The Music for All Blog
The Music for All Blog
 

This summer, 1,700 student musicians and directors will travel from across the country to “America’s Camp,” the Music for All Summer Symposium presented by Yamaha. One road, in particular, will provide the path for select educators and students from urban city centers to experience the Symposium. Interstate-65, one of the major U.S. highways that travels right through the heart of Indianapolis, will bring together 34 students and 12 teachers from 9 districts along the corridor to take part in an exciting new initiative: the Interstate-65 Corridor Project.

Directors and students from the Corridor will have the opportunity to network, share ideas and resources, and participate in special workshops as part of this unique experience. The newly formed Music for All Urban Education Advisory committee has developed a specialized curriculum geared towards growth and opportunities for these participants, with topics such as team-building, collaboration, and strategic planning.

About the “I-65 Corridor Project”

Music for All, with the generous support of the Country Music Association Foundation, has launched this initiative as the first step towards serving urban music education on a national level. The goals for this initiative include increasing support and fostering positive opportunities for these programs, as well as decreasing barriers often present in core urban school communities like those found along the Corridor.

The I-65 Corridor was chosen for this initiative based on existing relationships with Indianapolis Public Schools, observed challenges and achievements in communities along the Corridor, and Music for All’s organizational capacity to effectively engage new communities in our programming. By providing guidance and ongoing professional development to these music programs, Music for All hopes to enhance musical instruction and performance-based achievement, which will help us realize our ultimate goal of helping build self-sustaining music programs in these communities.

About the Urban Education Advisory Committee

In order to ensure that the efforts of this initiative are relevant and engaging, Music for All has assembled an Urban Education Advisory Committee, a team dedicated to the strategic planning and facilitation of all efforts related to the I-65 Corridor Project. The Committee is composed of six distinguished music educators and industry leaders who not only have experience working with programs similar to those along the Corridor, but also have been recognized as competent music educators, innovative thinkers, and facilitators of comprehensive educational programming. The committee is excited to work with directors and students in the I-65 Corridor Project during the Summer Symposium and throughout the academic year. The team is comprised of the following music education consultants:

  • William J. Earvin, Baker HS, Director of Bands – Baker, LA
  • Zachary Harris, William-Carey University, Assistant Professor of Music Education – Hattiesburg, MS
  • Sybil James, Willowridge HS, Director of Bands – Houston, TX
  • Tim Linley, Dallas Independent School District, Director of Visual & Performing Arts – Dallas, TX
  • Myran Parker-Brass, Boston Public Schools, Executive Director for the Arts – Boston, MA
  • Ayatey Shabazz, Devmusic Publishing Company, LLC, Founder/President & CEO – Biloxi, MS

Student Success From Day One

Tuesday, 08 May 2018 16:09 Written by Emily Ambriz

Vandoren has been the preferred reed of professionals since 1905. However, during much of this time beginning students have often had to resort to inexpensive, lower quality reeds to save money. With Vandoren’s introduction of JUNO reeds in recent years, beginning students are finally able to enjoy that trademark, unparalleled Vandoren quality from their first note at an affordable student price.

Designed specifically for beginners, Vandoren JUNO reeds are designed with a special cut that provides young players with everything they need to hit the ground running – immediate response, easy articulation, and a warm, round sound right from the start. Instead of fighting against their reeds, JUNO allows kids to do what they want to do most – PLAY!

“My students have been very successful on JUNO reeds!  The ease of playing with these reeds allows students to focus on other concepts that we're building upon in rehearsal, without sacrificing quality of sound.” – Chris DiMassimo, beginning and Middle School Band Director

Vandoren is keenly aware of the musical needs of young musicians, and is extremely proud to offer a variety of products appropriate for each stage of their development. Most students who begin with JUNO will move to professional Vandoren reeds as they develop.

JUNO reeds are available for Bb and bass clarinets as well as alto and tenor saxophones.

If your students love music, encourage them to discover the world-class education available at Ball State University.

Recognized for its national leadership and innovative programming at both the graduate and undergraduate levels, Ball State’s School of Music prepares students for a wide range of careers. Students are challenged academically as well as musically, mentored by faculty while they develop their skills, deepen their artistry, and experience all the School of Music has to offer.

