The Music for All Blog
The Music for All Blog

BOA Regional at Powder Springs Awards Photos

Monday, 29 September 2014 00:00 Written by Erin Fortune

Check out the awards photos from the 2014 Bands of America Regional Championship at Powder Springs!


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BOA Regional at Austin Awards Photos

Monday, 29 September 2014 00:00 Written by Erin Fortune

Check out the awards photos from the 2014 Texas Dairy Queen® Bands of America Regional Championship at Austin!

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BOA Regional at Dayton Awards Photos

Monday, 29 September 2014 00:00 Written by Erin Fortune

Check out the awards photos from the 2014 Bands of America Regional Championship at Dayton!

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BOA Regional at Monroeville Awards Photos

Wednesday, 24 September 2014 00:00 Written by Erin Fortune

Check out the awards photos from the 2014 Bands of America Regional Championship at Monroeville!

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BOA Regional at Louisville Awards Photos

Tuesday, 23 September 2014 00:00 Written by Erin Fortune

Check out the awards photos from the 2014 Bands of America Regional Championship at Louisville!

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U.S. ARMY Challenge Area at BOA Louisville

Friday, 19 September 2014 00:00 Written by Debbie Laferty Asbill


Music for All announced yesterday that the U.S. Army has partnered with Music for All (MFA)/Bands of America to educate young musicians, band directors, educators, parents and others about the unique opportunities to serve in the Army.

Saturday, September 20, members of the U.S. ARMY will be on site at the Bands of America Regional Championship at Papa John’s Stadium in Louisville. Students can participate in special U.S. Army challenges and activities created just for them at the BOA Louisville Championship. If you’re attending the event, please visit the area located at the northwest corner* of the stadium, just under the stands near the band entrance gate. See the locator map at the bottom of this page.

The U.S. ARMY Challenge area will be open throughout the event until the start of Finals, including the break between Prelims and Finals.

Be sure to visit to learn more about scholarships and hundreds of career opportunities available in the U.S. Army.

** Location pending, check on site for any location changes.

Louisville Army Challenge Locator


U.S. Army partners with Music for All

Thursday, 18 September 2014 00:00 Written by Erin Fortune

U.S. Army partners with Music for All to encourage consideration of Army service
Pilot program engages musicians and educators to explore career and scholarship opportunities

As part of a new pilot program, the U.S. Army has partnered with Music for All (MFA)/Bands of America to educate young musicians, band directors, educators, parents and others about the unique opportunities to serve in the Army.

Through the partnership, the Army will support nine championship events across the country this marching band season, reaching approximately 75,000 competitors from 27 states and more than 170,000 event attendees. Each event will feature an interactive Army Strong Zone display where student band members and other attendees can test their mental agility, critical thinking skills, and knowledge of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Based on their performance, students are matched to potential Army careers where they can learn more about the Army and scholarship opportunities.

“The Army is proud to partner with this outstanding organization that shares our commitment to motivate, educate, train and develop today’s youth to be our future leaders, decision-makers and active citizens,” said Mark Davis, deputy assistant secretary of the Army for marketing. “As a former bandsman myself, I know the dedication, teamwork and technical expertise required for a successful band. These talented young musicians possess a similar set of strengths to Army Soldiers and embody the Army’s core values. They demonstrate a loyalty to each other and are willing to work hard memorizing music and drills, while balancing academics. We look forward to working together through this sponsorship.”

U.S. Army Soldiers and Army Band members will be on site to perform, interact with participants and present several awards at the following MFA/Bands of America events, culminating with the Bands of America Grand National Championship event in November.

•    Sept. 20: Bands of America Regional Championships (Louisville, Ky.)
•    Oct. 4: Bands of America Regional Championships (Denton, Texas)
•    Oct. 11: Bands of America Regional Championships (Jacksonville, Ala.)
•    Nov. 12-15: Bands of America Grand National Championships Expo (Indianapolis, Ind.)

“It is an honor to partner with the U.S. Army and is a positive way to expand our commitment to help educate, enlighten, and inspire the next generation of America’s leaders through music and the arts," said Eric L. Martin, president and chief executive officer of Music for All. “The Army recognizes the positive skills students gain from participating in music education, which translate into successful futures, whether they choose to pursue careers in music or not.”

For more information on the Army, visit, or follow the Army on Twitter @goarmy, Facebook ( and goarmy Google+.

Download Official Press Release here.

