Today's guest post is from Nicole Presley, a Music for All Summer Symposium SWAG (if you do not know what a SWAG is, read more here) and former Summer Symposium student division participant. Thank you Nicole for sharing your story with us!
It’s funny how even though I’m still a full-time student sitting in class for hours upon hours for thirty weeks of the year, attempting to learn as much as I can, I learn the most during ten days at the end of June. I don’t sit in a classroom for those ten days. I don’t have a textbook to read. Sometimes I can’t even take notes. But I know for a fact that it’s for those ten days at the Music for All Summer Symposium that I learn the most.
For four out of the past five summers I’ve attended the Summer Symposium; once as a camper and three times as a SWAG. Between the campers, the Music for All staff, the clinicians, and the other SWAGS, I feel as though I’ve had the privilege of meeting some of the most beautiful people that walk this earth.
When I’m talking about camp I find myself saying things like, “It’s just the best.” If you’ve been to the Symposium, you know: sometimes it’s hard to put a finger on just what makes it so overwhelmingly great. I’ve come to realize that the people are what make it “the best.” I learn so much more than just music from the people I interact with at camp.
In December of 2011, I was coming back from a four month long study abroad trip in Spain and once I was back in the States my connecting flight home was cancelled. I would have been stranded in the airport overnight if it hadn’t been for a SWAG who came to save me even though it was a school night and she was already in her pajamas.
Last summer at camp I was a little sick and lost my voice almost completely for the majority of the week. Every day there was one camper who, no matter how terrible I sounded or how hard I was to understand, would say, “You’re sounding much better today, Nicole,” with a sympathetic smile on his face.
The SWAG Team shouted “Happy Birthday” at me on my birthday, sending me into silent fits of laughter (it’s really hard to laugh when you have no voice!) at seven o’clock in the morning.
On the last day of camp last summer, one of the SWAGs who has been SWAGging for so much longer than me, who I admire incredibly, told me how proud he was of me and the person I was becoming.
From them I’ve learned that friendship means going far out of your way to help someone in a time of need, no matter how big or how small; that a smile and a little understanding can go a long way; that laughter really is the best medicine; and that being a mentor means letting someone know that they’re doing at least a little bit of the right thing. They’ve taught me that I want to be more like them.
Sometimes in my head I hear George Parks saying: “Raise your hand as high as you can. Now raise it two inches higher. That’s what wrong with your lives!"
When it comes down to it, I think that’s one of the biggest things that I try to take away from the Symposium each year. I hear it said in sessions with clinicians and I see it carried out in the actions of the people around me.
Give as much as you can give, and then give more.
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Better Leaders Followers Make All The Difference!
Now consider these questions:
What if we over-rely on our best students to be our leaders and do little to develop all our students’ leadership potential?
If we constantly go to our leaders to “carry the load” and/or “make things happen” how engaged do you think others will be “watching things happen?”
What if leadership has less to do with leaders and more to do with followers? After all, bad leadership only occurs when there’s bad followership and good leadership only occurs when there’s good followership.
Could the quality of followership in your program actually have more influence on the quality of leadership in your program?
That’s why over the years, we’ve intentionally dovetailed our leadership curriculum to enhance both leadership and followership. [See “What we believe when it comes to developing student leadership” for more insight to our approach to leadership development—both for the leadership weekend and the weeklong summer symposium.] Every day, every section of the Summer Symposium gets to play with, and experience first-hand, the leadership+followership dynamic.
Now, we don’t call it that per se. After all, students do come to the Leadership Weekend Experience to be better leaders. (Imagine how many students would come to a Followership Experience?) Yet the truth is we’re simultaneously sharing both the importance of better leadership and better followership. Effective leaders need to know how to develop effective followers and ultimately your future leaders.
Next time you pass out a piece of music to your ensemble, make sure all the first-chair players receive all the parts for their entire section, rather than just the first-chair part. That way they can help all the players in their section KICK IT IN! Because better leaders and better followers will make all the difference in your program!
Today's blog post in support of Arts Advocacy Days is written by Music for All's President and CEO, Eric L. Martin.
Life is better with music! That’s a tagline I borrow with pride from the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, a great institution and strategic partner of Music for All. Advocacy (for the arts and especially arts education) is a pillar of Music for All’s strategic plan and vision to ensure that every child across America has access and opportunity to engage in active music making in his or her scholastic environment.
In March, we celebrated “Music in Our Schools” month with presentation of one of the largest ever Music for All National Festivals that included 2,100 students from across the nation in performances and camaraderie that showcased the best of scholastic music making and the excellence that comes from music and music education in our schools.
Perhaps, legendary drummer, Ndugu Chancler summed it up best in his “rap” with the Jazz Band of America confirming his belief in music, music education and power of jazz with an affirming “uh huh, yeah, that’s right.”