Students also can perform with award-winning ensembles, develop recording engineering and songwriting skills, compose music for a variety of performers and media, or prepare to teach in today's music classrooms.

More than a dozen performance groups are open to Ball State students, including the 65-member Ball State Symphony Orchestra, the “Pride of Mid-America” Marching Band, and Ball State Basketball Band. Students can audition for a spot with the Ball State University Singers, or join the Statesmen or Women’s Chorus, open to any singer, no audition required.

The School of Music offers five majors and eight minors for undergraduates; two master’s degrees; a doctor of arts; an artist diploma; and an undergraduate certificate, graduate certificate, and doctoral secondary area of study in entrepreneurial music.

Take a virtual tour of the campus at youvisit.com/tour/bsu. Learn more by visiting bsu.edu/music or calling 765-285-5400.

Copy of InternSpotlight Bailey 

What is your hometown? City, State.

New Palestine, IN

Where did you go to high school? Where did you go to college and when did you/will you graduate?

New Palestine High School
Ball State University : Graduated December of 2017

What is your major/degree?
Major: Public Relations
Minor: Marketing

What is your musical background? 
I have been involved in choir as long as I can remember. At Ball State I was a four year member of the Ball State University Singers and served as the Company Manager this year.

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What has been your favorite part of this internship experience?

The favorite part of my internship was the opportunity to attend and work at the Music for All National Festival. I enjoyed listening to various ensembles and appreciate the many talented students who attended.

What is an interesting fact about you?

I am traveling to London, England on May 12!

Who are your top three favorite artists? This could be any genre of music.

One Republic, Ben Rector, and Keith Urban

One thing you couldn’t live without?

My family

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What do you like to do in your free time?

I enjoy hanging out with my friends, singing, and eating.

What are you currently reading?
101 Secrets For Your Twenties

Do you have a favorite quote?

“Happiness is not by chance, but by choice.” – Jim Rohn

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What's a show you've binge watched recently?

Parks and Rec, New Girl, and Westworld

Favorite movie not many people have seen?

She’s All That

 

Music for All Welcomes Two New Board Members

Tuesday, 01 May 2018 14:53 Written by Lucy Wotell

Music for All has elected two new members to its Board of Directors: John Pollard, Hurst, Texas and Kathy Pitts, Greenwood, Indiana.

John Pollard has been involved with Music for All programming for more than two decades, serving as an announcer for Bands of America Championships and for the Music for All National Festival. He also served as a drum line coordinator at the Music for All Summer Symposium, and as a percussion coordinator for the Honor Band of America at the Music for All National Festival and the inaugural Bands of America Honor Band in the 2005 Rose Parade®. From 1997-2005, John was an Associate Director of Bands at L.D. Bell High School, alongside Music for All’s current Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Jeremy Earnhart.

“For over 30 years I have witnessed the profound and positively life-changing experiences created and provided by Music for All” says John Pollard. “I am humbled and honored by my election to the Board of Directors, and working to expand the reach of this amazing organization.”

Outside of his devotion to Music for All, John is the United States Director for Crafted By Infinity Diamonds of Antwerp, Belgium, a specialized producer of the world’s most high-performance diamonds. He oversees all United States operations and finances. He is also an announcer for Colorado’s State Marching Championships and various other pageantry events; and has written for Percussive Notes and Drum Corps World, and has a collection of percussion solos published through Row-Loff Productions.
Kathy Pitts is a certified public accountant, and previous employee for major corporations such as Shell Oil, General Motors, and Anthem. During her tenure with these companies, Kathy managed accounting and project teams, process
improvement plans, and acquisition consolidation plans. She worked in accounting firms, applying the strengths built in her previous work at these large corporations to provide management support and process improvement plans for her clients. Eventually, Kathy found her passion for non-profit management and joined her client GEO Foundation (located in Indianapolis) on a full-time basis, where she currently serves as the Chief Accounting Officer.

