The Music for All Blog
The Music for All Blog

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Music for All is proud to announce its partnership with FloSports and the launch of FloMarching, a new site dedicated to covering the world of competitive marching bands and the marching arts.

Beginning this fall, FloMarching will live stream all 21 Bands of America marching band championships, including all Regionals, Super Regionals, and Grand Nationals, America’s the largest and most prestigious national high school marching band event. In addition to live streaming and event coverage, FloMarching will produce an educational series designed to enhance and compliment Music for All's educational programming.

The live streams will be available to FloPRO monthly or yearly subscribers.

"We are delighted to partner with FloSports, a leader in live sports production and storytelling, to further our vision of affording every child across America the access and opportunity to engage in active music-making in an educational environment,” Music for All President and CEO Eric Martin said. “This endeavor combines Music for All's decades-long leading-position in school music education and performance opportunities with FloSports' pioneering approach in media. Our partnership will allow us to tell our participants’ stories and expand our vision to a vastly larger and broader audience.”

“We’re proud to launch FloMarching and announce our partnership with an outstanding organization in Music for All,” FloSports co-founder and CEO Martin Floreani said. “There's a massive, passionate community that already exists here. We’re excited to help grow their sport and feed their passion with a level of coverage that’s simply unprecedented in marching arts.”

In addition to its event coverage, FloMarching will produce original documentaries on the marching arts elite ensembles, designers, educators and performers, as well as technique videos from expert instrumentalists and marching instructors.

Festival Blog

Fifty orchestras, chamber ensembles, concert bands, and percussion ensembles have been selected to perform at the 26th annual Music for All National Festival, presented by Yamaha, March 9-11, 2017 in Indianapolis. Ensembles were selected following a recorded audition process.

The Music for All National Festival is a non-competitive event, showcasing outstanding high school and middle school music ensembles from across the nation. Participating ensembles will perform in concert and to be evaluated by renowned music educators. The ensembles also participate in master classes and special events.

The Festival comprises the National Concert Band Festival; Sandy Feldstein National Percussion Festival; Middle School National Music Festival; Chamber Music National Festival; and three national honor ensembles: the Honor Band of America, the Jazz Band of America, and the Honor Orchestra of America. The Music for All National Choir Festival will launch the following year in 2018.

The selected ensembles in 2017 hail from 16 states:


Bridgewater-Raritan Regional High School Symphony Orchestra - Bridgewater, NJ; Daniel Musacchio
Nashville School of the Arts String Orchestra - Nashville, TN; Glenn Fugett
North Cobb High School Chamber Orchestra - Kennesaw, GA; Paula Krupiczewicz
Oscar F. Smith High School Chamber Orchestra - Chesapeake, VA; Deanna Kringel

Percussion Ensembles

Cook Middle School Percussion Ensemble - Houston, TX; Michael Dick
Dueitt Middle School Percussion Ensemble - Spring, TX; Tamara Williams
Franklin High School Percussion Ensemble - Franklin, TN; Michael Holland
Kiski Area High School Percussion Ensemble - Vandergrift, PA; Chad Heiny
Langham Creek High School Percussion Ensemble - Houston, TX; Marshall Thomas
Legacy High School Percussion Ensemble - Broomfield, CO; Clayton Stansberry
Mt. Lebanon Senior High School Percussion Orchestra - Pittsburgh, PA; Richard Minnotte
Mt. Lebanon Senior High School Concert Percussion Ensemble - Pittsburgh, PA; Richard Minnotte
Randolph High School Percussion Ensemble - Randolph, NJ; Thomas Murphy
Richland High School Percussion Ensemble - North Richland Hills, TX; Jason Bird
Sherman High School Percussion Ensemble - Sherman, TX; James Smith