MFA Staff Profiles – Ashley Peterson

Wednesday, 20 August 2014 18:28 Written by Erin Fortune
Ashley-PetersonName:  Ashley Peterson
Position:  Accounting Assistant
Hometown:  Born and raised in Lexington and Richmond, Kentucky, but have lived in Greenfield, IN for the past 11 years.

How long have you been with MFA?
Almost 8 whole months! I began at the end of January.
What is your educational background?  Where did you go to school, and what did you study?
I received my Associates degree for accounting from Ivy Tech, and I am currently studying for my Bachelors at Indiana Wesleyan University.
What is your musical background?  (What instruments have you played? Played in groups or bands? Just enjoy music in general?)
Since I was about 8 years old, I’ve played piano. I’ve gotten rusty over the years, but I still get excited when a piano is in front of me and I have the opportunity to play, or just mess around. I’ve also played acoustic guitar (although I’m not very good at it) and I was in choir in high school. I still enjoy singing, but it seems to only happen when I’m in the car or hanging out with friends now!
What kind of music do you like to listen to?
I enjoy a wide variety of music. I’ll listen to anything and give it a chance. I mainly listen to the top 40 pop/rock type stations, and country.  But I have to admit, if I had to choose one artist or band to call my favorite, it would definitely be the Backstreet Boys! I’ve been a huge fan since they started out, and always will be. I actually finally got the chance to go to a sound check and meet them in August. Best day of my life!!
Why is music important to you?
Music is my therapy. No matter what mood I’m in, excited or upset, I can always find something to listen to that will either keep that great feeling going, or cheer me up.
Why do you believe in music education?
I truly believe that anyone and everyone deserves the opportunity to have music in their lives.  Whether you are playing an instrument, or just someone in the audience enjoying listening, music education makes this possible.
What sort of things do you do in your free time (hobbies)?
I usually just enjoy hanging out with friends, even if we’re just sitting around chatting.  Besides that, I love swimming and doing jigsaw puzzles. I also like to do crafty things, but they never turn out the way I had hoped!
What led you to Music for All?
Well, I had been working temporary positions for nearly a year, and I feel like I just kind of got lucky. When I heard about it, I was thrilled with the idea of working for such an amazing organization, and now here I am!
What do you enjoy the most about working for Music for All?
I enjoy being able to work with a group of people who are so dedicated to what the organization stands for. It makes for such a great work environment when everyone loves his or her job, coworkers, etc. You don’t see that often.
What is your favorite Music for All event, and why?
The only events I have worked so far is National Festival and Summer Symposium.  It was overwhelming, but I loved it.  It makes you feel good inside when you see all those students having such a great time. I look forward to experiencing the fall events.
What’s one interesting thing about yourself that some on staff may not be aware of?
Since I’ve only been around a few months, I’ll give a few little facts.
I am the oldest of 7 kids (and 2 cousins lived with us growing up, as well). Also, my mom was 1 of 10, and just on her side of the family, I have around 40 cousins. Things at home/family get togethers are never boring! I love animals, specifically dogs. But the most interesting pets I’ve ever owned were sugar gliders.

Stephens JamesMusic for All has added a new professional, James P. Stephens, to its Indianapolis staff, as Director of Advocacy and Educational Resources. Stephens joins Music for All having most recently served as a music educator for one of the nation’s most respected scholastic music programs, at Broken Arrow High School in Oklahoma.

Music for All uniquely combines regional and national music-event programming with awareness and advocacy efforts aimed at expanding access to music in schools and communities, including Indianapolis.

The Director of Advocacy and Educational Resources is a new position created to meet key organizational objectives and initiatives. This high-level management position will develop and implement the organization’s existing and new scholastic music-related arts advocacy initiatives. The position will also work with and assist the organization’s educational team as it develops, recommends and crafts organizational initiatives, ensuring the organization’s events and programs support and reflect its high educational standards and commitment.

“As the Music for All vision continues to broaden, Mr. Stephens will be a wonderful and valued asset to the staff. Advocacy is paramount to music education and he will provide needed insight and direction,” stated Gary Markham, Senior Music for All Educational Consultant. “Additionally, he has the background, energy and experience to help facilitate and expand all of MFA’s educational initiatives. The Education Team and I are tremendously excited to work with him for a bright future.”

As an educator, Stephens worked closely and passionately with Music for All at various programs and events and has served on the faculty at the Music for All Summer Symposium.

