The Music for All Blog
The Music for All Blog

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On Saturday, close to 500 hundred students arrived at Ball State University to begin the Leadership Weekend Experience! Students began with an opening session featuring Fran Kick, moved on to break-out sessions and small group sessions and finished the evening with a rousing keynote from Dr. Tim. Following the keynote, students were treated to a surprise party to cap off an exciting day! 

Students received Leadership Weekend T-Shirts and markers and began signing each other's shirts while dancing to tunes spun by DJ Blitz (aka MFA Senior Marketing Coordinator Erin Fortune). By signing these T-shirts, students are commemorating their Leadership Weekend experience and creating lasting connections with fellow campers. 





















The Leadership Weekend Party is a long tradition at the Summer Symposium, and while the returning Leadership students likely remember the party from previous years, it was a complete surprise to first-year attendees. The SWAG Team and DTAs (Directors' Track Assistants) chaperoned the party, and even got in on some of the dancing! 





















At the end of the party, campers left to their dorms for the evening with new leadership skills, t-shirts full of signatures and inspiring notes and memories that the students will keep for a long time.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Leadership Weekend Day 1 Photo Stream

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Check out the photos from the first day of the Leadership Weekend Experience!

If the photo stream above is not viewable for you, try this link:
Friday, June 13, 2014

MFA Staff Profiles – Molly Miller

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Molly Horizontal
Name: Molly Miller   

Position: Event Coordinator

Hometown: Lexington, KY

How long have you been with MFA?

I was a Seasonal Event Coordinator in the fall of 2011 and returned full time in April 2013.

What is your educational background?  Where did you go to school, and what did you study?

I graduated with a BA in Arts Administration from the University of Kentucky in 2011. Though I grew up with a music background, I became interested in art history in college and ended up graduating with a focus in Art History and minors in Music History and Music Theory.

What is your musical background?  (What instruments have you played? Played in groups or bands? Just enjoy music in general?)

I played the piano for about nine years growing up, but in the sixth grade I picked up the flute, which ended up being what I stuck with through college. I’ve played with ensembles of all shapes and sizes- concert bands, orchestras, community bands. However, marching band was always my favorite!

What kind of music do you like to listen to?

As my Spotify followers can attest, my taste in music is very broad. I’m talking Iggy Azalea to They Might Be Giants to Patty Loveless kind of broad. However, music with bluegrass roots and a modern feel is what I’d say I listen to the most. My current playlist is full of Punch Brothers, Sundy Best and the new Nickel Creek album. I like Chris Thile, can you tell?

Why is music important to you?

Music was always a big part of my upbringing- I have early memories of singing and playing music at church and family gatherings, but mostly just around the house. You know how some people just ‘get’ math or chemistry? Well, I certainly wasn’t one of those, but music- specifically music theory- always came naturally to me. Music will always be the thing that makes sense to me when everything else doesn’t. (Is that on a bumper sticker yet? It should be.)

Why do you believe in music education?

One experience that was instrumental in shaping my education was attending the Kentucky Governor’s School for the Arts in 2006. The summer music program immersed me in a community of artists and lead me to my future career path of Arts Administration. Now I feel lucky to go to work every day for an organization that provides similar experiences for thousands of students from across the country every year.

What sort of things do you do in your free time (hobbies)?

I currently serve on the board of the Central Indiana UK Alumni Club as well as the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of Indianapolis, so a lot of my free time is spent coordinating fundraisers and networking events for those organizations. However, if it’s basketball season, you can probably find me at a sports bar cheering on my Kentucky Wildcats!

(Career path) What led you to Music for All?

When I graduated from UK in May of 2011, I interned with the Kentucky Governor’s School for the Arts that summer before picking up and moving to Indianapolis to work for Music for All during the fall season. Once I got settled in Indianapolis, I realized it was the place for me! I started a position at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis the week after my contract with Music for All ended in November of 2011. In April of 2013, I accepted an offer to return to MFA full time and just celebrated my one-year anniversary.

What do you enjoy the most about working for Music for All?

I’d have to say the most rewarding part of my job is the opportunity to give back to an organization that provided me with such positive experiences as a student. Reminding myself that someone else’s hard work is what allowed me those opportunities is what gets me through those long event days.

