Mrs. Thompson’s son, Jack, was a camper at last summer’s Middle School Concert Band Camp at the Music for All Summer Symposium, presented by Yamaha. Jack was one of 115 middle school students – part of the total camp community of more than 1,700 students, band directors, faculty members, staff and volunteers. We talked with Mrs. Thompson about Jack’s Summer Symposium experience – and hers.
How did you hear about the MFA Summer Symposium?
We live in a music-friendly city with passionate and talented music teachers. Our schools provide our children with exposure to professional educators who demonstrate what it takes to make music: hard work, grit, courage and even a sense of humor. My son, Jack, was reluctant to go to band camp in 7th grade, even after his director suggested it. Luckily, Jack attended the following year as an 8th grade student. We had heard of many music camps, but his director shared how much he thought Music for All would be a good fit for Jack.
What did your son like most about camp?
As parents, we were very encouraged not to hear from Jack too often - a good sign that all is well. All parents should be told that when they drop their child off at camp. When we did hear from him, we received brief messages like, “I loved hearing Black Violin!”, “Best food ever!”, and “I’m learning so much from the oboe teacher! This is amazing!”. If you asked Jack what he liked most about his experience, he would share: that is was the music he played, working with the oboe clinician, the people that were present, and the evening concerts he attended.
What were your initial expectations of camp?
Of course we expected Jack to grow as a musician and learn new music skills by going to camp. We also hoped that he would learn or solidify social and emotional skills like setting an alarm to get up on time, meeting new friends, and speaking up if he needed help during a lesson or rehearsal. And he did! Such great development to have happen before starting high school.
What parts of camp were you most impressed with?
The most impactful was summed up in the presentation to the parents on the last day of camp. The Music for All staff discussed, what I like to call, the cycle of work ethic. We learned about three points that motivate musicians, or anyone working towards something they enjoy. Practice...success...fun. That “camp circle” is discussed often in our home.
The idea of deliberate practice taught by Jack’s oboe clinician can be applied with any skill or goal any of us are trying to reach. Jack also learned about flow or being in the zone as he played.
Can you imagine your child being conducted by one of the best band instructors in the country? Or having a composer come and speak to the ensemble so that they understand why the music was written the emotion behind the piece? How about the opportunity to play with master musicians? Music for All offers these opportunities at the right time for young musicians when their brains and abilities are soaring.
What would you tell another parent who is thinking about sending their child to camp?
It can be so challenging to send your child away to camp. For many it is also costly. But for our family, it was one of the best things we’ve had the opportunity to provide for our child. Jack’s future with the oboe looks bright, and the Music for All Summer Symposium has inspired skills that translate to all aspects of his life. Seeing our child grow as a result of his experiences at camp reminds us that band camp holds many more gifts and experiences than music. Is the musical training extraordinary? Yes! Is camp fun? Yes! Was it hard to send him? Yes! But the experience was positively life-changing, and one we are so glad our child had.
For more information about the Middle School division vist http://camp.musicforall.org/middleschool/
Arris Golden understands the importance of connections amongst the music education community and has ideas of how to strengthen it even more.
Golden is the current Director of Bands at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.. Although she has been successful in music education for many years, she first received a poli-sci degree from UNC Chapel Hill.
Golden attributes her decision to go into music education to her band director at UNC Chapel Hill.
“There was that linchpin moment that we all have when a new director showed up and a lot of us went... ‘Guess we're going to be doing more school.’” Golden stated. “He was that inspiring; he was that much of a difference maker.”
After another four years of school, she decided to use her music education degree and become a middle school band director in Cary, NC. “No one goes into it expecting to be super rich,” Golden said. “And you know, you discover after you get involved in music and the right people come into your life that it is just another version of being super rich.”
During her 18 years as a middle school band director, Golden decided she was interested in studying conducting. She attended multiple workshops and symposiums in hopes of bettering her conducting skills. One of the best events she has ever attended for conducting included Kevin Settetal, who she connected with and, as a result, ended up attending Michigan State University in 2014 for her Doctor of Music Arts in Wind Conducting. After finishing her coursework in 2016, Golden accepted a position at UNC as Interim Assistant Director of University Bands and then was appointed the job for the following academic school year, full-time.
Golden attributes a lot of her opportunities and success to the connections she has developed. “You just have to put yourself in a place and be at a level where you can take advantage of the things that happen around you and for you, and be able to recognize those,” Golden said. She is a firm believer in working collaboratively with those in the music education field, and learning from their successes and failures.
