The Music for All Blog
The Music for All Blog
 

Finding the tune of my passion

I sobbed so much the first day of high school marching band and, after an interesting three-year journey, I now know that it’s what I want to do for the rest of my life.

When summer band camp started the summer before freshman year I was the new kid – terrified and alone. Day after day it was mentally and physically exhausting, maybe one of the toughest things I’d done in my life, and I hated it. As I began to let my guard down, I grew stronger, made friends and became more excited to play.

School started in August and with the new experiences I had over the summer I now looked forward to concert band during the week and marching band with football games or competitions on the weekends. Each day I spent as a musician I learned more. Not only did I gain knowledge about playing my horn and things such as tuning and rhythm, but I also began to learn how to be a dependable and think critically. School may have taught me English and algebra, but band taught me that my actions and performance in life directly affects others.

I grew tremendously as a person from freshman to sophomore year. I became a more reliable, forward thinking team player. Sophomore year stretched me even more. I began to learn how to lead as a musician and a person. I learned respect, when to lead and when to follow through my involvement with marching band, my school’s inaugural winter guard and the principal horn spot in the wind ensemble. That winter I had my first experience with Music for All when my wind ensemble went to National Festival. It truly showed me how amazing high school concert band could be and how music could bring people together. After seeing the Honor Band of America perform, I wanted nothing more than to play at that level of excellence.

IMG 3891MFA President and CEO, Eric Martin and Mikaela at the Music for All National Festival

After Music for All National Festival I auditioned for drum major. I thought I had the “cat in the bag,” but that dream ended when David, my director, explained that I needed to be mellophone section leader instead. He explained that the section needed someone strong, and he needed me to be that person, but though I was honored I was also disappointed because I didn’t get to lead in the way I wanted. I didn’t know it then, but his decision would mark a monumental change in my future with music.

Overwhelmed with the thought of leading my section during the upcoming fall, I looked to my past and present band directors as well as section leaders and I observed how they led. I realized that they were all passionate about music and people. They were discerning, decisive and weren’t afraid to apologize when they were wrong. They led fearlessly and by example.

I had the passion for music (I practically lived in the band room and loved it), I always had a passion for helping people, but I had no idea how I was going to attain the many other qualities of a good leader. After expressing my concern, my band director encouraged me to attend the Music for All Summer Symposium and leadership weekend. Attending gave me the knowledge, confidence and tools I needed to lead and the tools to put these new skills into practice. I returned home invigorated and ready to make a difference.

Starting with my high school’s band camp, I led the mellophones all of junior year. We tackled after-school rehearsals, long hours at weekend competitions and the dynamic that comes with any group that spends the majority of their free time together. I got to know my section as people began to understand how they learned best. I was their friend and cared for them, which made them willing to follow me. I was fearless, decisive, passionate, discerning and unafraid to apologize. I pushed them as a section and as people. Not only was I successful, but also I had the time of my life doing it.

During the fall of 2013 I realized that I love to teach. I applied play with the Music for All Honor Band of America and was accepted that December. Time flew until the National Festival in March where I got to perform with some of the most talented people of my life and under the direction of some of the most seasoned clinicians, including our amazing director Eugene Coorporon. I made valuable connections that I will continue to cherish in my professional career and I pushed myself to perform better than ever before. Mr. Coorporon taught me how to improve a group’s performance by only saying few, but well thought out, words and to believe in myself. That weekend was the best weekend of my life.

Again, Music for All had given me the capability to go back to school and use new skills to improve personally as a musician and as a leader for my classmates. I applied again for HBOA the next fall and also joined my school’s Serenade Ensemble, which would play at the first ever Music for All Chamber Music National Festival. In addition, I applied for the William D Revelli Memorial Scholarship thinking of the great moment when the winner at the previous year’s festival had received it.

A few months later I found out that I was going to receive the scholarship. I was honored and wanted to tell everyone, but I had to keep it a secret until it was announced.

