The Music for All Blog - Music for All
The Music for All Blog - Music for All

DMIdeas: Musicianship

Wednesday, 23 April 2014 20:39 Written by Koji Mori

Welcome to the fourth edition of DMIdeas—A blog series for student leaders from the Bands of America Drum Major Institute Staff. The BOA Drum Major Institute is committed to helping leaders dig deep into their own personality and discover the natural leadership abilities that already exist while simultaneously providing new skills for greater effectiveness. Leadership is at the CORE of every great endeavor. And at the CORE of every great leader resides honorable Character, comprehensive Content, effective Communication, and an active role in an organization’s Chemistry. Each blog will take a look at one of these facets. It is our sincere hope that we can both inform and inspire! CORE!

DMIdeas: Musicianship

Content: Musicianship

“Can I really do this? I’ve never done anything like this before. I’ve never held a leadership title let alone the drum major title. What will the others think of me? What do I need to know? I don’t really know how to conduct. And I don’t really know what else is involved. Now that I think about it, what is involved? What are the responsibilities? What do I have to know?”

“How am I going to be a drum major?”

These are all thoughts that crossed my mind as I prepared for my audition to be a drum major for my high school band. Most band students at one time or another think about the possibility of becoming a drum major for their band. They often tell themselves, “Maybe I could be drum major…” But then the inevitable doubts run across their mind at some point. Questions keep coming to mind about whether they are qualified or know enough to be drum major for their band. The idea of being the top or one of the top leaders of the band is one that can be exciting and/or overwhelming. For me, I was nervous and didn’t know if I could do such a job because I had no previous experience of having a leadership title. I knew that I loved music and wanted to be able to help everyone in the band. I just wasn’t sure what I needed to know or have the skill to do to be successful.

In previous DMIdeas posts, Bobby and Stephanie did a wonderful job discussing character and challenging you to think about what kind of person you are and WHY you do what you do. We’re going to look at WHAT we need to know and have the ability to do as drum majors and WHAT you can do to prepare.

The drum major position is the ultimate servant leadership position.

Servant leadership means it’s not about you. It’s about what you can do in the background to help everyone around you achieve a common goal. This can include serving others in ways such as: picking up after the band after rehearsals and conducting skillfully in order to communicate the music to the players to perform at their best. However, in order to communicate said music to the players, we must have skill in understanding the music. We must be good musicians.

A drum major needs to be one of the best musicians in the band. This necessary skill enables the drum major to understand the music of the show and communicate that to their fellow band members through conducting on the podium and teaching off the podium. It’s imperative that the drum major is able to assist other students who need extra help with understanding how to perform the music that they must perform. The essentials of how to read music notation and expressions on the page are vital. Beyond the notes and rhythms, let’s look a little further and find out what makes a musician a good musician.

How do you know if someone is a good musician? Is it how well they play their instrument? Is it the kind of music they listen to? Or perhaps it’s about what they know about music. Yes, yes, and yes. How can you further improve your musicianship and therefore become a better musician? There are 3 ideas that can help you going on this journey of becoming a better musician…

Listen. Ask questions. Be curious.

Who are the great performers on your instrument? Do you listen to them? Do you have a favorite artist? Why do you like their music? Do you like drum corps? Do you have a favorite corps? Why are they your favorite? Do you listen to non-band music? Why do you like it? What makes it good music? Ask yourself some of these questions and stop and think about the answers.

Music is something that all of us engage in. But are we passively hearing it or are we actively listening to it? Most of the time, the music that is played around us is background sounds that exist for ambiance or mood. It’s something that we hear and have some kind of emotional response to. Aaron Copland talks about this in his book, What to Listen for in Music. He says that this kind of hearing for the “sheer pleasure of the musical sound itself” is the simplest way of listening. We hear music all the time without thinking about it or listening to it with critical intention. However, actively listening to music with intent is something of a different nature. When truly listening to music, it’s an active process that demands our full attention as we are now engaged in what is going on within the music. We can then think about questions such as: What is the melody? Who or what is performing the melody? What kind of rhythms are being performed? Who or what is performing them? What are the chords and harmonies being performed and who or what is performing them? Are there repetitive melodic or rhythmic ideas? How is it formed? Write these questions down. These are some of the questions that someone who is actively listening to music is going through in their mind as they listen. It goes beyond the surface level of passively listening to the music because it “sounds cool.” It allows you to analyze and think about WHY it sounds the way it does. This ultimately helps you understand and perhaps even helps you appreciate the music for what it is.