Middle School Bands

Cook Middle School Symphonic Winds - Houston, TX; Michael Dick
Doerre Intermediate School Symphonic Band - Klein, TX; Matt Fehl
Dueitt Middle School Symphonic Band - Spring, TX; Christopher Gonzales
Indian Springs Middle School Wind Ensemble - Keller, TX; David Puckett
McAdams Junior High Honors Band - Dickinson, TX; John Hinojosa
Running Brushy Middle School Honors Band - Cedar Park, TX; Van Robison
Salyards Middle School Symphonic Winds - Cypress, TX; Joe Glass

Chamber Ensembles

Bellbrook Middle School Bassoon Quartet - Bellbrook, OH; Barbara Siler
H.B. Plant High School Trumpet Ensemble - Tampa, FL; Brian Dell

Featured Bands

Bridgewater Raritan High School Wind Ensemble - Bridgewater, NJ; Thomas Bourgault
Centerville High School Wind Symphony - Centerville, OH; Brandon Barrometti
H.B. Plant High School Wind Ensemble - Tampa, FL; Brian Dell
Heritage High School Wind Ensemble - Ringgold, GA; Blair Callaway
Hoover High School Symphonic Winds - Hoover, AL; Ryan Fitchpatrick
Kalani High School Wind Ensemble - Honolulu, HI; Dennis Kaneshiro
Legacy High School Wind Ensemble - Broomfield, CO; Clayton Stansberry
Liberty High School Wind Ensemble - Colorado Springs, CO; Genice Matzke
Naperville North High School Symphonic Wind Ensemble - Naperville, IL; Daniel Moore
Oakton High School Symphonic Band - Vienna, VA; Jamie VanValkenburg
Richland High School Honors Band - North Richland Hills, TX; Jason Bird
Southside High School Wind Symphony - Fort Smith, AR; Sean Carrier
Stadium High School Wind Ensemble - Tacoma, WA; Adam Morrell
Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology Symphonic Wind Ensemble - Alexandria, VA; Adam Foreman
Victor J. Andrew High School Wind Symphony - Tinley Park, IL; Mark Iwinski
Willis High School Wind Ensemble - Willis, TX; Chris Allen

Invited Bands

Belleville High School Symphony Band - Belleville, MI; Nicholas Taylor
J.E.B. Stuart High School Wind Ensemble - Falls Church, VA; Brian Thomas
John Champe High School Wind Ensemble - Aldie, VA; Jonathan Phillip
Langley High School Wind Symphony - McLean, VA; Doug Martin
Lewis-Palmer High School Wind Symphony - Monument, CO; Kevin Whitelaw
Morton High School Wind Ensemble - Morton, IL; Jeff Neavor
Mt. Lebanon High School Wind Ensemble - Pittsburgh, PA; Jason Cheskawich
Nashville School of the Arts Wind Ensemble - Nashville, TN; Glenn Fugett
West Orange High School Wind Ensemble - West Orange, NJ; Lewis Kelly
Westfield High School Wind Symphony - Chantilly, VA; Alan P. Johnson

Honor Ensembles

The Festival also includes three national honor ensembles. Michael Colburn, Butler University, will conduct the Honor Band of America. Jeffrey Grogan, Education and Community Engagement Conductor, New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, will conduct the Honor Orchestra of America. Michael Tomaro, Duquesne University, will conduct the Jazz Band of America.

High school-aged musicians can still apply for the 2017 Honor Ensembles – the final application deadline is October 1, 2016 for the Honor Band of America and Jazz Band of America and November 1 for the Honor Orchestra of America Strings. Learn more about the Music for All National Festival Honor Ensembles.

Fundraising Logo

Krispy Kreme Doughnut Corporation, one of the world’s most beloved brands, has partnered with Music for All to enhance lives by sharing the joy of Krispy Kreme’s products and fundraising programs with the communities at the heart of what they do.

For more than 60 years, Krispy Kreme Fundraising has assisted organizations across America raise millions of dollars. Krispy Kreme has more than 1,000 stores globally. Krispy Kreme’s corporate offices are in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, home to one of Music for All’s Bands of America Regional Championships for marching bands at Wake Forest University on October 15, 2016.

