay the message.

I don’t think he remembered to tell her (it’s just my guess from her email….;-)

So we set up a Skype session for noon today so that we can chat live.

Ideas were churning in my head…churning…what? Sometimes thinking just takes time!

The story 4L Scholars are retelling is a simple Russian folktale, The Enormous Turnip. Since I didn’t know much about the story, I tweeted out simple question:

In a matter of a few minutes, I received four tweets to help me with my research. As I was clicking on the links, I thought, “Maybe I should put all these together somewhere, like a virtual bulletin board.”

This is how I learned to use Linoit.
It is a FREE, virtual bulletin board where you can stick notes.

But it’s so much more!

Stick a Note, Picture, Share a File, Movie, Link, Due Date, & More on Linoit!

Continue reading “I Linoit’d Today!”