Revelli Scholarship WinnerMFA Annual Fund Manager, Gregg Puls and Mikaela after she was awarded
the William D. Revelli Scholarship at the Music for All National Festival

Coming back to Indianapolis in March felt like going home. I reunited with old friends, met new ones and got excited to make some great music. Kevin Sedatole was a wonderful conductor for the Honor Band of America and my chamber ensemble performed with precision and true musicality.

All of my experiences with Music for All have confirmed my passion to become a music educator and I can’t wait to bring a band of my own to National Festival someday.

 

In celebration of Music for All’s 40th Anniversary in 2015, we are featuring profiles of music educators who have made a difference in Music for All and in band and orchestra education. In this post, we feature a band director who has had bands invited to five Music for All National Festivals, including the debut Festival in 1992.

40 for 40

How long have you been teaching?

This is my 37th year.

Where do you teach now?

In my 28th year at the University of Washington in Seattle;1983-1987, Montana State University; 1978-1983, Herscher H.S., IL.

Where did you go to college? What degrees do you earn?

I hold degrees from Wheaton (IL) College (Bachelor of Music Education), and Northern Illinois University (Master of Music in low brass performance), and studied privately with Arnold Jacobs, former tubist of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

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?”

If you drop a rock in the middle of the lake it takes a long time for the ripples to get to shore. Stay the course and be patient.

Tell us about your participation with Music for All and Bands of America.

TimSalzmanCamp

I was involved as the director of a competing high school marching band [while at Herscher H.S.], taught at the Summer Symposium, adjudicated both marching band Regionals and Grand Nationals and evaluated concert band festivals.

What are some of the highlights and memorable moments from your experiences related to MFA/BOA?

Winning the Summer National Championship in 1982 with the Herscher H.S. Marching Band. Herscher, at that time, was a town of 1,200 people, the school had about 700 students in it, 9-12. It was a lot like the basketball movie Hoosiers.

What would you like to see MFA focus on or accomplish in the next 40 years?

I’d like to see MFA help to prepare the next generation of music educators to be more intentional about connecting their students with deeply immersive experiences in art.

3Benefitsblog

After leaving a particularly electric clinic session with Larry Livingston at the 2015 Music for All Orchestra America National Festival, I caught up with my kids at the hotel. Many were sitting in the hallway after an intense day of early-morning traveling and all-day music making. I asked them, “Okay, tell the truth: what did you think of the rehearsal?” Thinking I was going to hear gripes and groans, I was taken aback by some of the candid answers I received: “That was the most emotional rehearsal I've ever been a part of.” “It was life-changing.” “I was reminded of why I like music.” The question we as educators often ask ourselves is, “Why bother traveling?” Traveling means more work, money, time, and energy. What are the benefits, and why should our groups take part? Here are three benefits to taking the plunge and taking your orchestra on the road:

1. A Fresh Approach

The orchestra world is small, and it is often easy for students to know exactly where they stand, especially compared to other programs in the region. With repeated exposure to the same small pool of ensembles, it's understandably easy for students to gain a “big fish in a small pond” mentality to their performances. Touring drops your fishy students into a nation-sized pond to see and hear groups they have never heard before. Hearing the best ensembles in the country can help give a great boost to a students' drive to practice, to improve, and to hear new music performed at a high level.

Rehearsals can be repetitive—we've all been there: you tell the students every day, “more bow here,” “use more bow,” “use the opposite of less bow,” “free the elbow,” “imagine the upbow is like lifting dead souls by their hair out of the River Styx, and the souls are all tall spartan warriors, so you have to really pull,” etc. Nothing seems to work. Then, a guest clinician says to the students, “Hey, you should probably use more bow here,” and suddenly the students act as if they've never before heard such divine words. Something often clicks by hearing a fresh voice, and it gets results. The MFA Festival team of clinicians—some of the best professionals in the country—works with your group and gets results, and the students often get feedback from peers at meals or student socials.