“I have a really close knit group of friends in North Carolina, especially where I taught for all those years and we all just like to help each other.” She stated. “We like to go to each other's band rooms, we like to go to each other's rehearsals and just talk about music, and talk about how to make the students more involved.”
Golden continues to help others and take advice from music educators as well. “I hope that because I've been able to do so many things throughout my career - I'm African American and female, at the collegiate level, and conducting bands now, that I serve as an example you can do this. If you do the things that are required to go into the profession you, female or African American, can be successful,” Golden said. Even though she believes that music education is a well-connected profession overall, Golden wishes to
find ways to share more information, because everyone has something to share.
After becoming a moderator of the band director group on Facebook, Golden saw just how impactful words from fellow music educator colleagues could be. She still thinks there could be more helpfulness and positivity on the page, along with more willingness to take constructive criticism and suggestions. “One of the biggest things is to take more advantage of the people around you that are willing to help you and know more than you do,” Golden said.
Her hope is to see more members participating in the Facebook group in the future.
Photo by Darrell Fife
As Music in Our Schools Month continues, we are excited to share an example of the special camaraderie cultivated through music, between Music for All’s Chief Operating Officer, Dr. Jeremy Earnhart, and Courtney Melton, former student and current Assistant Director of Waxahachie High School, TX.
Dr. Earnhart is off to DFW today with his daughter Kierstyn, to attend Melton’s wedding. Earnhart first met Melton when she was attending Bedford Junior High in Bedford, TX. Melton’s older sister, Caitlyn was in high school at the time and a member of Earnhart’s band. Courtney was also a member of the L.D. Bell Band from 2005-2008. She was the flute soloist for the marching band in the 2006 show titled "The Remaining" and the 2007 show title "Transcendents," which won them the Grand National champion title.
A terrific musician, Melton continued at the University of North Texas, which happened to be the same university Earnhart attended for his Bachelors and Masters degree. Earnhart presented to the North Texas Future Education Group with Morton – along with many other promising directors – was in attendance. Melton is now the assistant director at Waxahachie High School outside of Dallas, TX. “I am so proud of her accomplishments at Waxahachie High School and the ensembles overall achievement of being named the 2018 State Honor Band,” Earnhart stated.
Earnhart has been in contact with Melton over the years and is now excited to be attending her wedding stating, "I am humbled and excited to witness this incredibly important day in the life of Courtney and her new husband."
Nick Gonzales doesn’t just believe in the power of music, he believes in the power of connections, and the impact one can make on another’s life through music.
Gonzales is the current Director of Bands and Orchestra at West Lake Junior High in Salt Lake City, UT and has taught band for 14 years. Before West Lake, Gonzales taught in Klein and Spring, TX. His first job in the Klein district was in an affluent area with many motivated students, parent volunteers, and an overall heavily involved community. It wasn’t until after Gonzales began teaching in the Spring district that he realized the great motivation and ability the students had at his previous school. After teaching at a school with less community involvement Gonzales stated, “I realized these kids are coming from broken homes. These kids have a lot to worry about that's not even school, so they come to our schools, and they come to our classroom, and the last thing they're thinking of is their education.”
When he began teaching students who were positively affected by music and the connections made through music, Gonzales realized his job was about so much more than teaching students how to play instruments. “In my teaching, I had to really be aware of number one before music, the kid, and we have to start building relationships with the kids, and show them that we care,” Gonzales said. His focus was not on how much musical knowledge a student could gain from his classroom, but how much kindness he or she could receive and give. “What we say is that when you walk into this band hall, it's sacred. There's kindness. We teach kindness. We have standards,” Gonzales said, “we have to be structured, and even after school, yes, you're here, but you still have to follow what we do, and follow those steps that we do, but enjoy yourself responsibly, and be kind to people.”
After acquiring his passion for assisting underprivileged students, Gonzales started a non-profit called Stone of Hope Youth, an organization that helps provide disadvantaged youth an opportunity to help improve self esteem, learn discipline, respect, and encourage them to strive for excellence as students so they will attend college. During the school year, Stone of Hope Youth provides a Mentor Program for disadvantaged boys who lack positive male role models in their life.
After founding the Stone of Hope Youth program, Gonzales was approached about assisting with the Foster Project, an organization created by the National Music Education Alliance, with the purpose of assisting, mentoring, and providing resources to underserved communities. The Music Education Alliance started the program in hopes that it would inspire and create an incentive for educators, and their band programs, to create a positive environment for students within their programs. Gonzales was approached to become a mentor for other directors through the Foster Project, and now he is the Western Division Chair for the program.