At one time, I disliked classical music. It was something that was old and long that just didn’t make much sense to me. It sounded boring. But when I heard the Phantom Regiment play Pachelbel’s Canon (not knowing it was classical music,) I thought it was some of the best music I had heard. It wasn’t until I was in the Phantom Regiment that I discovered a true passion for the classical repertoire. It was after a camp where we had read an arrangement of one of the Paganini Variations that I became intrigued with the idea of looking to the original. It was so pretty and I was saddened when I found out that we were not going to use the piece for the show that year. After camp I was curious as to where I could hear more Paganini, maybe even find the original (thinking that it couldn’t be as good as the arrangement we had just played) and so I searched for it on YouTube. What I discovered was incredible. I discovered Rachmaninoff for the first time and it changed my whole perception of music forever. It was the most beautiful piece I had heard and I fell in love with this music. I remember thinking: “This is classical music!? Wow…” The nostalgic melody was introduced by the solo pianist and then accompanied by the orchestra. The orchestra then took over with the melody in such a beautiful manner that it made me want to listen to it over and over again to try and understand how it could sound so beautiful. From that night of discovering Rachmaninoff (Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini, Op.43 Variation 18 performed by Mikhail Pletnev,) I’ve not only come to appreciate classical literature but have truly taken a joy in listening and studying it. It helped me develop as a musician and it all started with a question: Where does that music come from? This got me curious to find the answer and in turn, sparked a desire and love for a genre of music that I once was simply uninterested in.

My challenge to you is to listen to different genres and styles of music from Lady Gaga to Igor Stravinsky. From Beethoven to Miles Davis. From Pachelbel to Pop Radio. You may hear similarities along with the many differences. If you like drum corps, check out what your favorite drum corps are playing and find out where the arrangements came from and listen to the original. Getting exposure to some of these different generations and genres of music can start to build a reservoir of musical knowledge. This can directly help when playing/practicing your instrument, which in turn can help give you context when we begin to dive into the printed ink we call the score. In addition, as you begin your quest to listen to music that you are unfamiliar with, you may find something new to you that you never were able to appreciate before simply because of your willingness to listen to it with great thought and care. As Aaron Copland said:

“Strive for…a more active kind of listening. Whether you listen to Mozart or Duke Ellington, you can deepen your understanding of music only by being a more conscious and aware listener—not someone who is just listening, but someone who is listening for something.” –Aaron Copland

Continue to develop your musicianship through the 3 ideas of LAB (Listen. Ask Questions. Be Curious.) From there, be diligent in your personal growth of playing your instrument. Conducting will come more easily as you learn the most important elements, which are first derived from being a good musician. I will leave you with one last idea: Time. As a drum major and conductor on the field, your first job is to keep time. How well do you keep time? You can check yourself through a simple exercise of playing the metronome and tapping your hand in time with the metronome. Turn the volume down and let the metronome keep going. Keep tapping your hand for about 8 beats and then turn the volume back up. Are you still with the metronome? If not, no problem. Do the exercise again and let the metronome go mute for 4 beats. If you were spot on after 8 beats of muted met, try going 16, 20, etc. You can do this with any tempo markings, but you will generally want to hit a few ballpark ranges such as: 80, 120, 144, and 160. Time is the first vital element in conducting as a drum major. We’ll cover the other 2 elements this summer at the BOA Drum Major Institute. Stay well this spring and good luck on drum major auditions!



Why Kids Need Camp?

Monday, 21 April 2014 16:46 Written by Erin Fortune
Why should students and directors attend the Music for All Summer Symposium this June? Check out the infographic from MFA Summer Symposium Marching Band Division Coordinator, Jeff Young of Dynamic Marching, and see the ways that camp can be life changing!

