The Music for All Blog
The Music for All Blog
Kristin Conrad

President_Jo_Ann_M._GoraVisit the 2011 Music for All Summer Symposium online coverage page for more information and camp highlights throughout the week.

Today was the first full day of the 2011 Music for All Summer Symposium. It was a rainy morning, but that certainly didn't dampen the mood of the excited students, parents and directors checking in at registration this morning. I stopped by early on during registration to see how things were going, and it was great to see all the excited, smiling faces as campers received materials and leafed through schedules.

Before I knew it, it was time to head over to the Opening Session at Emens Auditorium. The energy was contagious as students rocked out to the walk-in music, and soon Orpheus, SchoolJam USA Finalists, took the stage. They performed SKA music – a melting pot of Punk, Jazz and Reggae.

After this fantastic performance, students were introduced to Norm Ruebling (Camp Director), Jamie Weaver (Camp Director of the SWAG Team), David Starnes (Educational Consultant for Music for All and Camp Director), Gary Markham (Senior Educational Consultant for Music for All and Camp Director), Jo Ann M. Gora (Ball State University President), Fran Kick (Leadership Division Coordinator), the Camp Medical Team, and Eric Martin (CEO of Music for All). Team SWAG also contributed some helpful tips about staying energized, hydrated, well-rested and sunscreened up for the week!

After the Opening Session, students began their classes. It was so nice to see campus milling with activity today. After classes tonight, students will attend the Yamaha Young Performing Artists (YYPA) concert. The YYPA program is designed to provide early career recognition for outstanding young musicians in the United States. Hundreds of applicants ages 16- 21 apply annually and undergo a rigorous, taped audition process for a panel of national celebrity musicians. Yamaha's competition for outstanding young musicians culminates in finalist performances and a selection of one winner at this evening's concert.

As I watched students arrive on campus today, I remembered my own time spent at music camps when I was a student. I play French horn, and I had some of the best musical experiences of my life at music camps. I hope that your students feel the same way, and I look forward to spending time this week observing their sessions.




Visit the 2011 Music for All Summer Symposium online coverage page for more information and camp highlights throughout the week.

Hello, my name is Ashley Strahan, and I am the Marketing Assistant at Music for All. I am guest blogging today about my first-hand experience with the leadership weekend experience.

Today brought students closer to the end of Leadership Weekend Experience, but I believe it was the most important day of the weekend. Today, students were able to reflect on their experiences and put what they've learned to use, whether they participated in small group activities or were at the Taylor University "Escape to Reality" challenge course.

The challenge course allowed students to work in small groups in an outdoor setting to build trust, communication and teamwork through various activities and initiatives.

I followed a group out into the woods to watch their first challenge to test their communication and cooperation skills. The fictional setting: The treacherous Colorado River. The Story: An adventurous group of students set out on a white water rafting trip. The raft accidentally tips and knocks three members out into the river. The Challenge: To rescue the members without getting off the raft before it is too late. I watched as a group of about 10 students crowded around a barrel, careful to not overstep the boundaries laid out for them. The students used a pulley system with ropes in order to retrieve logs (the members that fell off the raft) and place them in a barrel (the raft). The group demonstrated good use of communication, cooperation and teamwork in order to defeat the challenge. At the end, the group talked about using patience with others in order to achieve the same goal. They talked about applying what they learned in a musical setting and also shared that their strategy was to give and take. Sometimes you have to give in order for others to take, and sometimes you have to take when others give.

I found myself relating to the students and reflecting on my time here at Music for All and our staff. In order for Music for All to create, provide and expand positively life-changing experiences, we communicate, cooperate and work together as a team. Just like the pulley-system, we know when to pull and when to let go – we know when to follow and when to take the lead.

Not only did the students participate in small group activities, they also were able to take part in a high ropes course, 20-35 feet above ground level. I watched as students flew down the zip line, participated in the "flying squirrel," and completed an obstacle course up in the trees. The high ropes course taught the importance of support, encouragement and trust and, once again, teamwork.

Leadership Weekend Experience is a time for students to grow and learn about what it takes to become a leader not only in musical settings, but also in life. The lessons learned throughout this weekend will continue to be useful down the road when they enter college and the workforce.


Visit the 2011 Music for All Summer Symposium online coverage page for more information and camp highlights throughout the week.