This month, we are a proud National Co-Sponsor of “Arts Advocacy Day 2013,” supporting and helping to bring our collective voice about the importance of the arts and arts education to our nation’s leadership in Washington.
“Uh huh, yeah, that’s right,” we believe that every child in America is entitled to a quality arts education. A child’s education is simply incomplete unless it includes the arts.
Quality education and the educational preparedness of our children, rightly so, are driving and central issues demanding and deserving attention in our nation. As a people, we are exploring all of the possibilities. Many of the choices being explored are valid, valuable and viable. I work, as do all of us at Music for All, to ensure that whatever our choices, be they CORE, STEM or “all of the above,” include affirmative support and plans that ensure access and quality of opportunity for all children to engage in active music making (and the other arts) in his or her scholastic environment. My own experiences in school environments that appreciated and provided active music making and music education programs made me who I am, and opened and facilitated unique and powerful experiences in and avenues to leadership, teamwork, collaboration and community essential to my development and my performance as a leader. It is for this reason I believe arts education is essential to the development of our youth, and consequently, the character of our nation.
Life (family, community, business, or nation and our world) simply is better with music and the arts... “uh huh, yeah, that’s right.” Who we are as a people and a nation depends on it.
Read Eric's last blog post on the subject of STEAM titled: Music (and arts) for All in the 21st Century.
The Music for All Education Team provides the philosophy, vision, planning and guidance for each of the education events. While each team member has leadership responsibilities for their specific events, all the work is a collaborative team effort designed to support the MFA Strategic Plan. The Education Team works in concert with the MFA staff to create, provide and expand positively life-changing experiences through music for all.
An internationally recognized choral director, Henry Leck is a professor emeritus in choral music at Butler University, where he served on the faculty for 27 years. He is the Founder and Conductor Laureate of the Indianapolis Children’s Choir. This organization, founded in 1986, is one of the largest and most respected children’s choir programs in the world. The touring choirs of the Indianapolis Children’s Choir have performed regularly for national ACDA, MENC, OAKE and AOSA Conferences. Additionally, the ICC tours internationally every year and has sung throughout the world. Mr. Leck arranged and conducted the national anthem for Kelly Clarkson and the Indianapolis Children’s Choir at the Super Bowl XLVI and conducts regularly at the Indianapolis 500. Mr. Leck has conducted Mixed, Men's, Women's, Junior High and Children's All-State choirs and festival choirs in nearly every state. He is a frequent conductor of regional and national honor choirs, including the ACDA Southern, Southwest, North Central, Central, Western and Northwest Honors Choirs. In the spring of 2003, he conducted the ACDA National Junior High/Middle School Honor Choir in New York City and in 2011, the ACDA National Children’s Honor Choir in Chicago. On three occasions he has conducted National Honor Choirs for OAKE. He has conducted 26 National Youth Choirs in Carnegie Hall and conducts a number of international festivals every year.
Mr. Leck has received many honors including the Sagamore of the Wabash and the State of Indiana Distinguished Hoosier Award. He and the choir received the Indiana Governor’s Arts Award which is the highest honor one can receive in the arts in Indiana. Recently Mr. Leck was named a recipient of the “Lowell Mason Fellows Award” which is the highest award given, by the National Association for Music Education. He is also a Paul Harris fellow. He was just awarded the “Lifetime Achievement Award” by Nuvo Magazine and “Indiana Living Legend Award” by the Indiana Historical Society.
Mr. Leck is widely known as a specialist in choral techniques, Dalcroze Eurhythmics, Laban, the child voice, and the boy's changing voice . He has produced four teaching videos titled Vocal Techniques for the Young Singer, The Boy’s Expanding Voice: Take the High Road, Creating Artistry through Movement, Dalcroze Eurhythmics and Creating Artistry with the Male Maturing Voice. He was a lead author for the choral textbook series published by McGraw Hill/Glencoe titled Experiencing Choral Music and is the lead author of a new series of textbooks entitled Voices in Concert. He is also the editor of two nationally known choral series published by Hal Leonard Corporation and Colla Voce, Inc. He has recently written a textbook titled, Creating Artistry through Choral Excellence. Mr. Leck received his training from the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point, the University of Colorado and Indiana University.
Music motivates. Music mesmerizes. Music moves.
We at Music for All believe in music and in music education, which is why we strive to create, provide and expand positively life-changing experiences through music for all. We believe that, apart from the pure beauty of music, it provides benefits to us outwardly and inwardly through personal learning and growth, team building, striving to reach goals and much more.
But we want to know about our followers—why do YOU believe in music?
We invite you to follow the #BelieveInMusic hashtag and join our Twitter campaign to help spread the word about the amazing powers of music. Reply @musicforall with “I #BelieveInMusic because…” to share your thoughts and feelings. Great responses will be retweeted!
