A Home Page ....

The end of the teaching year means that there is time for projects. Most projects in the studio during the summer are quite ordinary except for the manner in which they are now handled. Without a computer this would be cumbersome. During studio "down" time, I am working, revising policies, reviewing software and new music, setting up new computers, reworking old forms and updating everything from checking the intercoms to making new door signs. The secret to a successful year in the studio is being organized from the start!


The library of files at the studio has grown to gigabyte size! The revision and updating of information is time efficient. In the archives is the student planner Music History in the Making. This work was done in MS Publisher Win95, as was the studio Student Handbook. Publisher has made this easy to format as well as many of the handouts I use during the year. The studio has a calendar of events, which are kept in Calendar Creator using several lists that include the local school schedule, studio events, holidays, MTNA/MMTA events. Studio management is done in a program called Time Signature.


The most wonderful summer project, however, has not been a routine event. I have focused on making a home page for the studio. There were several factors that influenced my thinking. All of my students are computer literate and have easy access to the Internet. Each year printing costs of Student Handbooks and Schedules of Events for the studio keep rising. Perhaps the web site would be cost and time effective and provide the same information. Perhaps students and parents would even take note of the info because the web site was a "cool" place to stop by. Still a little uncomfortable with cyberspace, I probably will duplicate the information this year by issuing the handbook and studio calendar in hard copy. This will be a test year.


The first thing was choosing a program to develop the web site. There are several from which to choose: MS Word, Netscape, Front Page, and Corel 7 (WordPerfect) to name a few. Corel 7 was my choice, as I was familiar with the WP format. Most programs are user friendly; the making of a home page is not as difficult as one might think. Getting acquainted with the cyberspace vocabulary is important; it is kind of like knowing that "allegro" means fast. Musicians need to know that. If you are planning a web site, learn the lingo.


To begin with, I had to determine the general concept of the studio. Several questions needed to be answered. Should the web site be --- Elegant? Professional? Funny? Contemporary? What is the audience -- prospective students, parents, other music teachers or just someone wanting to know how to choose a music teacher? What other web sites should I link to -- like MTNA and the National Certified Teachers Directory? Communications port for Email? Student Event Bulletin Board? Number of "hits"? (This does not refer to any baseball statistics. A "hit" is when someone visits your website.)


Answers and ideas arose after surfing the net. I have used several different programs to surf the net from Microsoft to CompuServe. Currently in use is the latest version of Netscape using Real Audio that allows the user to hear wave files.


Choices of color to use for text and background to create the effect desired were more complicated than I thought. There were so many combinations that it was difficult to arrive at a decision. This is rather like choosing wallpaper for the house! It is like preparing a place for company only that it is in cyberspace, wherever that is!


The web site must have a logical flow of information and a way to get there, i. e. hypertext and links. The program does this function but the user must identify words that need to be linked and where to link them.


The use of photos enhances a site. I used a Casio digital camera and took some shots. The photos are stored in a chip in the camera (100 total) and are eventually uploaded into the computer. Then they are stored in a file like text. There is no hard copy. Pictures are easily edited (cropping, rotating, adjusting brightness, erasing, texturing, etc.) in Picture Publisher. I had professional looking photos! They were easily inserted into the home page like a graphic. One thing to remember is that the more graphics included in the site, the longer it takes for the user to receive the information at their terminal. If this process takes too long, they may become impatient and go to another site. Balance graphics with a reasonable download time.


There are lots of places to post a web site on the Internet. Do some comparison-shopping. Reserving a URL is important. Select words or code that will be easy for users to remember. Please stop by and say "Hello." You will find the site at www.casamusica.com.

by Mary Lou Iverson, NCTM

Used by permission of the publisher, Richard Chronister

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 Last update:  Monday, June 11, 2018 09:20:06 PM