"Fanfare: The Week in Music Education" is a weekly collection of news and stories about the latest in music education and music advocacy. Get your week started right with the latest news in music education, as well as timely music advocacy resources so that you may promote music education in your community. If you would like to share a story or announcement in "Fanfare," feel free to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , and it could be featured in an upcoming post.

After 20 years without music, Anaheim Schools receive support from NAMM Foundation

Last week, MFA’s strategic advocacy partner, the NAMM Foundation, provided a $10,000 grant to Anaheim City School District (ACSD) in California to help implement comprehensive music instruction in the regular school day. After a 20-year absence of music education, the district serving 20,000 students began offering an orchestra program last year. “We are gearing up to return music to its rightful place in our public schools,” said ACSD Superintendent Dr. Linda Wagner. Through a partnership with the Orange County Symphony Orchestra, students will also have the opportunity to work with symphony musicians after school. The new music education program will be modeled after Nashville’s successful “Music Makes Us” initiative.

Amp Up NYC becomes largest single private investment in a public school music program

Public/private partnerships have long been popular in real estate, utilities and other local government operations, but have recently become a new way to promote music education. From Nashville's "Music Makes Us" initiative to this latest partnership in New York City, private partners realize the impact of music instruction on young students, and work with public schools to ensure that music education remains a core component. Berklee College of Music and Little Kids Rock have partnered with the NYC Department of Education in a $10 million investment to expand music education programs by 60,000 students and 600 schools through the Amp Up NYC initiative. This partnership in the country's largest school system foucses on modern music instruction, including jazz, rock, Latin and R&B music education. "In the world of music education, diverse musical experiences enrich kids' learning and their understanding of the world," said Paul King, executive director of the Office of Arts and Special Projects. If you know of any public/private music education partnerships in your community, we'd love to hear about them!

North Miami Middle School receives funding for new instruments and repairs

Each year, the Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation provides grants to school music programs across the country for new and refurbished instruments. This year, North Miami Middle School in Florida received funding to support the fledgling program. The school, which struggles with poor socio-economic conditions and a 96% free and reduced lunch rate, has made a concerted effort to improve school conditions since 2008, and music has been an important factor in the upswing. In 2011, Jonathon De Leon and LaToya Harris began teaching music at North Miami Middle School, starting both a band and guitar class. They have recruited close to half the school's students to participate in the music program, leading to fewer behavioral issues and improved academics. Click here to read more about this inspiring story.

Santa Barbara Superintendent supports arts education

If you are a music educator, you know firsthand that having an administration who "gets it" and supports arts education in the district is a valuable asset. Santa Barbara County Superintendent of Schools Bill Cirone published an op-ed this month in the community newspaper, which would have any arts educator excited to work in the county. Right away, Cirone dispells those who consider cutting arts and music education in budget crises: "The arts are not frills. They are essential elements of a complete education, and they often provide the very skills and motivation required for school and career success." The Superintendent oversees 20 school districts and two community colleges in Santa Barbara County, impacting 66,000 students. Thank you, Mr. Cirone for your unwavering support of arts education!

Indianapolis music store featured on WISH-TV

Indianapolis music store Paige's Music has long been a valuable partner for both the central Indiana community and Music for All. Paige's Music was recently featured on local CBS affiliate WISH-TV throughout the morning broadcast, taking a look inside the sales, rental and repair facilities in Indianapolis. For many years, Paige's Music, under the leadership of owner Mark Goff, has supported MFA's Indianapolis programs as the "Official Music Store." Any time a participating band has a repair issue at the Bands of America Grand National Championships, Paige's Repair Technicians are onsite at Lucas Oil Stadium to assist and provide loaner instruments. We are thankful for Paige's support of Music for All!