Prior to joining Music for All, Stephens was the former Associate Director of Bands at Broken Arrow High School where he taught since 2006. Stephens’ teaching responsibilities included three concert bands, music theory and assistant marching band director for the Pride of Broken Arrow. While at Broken Arrow, the marching band was named the Bands of America Grand National Champion twice (in 2011 and 2006), was a seven-time national finalist at the Bands of America Grand National Championships, and was presented with the prestigious Sudler Shield of Excellence by the John Philip Sousa Foundation. The marching band performed by invitation in the 2009 and 2013 Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California.

Under the direction of Stephens, the Broken Arrow Wind Bands have performed multiple times at the Oklahoma Music Educators Association state conventions and most recently in New York City's renowned Carnegie Hall.

Stephens brings both large and small band program experience, prior to his appointment at Broken Arrow, Stephens taught at Jamestown High School (NY), Marion Local High School (OH) and Mad River Middle School (OH). Bands under Stephens' direction have performed in venues across the United States and have consistently received superior ratings and have been awarded numerous honors in concert and marching venues.


Download Official Press Release


"The Week in Music Education" is a weekly collection of news and stories about the latest in music education and music advocacy. This series highlights local, regional and national news in music education, as well as provide 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 "The Week in Music Education," 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.

Note: This week will be my final "Fanfare" blog post as a MFA staff member. I begin a new journey next month in Los Angeles, where I'll be attending graduate school. It's been a pleasure bringing you music education and advocacy news for the past few months. Please be sure to stay tuned to the MFA Blog for advocacy news and more!

Pop culture: music education's greatest ally?

Last week, you may have heard about results from the latest Harris Poll that were promising for music education. According to those surveyed in the Poll, over three-quarters of Americans were involved in school music, an increase from a 2007 Harris Poll. More people surveyed also said that music education prepares students better for their careers and for problem solving. Some have speculated that the increased presence of music education in pop culture, including shows like "Glee," "The Voice," etc., have helped expand participation in school music. While many of these shows display a distorted view of what school music classes are really like, are they valuable advocacy tools?

Arts integration isn't just for primary and middle school classrooms anymore

When you think arts integration, or utilizing music, dance, theatre or visual art into core lesson plans, you may envision it only for elementary students, for making learning fun or interesting. Bucking that trend, Alexandra Pannoni from the U.S. News & World Report showed us three ways to incorporate music into high school classes in a recent article. From rap in an English class to music production in science and engineering classes, music is a universal, relatable vehicle for student learning. "We found that once we began to balance both the creativity and the academics, that their academics became more important to them," said a San Diego high school English teacher who utilized songwriting to assist in character analysis.

Professional Development tips from the Music Achievement Council

As schools across the nation begin to ring in a new year, its a perfect time for teachers to think about professional development, re-charging the batteries for a new school year. In this month's School Band & Orchestra Magazine, professional development was a big focus, including an article from Marcia Neel and the Music Achievement Council. One of the biggest takeaways in this article for me was the importance of engaging and inspiring students through setting goals, creating mottos and encouraging community service. SBO also featured an interview with MFA Summer Symposium faculty member and former Wando H.S. director Scott Rush. This year, Mr. Rush will serve as Director of Fine Arts for the Dorchester School District 2 in Summerville, SC. Scott Rush penned the valuable "Habits of a Successful Band Director."

Ingrid Michaelson promotes music education in her hometown

I've been an Ingrid Michaelson fan for years, and her latest album, including the single "Girls Chase Boys Chase Girls," has finally brought her mainstream. Long a supporter of music education, Michaelson is giving back to her hometown in the form of quality music education through the VH1 Save the Music Foundation: "In 2012, I accompanied the VH1 Save the Music Foundation on a visit to a school in my Staten Island hometown. My heart melted not just because of the adorable kids, but also because I was so inspired by their talent and love for music. Seeing their faces light up as they walked into the music room, ready to place their tiny hands on newly donated musical instruments and start their music exploration, I decided to take a stronger stand on saving music education."

TED-Ed: "How playing an instrument benefits your brain"

From Daniel Levitan's This Is Your Brain on Music to recent brain studies in the news, we know that listening and performing music is a great exercise for our brains. The folks famous for short, impactful speeches have created a new video, which displays the benefits of playing an instrument in an animated and entertaining way. The video emphasizes that while listening to music involved much brain activity, playing an instrument is akin to a full-body workout for your brain. The video also speaks to the number of qualities and personality traits in musicians, such as high executive function, which may explain why so many of our nation's business and community leaders played music. You can watch the video for yourself below:


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