“I am honored and flattered to have the opportunity to serve Music for All and its incredibly valuable mission,” says Kathy Pitts. “It will be a pleasure to work with the impressive directors and staff. Having been the beneficiary of a strong music education environment in my youth, I recognize the important life lessons and bonds that are created by the music programs supported through Music for All.”

Kathy is a lifelong lover of music and had the privilege of playing the clarinet at Greenwood Community High School, under the direction of Herman Knoll. Kathy resides on the north side of Indianapolis with her husband, attorney Rick Pitts, and is a graduate of Butler University.

“I am pleased to welcome John Pollard and Kathy Pitts as the newest members of the Board of Directors for Music for All,” says Gayl Doster, Chairman of the Music for All Board of Directors. “Both bring a wealth of knowledge and experiences to Music for All that will be helpful to the future of the organization.”

StaffSpotlight Jessica

Hometown: Terre Haute, IN

How long have you been with Music for All?
Three Months

What has been your favorite part of working at Music for All?
My favorite part of working at Music for All has been experiencing the passion and dedication that everyone has for the mission of Music for All.

Do you have a favorite memory of working an event with Music for All?
In my short time with the organization, my favorite memory so far has been hearing the Honor Orchestra of America perform at the Music for All National Festival.

Staff Spotlight 3

What is your musical background?
I’ve played the flute for over ten years! I’ve played in marching band, orchestra, wind symphony and flute choir. I majored in Music Business at Indiana State University where I continued my musical studies.

One thing you couldn’t live without?
Coffee and cats

What kind of music do you listen to?
I listen to everything! I really love Lana Del Rey, Meghan Trainor, Ariana Grande and Bruno Mars. I also listen to a lot of musical soundtracks.

What do you like to do in your free time?
I like to go hiking and canoeing when the weather is nice. I also like to paint and draw typography. But most often I like to hang out with my cat Darcy and watch Netflix :)

What are you currently reading?
Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

Staff Spotlight 1

Do you have a favorite quote?
“There’s the whole world at your feet. And who gets to see it but the birds, the stars, and the chimney sweeps.” -Mary Poppins

What's a show you've binge watched recently?
Gilmore Girls always, but recently I’ve been watching the Netflix Original, A Series of Unfortunate Events.

Favorite movie not many people have seen?
Lady Bird

Educator Spotlight: Chris Pineda

Friday, 27 April 2018 13:22 Written by Caroline Voelz

Educator Spotlight ChrisPineda

Chris Pineda
Director of Bands, Liberty Junior High, in Richardson, TX

Chris Pineda understands the importance of music education in historically underserved student populations. He shares his thoughts on how schools like his can continue to improve their programs and community they serve.

Chris Pineda was the youngest of five kids in an active, athletic family. “All of my siblings were varsity athletes, and in fifth grade I raised my hand when they asked who wanted to join band, and I came home instituted with a tuba,” Pineda said. He was fortunate to have the ability to participate in sports and band all the way through high school which lead him to pursue a career in music.

Pineda was the first person in his family to attend college after receiving a full music scholarship from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX to study tuba performance. During his senior year at SMU, he was accepted to the Cincinnati Conservatory to obtain his Master’s in Performance. To reach the required number of credits to be a full-time student Pineda enrolled in a music education course with Lynn Jackson. Due to the class and teaching private lessons throughout his college career, Pineda realized he enjoyed teaching more than playing. He decided to decline the offer from Cincinnati and stay at SMU for his Master’s in Music Education.

After obtaining his master’s degree, Pineda received the job of Assistant Director at Liberty Junior High in Richardson, TX. During his second year at Liberty Junior High, he was named Head Director. “I was a second-year teacher with a first-year teacher as an assistant, so it was kind of like the blind leading the blind through those first couple of years,” Pineda said, “we worked really hard to develop the positive culture in the band program and in the community.”

Pineda believes the Liberty Junior High band program has become successful due to many factors. One of those factors is the support that has been provided through initiatives like the Dr. William P. Foster Project. Pineda says, “Most schools aren’t getting any richer, and I’m so glad to see there’s a proactive approach and people are joining forces because that’s just utilizing more resources.”