Krispy Kreme’s engagement supports all Music for All events, programs, and music education advocacy initiatives, including its Bands of America Regional and Super Regional Marching Championships, Bands of America Grand National Championships, Music for All National Festival, and the Music for All Summer Symposium.

In addition to the stores and grocery items for which Krispy Kreme is famous, Krispy Kreme FUNdraising offers profitable, fast, simple and affordable ways for groups to fundraise. “It is important to Krispy Kreme to give back to our communities,” says Michelle Cole, Director for Fundraising at Krispy Kreme. “We want to help student groups in our communities be successful, and Krispy Kreme FUNdraising provides a simple and fast way for them to raise funds. We love working with school groups, and our partnership with Music for All is a powerful way we can help create success stories for school music programs.”

Music for All’s mission is to create, provide and expand positively life-changing experiences through music for all. Its vision is to be a catalyst to ensure that every child has opportunity and access for active music-making in his or her scholastic environment. Music for All pursues these goals through its 30+ educational programs and performance events across America, and its music and arts education advocacy efforts.

More than 450,000 student musicians, family members, teachers, and supporters attend Music for All programs and events each year. “School music and arts programs typically attract and engage more curricular and co-curricular students than any other academic or scholastic experience,” says Eric L. Martin, President and CEO of Music for All. “Fundraising is a critical component of the success model of nearly all school band and orchestra programs, supporting the educational and student performance experiences and community engagement. Music for All is thrilled to welcome Krispy Kreme Doughnuts to our family of sponsors and excited to help share its FUNraising commitment and program with our participants.”

For more information on Krispy Kreme and Krispy Kreme FUNdraising, please visit




We are proud to announce that we have officially confirmed John Clark Stadium for the 2016 Bands of America Regional at Dallas/Ft. Worth

The Regional Championship will be on Saturday, October 8th.

This will definitely be an exciting show. Purchase your tickets online here.

See the full 2016 schedule.

VFEditorialMFA 72dpiMusic education surely is a demanding career. Do we need any obstacles to make it harder? How about if I told you that there is significant data and articles supporting the argument that marching band causes hearing loss? Does that seem too strong of a claim? The fact is, those claims are being made and that really is something we all ought to be seriously concerned about!

As musicians, there may not be anything more important than our hearing. At Vic Firth we have long believed that hearing protection is of crucial importance to musicians of all ages and disciplines. We have a responsibility to the musicians we serve – whether they are behind a drum set, on a football field, or in a concert hall.

Expanding upon our highly successful line of isolation headphones, we have now designed new High-Fidelity Earplugs in collaboration with Etymotic Research; some of the brightest minds in the field of professional hearing protection. With the portability of this product, it is very easy to use for all participants in marching band, drum corps and indoor marching percussion to practice and perform, safely. With such a product, we are able to better promote the importance of hearing protection among young musicians and music educators.

Learn more at


"The VAE Rehearsal System is outstanding – my students can actually experience playing in a performance environment: maintaining rhythm, tuning and pitch across the band," explains Joel Ashbrook, Band Director at Central High School in San Angelo, Texas.

Ashbrook chooses different acoustic settings to work on improving balance and precision with his students. He believes the VAE technology is a great teaching tool.

Before Central's band room was renovated, Ashbrook found it challenging to instruct students effectively about attacks, releases and articulation. Like most school rehearsal rooms, Central's was acoustically dry, lacking any resonance or ambiance. The VAE Technology now provides alternatives.

"If I know our marching band is playing at a large football stadium, I'll select the sports arena setting," Ashbrook states. "It improves precision, balance and blend issues, such as from the percussion battery to the upper brass."

The custom setting enables Ashbrook's groups to play every day in a hall that sounds like the stage they'll compete on. "That can't help but give us an advantage," he notes.

Ashbrook considers the VAE technology's record-playback function extremely beneficial to learning. "It's been an eye-opener for my students. I might explain something a thousand times, but hearing it makes the light bulb go on.

"The VAE Rehearsal System really helps my day-to-day teaching," explains Ashbrook. "Initially I thought the system was just a way to show students how they would sound onstage. But as soon as I was given a demo, I realized how I could use it as a teaching tool."

