Thank you to Scott Lang for sharing this BIG announcement!
I am not sure of you can begin with a side note. Wait, it’s my post and I can begin it with any note I want. How about a Bb? (Trust me, that was much funnier in my head.)
In the article below you are going to read about a HUGE project my team and I are working on. This project is on a scale that exceeds the scope of what we could do on our own. So we went looking for some help, and not just a little help, but a LOT of help.
Before you read about the project, I want you to know that there were seven companies that stepped up in a big way to help fund this incredible endeavor. They didn’t ask if they would make money. They did not ask about what they would get out of it. They did not ask about logo placement. The only question they asked was, “How can we help?”
Being a music teacher can be an overwhelming experience. There is too much to do and never enough time. There are a sea of kids and no adults to help. We want you to know that we are here to help. We want you to know that we have seven friends who have your back too. Next time you hear that corporations don’t have feelings, let me introduce you to my friends.
A couple of weeks ago, we said that we had a secret. A secret so big that we were dying to tell, but just couldn’t. Well, it’s not a secret anymore.
Nearly four years after it’s first inception, we are proud to announce that Be Part of the Band has come full circle and is becoming Be Part of the Music, a K-12, cross-curricular (band/choir/orchestra) recruitment and retention solution. This audacious project hopes to replicate the successes achieved with band in all curricular areas (choir/band/orchestra) while also increasing the retention rate from grade to grade.
The project will begin production this summer, and our goal is to have the first components available for the start of school next year. The complete roll out will take a few years, but trust us when we say that we are already hard at work. As with Be Part of the Band, these materials will be available FREE of charge and available to download on the web.
We could not have done this without the generous support of our corporate partners (listed alphabetically) at the American String Teachers Association, Jupiter Instruments, Music for All, NAfME, St. Louis Music and Yamaha. Without their support we simply could not be doing this.
Next time you buy an instrument, or pay your dues, know that you are also supporting this incredible project. We are not completely funded yet, but with their support we know that we can and will get there. If there is someone you think we should be talking to, contact us and let us know.
There will be more information in the coming months, but for now, as you are in the midst of your recruiting and registration process, know that there are a lot of people and companies by your side and rooting for you, because without you, your students would never know what it’s like to Be Part of the Music.
Hope our little announcement has helped to make your day a little brighter. Have a great rest of the week.
We are excited to announce Music for All’s partnership with a brand new initiative aimed at helping children with special needs to become involved in their high school band and orchestra programs!
United Sound is a school-based instrumental music club for students with intellectual or developmental disabilities and their typical peers. Dedicated to promoting social involvement through shared ensemble performance experience, United Sound joins students with and without disabilities to learn and perform in the band or orchestra together.
With seven pilot programs currently running United Sound clubs around the country, Music for All is excited to be on the leading edge of this exciting new wave of inclusion in the performing arts.
Our mission, to create, provide, and expand positively life-changing experiences through music for all is enhanced when we reach out to include this ever-increasing population of children and truly make music for all.
Learn more about United Sound at www.unitedsound.org
Although universities do much to prepare music educators to begin their career, teaching music at any level in today’s schools requires the willingness to deal with “on the job” training. All young teachers, no matter the subject, must leave any ego “at the door” and must be willing to learn and improve their craft EVERY DAY.
1) Work to create and maintain a positive and professional relationship with your administrators.
Make sure you consult your department head and/or assistant principal or principal before making any major decisions involving the band program. Keep them informed! Don’t bug them, but make sure they know what’s going on with the band. Try to find a short time where you can sit with your administrators and give them an overview of your vision for the future. Remember that if you go into your principal and complain, it’s probably the 50th complaint they’ve heard that day. Go in with more than just the issue and have some possible solutions. Invite your administrators to concerts, contests, and festivals. If you have a marching band, ask your principal to go through warm-up and actually come on the field with the group. Make sure you provide all the current band spirit wear for your principal! Don’t laugh! It’s important!
2) Work with your most positive parents to create a band booster group.