A partnership including The College Band Directors National Association, Music for All, and the National Band Association made the Dr. William P. Foster Project possible. This initiative recognizes quality programs serving historically underserved student populations. The Dr. William P. Foster Project also incorporates a mentor program including many peer consultants who are committed to connecting with individual teachers leading band programs in underserved schools and communities. It also provides music educators with successful teaching materials to reference.

“I find myself fortunate that in my position I did have mentors and guidance, and I had people to reach out to,” Pineda said, “But, there are a lot of teachers out there that might feel they’re on an island and need someone to support them.”

Along with mentors and support, Pineda also has had prior experience walking the halls of a historically disadvantaged populated school. “My parents didn’t have a lot of money, and joining the band program not only opened doors that were closed, it opened up doors that I didn’t know were there,” he said. Pineda is passionate about providing those same opportunities to his students who might be in a similar situation as he was. He had no idea what raising his hand in fifth grade to play the tuba would do for him, but it paid for college and led him to his future career in music education.

Music for All is proud to be a part of the Music Education Alliance, alongside the College Band Directors National Association and the National Band Association. Learn more about the Alliance and its William P. Foster Project at musicedalliance.org.

 

InternSpotlight Bailey

What is your hometown? City, State.

Lebanon, IN

Where did you go to high school? Where did you go to college and when did you/will you graduate?

Lebanon High School & Indiana University (will graduate May 2018)

What is your major/degree? 

Major: Arts Management
Minor: Music

What is your musical background? 

In high school I played bass clarinet in our Wind Ensemble and Tenor Sax for Marching Band and Jazz Band. I also participated in Musicals, Concert Choir, and Show Choir, and continued singing in college.

What has been your favorite part of this internship experience?

So far my favorite part of interning was getting to see the first ever Music for All National Choir. As someone who has loved singing their whole life it was amazing to be present for that concert and watching singers from across the country come together for their love of music.

What is an interesting fact about you?

I’ve been to the Czech Republic, Poland, and the Netherlands and will be travelling to Israel, Switzerland, and France this summer!

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Who are your top three favorite artists?

Adele, Bruno Mars, and Eric Whitacre

One thing you couldn’t live without?

Dogs

What do you like to do in your free time?
I enjoy hanging out with my friends, getting to know people, going to performances, and trying new things.

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What are you currently reading?

If You Really Loved Me by Jason Evert

Do you have a favorite quote?

“Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it's better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.” – Marilyn Monroe

What's a show you've binge watched recently?

Scandal

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Favorite movie not many people have seen?

Zombeavers… It’s a terrible scary movie but my friends and I love to watch it!

Going Beyond the Grade

Monday, 16 April 2018 19:50 Written by Chris Gleason

by Chris Gleason

Instrumental Music Educator at Patrick Marsh Middle School, Sun Prairie, Wisconsin

“OK class, today is practice chart turn in day.” Audible groans and murmurs came from the band. As I began collecting the monthly practice charts I noticed Spencer writing “20 minutes” in every box on the chart. I moved in on his position like a stealthy cougar ready to pounce. With a triumphant “A Ha!” I snatched his paper and told him to follow me into my office. I immediately picked up the phone and called his father. “Mr. Williams, I just witnessed your son filling out his practice chart and forging your signature.” With little hesitation, Mr. Williams responded, “No, I filled it out and signed it this morning.”

How could this be possible? The child was lying and so was the father! My first instinct was to dock both Spencer and his father 10 points for a committing a crime against musicianship. Instead, I took a long hard look at what I was doing to create an environment in which kids lied about practicing and parents covered it up.

After many years of making mistakes, reflecting, and reading, I have come to a few conclusions:

1) Grades tend to diminish students’ interest in whatever they’re learning.
2) Grades create a preference for the easiest possible task.
3) Grades tend to reduce the quality of students’ thinking.1

So how do we get students to stop focusing on the grade? How is assessment different than evaluation? What role does assessment play in my classroom?

CHANGING THE NARRATIVE

The word “assessment” has been used in different ways throughout the years. Regardless of the exact definition, the word has become toxic in education. Visions of long standardized, multiple-choice tests flood the minds of students when the word is evoked. Similarly, educators think of testing that in most cases does not reflect what is most important in their classrooms. Tainted with the view that everything worthwhile can be measured and reduced to a number, educators pressed for data have to battle an inner war of both valuing assessment and discouraging it. We need to take back this term and use it for good in our classrooms. Assessment plays a critical and vital role in the education process.