2. Helping Grow the “Orchestra Nerds”

Think back to your own middle school, high school, and college music experiences. What do you remember more clearly: the detailed process of your teacher tuning an important chord in a piece's climax, or So-and-So's wacky bus antics on a trip? Or do you remember bonding with a friend, or laughing at a joke in rehearsal? Hopefully we all have some fondness of our orchestra experience, and hopefully it was a combination of both musical and social enjoyment. To help students gain a positive musical experience, we use many tools and tricks of the trade everyday in the pieces we select, our rehearsal pacing, and the way we repeatedly make sure the kids sit up straight or hold their bows correctly. What are we doing that helps kids' social needs while building orchestral musicians? How are we helping grow “orchestra nerds”—kids that are so in love with orchestra that they don't want to leave our rehearsals? We can build memories that last a lifetime and provide social experiences that gel with a top-notch performing experience by traveling—not just a “field trip,” but a play-hard, work-hard performance tour.

3. Keeping Up with Other Areas

Orchestra programs historically have had smaller numbers than other music ensembles in schools. Part of our role in educating the next generation of musicians is to reach out and recruit as many personality types as we can. Marching bands and show choirs regularly travel and compete in festivals—it's part of their culture. Their activities make them visible. We have to work harder in this regard, since traveling is often not naturally built into our programs. We typically don't have a “pep orchestra” to send out during basketball tournaments. We probably won't flaunt matching sequin dresses for our choreographed dance numbers. With visibility brings recognition; with recognition, support, and with better support usually comes more funding, more students, and better music making. So feel free to siphon that sequin budget into your travel funds and take your concert group on the road!

– Dan Whisler, Director of Orchestras, Youth Performing Arts School, Louisville, KY 

The 2015 William D. Revelli Scholarship was awarded to Mikaeka Ray of Franklin High School in Franklin, Tennessee on Saturday, March 12th during the Gala Awards Banquet at the Music for All National Festival in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Revelli Scholarship WinnerMusic for All Annual Fund Manager Gregg Puls and scholarship winner Mikaela Ray

This annual scholarship of $1,000 was created in memory of Dr. William D. Revelli, one of America’s finest and most accomplished conductors, to help one graduating high school senior each year that is performing at the Music for All National Festival study music education at the university level. Each recipient is chosen based upon his or her academic, musical and community service accomplishments, a personal essay written about music education and a nomination from a his or her band director.

“This was my third year at the Music for All National Festival and it is an honor to receive this scholarship after witnessing several of my role models receive it in years past,” said recipient Mikaela Ray. “I look forward to the day when I can bring my own ensemble to the festival and give them the same positively life-changing experience that I’ve had.”

Ray is a two-time Honor Band of America member who has performed in the National Concert Band Festival and the Chamber Music National Festival. She is the principal horn and section leader in her high school’s band and is passionate about helping others realize their musical potential.

Since each recipient must intend to pursue a degree in music education, this scholarship has become an extension of Music for All’s mission to create, provide, and expand positively live-changing experiences through music for all. Music for All also offers opportunities for students, parents, and directors to perform and improve their musical and leadership skills through its workshops, competitions, festivals, and honor ensembles.

Music for All will continue to offer this scholarship in future years and encourages all qualifying students to apply. The application for next year’s scholarship will be released in late 2015.

 

Learn more about the William D. Revelli Scholarship and other Music for All scholarship opportunities.

Download the official press release.

eggsRichard L. Saucedo, Mark Jolesch, Dr. Nicholas Valenziano, Remo D. Belli and MFA President and CEO, Eric Martin

Music for All inducted four industry leaders into the 2015 Bands of America Hall of Fame: Remo D. Belli, Richard Saucedo, Mark Jolesch and Dr. Nicholas Valenziano. These new members were inducted on Saturday, March 14th in a ceremony at the Gala Awards Banquet at the Music for All National Festival in Indianapolis, Indiana.