Don’t forget to constantly thank your parents for their assistance with things like uniform maintenance, raising money and putting out the “good word” about your program. Make sure your parents understand that YOU make the decisions for what’s best for the program, but you should always listen and consider parent input. Deal with the positive situations in public and with the full parent group, but deal with any negative situations in private, either with a board of directors or your band booster president. There must be a POSITIVE relationship between the director and the booster group and that relationship must be based on mutual TRUST. Consistent COMMUNICATION is the best way for a director to earn the trust of parents.
3) Make sure your groups are fundamentally solid.
Set aside enough time in rehearsals to work on tone quality, blend, balance (especially within music), technique, intonation, and musicianship. That’s a long list, but you cannot skip steps when it comes to developing your ensemble. Remember that you can rehearse the same music for weeks and still not sound good on your concerts and at festivals if your band is not built on basics. For example, a trumpet section that understands and applies the concept of “blending” will always sound like they have better tone and intonation than a trumpet section that doesn’t understand the concept. If you can’t demonstrate characteristic sounds on the instruments, then bring in good college players or local private teachers to do so. If these folks are not available, play great recordings of SOLOISTS on each instrument throughout the year so students will always have a model for their sound. Keep in mind that many bands don’t do well at festivals because of a lack of sonority when they play. You must insist on excellence every time your group plays, whether it’s on a long tone, technique exercise or a section of music.
4) Create a culture of excellence and integrity within all areas of the band program.
Work with your students and student leaders to develop the mantra of “excellence as a lifestyle”. That simple phrase covers work ethic, behavior and respecting others, as well as setting a standard in everything that your staff, your students and your band parents pursue. I am a big believer that the quality of a person’s life is related to their attempt to pursue excellence in all that they do. My great friend, Freddy Martin, taught me that there is no “wrong” or “right” in rehearsal. There is only “getting better”! Instead of making a negative comment to an individual or section, ask them if they can make it better the next time. With your help and suggestions, I’m betting your students will “get better” and have a positive experience in band. Ask yourself after each rehearsal: “Are my students eager to come back and make music again tomorrow?” If you’re not sure, maybe a more positive approach will help. Students need “information” more than they need to be told they are right or wrong. Make sure the community, as well as the rest of the school respect the band program. Support other areas of the school by providing groups to play at athletic or special school/community events.
5) Get better as a musician, a rehearsal technician and as a leader everyday.
The most energetic teachers are those who can’t wait to share NEW information with their groups. Attend clinics and workshops, go watch great teachers in front of their ensembles, and constantly invite other conductors or private teachers to work with your band or to run sectionals.
Watch and learn! Listen and learn! IF YOU DON’T KNOW SOMETHING, THEN FIND SOMEONE WHO DOES!
Surround yourself with people that are better than you in certain areas. Push yourself to become that teacher that students remember for years! Even if you only have ten students in your band, get help to make them sound amazing. Don’t make excuses about why things can’t happen at your school. It all depends on the teacher in front of the room: YOU!
- Richard Saucedo, Retired Band Director Carmel H.S., Carmel IN, Freelance Arranger and Composer
For several of us, the term renaissance triggers memories of college music history classes where the presentation of ones hair was in direct proportion to how recently they stopped tapping the snooze button. This Renaissance is not a music style period, but a renewal of emphasis and a distinctive twist on enrichment courses in public school music education. It is a recommitment or a doubling-down on music as a tool to help students matriculate through the school system––from recruitment out of the elementary grades to the completion of grade 12.
In many schools, secondary music features a team of adult stakeholders (teachers/directors) charged with this important responsibility. We are talking about the pragmatic case to systemically drive elective participation into classes with high potential student/teacher ratios––band/choir/orchestra––and engender a culture that strengthens these courses as comprehensive beginner through grade 12 vertical programs: A school within a school.
