Utah State’s music department comes out swinging with Big Bands concert

The Caine College of the Arts presents the Big Bands concert Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. in Utah State University’s Performance Hall.

The Jazz Ensemble and the Jazz Orchestra will be performing standards like “Some Skunk Funk” by the Brecker Brothers, “Thunderbird” by Ray Anthony and “Central Park North” by Thad Jones. The bands include students and faculty members lead by Jon Gudmundson and Greg Wheeler.

“Max Matzen, our newest faculty member, will be doing a flugelhorn solo on Central Park North,” Gudmundson said. “The song becomes this really slow ballad then Max turns it into a raunchy, backbeat-funky thing.”

The groups include five saxophones, four trombones, five trumpets, piano, guitar, bass and drums. Students are seated by how well they played in auditions at the beginning of the school year.

“This concert facilitates music for people who aren’t necessarily into jazz,” said Parker Robinson, a baritone saxophonist. “It’s really our take on this kind of music — we’re making conscious decisions about how we’re playing.”

This is the second of four concerts the bands will perform this year.

“It’s one of the few chances to hear a big band play,” said Mike Benson, a tenor saxophonist. “Outside of universities and probably New York, big bands really aren’t a thing anymore.”

The cost is free for USU students, $5 for USU faculty and staff, $8 for senior citizens and children and $10 for general admission.


Legal, Policies and Ethics: Secure Your Social Media Presence

Your Online Presence

Social media has given humans another venue to express opinions, share ideas and show where you are on the map.  With all of these great tools literally at our figer tips, do many people think about their privacy? Or do many people simply not care who sees what they are doing online?  These questions have become relevant within the past year, so relevant that Congress is talking about it.  Mobile apps have been scrutinized recently over privacy settings.  Information on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Foursquare can tell others about your location and what you are doing.  Does big brother need to take charge and monitor what is said online, or can we take care of our own online privacy?

Who’s Reading

The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) paid more that 11 million dollars to General Dynamics for a system to monitor Facebook and Twitter.   This system primarily searches for content that “adversely reflect” on the government.  Lawmakers feel that this system is necessary for government and law enforcement agencies to prevent potential threats.  Other lawmakers feel that this system infringes on First Amendment rights.  The real question is whether the government is monitoring the what, instead of the who.  Many criminal organizations have moved to social media to recruit and spread the word.  There is a need to monitor what is happening online, but does it need to be policed?

What Other Can See

Facebook, Google and Twitter all contain information about you, your name, birthday, contact information and location.  Many of these social media sites sync with mobile devices that update address books.   Users are not aware of what others can see about them.  Most users are not aware of how to change privacy settings, so they can limit what is seen about them online and on mobile contact lists.  Avi Charkham has created a website that contains a link to Facebook which will block mobile devices from accessing your information, thus helping those in the dark.  The only way to be completely invisible is to revoke all apps from Facebook and hide all contact information.  Doing so would be counter intuitive to what Facebook is for, if you ask me.

What You Can Do

Maintain your online presence before someone else does!  Be smart and be savvy.  Limit what can be seen about you and be familiar with the privacy settings on all of the social media sites you use.  Make sure you are not posting questionable content that could get you in a bad situation.  Most of all, treat social media as if you were talking to somebody face-to-face.  Have fun and most of all be safe while using social media.


Apps: Are consumer based apps the way to go?

The App

Most of us by now are familiar with apps, and probably use them on a regular basis.  The term “App”, is short for application.  These nifty little icons on our phones and tablets connect us to the web and do some awesome functions.  Most everyone prefers to use a specific app versus going to a webpage.  This is true for most apps, however when it comes to purchasing goods and services online, the scale is tilted the other way.

Online Shopping

If you have not bought anything online, chances are you know somebody who has.  According to Zmags, a social media marketing firm, 87% of online purchases are done through good ol’ fashioned web browsing from a computer.  This is not a good sign for app developers.  What could be going on, why dont people trust shopping apps?  In this study, consumers are prone to buy online through a browser over an app due to privacy concerns.  Many consumers feel like their personal and financial information is not secure through apps.  App privacy is a big concern, so big that the U.S. government is looking into it.  Not all hope is lost for the smartphone or tablet yet.  Many purchases are being done through mobile browsers and consumers are being directed to sites also, through mobile apps.  This seems to be a growing demographic too when it comes to web browsing.


Whatever method one chooses to purchase goods online is their own choice and preference.  However, online purchases via shopping apps for tablets are on the rise, and do seem to be a safe way to purchase online.  Hopefully app privacy will increase and help consumers feel safe when purchasing online.


Search Engine Optimization: +1 Me Bro

The Mythical SEO

Most everyone who is anxiously engaged in some form of social media has heard of Search Engine Optimization or, SEO.  What is SEO and what can it do for you?  The name of the game when it comes to SEO, is getting your website higher on search engine result pages, such as Google, Yahoo and Bing.  Well written content, captivating images and a well outlined purpose should be enough to get your site on the first page of a search result, right?  Unfortunately (and maybe fortunately) there isn’t a magic formula to get your site ranked on top.  However, there are tools that help you track what is going on with your page, and even some helpful aides.  For all intent and purposes I will be talking solely about Google and Google Analytics.