Throughout his life, Gonzales has dedicated his time and energy into teaching and mentoring young minds through music. His next mission is to mentor more directors like himself into being positive forces for their students as well. Gonzales understands the importance of the connections that music can create and has dedicated his life to purposefully connecting with those around him. His biggest tip is, “find as many mentors as possible, and talk about the profession, and number one, talk about how you can influence kids, and be willing to change your mindset. Be better. Use people to help you with that, and to be honest with you.”
Music for All is proud to announce the launch of the Advocacy in Action Awards, a radically different call to action. This program will collect, share, and inspire “great ideas” for advancing music making in communities across the Nation.
Are you proud of what you are doing in your community to help advance your school music program? We encourage you to submit your ideas! Winning entries will be promoted at all Music for All programs.
• Fundraising & Sponsorship
• Recruitment & Retention
• Marketing & Promotion
• Parent & Booster Involvement
• Community Engagement
• Decision-Maker Interaction
Applications open May 1, 2018.
Please visit advocacy.musicforall.org for more information.
Music connects us. We all have stories about how high school band led us to make life-long friends, or how marching in a drum corps made the summer memories that will last a lifetime, and I am a part of that. Being a student in band in middle and high school led me to participate in marching band in college, and fueled my desire to stay in the music industry even though I was not majoring in music education. Through my internships in drum corps, I have met many people that continue being my colleagues, but most importantly, my closest friends, and one of them ended up being my husband.
I had been in band in high school, but had never heard about Drum Corps International, until 2008. That was the year that my mom sent my twin sister, Jennifer, and I to the Music for All Summer Symposium in Normal, Illinois. The great thing about camp is that there is a concert every night from a different music genre, and the Friday night concert was a DCI show. Well, after seeing the 2008 Phantom Regiment (Spartacus), my sister was hooked – she was going to march drum corps.
After 2 years of my parents paying for my sister to march corps, I wanted a turn. Except, I wanted to do something different. I knew I wasn’t going to major in music education in college, so I wanted to find a way to work on my degree, earning college credit through the summer months, and in the summer of 2012, I became an intern at Drum Corps International in Indianapolis.
I grew up in Illinois, so I thought a move to Indianapolis for a summer was going to be exciting! We had to find our own housing, but as a group of 6 interns, we all decided to live together. We found a place near the Speedway, and became fast friends. We would carpool to the office, go out to eat, and stay up late watching Say Yes to the Dress. When we started traveling to the shows together, I knew that this was a special group of people that had walked into my life. I was so lucky to be around so many different people that I continue to call my friends, but there is one friendship from that summer that is more important than the others.
Eric and I met that summer. He was a Business Development intern, from Wheaton, IL. We quickly bonded over the fact that we were both from the Chicago area, the similar drive to Indy, and most importantly Portillo’s. He quickly became my best friend and before I knew it the summer was over.
It may sound cliché’ – but the rest is history!
I went back to school, but we started dating that November. He came to all of the University of Illinois football games to watch me perform, and I went to Butler to see his Wind Symphony concerts and senior recital. We were dating and pushing each other to be the best versions of ourselves. He graduated in May of 2013, and was hired by DCI to work in their business development department working on the SoundSport and Drumline Battle programs. Although I was still in college, I wanted to continue gaining professional experience in this industry, so I went back to DCI to intern in 2013, and in 2014 I went on tour with the Madison Scouts as the marketing manager. Eric was there every step of the way, telling me that there were jobs in the music industry where I could use my degree.
In college, Eric was part of a music fraternity, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, and in April of 2015, he had gathered brothers together at UIUC, from both Butler and the University of Illinois chapters, to serenade me before he popped the question. We were engaged!
That May, I graduated with a degree in advertising, but I knew I wanted to do more with my education, so I enrolled in grad school at the University of Illinois to work on a degree in event planning and management. It was during that summer while I was at DCI that I found the internship program at Music for All. I applied to be in the Participant Relations department as a fall intern, and got the job!
That internship was the best thing for me. It allowed me to use all the communication and sales training from my undergrad while using the elements of my master’s degree that I was currently learning about. I continued traveling around the country helping to produce marching music events, and made many more connections. Fortunately, once my internship was over, I got hired into the department full-time.