The best part about the day-to-day, though, is definitely my co-workers. A lot of the time it feels more like a big family or group of friends who get to hang out and be productive together five days a week, which makes me feel incredibly blessed.

What is your favorite Music for All event, and why?

This is a tough one! Now that I’ve gone through every event, I think Summer Symposium is my all-around favorite. It’s so rewarding to see the bonds that are created in just a week between students from across the country. However, Grand Nationals will always hold a special place in my heart—it’s an incredible feeling to be on the field during our Finals awards ceremony.

What’s one interesting thing about you that some may not be aware of?

I can speak Italian! My last semester of college was spent studying abroad in Florence, Italy. I was there for about five months, studying art history and giving tours of the San Lorenzo cathedral. It was an incredible experience and I can’t wait until I get the chance to visit again.

Are you Ready

The Music for All Summer Symposium is almost here and now is the time to make sure you have everything in order and ready to go so that you can have an amazing camp experience! I of course can't get ready for anything without a list (I probably have 10 of my own Summer Symposium lists!) so I thought I'd share a list of 10 things to do to make sure you are ready! So here we go:

10. Make sure you have filled out all of the necessary forms

Have you paid your registration balance? Have you completely filled out the medical information forms and waivers? Early departure forms? Make sure you have completed all of these before you arrive at camp so that you can sail through registration and get right to the fun parts of camp! (Need to fill out some of these forms? You can find them here.)

9. Review all of the Summer Symposium Pre-Camp Communications

These pre-camp communications contain vital information regarding expectations and other important information that students need to know in order to make the week a success. If you need to find out about early departures, if your track requires a placement audition, what to wear for the final performance, how to send mail/packages to camp, camp rules, etc - it's all in the pre-camp communications! (Not sure if you received the pre-camp communications? No worries, you can find all of that here.)

8. Secure transportation

If you are driving, make sure you know your way and leave yourself the proper amount of time so that you are not late for the start of camp (especially if your track requires onsite auditions!) If you are flying to camp, make sure you have all of our itinerary set and have made shuttle reservations.

Not sure that you want to drive or fly to camp? Music for All has teamed up with some awesome music educators and has developed bus routes from areas around the country. Follow this link to find our what routes are available and for more information on how to "get on the bus":

7. Review Packing Lists

You want to be completely prepared for camp so you won't have to worry about anything besides having a great time, making new friends and learning all you can from the amazing educators that you will be working with! So, make sure that you review the lists of items you need to bring to camp. Your final camp communications packet contained a general list of items that ALL campers need to bring, as well as track specific lists. If you missed it, don't worry, you can find that complete list here. Just make sure you scroll all the way down that page and check the track specific lists as well! (Some tracks have specific attire required for the final performance, so make sure you make note of that!)

6. Purchase Anything You Still Need

Do you need to stock up on sunscreen or need a couple more pairs of shorts to make it through the week? Make sure you know (before the night you are packing!) what items you might need to run to the store to purchase. Nothing is worse than putting off your packing until midnight the night before you are leaving, and then realizing you need to run to the store for something on your packing list. Trust me, I've done this too many times to count, and I curse myself everytime! Learn from my mistakes, review your packing list and make your own list of "things to purchase" the weekend before you need to pack! Save yourself (and your parents!) the last minute "oh no, I forgot we didn't have any _____" stress.

5. Pack

It sounds very simple, but like I said before, don’t wait until the last minute to do your packing. It is important to not forget a single thing and to prepare for the worst. This means packing extra socks, rain gear, backup reeds, and anything you think you may need during the week. You never know what the weather will bring, and sometimes that air conditioning in the rehearsal rooms is chilly! Make sure you have plenty of layers and anything you need to make yourself comfortable that might not be on the "must bring" list that we have provided! The first day of Summer Symposium is a long one, so you don't want to be up until 2am the night before still packing!

4. Make Family Day Plans

There are great activities for families to be involved in at the MFA Summer Symposium, so make sure your family knows about them and makes plans to join in on the fun before you leave! There's an opening parent welcome session at 1pm on Monday, June 23rd. There's a Parent Sessions and Breakfast on Saturday, June 28th followed by all of the awesome final performances and a fun family picnic! You can read more about these family friendly activities here and make reservations to join us!

