The Music for All Blog
The Music for All Blog
Caroline Voelz

Copy of InternSpotlight Bailey 

What is your hometown? City, State.

New Palestine, IN

Where did you go to high school? Where did you go to college and when did you/will you graduate?

New Palestine High School
Ball State University : Graduated December of 2017

What is your major/degree?
Major: Public Relations
Minor: Marketing

What is your musical background? 
I have been involved in choir as long as I can remember. At Ball State I was a four year member of the Ball State University Singers and served as the Company Manager this year.

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What has been your favorite part of this internship experience?

The favorite part of my internship was the opportunity to attend and work at the Music for All National Festival. I enjoyed listening to various ensembles and appreciate the many talented students who attended.

What is an interesting fact about you?

I am traveling to London, England on May 12!

Who are your top three favorite artists? This could be any genre of music.

One Republic, Ben Rector, and Keith Urban

One thing you couldn’t live without?

My family

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What do you like to do in your free time?

I enjoy hanging out with my friends, singing, and eating.

What are you currently reading?
101 Secrets For Your Twenties

Do you have a favorite quote?

“Happiness is not by chance, but by choice.” – Jim Rohn

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What's a show you've binge watched recently?

Parks and Rec, New Girl, and Westworld

Favorite movie not many people have seen?

She’s All That

 

StaffSpotlight Jessica

Hometown: Terre Haute, IN

How long have you been with Music for All?
Three Months

What has been your favorite part of working at Music for All?
My favorite part of working at Music for All has been experiencing the passion and dedication that everyone has for the mission of Music for All.

Do you have a favorite memory of working an event with Music for All?
In my short time with the organization, my favorite memory so far has been hearing the Honor Orchestra of America perform at the Music for All National Festival.

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What is your musical background?
I’ve played the flute for over ten years! I’ve played in marching band, orchestra, wind symphony and flute choir. I majored in Music Business at Indiana State University where I continued my musical studies.

One thing you couldn’t live without?
Coffee and cats

What kind of music do you listen to?
I listen to everything! I really love Lana Del Rey, Meghan Trainor, Ariana Grande and Bruno Mars. I also listen to a lot of musical soundtracks.

What do you like to do in your free time?
I like to go hiking and canoeing when the weather is nice. I also like to paint and draw typography. But most often I like to hang out with my cat Darcy and watch Netflix :)

What are you currently reading?
Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

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Do you have a favorite quote?
“There’s the whole world at your feet. And who gets to see it but the birds, the stars, and the chimney sweeps.” -Mary Poppins

What's a show you've binge watched recently?
Gilmore Girls always, but recently I’ve been watching the Netflix Original, A Series of Unfortunate Events.

Favorite movie not many people have seen?
Lady Bird

Friday, April 27, 2018

Educator Spotlight: Chris Pineda

Educator Spotlight ChrisPineda

Chris Pineda
Director of Bands, Liberty Junior High, in Richardson, TX

Chris Pineda understands the importance of music education in historically underserved student populations. He shares his thoughts on how schools like his can continue to improve their programs and community they serve.

Chris Pineda was the youngest of five kids in an active, athletic family. “All of my siblings were varsity athletes, and in fifth grade I raised my hand when they asked who wanted to join band, and I came home instituted with a tuba,” Pineda said. He was fortunate to have the ability to participate in sports and band all the way through high school which lead him to pursue a career in music.

Pineda was the first person in his family to attend college after receiving a full music scholarship from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX to study tuba performance. During his senior year at SMU, he was accepted to the Cincinnati Conservatory to obtain his Master’s in Performance. To reach the required number of credits to be a full-time student Pineda enrolled in a music education course with Lynn Jackson. Due to the class and teaching private lessons throughout his college career, Pineda realized he enjoyed teaching more than playing. He decided to decline the offer from Cincinnati and stay at SMU for his Master’s in Music Education.

After obtaining his master’s degree, Pineda received the job of Assistant Director at Liberty Junior High in Richardson, TX. During his second year at Liberty Junior High, he was named Head Director. “I was a second-year teacher with a first-year teacher as an assistant, so it was kind of like the blind leading the blind through those first couple of years,” Pineda said, “we worked really hard to develop the positive culture in the band program and in the community.”