Today for Throwback Thursday we are posting a guest throwback photo! The Franklin High School band from Franklin, Tennessee sent us this throwback from their very first band at their school, in 1937!
The Franklin band is trying to find any of the original members. They would be 91 years old or older. Help them spread the word with this post!
Does your band have an awesome Throwback photo that you want to share? Send it to us along with your story! We'd love to see it. You can send your photos and stories to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


April is Jazz Appreciation Month and the very last day, April 30, is International Jazz Day with cities all over the world hosting special events.  One of them will be a celebration of David Leander Williams’ new book “Indiana Jazz: The Masters, Legends, and Legacy of Indiana Avenue” with book signing and music by Indiana Jazz Legacy artists Clifford Ratliff and Hank Hankerson accompanied by Monika Herzig at Topo’s 403 in Bloomington.  The event is produced by Jazz from Bloomington with support by the Jazz Education Network.


Indiana holds a special place in the history of Jazz in America.  We asked Indiana University Lecturer and author of “David Baker – A Legacy in Music,” Monika Herzig to share her knowledge of Indy’s Jazz roots.



 Except for the historic Walker Theatre just north of downtown there seems to be nothing unique about Indiana Avenue these days and especially no jazz venues that are worth dedicating a book to. The legend of Indiana Avenue dates back to the Jazz Age when musicians would embark on the Chitlin circuit, a network of venues in towns around the Midwest and South featuring safe engagements for black touring groups during segregation. The central geographic location of Indianapolis at the crossroads of America made it a favorite touring stop and clubs and dance halls blossomed up and down the Avenue. . Known as "Funky Broadway," "The Yellow Brick Road," and "The Grand Ol' Street," black business was thriving during the heydays of segregation in the 1930s and 40s in the blocks around the Madam Walker Theater. There was jazz six nights a week in more than 30 clubs lining the Avenue, and great touring bands such as Count Basie and Duke Ellington could be heard regularly at the Sunset Terrace.


In addition, Crispus Attucks High School was established in an effort by the Indianapolis population to segregate the school system.  It turned out that bad intentions turned into great results. Here is an excerpt from Lissa May’s chapter in David Baker – A Legacy in Music (IU Press, 2011):

The attitude of excellence that permeated the school was exemplified by the music department. Instrumental music teachers LaVerne Newsome, Norman Merrifield, and Russell W. Brown were outstanding musicians, trained at some of the finest music schools in the country. LaVerne Newsome, a graduate of Northwestern University, taught orchestra, string classes, and music appreciation and was known for his dedication to his students. Merrifield, chairman of the Attucks music department, was a pianist, choral director, band director, composer and arranger. He held bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music education from Northwestern University. The music department thrived under his leadership, embodying the values of post-Reconstruction black American life which blended African heritage with European art music.


The result of this nurturing environment and the nightly exposure to great music was a crop of young jazz musicians that excelled at their craft and was essential at codifying the language of jazz. Trombonist J.J. Johnson is acknowledged as the most virtuous and prolific jazz trombonists in history. Guitarist West Montgomery created a new style of playing using his thumb to mute strings and his Riverside Recordings have become models for jazz guitarists around the world. Trumpeter Freddie Hubbard became known for his high-energy approach to ensemble playing and his modern jazz songs became standard repertoire for every aspiring jazz musician. Trombonist Slide Hampton was the youngest member of the Hampton family, a family band of 12 siblings that toured for years before settling in Indianapolis and becoming mentors to the music community.  Bassists Larry Ridley and Leroy Vinegar left for New York and played with most prominent musicians at the time.  And David Baker’s combo including David Young, Al Kiger, Joe Hunt, and Chuck Israels, a regular feature at the Topper, was recruited by composer/ theorist George Russell for a string of legendary recordings on Riverside Records. The list goes on with many more notable musicians – a wonderful mural picturing several of them can be found now in Indianapolis at 332 N College. 




The lesson to be learned is that a nurturing community and exposure to excellence has tremendous impact on young learners. Especially during the month of April, let’s celebrate our regional legacies and jazz heroes. And throughout the year, let’s create a community of support and role models to foster excellence in our next generation.


monikapicMonika Herzig teaches classes on the Music Industry, Creativity, Programming, and Community Arts Organizations at Indiana University. She is the co-founder of Jazz from Bloomington, a jazz society fostering exposure and education about Jazz, and currently serves on the board of the Jazz Education Network, the largest international jazz organization. Her jazz record label ACME Records is home to the jazz ensembles Monika Herzig Acoustic Project, Kwyjibo, Third Man, and BeebleBrox. Herzig received a B.A. from Paedagogische Hochschule Weingarten, Germany in 1988, an M.A. from the University of Alabama in 1991, and a D.M.E. from Indiana University in 1997.