SEO and Google +1

Google Analytic’s project manager Phil Mui stated, “If content is king, then context is queen”.  This is an extremely profound statement, stating that above all, your website needs to have great content, but also needs to be marketed well.  Knowing whether or not a website will be a hit is like predicting when a tornado will touch down.  Google +1 gives web users the ability to recommend a site above other sites of similar interest.  It is believed that +1’s will help your site in search rankings.  A user is more likely take a recommendation from a friend before they will take one from a stranger, this is the essence of Google +1.  But remember, it is only believed to help with rankings, other SEO strategies need to be done along with getting +1’s.

The Takeaway

Content, content, and content are what make a website good.  Finding out where people are coming from, why they are leaving, and what page they left on.  This will help in narrowing down what needs to be added or taken away from your website, basically finding out what your Click Through Rate is (CTR).  Remember that Google is biased when it comes to SEO, so the more Google products you use, the better chance you have at getting a good page ranking.  Making mistakes and learning from them will help with your SEO strategy. Have fun out there and remember to +1.




Collaborative and Distance Communication Tools: Getting your music out has never been so easy.

What it is

Collaborative and Distance Communication tools are exactly what they sound like: online tools that connect people and enable them to share ideas.  The most popular forms of these services are Skype, Ustream and Facetime (for you Apple people).  These services enable the user to communicate with other people and organizations in real-time, without using the telephone or email.  What I really want to touch on is how musicians have used these services to spread and promote their music.

Skype and Ustream

Although similar in nature, these two services offer the user completely different things.  Skype is like a video phone and Ustream is used for watching live events that are spread to many viewers.  Both of these services offer the user a unique experience when it comes to viewing their favorite artists.  The band 3 Doors Down used Ustream’s service to promote their album: Time Of My Life.  They used Ustream and Twitter to get listeners involved with the release.  The more people that used their hashtag, the more songs the band released from the new album.  Fans could also chat with the band for a period of time.  Denison Witmer is another artist who uses Distance Communication to get his music out to his fans.  He will do a private concert via Skype for $25, all one has to do is schedule a time and he will do the show.  Dension started doing this when his first child was born, thus making it difficult to be on the road performing.  Not every artist is going to be jumping at the chance to play private shows, but there are artists who are willing to do it, and there fans who are willing to pay.

Game Changer?

Will Skype and Ustream be the end of live concerts?  I personally don’t think so, but I do think more artists will take advantage of these services to promote their music.  Social Media has become a main component in everyday life on both ends of the spectrum.  Artists want to get their music out to as many people as possible, and fans want to hear their music.  Why not have a little fun and make a little money along the way.  I wish more artists would use Distant Communication services, I definitely would pay.

Viral Videos: What makes a video viral?


We have all seen our fair share of viral videos and maybe we have even questioned what makes a certain video viral.  There are many things that need to happen in order to make a video viral.  In 3 Things Any Video Needs to Go Viral and How Videos Go Viral these steps are covered, but they are not sure fire answers to creating a viral video.

What makes a video viral?

To get a video to go viral “is more like a science than an art.”  There are many factors that need to be taken in account.  Is the content good?  Does the video resonate with people and what would make them want to share it?  Where should I post it, so it gets more traffic?  People want to see things that resonate to them.  Much of the entertainment people consume is entertainment that mirrors their own lives.  People are more likely to watch a video that is shared to them by a friend than a video they found online.  What does this mean?  It means your video needs to be able to be shared easy and effortlessly, for it to become viral.  Also, there are more video sharing sites besides YouTube.  Look into what options are out there for your video and what kind of market you want to share it in.

Who’s watching viral videos?

In How Videos Go Viral, it says that 18-34 year old adults are the majority of people watching and sharing viral videos.  Apart from that, 57% of the video sharing is done by women.  Most of the video watching and sharing is done on Facebook, rather than on some “tube” site.  People from the Southern part of the United States watch more videos than any other demographic, but people in the Midwestern part of the United States share more videos online.  These kinds of figures can help give you an idea on where you should post your video and what kind of content is in it.


Like I said earlier, following a process of steps and reading blogs will only help your chances of creating a viral video.  It it up to the people to decide whether or not you have something viral or not.  Original and interesting content will help your chances of success.

Location Based Programs: Yelp! and Foursquare

What do location based programs do?

Location based social media has become all the rage these days.  These programs give the user the ability to “check-in” to locations via their smartphones.  Users can interact with other users by befriending them and starting communication.  Almost all social media platforms use some kind of location integration in their user face.  You can use a location setting to track where you’ve tweeted, or you can show your location on Facebook and tell the world who you’re with.  For this post I will focus on Yelp! and Foursquare.  These two sites are built around location, whereas, Twitter and Facebook have simply added it to their many features.

Why join a location based program?

At first glance these program seem stupid, that’s what I thought until I actually tried one.  Foursquare and Yelp! are all about hooking the community up.  Businesses and organizations will put special deals on these programs that can only be accessed by their users and no one else.  They also have added fun little things that make the users experience more enjoyable and even competitive.  On both programs the user can become ruler of his or her domain.  Foursquare will make you a “mayor” if you check-in to a location a certain amount of times and Yelp! makes you a King or Duke depending on how many check-in’s one has.  Location based social media is a must for any business looking to grow and interact with it’s customers, besides, isn’t that the name of the game anyway?

The Rundown

Whether you think location based social media programs are for kids, you can’t deny the numbers.  With over 10 million users on Foursquare and 4 million on Yelp! as of 2011, these programs are making more of a wave in social media than a splash.  If you’re hesitant about them and think they are silly, try one.