Megan Bledsoe Ward: Dynabuddy Co-Founder

Jun 06, 2024By Megan Ward
Megan Ward

Early Passion for Music

I have loved music for as long as I can remember. I began piano lessons when I was three, mostly because I wanted to be like my big brother, and because my talented, patient aunt was willing to teach me. That experience sparked a passion for learning and playing music that I have held ever since.

Throughout school, I was inspired to learn to play lots of different instruments: flute, bassoon, electric bass, percussion, guitar, banjo, clarinet, trumpet...but most of all I fell in love with the harp. I decided to go to a music conservatory and focus my studies on the harp.

young musician harpist with harp, long blonde wavy hair, red lipstick, black dress, pearl necklace

Educational Background

I attended the Eastman School of Music as an undergrad to study harp with Kathleen Bride. I loved it so much that I decided to stay for my master's degree, and branch out to study composition and music theory pedagogy. As I learned more about performing, teaching, and creating music, I continued by studies and earned a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from University of Washington.

Side view of the gray pencil, eyeglasses, black earphones and eraser laying on the sheet notes with handwritten notes. The concept of the music creating, composing, note writing, music art.

Professional Experience

After finishing my doctorate, I started teaching music theory and fundamentals, composition, piano, choir, and ethnomusicology at different colleges and universities, while maintaining a private harp studio. As a harpist, I perform with orchestras, chamber ensembles, and as a soloist throughout the United States.

Throughout all of my teaching and performing work, I am continually inspired by my students, who remind me how important it is to always be learning, challenging myself, and having fun at the same time.

The Birth of Dynabuddy

In 2016, Allan wanted to make little videos for his percussion students to play along with when they practice. As a composer, I had a lot of experience with music notation software so I offered to digitize the music put the videos together for him. 

We were both surprised by the impact of those little videos! His students loved them, their playing and technique improved drastically, and they felt motivated to practice because it was FUN. Allan and I started talking about what a difference these types of videos could make in young musicians' lives, and soon, Dynabuddy was born.

Boys wear headphones

Impact and Vision

Allan and I spent about a year and a half doing research. Most of our experience is in the "band world" so we decided to expand Dynabuddy to all standard concert band instruments. We surveyed all the band literature we could find, researched State and National Standards for Music Education, consulted with experts in every instrument, and experimented with different interactive games for students.

After we decided which activities and content to include, I started composing! It's been a really fun project to write new music for band instruments. I try to make all the pieces unique, accessible, and interesting.

Once all the music was finalized and triple-checked, my next job was to build the videos. I relied heavily on indespensible advice from Milan Bertosa, our expert audio engineer consultant, to mix and master all the audio. Our graphic designer, Sean, did an extraordinary job coming up with the characters and animation for the videos. I used all those pieces to meticulously create every one of the 1,682 Dynabuddy videos that are currently available (but who's counting?).

Looking Ahead

We are currently working on the next level of Dynabuddy videos: 100 more videos for every instrument, and 82 videos for the classroom. That means that my job starts all over again. I get to compose the music, record/mix/master the audio, then build every video, one by one. It's a lot of work but I believe Dynabuddy videos can make a difference in the lives of students, parents, and teachers. 

Read more about our Dynabuddy team here.