For more information on the Jazz Band Division of the Music for All Summer Symposium, presented by Yamaha, please visit


Wilco's BOA Connection

Tuesday, 15 April 2014 09:41 Written by John DeRoss


I’ve been on a huge Wilco kick lately. Seriously. In the past two weeks I’ve listened to everything from “A.M.” to “The Whole Love,” and enjoyed every second of it. Jeff Tweedy’s songwriting, and the group’s skill constantly left me in awe. I was hooked. I had to learn more about these people who had brought me so much joy. So, like most would, I did a quick Google search and soon found myself lost in an endless maze of Wikipedia articles, learning things like Jeff Tweedy’s early influences included The Ramones and country music, and that bassist John Stirratt was a member of Phi Kappa Tau. 

As I kept digging through the Wilco archives, I stumbled onto a video interview with current drummer, Glenn Kotche, from 2007. During the interview Kotche mentioned some very interesting information. He revealed that he was member of the Lake Park High School drumline and… wait for it…. a former Bands of America participant, and Summer Symposium Percussion TA!

I was shocked, and honestly a little embarassed that I didn’t already know this for a couple of reasons.

1. I am a Music for All Staff Member.

2. Wilco is one of my all-time favorite bands

3. Glenn Kotche is an amazing drummer!

After letting this sink in, I realized, it made perfect sense. Of course Kotche is a BOA alum. He is one of the most talented drummers in music, a strong supporter of music education, and uses percussion in an intelligent and very interesting way. In the video above (you have to take a look, just trust me) he mentions how his music background has influenced playing with Wilco. Specifically, he talks about approaching percussion as not just a method of keeping the beat, but rather of contributing to the musical experience by adding texture or color, as it would in an orchestra or another setting*. This is something Kotche attributes to his years spent studying percussion at Lake Park and with MFA adjudicator, clinician and evaluator, James Campbell at the University of Kentucky. He says that these past experiences gave him the ability to play a variety of different styles, whether it’s backing a soft ballad, or creating chaos in a rock environment. 

The skills Kotche picked up during his education/BOA career aren’t all musical, either. As we hear from many former students and participators, Kotche’s experiences taught him how to work, think quickly, and play in front of a large audience. It gave him confidence and an increased ability to muli-task and analyze. His success is due to, in part, the instruction he received from, and interactions he had with music educators throughout his life.

*Check out this song, “I am trying to break your heart” from Kotche’s first album with Wilco, “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot” for a great example of using percussion as a texture or color.

The moral of story here is this: there are BOA alums all around us, in all sorts of fields. From lawyers, to doctors, to teachers, to rockstars, those who benefitted from music education can be found everywhere. Individuals like Kotche were afforded the opportunity to pursue music in their childhood, and we must ensure that coming generations receive the same chance. Because who knows? The next Glenn Kotche may be competing in the Bands of America Championships this fall, and we could sure use a few more like him around.


MFA Staff Profiles - Michelle Maloney-Mangold

Monday, 14 April 2014 12:14 Written by John DeRoss

Music for All is full of outstanding employees and we want you to meet them! Each month you'll have the opportunity to learn about a different staff member with our Staff Profiles. 


Name: Michelle Maloney-Mangold

Position: Administrative Assistant and Receptionist

Hometown: La Porte, IN

How long have you been with MFA?

Seven months.

What is your educational background?  Where did you go to school, and what did you study?

I have a bachelor’s degree in music and English from Butler University, a master’s degree in English from the University of Connecticut, and in one year (hopefully) I will have a Ph.D. in English from the University of Connecticut.

What is your musical background?  (What instruments have you played? Played in groups or bands? Just enjoy music in general?)