WHAT IS THE ASSESSMENT PROCESS?

Gathering Information: Assessment simply is a strategy for gathering data that is directly linked to your outcomes. The Assessment Process includes three steps (as seen in the figure below). The first step is to assess or gather information about learning. To be honest, as educators we are always assessing students. In fact, it is impossible not to assess learners just as it is impossible to stop assessing internal things such as hunger, mood, energy level, etc., or external things such as temperature and light. We are always taking the “pulse” of the class and individual students in an informal sense just as we are gathering in data about student performance, knowledge, and desires, beliefs, and connections. The key to the gathering stage is to consider what information is important since there is so much of it. It is very easy to get swallowed up by the data or to get lost in less-than-important facts and numbers. What educators need to ask themselves is “What question do I want answered?” and “Do I have a tool to capture or gather the information?”

Evaluation: The second step in the Assessment Process is evaluation. Evaluation is defined as the process of analyzing or interpreting the data. When analyzing or interpreting the data we often compare the results to a set standard, others or ourselves. As most researchers would tell you, one data point does not provide a tremendous amount valid data. Acquiring data over time can help to identify trends yielding a clearer picture of stability, growth or decline. The question is how to collect reliable data over time and deciding what to compare it to.
Act: The third step in the Assessment Process is to act. Based on the assessment and evaluation several possible actions could result including (but not limited to) grades, reflections, strategy modification, etc. It is important to note that assigning a grade is only one of the many actions that could take place. Moreover, assigning a grade or number may be the least significant action to affect student learning. For example, you finish rehearsing a technical passage with your clarinet section and ask, “Clarinets show using your hand a number between 1-5 as to how proficient you are playing that passage.” This “data” can help inform you and the student if a sectional (or some other strategy) is needed. It doesn’t mean that you should grab a grade book and jot down responses.

assessmentprocess

HOW DO WE ASSESS?

Summative: Start with your outcome as this is the destination. Ask yourself:

  1. What evidence is needed for me, the student, and others to conclude that the student has made it to the outcome? Does the assessment(s) that I have created really answer this question?
  2. How much choice or autonomy does the student have in determining how they will show understanding?
  3. What tool could be used to clearly communicate different levels of achievement? Also, do the students have input into creating this tool?

Diagnostic: Next, consider where your students are starting. Ask yourself:

  1. What knowledge, skills, or experiences do your students already possess? How could I find this information out?
  2. Where will you begin so that you are capturing the majority of your class? For those students who do not fit into this box, what strategies do you have to support them? How can you identify these students?
  3. How can you avoid the “curse of knowledge”? In other words, educators sometimes gloss over things that come easy to us. We need to have empathy for our new learners.

Formative: Great news! Every strategy you create for your classroom is already a formative assessment. The key is craft creative, varied, and rich strategies that lead to your outcome. Ask yourself:

  1. What strategies will be best suited for student self-assessment?
  2. What strategies will be best suited for peer assessment?
  3. What strategies will be best suited for teacher assessment?
  4. For all of the above - what strategies would best be saved or documents (formal) versus just observed or “taken in” (informal)?
  5. What tool could be used to clearly communicate different levels of achievement?

TEACHER, TAKE HEART!

Courage is necessary when assessing students. The wise teacher knows that they will learn a lot about themselves and about education from their students. True authentic assessment means to take a look at what is working and what is not working. When a class does poorly on a task is this a reflection of the teacher, the class, or a bit of both? It takes courage to look at the “data” and evaluate what went wrong. Often times, if an entire class does poorly it is mostly a reflection of the educator picking too difficult a task or not sequencing and layering skills/knowledge to get to the benchmark. Teachers with an open mindset will learn from this, reevaluate, and try a new approach. Teachers with a closed mindset will blame the students and refuse to look at their own teaching as the potential problem.

CONSIDER THIS...