Visit Wenger at

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Yamaha is proud to offer a number of used drumlines along with individual marching snares and multi-toms. Whether you are a high school looking to replace an older drumline or a student looking for a custom marching in a custom color, Yamaha has a number of options that fit a variety of needs.

Click here to see a complete list of both used drumlines for your program as well individual marching drums.

Check back often for the latest specials.

The United Sound National Ensemble, comprised of 98 students from across the U.S. who are involved in their school's United Sound program, performed at the 25th Annual Music for All National Festival during the Honor Band of America concert on March 12 in Indianapolis.

video unitedsound thumbMusic for All is a proud sponsor of United Sound. United Sound operates as a mentorship program that pairs New Musicians (those with special needs) with Peer Mentors to learn to play an instrument of their choice and perform together in concert once a semester. The organization is also dedicated to providing educators with the tools for creating their own United Sound ensembles through training, support, and organizational resources.

The United Sound National Ensemble performed the world premiere of Richard Saucedo's new composition, "A Celebration for My Three Best Friends," commissioned in honor of the ensemble and their first performance at the Music for All National Festival.

"The opportunity for United Sound students to perform on the national stage with some of our country's finest music educators and student musicians is truly an honor, " said United Sound Founder and Executive Director, Julie Duty. "As we work together to include all children in music, we believe that performances like this are the first step in truly making music for all. "

"Music for All was thrilled to include this ensemble on the National Festival stage," said James Stephens, Director of Advocacy and Educational Resources. "It was an incredible and memorable experience for performance and audience members alike."

Music for All is a proud sponsor of United Sound.

Watch the video feature on the United Sound National Ensemble from the Music for All National Festival.


Four years after the inception of Be Part of the Band, Be Part of the Orchestra and Be Part of the Music were launched in 2015. The newest part of the program is Stay In Music, aimed to speak to teens, their parents, and stakeholders.

Be Part of the Music is a K-12, cross-curricular band, choir, and orchestra recruitment and retention solution. There are currently 33 videos and 52 supporting documents on the site, which have been viewed in all 50 states and 10 countries. Flash drives with program resources are also available.

Stay In Music is the most recent launch. "We took the successes of our previous resources and gave them a powerful and sleek new look that’s sure to resonate with teenagers and their parents," said Scott Lang, creator of Be Part of the Music.

The Be Part of the Music project is made possible generous support of corporate partners Music for All, Yamaha Corporation of America, American String Teachers Association, Jupiter Instruments, NAfME, and St. Louis Music.

Learn more about Stay in Music.

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Like a Bird Without Wings

Written by

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Music, Arts, Education, and History

A Story as Told by the National Mall in Washington, DC
As interpreted by Robert B. Morrison

It had been an incredibly invigorating week in Washington DC and my mind just would not turn off. More than seventy music and arts education advocates had been convened by the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) for their annual "fly in." This was a chance to meet with our members of Congress to help advance arts education in the United States.

Between the training and events, food, more events, music, more food, press conferences, fabulous speakers (The legendary Congressman John Lewis, Former Secretary of Education Richard Riley, Yankee Legend Bernie Williams, Political Pollster Charlie Cook, Actor Doc Shaw and Opera Star Carla Dirlikov), did I mention food - we had been busy.

On our first evening together, Congressman John Lewis regaled us with stories from his youth in Troy Alabama. He spoke of raising chickens, segregation, and his calling to the civil rights movement. He spoke of Selma and Dr. King. Of the violence in the south to the historic moment on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, and the famous words… "I have a Dream."

He then looked up at all of us and stated:

"Without Music, the civil rights movement would have been like a bird without wings."

It would take some time for the gravity of those words to truly sink in.

On Wednesday, we culminated our time together by spending the day lobbying for music and arts education with our congressional leaders and then celebrating at a reception overlooking the U.S. Capital Building.