Music Expansion =Enhanced Economics
Bottom line: the more students in your program, the better it is for the school’s finances. “Any circumstance that causes a decline in student enrollment or prevents students from participation will have a negative cost effect on the district budget” (Benham, 2011, p. 95). That is to say, expanding enrollment in secondary music can save money.
If the students are in your program, they are not in another class. The more students you have in your program, the more they are not in other elective classes. This translates into cost savings as your classes have high potential student/teacher ratios. Additionally students of the arts generate higher attendance, graduation rates, and test scores (Texas Music, 2015). Therefore, school systems promoting participation in secondary music supports inherent cost savings and improved achievement data, while providing tremendous student benefits. This is known as a high ROI (return on investment).
As a band director of a growing program I would say that it was not my job to know where the students aren’t, but where they are. As an administrator I say that robust fine arts programs increase the bang for your educational buck.
Think Win, Win…Win
In today’s culture of choice and downloaded-gratification, we just can’t do fine arts to our students the way fine arts was done to us. “My way or the highway” will simply push kids to the information super-highway or other endeavors absent the aesthetic, cognitive, and relational benefits of our programs. A rising tide lifts all boats; therefore an inclusive approach to expand access and excellence to arts education is a high-yield recipe to serve our students, schools, and communities. Enter a renaissance of traditional enrichment.
As school systems we don’t need to invent new things for students to do. Arts can provide stabilization for education based on personalization. They build achievement on discovering the individual talents of children and putting them in an environment where they want to learn and can find their true passions (Robinson, 2009).
Literature and research-based benefits of music education––and more specifically instrumental music education––cast a long shadow over the latest (and possibly not greatest) educational fad or business-based solution to fix education. The trick is to think win, win… win. When decisions need to be made, remember: Everyone is in it for the students (win), and we all want staff to be taken care of (second win)… The trick is to scan the environment and decode/prepare/present how what you need for your students and staff is also best for the system as a whole (a win thrice).
For example, if your program would benefit from a change within the school schedule (good for your students and staff), be sure to find other classes/programs/activities that could benefit from the change. This process builds consensus, which is ultimately anyone’s most effective weapon in the politics and bureaucracy of public education.
A Systems Approach to Traditional Enrichment
Combining music expansion = enhanced economics with win/win… win, provides the foundation for strategies that have worked to change conversations from music cuts to music expansion. Every community, school, and department are different, so adapt accordingly and let us all keep working for greater student access and excellence to music education through innovation––a renaissance of traditional enrichment
- Jeremy Earnhart, Director of Fine Arts, Arlington, TX Independent School District
Benham, J. L. (2011). Music advocacy. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Education.
Robinson, K. (2009). The element. New York: Penguin Group.
Texas Music Educators Association. (2015). Fine arts participation data [PowerPoint presentation]. Available January 10, 2015, TMEA Web site: http://www.tmea.org/resources/advocacy/materials
How MFA Summer Symposium can help you and your students...
Have you given any thought to what you might do differently this next year regarding your band’s marching band season? I have to be honest, since I am the visual caption head at Carmel High School and not an actual band director, I get lots of time in the “off season” to think about marching band – while you all are doing concert band, jazz band, pep band, etc.
Last year Dynamic Marching put out a survey about what the biggest areas of frustration are among band directors. The results were not too surprising! One director said, “The greatest challenge is finding ways to teach the students what is beyond the notes on the page (phrasing, dynamics, balance, articulation, etc.). In addition, when it comes to marching, we are in need of a fresh start regarding the technique of marching.” Another director answered, “I have a very small staff and I really need to count on my section leaders. I feel like I spend too much time pushing and pulling my section leaders to get their help and not enough time actually getting better.” Wow! If you asked 1,000 band directors if they have similar frustrations – you would likely get universal agreement. We all want our students to be more musical, to have great fundamentals, and to be great leaders.
Good news! We can help you with all of that. While I am probably not the guy to fix your woodwind intonation, I am the guy who can help you and your students to establish a top-notch visual fundamentals program. I can still help your woodwinds though… AND your brass. How? I have assembled a staff that is the “best of the best” that your students will not only learn from but LOVE.