Since then, Eric has volunteered for Music for All events and has joined our fall event staff as a member of the tabulation team. I continue to volunteer for DCI during championships every August, and this summer I am going on the road as a member of their ticketing team. Although we both travel a lot for work, volunteering for each other’s companies keeps us happily married. I feel so much support from Eric, not only emotionally, but also literally, while he is at Music for All events helping to unload the trucks, set up stadiums, and help my team do our jobs.
A passion for music led us to our internship back in 2012, and both of us have taken that passion for music, and made our careers in the industry. Music brought us together and continues to play a huge part of our marriage; being able to support each other at work is important to us.
Music for All’s efforts to create, provide, and expand positively life-changing experiences include awarding a number of scholarships each year. Check out the criteria for one of our scholarships below and apply by May 20, 2018.
Instrumental Merit Scholarships
Instrumental Merit scholarships for members of honor ensembles are now available for eligible students enrolling in the Concert Band, Orchestra, Jazz Band, or Concert Percussion divisions of the Summer Symposium.
For members of the 2017 or 2018 national honor ensembles, including the Music for All Honor Ensembles and ensembles like the GRAMMY Jazz Band, ASTA’s National Honor Orchestra, or NAfME’s All-National Honor Ensembles. Applies to registration for the following divisions ONLY:
For members of 2017 or 2018 All-State Band or Orchestra. Applies to registration for the following divisions ONLY:
For members of 2017 or 2018 All-City or All-District Band or Orchestra. Applies to registration for the following divisions ONLY:
How to register with an Instrumental Scholarship
L.J. Hancock Summer Symposium Scholarships
Honoring the life and work of L.J. Hancock (1952-2002), these scholarships benefit individual students with financial need who are interested in attending the Music for All Summer Symposium. It is the intent of The Music for All Foundation to provide scholarships of at least $100, but not more than $270.
The Tang Family Scholarship Fund
Created by Anthony and Megan Tang and is open to any student that will be attending the Music for All Summer Symposium. The scholarship selection committee will provide three full residential scholarships to high school and/or middle school students based upon an essay and director recommendation.
Indianapolis Public Schools Summer Symposium Scholarships
Each year the generosity of individual and corporate donors allows Music for All to extend the opportunity to attend Music for All's Summer Symposium to IPS students through full scholarships. Recipients are chosen by the staff and faculty of IPS Instrumental Music Programs. Contact David Newman, Indianapolis Public Schools, for more information.
Mark Williams Memorial Scholarship for Collegiates
The Mark Williams Memorial Scholarship Fund for Educators was created in honor of Mark Williams (1955-2008) to celebrate his life and work as a great educator, composer, and a beloved friend. The scholarship fund benefits music educators who are interested in attending the Music for All Summer Symposium but, due to financial hardship, cannot afford to pay the tuition and fees needed to attend this annual summer music camp. Scholarships are awarded on the basis of financial need. It is the intent of the Music for All Foundation to provide a full-tuition scholarship, plus a travel stipend of up to $500, to ONE collegiate interested in attending the Directors’Academy. Our hope is the scholarship program will help to ensure that the Summer Symposium is financially accessible for all participants.
Mark Williams Memorial Scholarship Fund for Educators
The Music for All Foundation is grateful to the family of Mark Williams (1955-2008), educator, composer and beloved friend, for their generous gift to endow five scholarships each year for the Music for All Summer Symposium. The scholarships were created to honor Mark's life and legacy and to provide a positively life-changing opportunity to educators who demonstrate financial need and wish to attend the Symposium to gain valuable professional development experiences. Scholarships are awarded on the basis of financial need. It is the intent of the Music for All Foundation to provide a full-tuition scholarship, plus a travel stipend up to $500, to FOUR directors interested in attending the Directors’ Academy. Only director’s at Title I schools (schools with an enrolled population of 40% or more students on free and reduced lunch) will be considered. Our hope is the scholarship program will help to ensure that the Summer Symposium is financially accessible for all participants.
We look forward to seeing you at camp!
If you’ll be in Texas this weekend, please come see us at the Music for All Booth #1148! Several of our staff will be available to speak with you, and we will also have materials available including the 2018 Bands of America Championship Schedule and Application, the 2018 Music for All Summer Symposium promotional materials, and application packets for the 2019 Music for All National Festival!
After you’ve stopped by, don’t forget to catch some of the clinics and presentations that are happening throughout the weekend. Below is a list of sessions and performances that are being presented by friends of Music for All!