Pineda believes the Liberty Junior High band program has become successful due to many factors. One of those factors is the support that has been provided through initiatives like the Dr. William P. Foster Project. Pineda says, “Most schools aren’t getting any richer, and I’m so glad to see there’s a proactive approach and people are joining forces because that’s just utilizing more resources.”

A partnership including The College Band Directors National Association, Music for All, and the National Band Association made the Dr. William P. Foster Project possible. This initiative recognizes quality programs serving historically underserved student populations. The Dr. William P. Foster Project also incorporates a mentor program including many peer consultants who are committed to connecting with individual teachers leading band programs in underserved schools and communities. It also provides music educators with successful teaching materials to reference.

“I find myself fortunate that in my position I did have mentors and guidance, and I had people to reach out to,” Pineda said, “But, there are a lot of teachers out there that might feel they’re on an island and need someone to support them.”

Along with mentors and support, Pineda also has had prior experience walking the halls of a historically disadvantaged populated school. “My parents didn’t have a lot of money, and joining the band program not only opened doors that were closed, it opened up doors that I didn’t know were there,” he said. Pineda is passionate about providing those same opportunities to his students who might be in a similar situation as he was. He had no idea what raising his hand in fifth grade to play the tuba would do for him, but it paid for college and led him to his future career in music education.

Music for All is proud to be a part of the Music Education Alliance, alongside the College Band Directors National Association and the National Band Association. Learn more about the Alliance and its William P. Foster Project at musicedalliance.org.

 

InternSpotlight Bailey

What is your hometown? City, State.

Lebanon, IN

Where did you go to high school? Where did you go to college and when did you/will you graduate?

Lebanon High School & Indiana University (will graduate May 2018)

What is your major/degree? 

Major: Arts Management
Minor: Music

What is your musical background? 

In high school I played bass clarinet in our Wind Ensemble and Tenor Sax for Marching Band and Jazz Band. I also participated in Musicals, Concert Choir, and Show Choir, and continued singing in college.

What has been your favorite part of this internship experience?

So far my favorite part of interning was getting to see the first ever Music for All National Choir. As someone who has loved singing their whole life it was amazing to be present for that concert and watching singers from across the country come together for their love of music.

What is an interesting fact about you?

I’ve been to the Czech Republic, Poland, and the Netherlands and will be travelling to Israel, Switzerland, and France this summer!

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Who are your top three favorite artists?

Adele, Bruno Mars, and Eric Whitacre

One thing you couldn’t live without?

Dogs

What do you like to do in your free time?
I enjoy hanging out with my friends, getting to know people, going to performances, and trying new things.

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What are you currently reading?

If You Really Loved Me by Jason Evert

Do you have a favorite quote?

“Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it's better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.” – Marilyn Monroe

What's a show you've binge watched recently?

Scandal

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Favorite movie not many people have seen?

Zombeavers… It’s a terrible scary movie but my friends and I love to watch it!

Friday, March 30, 2018

Educator Spotlight: Andrea Brown

Copy of Educator Spotlight AndreaBrown

Andrea Brown is an example of how music, and the connections created from the passion for music, can change a person’s life in ways they never expected.

Brown was from a very small rural town in west Tennessee and was one of two horn players. In eighth grade she was invited to join the high school band and it sparked her love for music. “It was definitely in eighth grade when I was marching with the high school band that I knew I wanted to be in music. I can’t remember if I wanted to be a conductor or a performer, but I knew music is what I wanted to do,” Brown said.

Brown is the first college graduate in her family. She graduated high school and went to school at Austin Peay State University in Tennessee. While there, she played horn, sang in the chamber choir, played piano in the jazz ensemble, and played in multiple quintets. She spent a couple summers at Brevard Music Center, which eventually lead her to attend graduate school to study horn performance. While studying horn, she realized she wanted to conduct, so she picked up an additional master’s degree in music education with a conducting emphasis.

After teaching at a few different schools, including her alma mater Austin Peay, she received her doctorate in conducting and is currently the Assistant Director of Bands at the University of Michigan.