3. Follow Music for All on Social Media

If you do nothing else on this awesome list, you should at least do this one! I'm not just saying that because I happen to spend a lot of time working on great social media updates and love to see people enjoying them... okay well maybe I am! But truly, whether you are going to be at camp, your son or daughter is at camp, your best friend is at camp, or you are sitting at home wishing you were at camp, you'll want to follow our #mfacamp coverage online and be a part of the action! We will be posting to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and of course blogging our way through the week. If you are posting about camp, tag your posts with #mfacamp and join the conversation! Click on the links below and like/follow away!

2. Practice Your Audition Materials

Some tracks will have auditions directly following registration, so if you will be auditioning, make sure you have taken the time to practice and learn what you need before you get to camp! Not sure if your track requires auditions? You can find this information in your final pre-camp communications packet (Are you sensing a pattern here?). If you aren't sure, you can find audition information here.

1. Get Ready for the Best Week EVER

Prepare yourself for having a fantastic and unbelievably exciting week because you are going to have one! Know that your family back home (and everyone at camp!) are supporting you. Even if you are a little nervous about being away from home for the whole week, just know that you will have a great time and learn so many new things. Remember to have fun, bring your positive attititude and open mind, make some friends, and you'll go back home with lots of stories to share! In fact, I'm pretty sure that when 3pm on Saturday rolls around, you aren't even going to want to leave! 

I hope that this list has helped you think about some of the things you need to take care of as you prepare to head to camp. If you start your planning now, you have plenty of time to get everything ready and be stress-free when you start your travels to Muncie, Indiana. Have a great beginning of summer and we will see you very soon!

It's Throwback Thursday and we are taking you back to 2001 at the MFA Summer Symposium! We all know that Tower's rhythm section lays down a groove like no other band! We were incredibly lucky to have them as our guests at the Summer Symposioum, performing for one of the best audiences out there – our Summer Symposium campers!
While we don't have Tower of Power this year at the Summer Symposium at Ball State, we do have a pretty awesome evening concert line-up!
Monday, June 23: Yamaha Young Performing Artists

Tuesday, June 24: Atlantic Brass Quintet
Wednesday, June 25: Big Bad Vodoo Daddy
Thursdsay, June 26: Christian Howes and Southern Exposure
Friday, June 27: DCI Central Indiana
Learn more about the 2014 MFA Summer Symposium Concert Series here
Thursday, May 29, 2014

Throwback Thursday: #BOAThrowback

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For this week's Throwback Thursday we decided to do something a little different and feature YOUR BOA Throwback Thursdsay photos, so we asked our friends on Twitter to share their #BOAThrowback photos with us. We are happy to report that we got a great response, and have some awesome and fun photos to share.



Want to see more #BOAThrowback photos? Check out the complete feed here:

Please join us in welcoming our newest member of the Music for All Marketing Team, Mackenzie Ziegler! We are very thankful to have Mackenzie joining us this summer as we prepare for Summer Symposium this June! You'll definitely be hearing more from Mackenzie throughout her semester here with us, but in the meantime, let her introduce herself to you!


My name is Mackenzie Ziegler and I am the new Marketing Intern here at Music for All. I am a senior (yikes!) at Butler University majoring in Arts Administration Music with a minor in Strategic Communications. Essentially, I am double majoring in business administration and music. I study flute under Karen Moratz, current principal flutist with the ISO, and oboe under Malcolm Smith, former principal oboist with the ISO. I am also involved in many organizations at Butler. I am the President of the Butler chapter of Tau Beta Sigma – National Honorary Band Sorority and am the Treasurer of the Butler chapter of Sigma Alpha Iota – International Music Fraternity for Women. I am always very busy, but I wouldn’t have it any other way!