I started playing the clarinet when I was in sixth grade, and I played all through college and still play it today. I was also a drum major in high school and college. I majored in music education, so I had to learn most of the wind instruments, percussion, and some string instruments. I was so bad at the trombone, though, that my director named a syndrome after me, and my piano playing is pitiful. The only instrument other than the clarinets that I would play in public would be saxophone and maybe, maybe trumpet.

What kind of music do you like to listen to?

I have loved rock music since I was born. I was the kid in middle school who only wore band t-shirts (Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Bush, Pearl Jam) and dyed her hair with Kool Aid to try to look as much like Kurt Cobain as possible. Today, I mostly listen to alternative, indie, and classic rock, although I also love music I can dance to. The thing I miss most about college is listening to and discussing classical (especially the Romantics and the Modernists and 15th-century polyphony) and jazz (especially Cool Jazz) on a daily basis. I also have a ridiculous schoolgirl crush on Eric Whitacre.

Why is music important to you?

Music was my whole life growing up. My parents taught me to love rock music from the time I was a baby (some of my first words were Bon Jovi lyrics), and I always wanted to be a musician. In high school in particular, music gave me a place to belong—I was pretty much queen of the band kids, and I loved it so passionately. My band directors took a special interest in me from the beginning; I went into high school thinking I was going to quit after one year, but on the very first day of high school concert band, I knew I’d stay all four years. In college, I had a built-in group of friends from the day I stepped on campus, and those people are still some of my best friends today. I don’t get to play very much anymore, but music is still crucial to my everyday life. I don’t know what I’d do without it.

Why do you believe in music education?

For all the reasons I listed above and more. I used to be really big about throwing statistics about SAT scores and grades at people, but now I just say that music—like literature, dance, theater, visual art—is integral to our experience of being human and understanding what it means to be human. I strongly believe in the value of a liberal arts education, and you can’t have that without art.

One of my favorite quotations has always been, “Music is essentially useless, as life is.” In other words, music is key to our humanness, to what it means to be alive. To dismiss the value of music is to dismiss the value of life and the beauty of the world.

What sort of things do you do in your free time?

I read, a lot, for school and for fun. I obsessively watch TV and see movies, and I love going to concerts and good restaurants. I’m also pretty loyal to my sports teams, especially to Butler Basketball (go Bulldogs!), the Chicago White Sox and Blackhawks, the Indianapolis Colts, and Liverpool F.C. In general, I love being around my friends and family, so I love to combine the above activities with them as much as possible.

What led you to Music for All?

I recently moved back to Indianapolis to finish my dissertation, and my friend Laura Blake (one of the people I met on my first day at Butler in 2002) let me know about the opening. I had marched in BOA events in high school and volunteered for them in college, so I knew the value of the organization and that Laura had loved working here for years. So I applied and here I am!

What do you enjoy the most about working for Music for All?

I love seeing the looks on students’ faces at our events. I get choked up a lot when they are walking off the field or the stage or Chuck has just given a particularly epic announcement or Dr. Tim has just given a big speech and enthralled everyone. Our events really do change students’ (and their families’ and directors’) lives. That’s the best part.

I also adore my co-workers. Their passion and sense of humor makes it a joy to come to work.

What is your favorite Music for All event, and why?

I haven’t gone through Symposium yet, so this could change, but probably Grand Nationals. It’s aptly named, because it really is grand. There are just so many students, spectators, and schools in attendance, and the level of performance is so incredibly high. I just love it, the grandeur and pageantry.

What’s one interesting thing about yourself that some on staff may not be aware of?

Oh, gosh. I’m a pretty open person, so I’m not sure there’s much people don’t know. I think my two defining characteristics, though, are that I’m the oldest of six kids and that I’m basically a nerdy, 14-year-old fangirl. (That’s not an insult to 14-year-olds. I mean it in the best possible way.) When I love something, I tend to obsess over it, which leads to lots of embarrassing rambling and my buying posters and dolls I don’t need and my owning so many books that my husband threatens to cut me off. I don’t believe in guilty pleasures, so everything I love is in earnest. (There goes my hipster cred…) But less this be known: my obsession with vampires has earned me a great deal of ridicule, yes, but it also led to my first academic publication and several conference presentations. So kids—stay nerdy. 