“Looking at where I started, one would probably not guess that I would be doing what I’m doing today. I have to say that my high school band director got me started with that. He was a person that everyone thought so highly of in our region, in our state and he worked with my parents to get me to the Mid West Clinic when I was a junior in high school and it was life changing,” said Brown. She attributes her success to the many connections she cultivated throughout her life. “I think making human connections has been incredibly important to my career because it’s allowed me to experience aspects I never thought as an eighth grader, thinking I want to be a music teacher at some point, “ said Brown.

It is Brown’s mission to make connections with and inspire students, especially women. “I didn’t have an female conductors growing up or through my middle school, high school, college days. There were a few icons I knew of and I am very fortunate to call them friends now, but there weren’t any in my immediate area,” she said. Brown understands the small percentage of women represented, especially at the collegiate level. It is important to Brown to do whatever she can to even out the playing field.

Brown said, “I think what drives me is the interaction with people making music. I’m very fortunate that most of my career has been with students at a college level. That’s definitely the group that I match better with and I think what really keeps the spark fueled and fired.” She continues to use her experiences to impact those around her the same way many passionate directors, teachers, and professors did for her.

 

StudentStory SummerCamargo 1

Summer Camargo was on of the many students who traveled to Indianapolis, IN for the 2018 Music for All National Festival.  She wrote about her experience both years she attended and we are happy to share it! 

 

Being in the 2018 Jazz Band of America was so amazing! I really enjoyed last year’s experience and this year. At the 2017 Music for All National Festival I had the incredible opportunity to work with a prolific arranger and composer, Mike Tomaro. This year, Jeff Rupert was such a pleasure to work with. He is so encouraging and positive. Both directors chose memorable, amazing charts for the band to perform.

Playing with Andy Martin last year was a privilege, and this year Yamaha performing artist, Sean Jones, was awesome! I was especially looking forward to working with him because he is one of my favorite trumpet players. Not only was he the guest artist, but he also was a master teacher and gave us lots of feedback during rehearsals.

Performing in Clowes Memorial Hall was just as spectacular as last year. It is such a unique opportunity to play in front of such a large, supportive crowd and the acoustics in the hall are incredible! Some other fun things we did this year included having our own jam session the day after the performance. We also attended the Honor Band of America performance, which was new for us this year.

Another special part of this year’s experience was that my school’s concert band, Dillard Center for the Arts Wind Orchestra, was invited to perform as a featured band! I really enjoyed having my friends from school in Indianapolis with me, performing with them, and hearing them cheer for me at the Jazz Band of America concert. I was also one of the three kids selected to represent my school at the Gala Awards banquet on Saturday evening.

I grew very close to the band members this year, just like last year. After spending so much time together during rehearsals and meal times, it would be almost impossible not to form lasting friendships! I still keep in touch with the members I met last year, and I am sure I will keep I touch with this year’s members. All in all, the memories I have made at Music for All will be ones I will treasure and never forget.

StaffStory CamandJames

Our Staff Story this week focuses on the incredible connection between James Stephens, Director of Advocacy and Education Resources, and Cam Stasa, Director of Participant Relations and Special Projects, at Music for All.

Cam Stasa has a long history with Music for All. She performed in the first “Marching Bands of America” event in 1976, and was Drum Major when she marched again in Summer Nationals in 1979.

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Stasa continued her involvement when she joined the Bands of America staff in 1989 as the Director of Operations. She was serving as the Director of Band Relations when she first encountered James Stephens.

“Everyone knows Cam Stasa and everyone has a story of how they are connected to her. My story begins when I was in high school and she told me ‘Oh my gosh we are so glad you are here!’ at the 1994 Bands of America Grand Nationals.’” Stephens, a senior Drum Major at Bellbrook High School at the time, remembers Stasa as the nice woman who spoke to him as she lined him and fellow drum majors up to take the field. It was this year that Bellbrook H.S. was named the Class A Grand National Champions.

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On the bus ride home Stephens remembers how grateful he felt for his Bellbrook H.S. directors and their willingness to take a group of students to compete at BOA. He also remembers reflecting on the day at Grand Nationals and thinking, “Who are these Bands of America people who have given so much of their time, energy, and talent to create a space, a national stage, where we get to do what we just did?” He never expected that he would later come to know several of those people on a much deeper level, specifically the woman who excitedly welcomed him, and many others, on the field at Grand Nationals in 1994. He also never imagined he would work alongside them one day.