Our music staff at the MFA Summer Symposium is led by Matt Harloff, Richard Saucedo, and Scott Atchison – our music team represents great teachers from some of the very best bands and drum corps in the country (Carolina Crown, Blue Stars Drum & Bugle Corps, University of Kentucky, Avon H.S., Broken Arrow H.S., Carmel H.S., Center Grove H.S., LD Bell H.S., Lassiter H.S., and more) ! Our visual staff: Features instruction from me, Chris Kaflik, and Jordan Lalama (Carmel H.S., Broken Arrow H.S., Blue Stars Drum & Bugle Corps).
3 Skills that your student leaders need right now!
Through small-group sectionals with nationally recognized teachers, students who attend the Music for All Summer Symposium marching band track will return to your group with a better understanding of:
Utilizing full-group & small-group fundamentals exercises, students who come to the marching band track learn various fundamentals of marching & movement such as:
We are really working diligently to integrate the training and curriculum from the Drum Major track at camp with the marching band track. We are well aware that the students you send to the marching track this year may be the section leaders and drum majors in the next couple of years and working with Bobby Lambert to develop leadership skills in these students is a priority for us. They will learn skills such as:
For years now, I have been wondering why band directors automatically send their drum majors to summer camp, but they do not do the same for the student leaders and section leaders.
I feel that this is a critical step that will help you to have a more successful season. Send us one or two students from each section of your band and we will return them to you more knowledgeable and more qualified to help you and their section-mates. And – just to sweeten the deal - your students will get to perform part of the actual Carolina Crown show for a gigantic DCI audience at the end of the week!!! Win…. Win.
Music for All and Music Travel Consultants have entered into a five year agreement to share sponsorship of the “Music for All Indiana State Fair Band Day, presented by Music Travel Consultants.”
The State Fair Band Day has been held every year since it began in the 1940s and was for decades considered Indiana’s state marching band finals. Music for All Indiana State Fair Band Day, presented by Music Travel Consultants, features more than 40 bands annually.
Participating bands are “track band” style marching bands, and are adjudicated by a panel of educators. Many of the bands that participate are part of the Central Indiana Track Show Association (CITSA), which presents several invitationals each summer for its member bands, leading up to State Fair Band Day.
“Music for All is thrilled to support the State Fair Band Day and the many bands for which it is the pinnacle of their summer performances,” says Eric L. Martin, President and CEO of Music for All.
“Music Travel Consultants is excited to join Music for All in presenting the 2015 Music For All Indiana State Fair Band day. We are proud to partner and support CITSA’s membership by providing new opportunities and resources for its students to pursue excellence in music", said Mark Harting, CEO of Music Travel Consultants.
The 2015 Music for All Indiana State Fair Band Day, presented by Music Travel Consultants, will be held Saturday, August 8, 2015 at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis.
AT THE MFA SUMMER SYMPOSIUM, LAUNCHING 2016
Music for All is proud to announce it will launch a track for middle school band students at the 2016 Music for All Summer Symposium, presented by Yamaha.
The Symposium already includes a track for Middle School Band Directors. The new track will offer a concert band experience for all middle school band students.
The division is being coordinated by two middle school band directors who currently teach in the Chicago suburbs: Keith Ozsvath, band director at Rotolo Middle School in Batavia, and Greg Scapillato, band director for Northbrook School District 28. Both Keith and Greg are deeply familiar with Music for All and the Summer Symposium, having attended the camp as high school students and having served as SWAG Team members (counselors and teaching assistants) as college students and young band directors.
“I am very excited that middle school band students will now be able to experience the same positive energy and amazing educational environment that the Summer Symposium is known for,” says Ozsvath. “These students will make music, new friends, and lasting memories while learning from outstanding educators.”
