Paradise Valley Unified School District


Joyce Bertilson is no stranger to education technology – she uses it every day as the music instructor for PVOnline, an online division of the Paradise Valley Unified School District in Paradise Valley, Ariz. Specifically, Bertilson uses MusicFirst, engaging students with affordable, cloud-based solutions.

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“Since we are an online school, having online programs through MusicFirst has enhanced our curriculum,” said Bertilson. “It is helpful that students can work on the music programs anywhere, as many of our students are completing their courses in non-school settings, such as home, during travel, etc.”

Bertilson finds value in the flexibility MusicFirst software affords her and her students, and also in the way it allows her students to collaborate and develop creativity outside of the classroom setting.

“Students are also able to share and collaborate with each other using programs such as Soundation4Education or Noteflight,” she said. “This is helpful in an online setting where students are not physically in the same location. These programs also give students an avenue for developing creativity, which can often be more challenging when attending an online school.”

Bertilson’s students share the same sentiments about MusicFirst as she does.

“They have really enjoyed it and find it beneficial,” said Bertilson. “They appreciate the ability to complete all of their work online. By integrating technology into the classes, we are meeting student needs in an environment they are familiar with.”

Bertilson has taught for 32 years, five of them with PVOnline. PVOnline is a K-12 online school where human and technology resources converge to provide choice and flexibility for personalized student success. Bertilson says that, because of this, MusicFirst is a natural fit.

MusicFirst programs she uses include Noteflight, Soundation4Education, Auralia, and Musition. She shared some of the features her students like the most about some of these programs, especially when it comes to auditioning for college.

“Students with upcoming college music auditions appreciate they can use programs such as Auralia and Musition for additional practice to focus on their specific areas of weakness as they prepare for auditions,” she said. “Students have commented that this has been very helpful for them.”

An unexpected bonus MusicFirst has offered Bertilson’s students is a boost in confidence.

“Some students who have been apprehensive about creating music have flourished as they used Soundation4Education,” she said. “This program has helped to show students that they are very capable and has encouraged them to continue exploring music even more.”