“I have known Cam for 27 years,” Stephens said, “Actually my whole family has known her for a long time.” Due to Stephens’s siblings’ involvement in the Bands of America program, Stasa has become an important figure in all of their lives.

While in college Stephens volunteered at BOA events and eventually started bringing his own students once he became a director. This was when he started to see Cam more frequently and began cultivating his relationship with her. He then continued his involvement when he agreed to become a faculty member at the Music for All Summer Symposium. In 2014, Stephens filled the position of Director of Advocacy and Education Resources at Music for All. He now works closely with Stasa everyday and has an office just down the hall from hers. Stephens said, “Music for All is a family and Cam is part of my personal family as well”. Stephens even named Stasa the godmother of his one-year-old son.

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When asked about how she feels about her impact on a young boy from Bellbrook High School, Stasa said, “It is very overwhelming to realize the impact we have had on individuals, and music education in the entire world. For every life we have touched through our events, that experience remains with each individual. It is immensely gratifying to hear stories from people who participated years ago. The connecting point never ends.” She also stated, “It’s family, it’s generational, and it keeps going. There is a large number of young people who we impacted in their career who have gone on to become directors and now they want to participate with us.”

The connections and impact on others is what keeps the organization of Music for All growing and evolving. “Our mission at Music for All is to create positively life-changing experiences and we are, that is just fact, “ Stasa said. She then explained how the organization is only in its 40’s and has many more years to go. “There will be a whole new generation of people sitting in this office who I assume are going to be as dedicated and as driven, and who have had their own experience with us,” said Stasa. It is Stasa’s and Stephens’ hope that all students who attend Music for All and Bands of America events receive a similar positive experience that they both received as students.

 

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Educator Spotlight: Arris Golden

Copy of Copy of Educator Spotlight AndreaBrown

Arris Golden understands the importance of connections amongst the music education community and has ideas of how to strengthen it even more.

Golden is the current Director of Bands at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.. Although she has been successful in music education for many years, she first received a poli-sci degree from UNC Chapel Hill.

Golden attributes her decision to go into music education to her band director at UNC Chapel Hill.

“There was that linchpin moment that we all have when a new director showed up and a lot of us went... ‘Guess we're going to be doing more school.’” Golden stated. “He was that inspiring; he was that much of a difference maker.”

After another four years of school, she decided to use her music education degree and become a middle school band director in Cary, NC. “No one goes into it expecting to be super rich,” Golden said. “And you know, you discover after you get involved in music and the right people come into your life that it is just another version of being super rich.”

During her 18 years as a middle school band director, Golden decided she was interested in studying conducting. She attended multiple workshops and symposiums in hopes of bettering her conducting skills. One of the best events she has ever attended for conducting included Dr. Kevin Sedatole, who she connected with and, as a result, ended up attending Michigan State University in 2014 for her Doctor of Music Arts in Wind Conducting. After finishing her coursework in 2016, Golden accepted a position at UNC as Interim Assistant Director of University Bands and then was appointed the job for the following academic school year, full-time.

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Golden attributes a lot of her opportunities and success to the connections she has developed. “You just have to put yourself in a place and be at a level where you can take advantage of the things that happen around you and for you, and be able to recognize those,” Golden said. She is a firm believer in working collaboratively with those in the music education field, and learning from their successes and failures.

“I have a really close knit group of friends in North Carolina, especially where I taught for all those years and we all just like to help each other.” She stated. “We like to go to each other's band rooms, we like to go to each other's rehearsals and just talk about music, and talk about how to make the students more involved.”

Golden continues to help others and take advice from music educators as well. “I hope that because I've been able to do so many things throughout my career - I'm African American and female, at the collegiate level, and conducting bands now, that I serve as an example you can do this. If you do the things that are required to go into the profession you, female or African American, can be successful,” Golden said. Even though she believes that music education is a well-connected profession overall, Golden wishes to
find ways to share more information, because everyone has something to share.

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After becoming a moderator of the band director group on Facebook, Golden saw just how impactful words from fellow music educator colleagues could be. She still thinks there could be more helpfulness and positivity on the page, along with more willingness to take constructive criticism and suggestions. “One of the biggest things is to take more advantage of the people around you that are willing to help you and know more than you do,” Golden said.