WEDNESDAY, February 14, 2018
From the Top
8:00 p.m. Lila Cockrell Theater
THURSDAY, February 15, 2018
Conducting: A Hands-on Approach
10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. CC221
Anthony Maiello, George Mason University
Is UIL Enough? Documenting Student Musical Growth
10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. CC 302 AB
Keith Dye, Texas Tech University
The Method & the Maestro = Musical Success for Life
11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. CC Stars At Night Balroom 2-4
Tim Lautzenheiser, Ball State University, Vice-President of Education for
Conducting Nuances: Little Things Mean a Lot
1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. CC Stars At Night Ballroom 2-4
Anthony Maiello, George Mason University
College Student to Music Educator: The Transition Begins Now!
2:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. CC 302 AB
Keith Dye, Texas Tech University; Rodney Klett, Retired; Gerald Babbitt, Retired
Manage, Organize, Communicate
4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. CC 302 AB
Scott McCormick, National Association of Music Parents; Richard Saucedo, Conn-Selmer
Beginning Brass Instruction: New Ideas & Fresh Approaches
6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. CC 225
Keith Dye, Texas Tech University
University of Texas – Austin Wind Ensemble
8:00 p.m. -8:50 p.m. Lila Cockrell Theater
Jerry Junkin, Director
FRIDAY, February 16, 2018
Special Education Students in the High School Ensemble? Yes!
10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. CC 214 CD
Julie Duty, United Sound, Inc.
Recruitment and Retention, the Panacea to All Problems
10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. CC 303
Scott Lang, Scott Lang Leadership
How’s Your Conducting I.Q.? (Inspirational Quotient)
11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. CC Stars At Night Ballroom
Anthony Maiello, George Mason University
The Bocalphone: Fundamentals for Bassoon and Other Winds
11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. CC Stars At Night Ballroom 1
Doug Spaniol, Butler University
Make Beats in Your Browser: Free Teaching Tools by Ableton
11:30 p.m. – 12:30 p.m. Exhibit Hall Clinic Room
Serafin Sanchez, Ableton
What’s Right with Education? Music!
1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. CC 302 AB
Scott Lang, Scott Lang Leadership
Serious Score Study
2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. CC Stars At Night Ballroom 204
Anthony Maiello, George Mason University
Film Scoring & Sound Design with Your Students
4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. CC 210
Robert W. Smith, Troy Univ
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 17, 2018
All-State Mixed Choir
12:00 p.m. CC Stars at Night Ballroom
We hope to see you there!
Please join us in welcoming Conlon Griesmer to Music for All!
As Event Coordinator, Griesmer is responsible for assisting with the planning of all events, coordinating the volunteer program, managing vendor relations, event supplies and materials, and serves as the liaison for the “SWAG Team” of volunteers at the Music for All Summer Symposium.
Griesmer’s involvements with Music for All begin in 2014 as a volunteer for Bands of America Championships and the Music for All National Festival. He went on to serve as an Events Department Intern and remained with the organization as a seasonal event staff member before being hired full-time.
“We are beyond excited to have Conlon join the Event Team,” says Laura Blake, Director of Events. “He was a highly successful intern with Music for All while in college and we know that his skills, positive attitude, and enthusiasm will bring strength to the department. We are so glad he chose Music for All to start his professional career.””
Griesmer graduated from The University of Tennessee with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. While attending UT, he marched Sousaphone in the “Pride of the Southland” Marching Band. Griesmer is originally from Nashville, TN and attended Father Ryan High School. He was first introduced to Music for All when the Father Ryan H.S. Band, of which he was a member, performed in Bands of America Regional and the Grand National Championships.
Please join us in celebrating Emily Ambriz on her recent promotion to Marketing Coordinator!
As Marketing Coordinator, Ambriz’s responsibilities include email and social media campaigns; web, digital, and print, design; and marketing projects.
"Emily has been a valuable member of the Music for All staff this past year in a different capacity,” says Debbie Laferty Asbill, Vice President of Marketing and Communications. “It is a pleasure to bring her on board the Marketing team where her skills and passion for promoting Music for All’s message, programs, and events will continue to be an asset to the organization and our staff."
Ambriz joined Music for All in May 2017 as the Administrative Assistant/Receptionist. She graduated from Ball State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations with minors in flute performance, creative writing, and Spanish. Ambriz is originally from the Indianapolis area and is a proud alumna of Pike High School. While attending Pike, she was highly active in the performing arts department.
Congratulations to Emily on this much deserved promotion! We are thrilled that she will continue to help support Music for All's mission to create, provide, and expand postively life-changing experiences through music for all!