After two days of meetings and making the case for music and arts education with our nation's leaders the excitement and adrenaline rush would just not subside. I was back at my hotel (on New Jersey Avenue no less) and I just could not sleep. As the night wore on I tossed and turned. A brief doze here and a short one there. By 5:30 AM I had had enough. Determined to do something useful I decided I would go for a walk/jog (to work off some of the food, of course).

Seeing that we were only a few blocks from the National Mall I decided to shun my hotel treadmill routine, put on my shorts, workout shirt and sneakers and headed down to Constitution Avenue where I entered the mall at the very foot of the capitol steps. I decided to walk from the Capital to the Lincoln Memorial and back then head to Starbucks for my morning green tea.

As I entered that great green lawn of the National Mall my brain was still on overload with thoughts racing by a mile a minute. I decided to shun my routine of listening to music to just walk/jog in silence so I could take in the sights and sounds as I tried to organize the jumble going on inside my head.

My family and I had lived in Northern Virginia twenty years ago. We had been on the National Mall dozens of times for fun and dozens more for work. This time, something was different.

What stuck me immediately was something I had never seen or heard at the Mall. SILENCE! There were no cars, no tourists, no mega buses, no joggers, no construction, no whistles, no families with pets or kids running across blankets.

The place was empty.

Not one person appeared for as far as I could see. It was like having the entire National Mall all to myself! Then I noticed some sounds. What was that? Birds! They were chirping from the forest of trees that line both sides of the Mall and with their call they invited me to see our nations capital through a new set of eyes.

I began my walk toward the Washington Monument and my frenetic brain activity began to organize itself… almost as if this great historic national park was calling to me eager to share a story… so I listened.

As I traversed the Mall I passed the National Museum of Art on one side and the Air and Space Museum on the other. Places that celebrate both our creativity and imagination that literally transcend both time (centuries!) and space (on our own planet and beyond). On my left appeared the National Museum of the American Indian and the celebration of the history and culture of this continent's great native people. Next came the Hirshhorn Museum which houses so many great works of contemporary art.

I continued on, passing on my right the National Museum of Natural History with our nation's natural wonders and then to the National Museum of American History filled with our man made wonders and home to that most iconic of all flags, the Star Spangled Banner; the flag that flew high over fort McHenry signaling the country had survived the night in what could have been the downfall of the fledgling republic in September of 1814, and the inspiration for what is now our national anthem.

A musical and artistic theme was starting emerge in my mind. This idea of the connection between music and arts education and our great national history began to reveal itself to me as I passed the National Museum of American History was fitting since this is also the home to one of the great musical instrument collections.

Just past the Museum of American History and rising from the Mall to my right was the still under construction museum of African American History and Culture… the soon to be home for cultural icons like Louis Armstrong's trumpet, Chuck Berry's car and Leadbelly's songbook.

From there I went to the Washington Monument and thought about the man who was our greatest Army General and our first President. I thought of fifes and drums calling our Revolutionary soldiers to battle under his command. I also thought of his duets playing the flute with his granddaughter. I looked to my left to see the Jefferson Memorial and the silhouette of the statuesque Jefferson in the soft gray morning haze of the Potomac. I thought of him playing his violin and the importance he placed on the arts in his own life.

I turned to my right to see the south portico of the White House which brought back the memory of its first inhabitant, John Adams. His voice was suddenly in my head:

"I must study Politicks and War that my sons may have liberty to study Painting and Poetry Mathematicks and Philosophy. My sons ought to study Mathematicks and Philosophy, Geography, natural History, Naval Architecture, navigation, Commerce and Agriculture, in order to give their Children a right to study Painting, Poetry, Musick, Architecture, Statuary, Tapestry and Porcelaine."

- Letter from John Adams to Abigail Adams, post 12 May 1780

And then I remembered my own experience sitting under a huge white tent on the south lawn of the White House in the fall of 1999 where I was executive producing a live Concert for Music Education. My good friend and colleague Joe Lamond (NAMM CEO) was in the tent with me. President Clinton climbed upon the stage to tell HIS story of the important roll of music in his life and then uttered these words historic words:

"I would not have become President if it were not for my school music teachers."