Welcome to the 2011 Music for All Summer Symposium! I'm Kristin Conrad, Senior Marketing Coordinator at Music for All. I will be writing throughout the week to keep you informed about the activities your students will be participating in at this year's Summer Symposium. Unfortunately, I won't be able to be in two places at once, although I wish I could since the participants will be involved in so many different events and activities. But, I'll do my best to keep you in the loop throughout the week and help provide a window to the Symposium experience. You'll also see posts from other MFA staff members this week as they attend sessions and experience camp.

If you followed the Symposium blog last year, you may remember it was my second year. This is my third year at Symposium, and it's great to be back. This year, we're in a new location - Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. Ball State University is a wonderful place to be, and we're excited to spend the week on campus.

The MFA staff moved into our headquarters earlier this week, and we've been hard at work ever since. Team SWAG is also on site, working hard already to help provide a positively life-changing experience for your students. The heart and soul of the Summer Symposium, Team SWAG, is a volunteer group of dedicated college students, graduate students, band directors, and others interested in music education. These enthusiastic individuals spend the week helping fulfill the vast and varied logistical needs to ensure that the Summer Symposium runs smoothly and that all our participants have a positive experience. The Summer Symposium could not be held without Team SWAG.

Today, the morning started out in a flurry of activity as Leadership Weekend Registration opened at 8 a.m. in Park Hall. It was wonderful to see all the participants chatting and milling around the lobby while looking over the weekend schedules and materials.

After registration, it was time for the Leadership Weekend Experience Opening Session, in which participants had a chance to meet Norm Ruebling, Camp Director of the Music for All Summer Symposium; Eric Martin, Music for All's CEO; Jamie Weaver, Camp Director of our wonderful volunteer SWAG Team; and Erin Bergland, head of our on-site nurses. Then Leadership Division Coordinator Fran Kick presented a session that provided helpful tips for the weekend (or week ahead for full week campers).

After Opening Session and some lunch, the weekend sessions began. I was lucky enough to have time this afternoon to attend one of Dr. Tim Lautzenheiser's sessions. Admittedly, I was a bit tired and kind of hitting an afternoon wall around the time the session began. I've heard Dr. Lautzenheiser speak previously, but I'm still always amazed at how I feel when I leave his sessions. After his session, I was instantly re-energized and felt wonderful! That's how powerful his message is - it truly motivates you to be a leader and in his words, "give up giving up."

I took away several thoughts from this session, and I'm sure your students did as well. One idea that really struck me was, "What would you do if you knew you couldn't fail?" The room full of energetic students was instantly quiet after Dr. Lautzenheiser said this. It's an interesting thought - what would you do?

Another point that really resonated for me was, "If it comes between being right and being kind, be kind." It got me thinking about something Dr. Lautzenheiser said previously - "Maturity is the ability to understand how your behavior affects others." You can always go back and be right, but you can't go back and be kind after you've said something negative or hurtful that affects others. The students in the session were on the edge of their seats, attentively listening to tidbits like this, and it was clear they were thinking hard about how to apply these lessons to their own lives - just as I was.

Leadership Weekend continues tomorrow, and I look forward to seeing what happens next!



Monday, June 06, 2011

Stories & Articles

Articles and Stories about the Importance of Music and Arts Education

With A Little Help, Violin Students Get To Carnegie Hall, by Jeff Lunden, NPR Music News

An inner city school fights to save its orchestra, by Martha Irvine, AP National Writer, The Seattle Times

Escaping Violence via the Drill Team, but Not Completely, by Don Terry, The New York Times

Charity Tillemann-Dick: Singing after a double lung transplant, Video on

Texas musicians heading Down Under to perform with YouTube orchestra, by Tara Dooley, Copyright 2011 Houston Chronicle

Hearing the Music, Honing the Mind, The Editors, Scientific American

Band members give surprise show for Meals on Wheels recipients, by Jim Douglas,, Dallas/Fort Worth

Lawrence Central football player turns to violin, by Scott Swan,, Indianapolis

Fulton parents press music plea, by Gracie Bonds Staples, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Einstein On Creative Thinking: Music and the Intuitive Art of Scientific Imagination, Published on March 31, 2010 by Michele and Robert Root-Bernstein in Imagine That!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Thank you for your help!

We'd like to take a moment to extend our heartfelt thanks to all our friends who voted for Music for All in the Chase Community Giving program. We made a good showing and ended Round two with 3,075 votes total and in 38th place overall, which put us just a bit short of the top 25 and additional funding from Round two.