Her hope is to see more members participating in the Facebook group in the future.

StaffStory Jeremy
Photo by Darrell Fife

As Music in Our Schools Month continues, we are excited to share an example of the special camaraderie cultivated through music, between Music for All’s Chief Operating Officer, Dr. Jeremy Earnhart, and Courtney Melton, former student and current Assistant Director of Waxahachie High School, TX.

Dr. Earnhart is off to DFW today with his daughter Kierstyn, to attend Melton’s wedding. Earnhart first met Melton when she was attending Bedford Junior High in Bedford, TX. Melton’s older sister, Caitlyn was in high school at the time and a member of Earnhart’s band. Courtney was also a member of the L.D. Bell Band from 2005-2008. She was the flute soloist for the marching band in the 2006 show titled "The Remaining" and the 2007 show title "Transcendents," which won them the Grand National champion title.

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A terrific musician, Melton continued at the University of North Texas, which happened to be the same university Earnhart attended for his Bachelors and Masters degree. Earnhart presented to the North Texas Future Education Group with Morton – along with many other promising directors – was in attendance. Melton is now the assistant director at Waxahachie High School outside of Dallas, TX. “I am so proud of her accomplishments at Waxahachie High School and the ensembles overall achievement of being named the 2018 State Honor Band,” Earnhart stated.

Earnhart has been in contact with Melton over the years and is now excited to be attending her wedding stating, "I am humbled and excited to witness this incredibly important day in the life of Courtney and her new husband."

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Educator Spotlight: Nick Gonzales

Educator Spotlight NickGonzales

Nick Gonzales doesn’t just believe in the power of music, he believes in the power of connections, and the impact one can make on another’s life through music.

Gonzales is the current Director of Bands and Orchestra at West Lake Junior High in Salt Lake City, UT and has taught band for 14 years. Before West Lake, Gonzales taught in Klein and Spring, TX. His first job in the Klein district was in an affluent area with many motivated students, parent volunteers, and an overall heavily involved community. It wasn’t until after Gonzales began teaching in the Spring district that he realized the great motivation and ability the students had at his previous school. After teaching at a school with less community involvement Gonzales stated, “I realized these kids are coming from broken homes. These kids have a lot to worry about that's not even school, so they come to our schools, and they come to our classroom, and the last thing they're thinking of is their education.”

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When he began teaching students who were positively affected by music and the connections made through music, Gonzales realized his job was about so much more than teaching students how to play instruments. “In my teaching, I had to really be aware of number one before music, the kid, and we have to start building relationships with the kids, and show them that we care,” Gonzales said. His focus was not on how much musical knowledge a student could gain from his classroom, but how much kindness he or she could receive and give. “What we say is that when you walk into this band hall, it's sacred. There's kindness. We teach kindness. We have standards,” Gonzales said, “we have to be structured, and even after school, yes, you're here, but you still have to follow what we do, and follow those steps that we do, but enjoy yourself responsibly, and be kind to people.”

After acquiring his passion for assisting underprivileged students, Gonzales started a non-profit called Stone of Hope Youth, an organization that helps provide disadvantaged youth an opportunity to help improve self esteem, learn discipline, respect, and encourage them to strive for excellence as students so they will attend college. During the school year, Stone of Hope Youth provides a Mentor Program for disadvantaged boys who lack positive male role models in their life.

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After founding the Stone of Hope Youth program, Gonzales was approached about assisting with the Foster Project, an organization created by the National Music Education Alliance, with the purpose of assisting, mentoring, and providing resources to underserved communities. The Music Education Alliance started the program in hopes that it would inspire and create an incentive for educators, and their band programs, to create a positive environment for students within their programs. Gonzales was approached to become a mentor for other directors through the Foster Project, and now he is the Western Division Chair for the program.

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Throughout his life, Gonzales has dedicated his time and energy into teaching and mentoring young minds through music. His next mission is to mentor more directors like himself into being positive forces for their students as well. Gonzales understands the importance of the connections that music can create and has dedicated his life to purposefully connecting with those around him. His biggest tip is, “find as many mentors as possible, and talk about the profession, and number one, talk about how you can influence kids, and be willing to change your mindset. Be better. Use people to help you with that, and to be honest with you.” 

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