 "Fanfare: The Week in Music Education" is a weekly collection of news and stories about the latest in music education and music advocacy. Get your week started right with the latest news in music education, as well as timely music advocacy resources so that you may promote music education in your community. If you would like to share a story or announcement in "Fanfare," feel free to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , and it could be featured in an upcoming post.

Challenges facing school music programs in rural communities

Because of small school sizes and the distance from arts resources, rural schools often face an uphill battle in providing quality music education. Growing up in a small, rural school district, I grew up with the struggles of instrument and private lesson availability. I am grateful to my parents for moving to a surburban community, which provided many more opportunities and resources as a high school music student. This article features Valley Middle/High School in Idaho, where a music program just resurfaced after many years without. Robbie Hanchey, music teacher in the 600-student district, said band students learn teamwork, dedication, how to listen and “taking something they’re not good at and cleaning it up," which translates to their other classes. Other schools in the area only provide music instruction from a part-time teacher to elementary students. For resources to promote music education in your rural school district, visit the Advocacy Resources section of our website.

NAMM Foundation brings music education focus to National School Board Association Conference

SupportMusicLogoMusic for All's Strategic Advocacy Partner, NAMM, recently attended the National School Board Association (NSBA) Conference in New Orleans to promote music education in our nation's schools. The NAMM Foundation provided advocacy sessions, an open wind ensemble rehearsal and a culminating drum circle event for conference attendees April 5-7. "I see the wonderful things music education does for students. The value of music and the arts are paramount to a child’s success and well being," said former NSBA president Sonny Sovoie. Additionally, the NAMM Foundation hosted a SupportMusic Coalition webinar from the NSBA Conference, which featured experts in music education and advocacy, including administrators from Louisiana's St. Charles Parish Public Schools.

Music is medicine for Fresno, Cal. high school student

Music empowers all of us in different ways, but it is often theraputic. For many, like Edison H.S. senior Anthony Gonzales, music can be an escape from a challenging home life. A fifth grade teacher encouraged Anthony to join band and learn an instrument, and the rest is history. Anthony now plays seven instruments and wants to become a music educator himself. "That's the beauty of the instrument is you fill up with air, and you get this puffed-out chest, and you have to stand up tall, and it's really hard not to think highly of yourself when you have a puffed-out chest and you're all the way standing up straight," said Anthony. We wish Anthony the best of luck! You can view his story below.


Community honors McAllen ISD's 2014 Best Communities for Music Education recognition

BCME 1South Texas school district and Bands of America participant McAllen Independent School District was recently designated as a 2014 Best Community for Music Education by the NAMM Foundation. Last week, the district held an awards ceremony that featured musicians from the Homer J. Morris Middle School Orchestra. According to district fine arts director Karen Herrera, 60% of the 5,700 middle schools in McAllen ISD are involved in music. “There’s a rich history of dedication to the fine arts in McAllen,” said Superintendent James Ponce. “This is important to our community.” Congratulations to McAllen ISD and the McAllen community for being named a Best Community for Music Education!

"Happy" Artist Pharrell Williams grateful to his music teachers

Just like many of us, famous musicians and artists got their start in a school music classroom. One of this year's most active artists, Pharrell Williams, is no different. The 41 year old, whose collaborations with Daft Punk and Robin Thicke earned him many honors at the GRAMMY Awards in Februrary, shared his story on CBS Sunday Morning yesterday. Pharrell was grateful to the many people in his life who inspired him to follow music: "My story is the average story, you know. It was filled with special people...What am I without them? Just try that for a second. Take all of my band teachers out of this. Where am I? I'm back in Virginia, doing something completely different." Click here for the full story, or watch a clip of the interview below.



San Joaquin Valley Concert Band Invitational

Friday, 11 April 2014 09:00 Written by John DeRoss

SJVCBI Facebook logo

 Music for All is proud to partner with concert band festivals across the country to present "Affiliate Regional Concert Band Festivals."

This new initiative is part of our ongoing support of the essential "core" of every band program: the concert band. Music for All will provide one National Concert Band Festival evaluator to participate, as well as student and teacher scholarships to the Music for All Summer Symposium.