Take a look at what people are already tweeting:
“I #BelieveInMusic because it helps me recognize beauty.”
“I #BelieveInMusic because it can teach us what we should know about each other and what we already know about ourselves.”
“I #BelieveInMusic because music is life”
To learn more about Music for All’s music advocacy program, visit www.musicforall.org/i-believe.
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Music for All is proud to announce that three employees have been promoted to executive and manager positions.
Debbie Laferty Asbill has been named Vice President of Marketing and Communications. Asbill joined the Music for All (MFA) staff in 1985, when the organization was known as Bands of America. She most recently served as MFA’s Director of Marketing and Communications. She has a degree in communications from Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky and was inducted into Music for All’s Bands of America Hall of Fame in 2011.
Laura Blake has been named Events Manager. Blake joined the Music for All (MFA) staff in May 2005 as Receptionist and quickly moved to an Event Coordinator position the next fall. Since then she has been heavily involved in the operations of all events, taking the lead on volunteer recruitment and management as well as equipment logistics. Laura, raised in Indianapolis, attended Butler University and is a former Bands of America participant.
Tonya Bullock has been named Accounting Manager. Bullock joined the Music for All (MFA) staff in September 2009 as an Accounting Specialist. Since then she has been heavily involved in the daily accounting functions as well as managing tickets and merchandise for all events. She has a degree in Accounting from Indiana University.
Join us in congratulating Debbie, Laura and Tonya on their promotions as they continue to provide postively life-changing experiences for all!
Music for All is thrilled to announce that we will be streaming Live Webcasts of the 2013 Honor Band of America, Honor Orchestra of America* and Jazz Band of America. While there’s nothing that compares to being in the audience when your favorite musician performs, our streaming Webcasts give you the opportunity to still enjoy the honor ensemble concerts live.
Jazz Band of America – Friday, March 15, 8:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time
Honor Orchestra of America – Saturday, March 16*, 7:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time
Honor Band of America – Saturday, March 16, 8:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time
* Only Saturday’s concert by the Honor Orchestra of America concert will be Webcast Live from Hilbert Circle Theatre. Friday’s Honor Orchestra concert will not be Webcast Live.
Solo or Subscribe
Your one-year Premium Subscription includes all of the 2013 Honor Ensemble Live Webcasts, for just $59. As an added bonus, if you start your one year Premium Subscription now you’ll get the 2013 fall Bands of America Championship Live Webcasts, plus all Video On Demand of the 2013 Festival concerts and past MFA and BOA performances.
Honor Ensemble performances are also available as a Live Solo: Live Webcast of all three performances for $19. Click here for more information on pricing and ordering.
Video on Demand, post-event
All of the Festival concerts, including the three honor ensemble concerts, the Festival concert bands, orchestras and the percussion ensemble performances will also be available as Video on Demand, after the event, with your MFA Encore video subscription. Video on Demand allows you to enjoy your honor ensemble performance after you return home, whenever you want.
Another great way to stay connected with what is happening at the National Festival is to connect with Music for All on Social Media!
“Like” us on Facebook for updates and photos!
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*Use hashtag #mfafest on Twitter and Instagram to join the conversation with us and other festival participants & fans!
The article below was featured in the Music for All January/February Newsletter. With March being Music in Our Schools month, we thought it would be appropriate to share again here on the blog, enjoy!
Directions to Music for All National Festival presented by Yamaha Concert Venues and Hotels. Click on the hyperlinked addresses below to open directions in google maps.
4602 Sunset Avenue · Indianapolis, IN 46208
(National Concert Band Festival, Honor Band Concert, Honor Orchestra Concert for Friday night, Jazz Band Concert Venue)
45 Monument Circle · Indianapolis, IN 46204
(Orchestra America National Festival Venue)
4600 Sunset Avenue • Indianapolis, IN 46208
(Middle School National Music Festival, High School Additional Ensemble, and Honor Orchestra Concert for Saturday night Venue)
450 W Ohio St, Indianapolis, IN 46202
(Chamber Music National Festival Venue)
9500 East 16th Street · Indianapolis IN 46229
(Sandy Feldstein National Percussion Festival Venue)
10 South West Street · Indianapolis, IN 46204
601 West Washington Street · Indianapolis, IN 46204
501 W Washington Street · Indianapolis, IN 46204
Indianapolis Downtown Map
Directions Around Indianapolis
Victory Field PArking Map (Bus/Truck Overnight Parking)
Warren Performing Arts Center Map
Indiana Historical Society Map
Clowes Memorial Hall/Howard L. Schrott Center for the Arts/Lilly Hall Venue Map
Lilly Hall Map
Butler University Campus Map
Hilbert Circle Theatre Map