However, we're absolutely thrilled to have gained funding from Round one. Thanks for all your help! You helped us receive $25,000 from Round one, and we could not have done this without you!

Congratulations to our partner Drum Corps International, who finished in 10th place in Round two! Partners WGI (33rd place) and NAfME (37th place) also finished strong as well.

Thank you again for helping us get out the vote and for supporting music education and the arts.

Just a little under fours hours remain in the Chase Community Giving program on Facebook. Thank you to all who have voted and to all who have passed this along to friends, family and colleagues. We need to be in 25th place to receive funding from Chase in Round Two, and right now, we're in 39th place. But, we haven't given up!

Anything you can do to help us get out the vote in the final couple of hours would be so appreciated! If you're willing, perhaps download one of our banner/badge images to share, and show others that you've voted. You can download these images for your own profile page here.

We'd also sincerely appreciate it if you consider posting a call to vote as your facebook status for the remaining hours of the Chase program. Or, would you mind tweeting or emailing some information to your friends? Here is some suggested text, if you're willing and able to do this:


Suggested Facebook status (feel free to personalize it, and tag us @Music for All, @Bands of America):

I'm voting now for Music for All/Bands of America in the Chase Community Giving program. I hope you'll vote, tonight, and help MFA win up to $500,000 to continue their music education and advocacy programs.


Suggested Twitter post (@musicforall, @bandsofamerica, #musicforall, #bandsofamerica):

Help MFA/BOA inspire & activate the next generation of arts education advocates and save music & arts education. Vote tonight:


Text to copy, paste and personalize for email and more:

Music for All's (MFA) mission is to create, provide and expand positively life-changing experiences through music for all. Please help us fulfill our mission! Out of hundreds of thousands of charities, MFA/Bands of America made the top 20 of Round 1 of the Chase Community Giving program on Facebook, thanks to those who voted. Now, the 25 eligible Charities receiving the most votes in Round 2 May 19 to May 25 will share in $2,500,000 in donations from Chase. Voting ends at 11:59:59 EST tonight! Vote now!

Thank you for your support. It is truly amazing to see how many people support music and the arts. We cannot thank you enough for your efforts.

Thank you,

Your Music for All staff


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Thank you for your support!

We feel so lucky to have fans like you, and thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your support in the Chase Community Giving program. We hesitate to ask more of you, but we truly need votes from all our Facebook fans in order to move in to the top 25 and be eligible for funding in Round 2. Please consider casting your vote today if you haven't already. You can vote here. If you haven't seen it yet, here's our video for Round 2.

Also, we've been busy posting videos on the BOA facebook page, as a thank you for your support. Check out the videos here, and we hope you enjoy!


Dear Friends and Colleagues:

It is not often that I reach out and ask for real help, but today I am. Music for All (Bands of America), is a finalist in the Chase Community Giving program on Facebook, wherein Chase gives real money to non-profit organizations like Music for All that receive the most votes cast via Facebook. We have already received $25K in round one, which will help us support our mission. As a top 100 finisher, we are competing for votes in round two for a top award of $500K. If we finish in the top 25, we will receive at least an additional $20K.

My request, on behalf of Music for All and me personally, is that you invite and allow your students just 10 minutes in class/rehearsal to take out their cell phones and login to Facebook to cast a vote in favor of Music for All in the Chase Community Giving program. I'm calling this 10 minutes of time - "A Facebook Moment in Support of Music for All." Our collective 10 minutes could bring at least $20k to Music for All in support of music education. Our goal is to generate 10,000 votes from the 70,000 annual participants and 200,000 parents and fans that attend Music for All and Bands of America events each year. Please help us, if you can.

I am hopeful that you tell your students today (and encourage them to ask their parents and friends to vote as well) and take action (A Facebook Moment in Support of Music for All) tomorrow (Tuesday). Voting ends at 11:59:59pm EST on Wednesday, May 25th. Thank you for sharing "A Facebook Moment in Support of Music for All" with your students, boosters, etc.

To vote, all you have to do is log in to Facebook, "like" the Chase Community Giving page, and search and VOTE for Music for All. THIS IS TIME SENSITIVE AS VOTING ENDS ON MAY 25TH! SO, PLEASE DON'T DELAY!

Thank you for your consideration, time and support.


Eric L. Martin
President & CEO

P.S. Chase had finalists submit a "Big Idea" for use in determining who receives the top award. Check out ours, which involves convening a national summit of teachers, students and parents to create and implement local music and arts advocacy projects.