We spoke with San Joaquin Valley Concert Band Invitational Festival Coordinator, David Lesser, about the event, and what it means to partner with Music for All. Mr. Lesser is the Director of Bands at Clovis North H.S.

Why did you decide to host an Affiliate Regional Concert Band Festival?David Lesser Clovis North

It is an honor to be associated with an organization that believes in the educational value and artistry in creating music. MFA has helped to increase the resources available for our festival which will also increase the musical and educational experience for each student and director involved with performing at our festival. MFA has allowed us to continue with a truly musical and educational approach to providing a great performance opportunity for music programs while enhancing certain areas of the experience.

How many groups are performing, are they all from around your area?

There are eleven groups performing. This year all are from the Central California. In the past we have had groups from all areas of the state.

Have you presented something similar to this in the past? If so, how is hosting this festival different?

This is the 6th Annual San Joaquin Valley Concert Band Invitational. The festival was created to provide a musical performance opportunity to celebrate artistry and camaraderie between performers rather than apply a score to art. MFA has been very supportive of maintaining that vision.  The only main difference is the support MFA has given to enhance what we have previously been doing.   

How have your parents and students been engaged in helping plan and prepare for the festival?

Our festival is facilitated by each of our students in the band program. They all will volunteer 4-5 hours assisting prior to and throughout the day of the festival.

Who will be evaluators for your festival?  What criteria did you use to select them?

Mr. Ramiro Barrera, Director of Bands, James Logan High School, Union City California. Retired

Col. Arnald Gabriel, Conductor, United States Air Force Band, Retired

Dr. John Locke, Director of Bands, University North Carolina, Greensboro

Mr. Alfred Watkins, Director of Bands, Lassiter High School, Murrieta Georgia, Retired

These gentlemen were selected as collaborators because of their extreme high standards and dedication to music education as well as their expertise in our country. The ability to have such outstanding adjudicators along with our performing venue is what drives directors to choose to attend our festival.

How much are tickets? Are there still more tickets available?

The performances throughout the day are free. Attendance to our evening gala concert is $10.00, and we have about 300 seats still available.

Any special performances planned (not HS ensembles)?

We have a gala concert beginning at 7pm where each of the adjudicators for the day will conduct a piece with the Clovis North High School Wind Ensemble. Following will be our featured performer, the California State University Fresno, Wind Orchestra conducted by Dr. Gary P. Gilroy.

What has been your past involvement with Music for All/ BOA?

This is my first personal involvement with MFA and BOA.  I have had students perform in the Honor Band of America as well as am colleagues with many educators who have adjudicated for BOA or had ensembles perform at MFA or BOA events.

How many volunteers does it take to run a festival like this?  How did you recruit them?

It takes about 80 volunteers to run the event at this time. They were recruited through our monthly parent meetings, phone calls and the wonderful colored hand button on the CHARMS Office Assistant calendar.

How long have you been teaching at Clovis N. H.S.? 

I have been teaching at Clovis North since the first day the school opened a short 7 years ago in 2007,and this is my 13th year teaching.

What is your favorite part of teaching? 

My favorite part of teaching is seeing the “light bulb” moments students have on a daily basis while witnessing them become greater than they thought they could be. 

Proudest moment as an educator? 

When I know students have developed a life-long appreciation for music and it is due to our work together in band. 

Keys to a successful career in music education? 

Surround yourself with great people, people who are better than you, and always keep learning.

Anything at all that you would like to add? 

I am extremely proud of all the work that the volunteers and students do in order to run an event such as this. We are extremely privileged to have the facilities we do and are overjoyed to be able to share those facilities with ensembles from outside our area. We are also thankful that Music For All has recognized the experience we provide for students, educators and parents and have agreed to support our festival!!!  


Glass Bowl copy
We are proud to announce that we have officially confirmed The Glass Bowl at The University of Toledo for the 2014 Bands of America SE Michigan/ NW Ohio Area Regional. 
The Regional Championship at Toledo, OH will be on Saturday, October 4th.
Learn more about the stadium here.
We hope to see you at the Regional Championship at Toledo, OH!
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