As this phrase and the southern drawl through which they were replayed faded from my memory I continued from the Washington Monument staring out to the Lincoln Memorial to see nothing between us… no people or noise… just some ducks, their ducklings and this story our National Mall was committed to telling me.

I entered into the reverent World War II Memorial and was awestruck by its beauty. The fountains were running, breaking the silence of the dawn. Iron wreaths hung over each pillar in tribute to every state and territory. I went to the left center pavilion constructed to honor the war in the pacific. I passed the inscription honoring Pearl Harbor and then entered the pavilion and stood in awe of the massive eagles holding a horizontal wreath above my head. I then looked below to see the inscription "Victory on Land, Victory in the Air and Victory at Sea." It was here that I heard the words of Winston Churchill. During World War II, Britain's finance minister recommended to Winston Churchill that they cut arts funding in order to better support the war effort. Churchill's reply was clear and to the point:

"Then what are we fighting for?"

I then continued on my journey toward the stoic statues of the Korean War Memorial slogging through the muck and mire to my left and the elegant angled black marble wall paying tribute to those who fought and died in the Vietnam War to my right.

Indeed… what are we fighting for?

I walked along the reflecting pool and started to contemplate my journey this week. I then came to the Lincoln Memorial and started to climb the steps. As I reached the top of the steps I passed through those huge marble columns and entered the Memorial to look at President Lincoln in complete and total peace and quiet. No people, no sounds, no crowds. I read the inscription over his head. And then turned to my left to read the poetry of the Gettysburg Address chiseled into the white marble wall.

I walked back out between those same marble columns and looked out upon the still empty vista, across the vast reflecting pool to the Washington Monument and Nation's Capitol in the distance beyond. I stood on the place where Martin Luther King stood some 50 years prior. Where his noble Lieutenant John Lewis stood by his side.

I felt a shiver.

And then, finally, the scramble in my brain started to make sense.

You see, John Lewis stood before us just three days earlier… himself a living statue to the great struggle for civil rights. He was a partner with Dr. King and is now a sitting Congressman from Georgia. He spoke about the struggle for civil rights, his life growing up in the segregated south, his efforts to raise chickens and his struggle to raise his people.

Reflecting on his past, his own place in history and this specific moment in time he uttered those words:

"Without Music, the civil rights movement would have been like a bird without wings."

The words came back to me and hit me hard as I stood on that spot, Dr. King's spot, John Lewis's spot on the Lincoln Memorial.

What this great National Mall had revealed to me on this morning, the sense it had made of my scrambled brain activity was this:

Our collective national, state and local efforts on behalf of music and arts for everyone are connected in real and meaningful ways to the through lines of our great national history.

We are just one small part of a much larger continuum; we are fulfilling the desires and dreams of our both our founding fathers and world leaders of our recent past that traverse across our history for centuries with a centrality to our humanity I had not really understood before.

The Mall reminded me how we had new icons in our midst as we tackled the current educational challenges of our time — From Congressman Lewis who spoke on our first night, to Bernie Williams (former Yankee now suiting up for the music and arts education team) who walked the halls of Congress with us. And sitting with us through it all, advising and counseling us throughout the week was the person I have placed on my own personal Mount Rushmore of individuals who have gone above and beyond for music and arts education, Former Secretary of Education Richard Riley. He is the man who when he had the chance showed true leadership by making music and the arts a core subject in federal law some twenty two years ago.

All of us who gathered in Washington, and indeed the thousands of people back in their own homes who advocate for music and arts education are just the current keepers of the flame… working to keep the dreams of our forefathers alive by protecting and advancing the right of this and the next generation of citizens to a complete education that includes music and the arts and to whom we shall pass this torch for them to carry on for the next.

We are building our chapter of this larger story and have been given great gifts of support, information and guidance to make a difference in Washington and our own communities right now.

We are the keepers of the flame handed down from our forefathers.

Our job, our obligation, and yes our duty is to not let them down.

About Robert B. Morrison