So, obviously, music is kind of my life. I have been playing for 10 years and have been actively involved in marching band for 8. I attended Warsaw Community High School where I was involved in every musical related ensemble that they had, literally. I was in Wind Ensemble, Concert Band, Marching Band, Pep Band, Jazz Band, Clarinet Choir, Flute Choir, and Winter Percussion Ensemble and I loved every minute of it! After graduating in 2011, I began working with the Clay City Imperial Regiment marching band out of Clay City, IN. My uncle, Mark Ziegler, has been the band director there for about 8 years and he wanted me to come to work with the woodwind players. I fully enjoyed that experience and miss it every summer when band time comes around!

When I am not doing something with music you can usually find me watching TV, reading, crafting, playing with my new kitty, Anna, or working my part time job at Starbucks on 86th and Michigan Road in Indianapolis.

Mackenzie2  Mackenzie3

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Everything Beautiful

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At Music for All, our mission is to provide positively life-changing experiences through music for all. We believe that music is powerful beyond measure and can change lives. At every single one of our events, there is something that I see or hear that proves to me that we have accomplished our mission, and that music CAN change people’s lives in so many ways.

This year at the Music for All National Festival, the Honor Band of America had the opportunity to be involved in something even more incredible than the experience of being part of a national honor band. This year, the Honor Band of America performed the premiere of a commissioned piece, Everything Beautiful by composer Samuel Hazo under the baton of Eugene Migliaro Corporon.


Everything Beautiful was commissioned by The Charles F. Campbell Jr. Memorial Consortium, in memory of Charles (Chuck) Campbell, Jr, a respected music educator, conductor and mentor to young music teachers, and 2012 posthumous inductee of the Bands of America Hall of Fame.

While many of the young musicians who performed in the 2014 Honor Band of America had never had the opportunity to meet Chuck Campbell before he passed, they were tasked with the responsibility of being the very first musicians who would perform this beautiful piece of music in his memory.

During their time rehearsing, the students had the opportunity to learn about Chuck Campbell and why he was special to so many people. They even had the chance to hear from the composer himself, Samuel Hazo, to really understand what this piece of music was about. (To learn more about the piece and the history behind the commission click here.)

Every artist, no matter the medium, strives to connect with his or her audience. I know I’m not the only one who believes that the 2014 Honor Band of America accomplished this the night they premiered Everything Beautiful for a packed house at Clowes Hall during the Music for All National Festival.

Composer Samuel Hazo put it best in this video that takes us inside Everything Beautiful.

“Great music played well starts on the inside and comes out and hits
the audience on the inside before it ever hits their ears.”

Everything Beautiful
. Never has there been a more perfect title for a piece of music. Every time I listen to it, I cannot think of a better adjective to describe what I’m hearing than simply – beautiful.

The Honor Band of America did a magnificent job connecting with their audience and invoking so many emotions throughout the three movements. Bravo, members of the 2014 Honor Band of America!

Watch the full performance of Everything Beautiful performed by the 2014 Honor Band of America:

To learn more about the history of the Everything Beautiful commission, composer Samuel Hazo and to read the program notes click here. 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Throwback Thursday: The Eagle

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As my time at Music for All comes to an end, I though it fitting to dedicate this throwback Thursday post to my first and favorite event, 2013 BOA Grand Nationals.

This past year’s Grand Nats was one of the most exhilarating, challenging, sometimes frustrating, and all around fun experiences of my life. Helping produce positively life-changing experiences for the participants, their families, and all of our amazing volunteers is something I will never forget. And, as a huge Colts’ fan, walking on the field, into the press box, and all around Lucas Oil Stadium was a dream come true.

As a non-BOA participant myself, I didn’t fully grasp just how important these championships were to our many fans.  But, I learned very quickly. One afternoon I, along with my fellow marketing assistant (we miss you Cristina!) were tasked with handling quite possibly the most prized possession in the house: The Eagle. We wheeled the trophy up from the field, through elevators and onto the main concourse. The looks we were garnering from passersby throughout the stadium gave me my first clue to just how “big” this was. A few stopped us to ask “Is that the real Eagle?”  When we answered with “yes, and we’re giving everyone the chance to get their very own picture taken with it,” their faces lit up.