The Bands of America Hall of Fame recognizes individuals who have had a positively life-changing impact on Music for All’s Bands of America programs and music education. 2015 inductees were announced in the evening of Saturday, November 15th, during the opening ceremonies of the 2014 Bands of America Grand National Championships, presented by Yamaha, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Music for All will induct these newest members into the Bands of America Hall of Fame on Saturday, March 14, 2015. They will be permanently recognized in the Bands of America Hall of Fame at Music for All’s Indianapolis headquarters, along with all the BOA Hall of Fame members inducted since the first in 2003.

Remo D. Belli

Remo D. Belli is the Founder of Remo Percussion Products and a long-time Bands of America supporter and sponsor. Belli founded Remo, Inc. in 1957 and continues to serves as its Chief Executive Officer. Remo, Inc. offers drumheads and related products. Its products include drum sets, world percussion, ergo-drum systems, educational products, kids’ instruments, sound shapes, crown percussion, and accessories. The company offers its products through dealers internationally. Remo, Inc. was founded in 1957 and is based in Valencia, California. For over 50 years, Remo has constantly and consistently broken new ground when it comes to industry firsts.

Remo, Inc. and its founder and namesake have been a sponsor and supporter of Bands of America and music education for more than two decades. Beyond creation of the world’s finest drumheads and other percussion and rhythm accessories, Mr. Belli and his company explore and lead the connection between human healing, wellness and therapeutic mind and body rhythm.

Richard L. Saucedo

Richard L. Saucedo is Director of Bands and Department Chairman (Emeritus) at the William H. Duke Center for the Performing Arts at Carmel High School in Carmel, Indiana, having retired in 2013 after 31 years of public school teaching. Under his direction, Carmel bands received numerous state and national honors in the areas of concert band, jazz band and marching band. Under his direction, the Carmel Wind Symphony has performed three times at the Bands of America National Concert Band Festival, performed at the Midwest Clinic and was named an Indiana State Champion. The Carmel Marching Band finished in the top ten at the Bands of America Grand National Championship for 15 consecutive years and was named BOA National Champions in 2005 and 2012. His marching bands were Indiana Class A State Champions four times and he was named Indiana Bandmasters Association’s “Bandmaster of the Year” for 1999 and “Outstanding Music Educator” for the state of Indiana in 2010, by the Indiana Music Educators Association.

Mr. Saucedo remains active and engaged with Bands of America and Music for All serving as an Educational Consultant, Coordinator for MFA’s jazz programming and a Chief Judge for Bands of America fall programs.

Mark Jolesch

Mark Jolesch revolutionized the art of group and candid event photography for scholastic marching bands. As founder of Jolesch Photography and its successor Jolesch Enterprises, Mark and his companies have been capturing images and providing life-long commemoratives of Bands of America events since 1982. Through the years, Mark and his organizations have captured more than a million group and candid images of Bands of America participants and events that literally “tell the story” of scholastic band in America. His success at Bands of America events was the springboard that launched and made Mark Jolesch and Jolesch Enterprises the leading national group photographer for high school bands, collegiate ensembles, colorguard, percussion and drum corps.

Mark’s contributions to Bands of America go well beyond the capturing and distribution of cherished photographic commemoratives. The Mark Jolesch Scholarship at Grand Nationals has meaningfully contributed to the education and training of young men and women who are today successful music educators. In addition to these contributions, Mark and his team have been fiscal, operational and strategic contributors to Music for All’s and Bands of America growth and development as an organization.

Dr. Nicholas Valenziano

Dr. Nicholas Valenziano is the Former Executive Director and Director of Education for Marching Bands of America and was instrumental in developing Bands of America’s presence in its early years.