• What and how we assess points to what we value. What we spend time and effort assessing ultimately tells our students what is most worthwhile about their experience in our classroom. We can speak about the importance of creativity, critical thinking, internal motivation, and process over product, but do these values shine when it comes to the assessment going on in your classroom? Do you assess what is easy to measure or what is actually most important? Do you utilize progressive teaching practices, but then run out of time for any meaningful feedback? Could your students explain your classroom assessment process to their parents?

GOING BEYOND THE GRADE

I embrace the belief that teachers can de-emphasize grades, while building intrinsic motivation when we promote autonomy, mastery, and purpose. For example I have my students take ownership of quarterly reflections and individualized self-assessments that are based on rubrics created by the student and teacher. Parents rave over the quality and depth of the multifaceted report that includes both student and teacher comments. I engage students’ distinct and diverse interests and intelligences by using authentic summative projects that are presented in a video prior to performances (or as we call them, “informances”). I educate students about their brains and myelin. Instead of demanding practice charts, I teach the value and characteristics of deep practice. I also teach the value and necessity of mistakes, something too often stigmatized in our product-focused education system.

As Ken Robinson stated in his 2013 Ted Talk about the growth of the human mind, “Curiosity is the engine of achievement.” We need to harness the research and strategies to create schools that spark children’s imaginations. As music educators, let’s take back the term “assessment” and use it to help our students achieve and succeed.

[1] Kohn, A. (2011, November). The Case Against Grades. Educational Leadership.

 

Chris Gleason is an instrumental music educator at Patrick Marsh Middle School in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. He is the 2017 Wisconsin Middle School Teacher of the Year and the first Wisconsin teacher to be named a finalist for National Teacher of the Year in 50 years. Chris is the recent recipient of the UW-LaCrosse Burt & Norma Altman Distinguished Alumni Award, 2017 GRAMMY Music Educator Award semifinalist, 2016 Michael G. George Distinguished Music Education Service Award and 2018 National LifeChanger of the Year Award nominee. Chris is also a Teacher Leadership and Engagement Specialist with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

Educator Spotlight: Rodney Dorsey

Friday, 06 April 2018 09:35 Written by Lucy Wotell

Rodney Dorsey’s method of teaching includes building connections and meaningful relationships with his students, and being able to recognize music and people individually to see how they are bridged together.

Born and raised in Gainesville, FL, Rodney knew from a young age that he wanted to go into the education field. He realized the importance of teaching after witnessing the impact his mother, a Family and Consumer Science teacher, had on her students. Rodney then found his talent in music and began to play the clarinet.

“I think there was a subconscious message that teaching was important. I thought I wanted to play clarinet and I made a shift to teaching. I thought I wanted to be a band director and majored in Music Ed.”

He received his Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Florida State University. Following his graduation, Rodney began his first teaching job in Tallahassee at Rickards High School. Being so close to Florida State, he was able to expose his students to quality music-making, while still having a close, personal connection to his alma mater.

After teaching at Rickards for three years, Rodney received his Master’s degree in Conducting at Northwestern University. After graduation, he continued his teaching career in Georgia and in Florida.

Rodney eventually went back to Northwestern for his Doctorate in Conducting, and then taught at DePaul University in Chicago for five years. After another teaching opportunity in Michigan, he eventually ended up as the Director of Bands at the University of Oregon where he currently teaches.

He is passionate about the bridge between people and music, and when music transcends the group or instrument. Rodney is also very adamant about building connections with his students.

“I just don't think it works well if they are just a nameless face. There's a limit, but I think students in our classes need to know we care about them and care about what they do beyond band or orchestra.” He urges his students to listen to a variety of music, and pays great attention to the verbal and non-verbal cues of his students: “not just what they play, but what they’re saying to you.”

Rodney’s hope is for people to see past the music. “I think competition does this to us because we worry about the things that are objective, the things that are clearly definable, observable, quantifiable. Are the fronts of notes together? Are the backs of notes together? I think we forget to ask what does the music say or what does the music have the potential to say? It's that thing of a great musician, they're a great musician and they just happen to play trombone.”

Rodney attributes his successes to the support of his parents and uses that by being a role model that influences and supports his students.

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