“This is a big win for middle school band programs everywhere!,” says Scapillato. “A natural ‘next step’ for the Symposium, this camp is uniquely positioned to foster both the growth of the young band student and their desire to continue performing. As an organization, MFA has excelled at shaping the band experience of countless high school students. Those of us living in the world of middle school band will benefit greatly from MFA’s positive influence.
“Simply put, the MFA Summer Symposium is the best place for a middle school band student, for all the reasons that matter to students, directors, and parents: engaging conductors and clinicians; exciting evening concerts; motivated peers with similar interests; a safe and welcoming environment for personal growth. Students will return to their band programs infused with positive energy and renewed motivation. I am genuinely excited to bring this new opportunity to the students in our band programs!”
“Music for All is excited to begin offering the MFA educational, positively-life changing experience of our summer camp to middle school band students,” says Deb Laferty Asbill, Vice President of Marketing and Communications for Music for All. “We believe it will not only improve their immediate band experience and provide valuable skills they can take back to their own bands, but will also play a role in retention and in choosing to continue to participate in their high school music programs.”
Details and curriculum are in development. Registration information and applications will be available in December 2015, when the full 2015 camp registration goes live during the Midwest Clinic.
In celebration of Music for All’s 40th Anniversary in 2015, we will be featuring profiles of music educators who have made a difference in Music for All and in band and orchestra education. In this post, we present the first of our music educator profiles. Watch for more throughout this year!
How long have you been teaching?
KS I began teaching in 1969, so 46 years.
Where do you teach now? If not teaching now, when did you retire from teaching, and what are you doing now?
KS While I retired from having to get up every day at 5:00 a.m. to teach in 2004, I do still consider myself a teacher.
Where have you taught in the past?
KS I started as a graduate teaching assistant at Central Michigan University, then on faculty at CMU. Went to the Bridgeport, MI, public schools and then to Lake Park High School in Roselle, IL.
Where did you go to college? What degrees do you earn?
KS Central Michigan University for BSEd and MM. Later various places for an additional 45 hours.
What would you say to a new band director who asks you “what is the one thing you wish someone had told you just starting out?”
KS Patience! Developing a culture of excellence takes time and consistent attention. There are no good quick answers. It needs attention and maintenance every day.
Tell us about your participation with Music for All and Bands of America.
KS My bands from Bridgeport were finalists at the first three BOA (then MBA) Summer Nationals 1976-78. [Wife] Pamela and I did Weekend With The Experts sessions all over the country several years for the then parent company and we both judged some of the earliest BOA (MBA) Regionals. We both worked the Summer Symposiums, then at Whitewater, several times. I was briefly in the MBA office as the adjudication coordinator in 1980 where I wrote the first version of the rules and adjudication manual. My bands at Lake Park started participating in MBA/BOA events with a regional in 1984 and first went to Grand Nationals in 1985 where the band was a finalist. The Lake Park bands were Grand National finalists 18 times, placing in the top five for 11 consecutive years, 1987-1997. In recent years I have had the opportunity and honor to judge some of the BOA events. It is a wonderful experience to witness performances of so many dedicated student performers and see the efforts of talented and creative teachers and designers. Very humbling.
What are some of the highlights and memorable moments from your experiences related to MFA/BOA?
KS The first Summer Nationals finals with Bridgeport. The wonderful camaraderie among
the clinicians at the early Whitewater symposia. The first regional finals with Lake Park.
The band making Grand National finals for the first time in 1985.
The band being Grand National Champion in 1996.
Being inducted into the Bands of America Hall of Fame in 2004.
What would you like to see MFA focus on or accomplish in the next 40 years?
KS Be a major voice for instrumental music advocacy. Things will be getting much more difficult for programs in the future. Without help, not only will there be no BOA/MFA, there will be no school music.
The concert band is the foundation and centerpiece of the scholastic band program. The instrumental music curriculum – its scope, sequence, and standards – all emanate from this regular instruction. Marching band, jazz band, chamber ensembles, and other similar activities contribute to the enrichment of the band program and provide students with specific valuable experiences. Each has a unique role to play within the program and provides a balance to instrumental music education. However, any one alone cannot provide the breadth and depth of the instrumental curriculum or the most effective instructional strategies. It is within the concert band curriculum that individual and ensemble performance skills are more fully developed, and artistic decision-making is fostered enabling all of the other enrichment activities to be more successful.