In 1978, Dr. Nicholas Valenziano succeeded Gary Beckner, becoming (Marching) Bands of America’s second Executive Director. Nick came to Marching Bands of America in 1975 as its first Educational Director and served in that role until his elevation to Executive Director, a position he held until 1981. A childhood friend and band mate of BOA founder Larry McCormick, Nick “bought into” Larry’s dream that is Bands of America. His presence and engagement provided leadership, legitimacy and character to the vision, without which foundation might call into question Bands of America’s and Music for All’s survival and evolution through the years.
Dr. Nick Valenziano received his Bachelor of Music degree from DePaul University, a Master of Music degree from Northwestern University and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Missouri. In addition to his work at Bands of America, he spent more than 35 years as a music educator at the elementary, high school, and college levels and twelve years in the music industry, before he retired in 2001. A consummate musician, Nick remains active as a professional player and conductor in his “retirement” home of Grand Rapids, Michigan.

In celebration of Music for All’s 40th Anniversary in 2015, we are featuring profiles of music educators who have made a difference in Music for All and in band and orchestra education. In this post, we feature a band director who has had bands invited to five Music for All National Festivals, including the debut Festival in 1992.

David Maccabee: United Township High School, East Moline, Illinois

DavidMaccabee CroppedDavid Maccabee is currently Director of Bands at United Township High School in East Moline, Illinois, a position he has held since 1986. He previously taught in the Geneseo and Nokomis, Illinois school systems. At United Township High School, he is director of all instrumental music ensembles, including Concert Band, Symphonic Band, Marching Band, musical pit orchestra, and pep band. During Mr. Maccabee’s tenure, enrollment in the UTHS Band program has grown from 100 to nearly 200 members.

He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from Augustana College (IL). He received his Master’s Degree in Music Education from VanderCook College of Music Education in 1989.

Mr. Maccabee is a frequent guest conductor, clinician, and adjudicator throughout the United States. Mr. Maccabee has also served the Illinois Music Educator’s Association as Division Chair, All-State Auditioner, and member of the IMEA Mentoring Council. He is a member of the National Band Association where he currently serves as state chair for Illinois. In 2014, Mr. Maccabee was named “Bandmaster of the Year” by the Illinois chapter of Phi Beta Mu. He was the first recipient of the “Dr. Victor Zajec Award,” given to him in recognition of the United Township High School Symphonic Band’s performance at the 1998 Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic.

Q&A

Tell us about your participation with Music for All and Bands of America?

We participated as one of eight bands in the very first National Concert Band Festival at Northwestern University back in 1992. We also participated in the National Concert Band Festival in 1995, 1997, 2001, and 2008. Our marching band was a semi finalist back in 1997, and we participated in regional Bands of America events back in the 90’s as well.

What are some of the highlights and memorable moments from your experiences related to MFA/BOA?

maccabee paynter fest92During the first National Concert Band Festival I had an extended conversation with William Revelli. I learned a lot, especially about programming and literature. It was a very moving, memorable moment watching Fred Fennell working with the very first Honor Band of America back in 1992. Former students of mine who were in that band still talk about that experience. Many of the evaluators from the National Concert Band Festival have become trusted friends and colleagues. I continue to learn and be inspired by these people to this day.

What is one thing you’d say to a new band director who asks you “what is the one thing you wish someone had told you just starting out?”

You will touch more lives than you can imagine. Being a band director, your life will impact your students, their families, their extended families, the entire school including fellow staff members, custodians, bus drivers, the administrative staff – everyone. The community you work in will be profoundly touched by your work as well. Understand that your role as a music educator has meaningful impact far beyond your classroom.

What do you like to see Music for All focus on or accomplish in the next 40 years?

I hope Music for All will continue to hold their name “Music for All” as a guide for their whole mission. I fear that music education could become music for the “haves and have nots.” I hope “Music for All” will continue to reach and support all of us, regardless of our resources, in our efforts to make quality music education available to all schools.

Thank you to Scott Lang for sharing this BIG announcement!

Side note...

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.

Logos

 


We're going to recruit and retain 1,000,000 kids in music!


Whew, that felt good to get off my chest.

bpotm logo 1A 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.

Scott Lang signautre

UnitedSound

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

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