If any one of the supplemental activities is overemphasized, in either focus or time, high standards and depth of instruction are routinely compromised. Students in the band program must study the most significant literature, demanding their highest-level skill and discerning musical decisions. While there is significant focused literature available for jazz and chamber ensembles, it serves as a valuable addition to concert study. The concert band offers the best opportunity to achieve the highest level of performance standards. It presents a thoughtful sequence of study related to individual and ensemble skill acquisition coupled with a body of literature selected for musical growth and understanding. Highly skilled, caring, musical teachers are the catalyst for the most successful band programs.
As the basis of the entire band experience, the scope and sequence of the concert band curriculum must be delivered throughout the year. This foundation then elevates the performance standards of all the well-balanced enrichment activities. With demand for student time increasing on a yearly basis, it is critical that the most productive and efficient instructional model be employed. Careful implementation of a thorough concert band curriculum will provide great program benefits and sustainability.
Guest blog by Dr. Lisa Garner Santa
Associate Professor of Flute, Texas Tech University
There have been many debates over the years regarding the value of competition. While I believe all can be approached in respect to balance and moderation, I do think we, and our students, have a great deal to learn from competition. The aspect of competition I seem to hear most about is the motivation factor. No doubt, competition can motivate. But I think there is an aspect that is even more important: Competition offers opportunities for building resilience. As harsh as it may sound, people are going to be compared to others throughout their lifetime - in regard to job placement/promotion, relationships, creative output, and socio-economic circles. I hesitate to label this good or bad…it just is. It is however, the personal reactions to these comparisons, which can determine the individual’s sense of self-worth, confidence, and ability to experience joy in living.
We reward and praise students for “winning,” for “being the best.” And there’s nothing bad about that either…that praise is absolutely worthy, and certainly powerful if the student exerted effort toward that end. But don’t forget to praise the students who get back up and try again and again after “losing.” We must teach that effort and resilience are what promote the greatest progress and success, even for the most gifted students. Losing is an important aspect of that learning. If you haven’t lost a competition yet, consider seeking bigger competitions.
My most successful (in terms of competitions) students are those who lost many times, but did not give up. They kept entering competitions knowing that adjudication panels are often fickle, that sometimes you just have a bad day, that sometimes you get the honor of “losing” to the next super-star, and knowing that a personal best doesn’t always mean best overall. They were motivated by the competitions, of course. But the outcome did not define them. They were gracious when they lost, and gracious when they won…because they knew on a different day, perhaps with a different panel or a different set of competitors, they may not have won.
The only way to learn how to get back up after you fall is to fall. In the grand scheme of things, competitions are a safe place to do this and can prepare many for much greater challenges in life…like losing your home to fire, having your largest investment go belly up, surviving a failed relationship or losing the life of a dear one.
One of my spiritual teachers taught, “Don’t worry about being the best. Concern yourself with being really good.” At first I was like, “huh?” Being the best is what it’s all about here in Texas. But what if I focused on being a really good (in every sense of the word) flutist…what would that mean? It just might produce “winning” results and bring some peace along with it.
Lisa Garner Santa currently serves as Artist-Performer and Associate Professor of Flute at Texas Tech University where she enjoys a diverse career as teacher, recitalist, soloist, and chamber musician. Her recordings and performances receive rave reviews. As an active member of the National Flute Association, Dr. Garner Santa has been a featured performer at the Boston, Atlanta, Phoenix, Dallas, Nashville, and Kansas City conventions. As a pedagogue, Lisa Garner Santa presents masterclasses throughout the United States and abroad.
Learn more about Dr. Garner Santa at http://lisagarnersanta.com/
Music for All thanks Dr. Garner Santa for permission to share this thoughtful essay.