Soon, fans from all across the stadium began coming to our booth hoping to have their own moment with the trophy. We snapped photos, exchanged stories, and learned some really interesting history about the Eagle, and BOA itself. I can’t even tell you how many folks just wanted to come and look for their school’s engraving from past championships, and share a tale from that year’s marching season. The amount of joy that came from these people as they thought back to their marching days or stood next to the Eagle for the first time could have lit the entirety of Lucas Oil Stadium that weekend. 

This was the moment that cemented in my mind just how important Music for All is. BOA is not just a competition but, as we at Music for All like to say, an absolutely life-changing experience. I will never forget my time with Music for All, and am honored to add my name to the incredible legacy of the organization. 

Monday, May 12, 2014

MFA Staff Profiles - Kyle Courtney

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Courtney Kyle

Name: Kyle Courtney

Position: Event Coordinator

Hometown: Newburgh, Indiana

How long have you been with MFA?

Just over two years.

What is your educational background?  Where did you go to school, and what did you study?

I went to Indiana State University and got a Bachelor of Science with emphasis on Music Business. Give or take a couple of credit hours, it is essentially a double major in Music and Business Administration.

What is your musical background?  

In high school, I played Euphonium for the Castle Marching Knights (yes, I was a BOA kid) and the concert bands. I also sang in our show choir and was a part of several stage productions. In college, I stuck to singing and performed with of our concert choir and chamber ensemble, the Sycamore Singers. I also play guitar (badly), and my biggest regret is that I never was in a rock band in high school. If I could have had just ONE successful stage dive…

What kind of music do you like to listen to?

It truly depends on my mood, but I have a particular love for 90’s rock music, only because it is the best era of music (fact). That being said, I have a VERY eclectic array of albums, from Metallica to Queen to the Goo Goo Dolls to Michael Buble. Growing up, I was introduced to many different types and styles of music and I am still constantly discovering new artists, as well as appreciating those that have paved the way.

Why is music important to you?

Music is one of the few things that touches everyone.  It’s on the radio, on our phones, on our computers, in the movies and TV shows that we watch, and is continuing to be made every day. We develop personal relationships and become emotionally and monetarily invested in the art because it invokes feelings within us that nothing else can. Music can be a reminder, an escape, an outlet and a career, connecting us all to one another in various shapes and forms.

Why do you believe in music education?

I can state all kinds of statistics and studies proving that music education is an essential component for healthy and sound academic development, but really I was just very fortunate to have a lot of great educators that taught me life skills through music. They pushed me to work hard, be a good leader, be focused, set and accomplish realistic goals, learn to work as a team and strive to be as good as I can. What I realize now is every component that makes an ensemble successful also makes a business successful. Only a handful of my friends ended up in the music industry or music education, but many of the people that were involved with me in music found success and happiness in various other industries and I ABSOLUTELY believe that it was because of the training we received.

What sort of things do you do in your free time (hobbies)?

I am a HUGE football fan. However, I am a Steelers fan living in Indianapolis, so I get plenty of grief from Colts fans, but my allegiance will not waiver. I also have an (unhealthy) obsession with movies and pop culture and a barrage of obscure facts that, I feel, really makes me a hit at parties.

What led you to Music for All?

Between my sophomore and junior year of college, I was struggling to figure out which aspect of the music industry I wanted to work in, so I went to a Foo Fighters concert to clear my head. For three hours, I screamed lyrics and sweated uncomfortably close to complete strangers, and it was the most pure I had felt in a long time. From that point forward, I made it my goal to work in the world of live performance, just to provide others with that same feeling.

I had the opportunity to work as the stage manager for the Terre Haute Symphony Orchestra my last two years in college, gaining valuable event planning and “gear schlepping” experience. Upon graduation, I moved down to Nashville where I worked for a couple of music agencies, assisted at the Country Music Awards and went on the road with Jason Aldean and Luke Bryan. It was all a lot of fun, but I couldn’t help feeling like something was missing from the equation. I had the very fortunate opportunity to interview and get the Event Coordinator position here at Music for All, where I am able to provide the same experiences that made me the person I am today. I couldn’t be happier!

What do you enjoy the most about working for Music for All?

Seeing the kids faces after they DO have a “positively life-changing experience.” I still remember at Grand Nationals last year, hearing a girl say “I can’t believe we just marched on the same field the Colts play on!” and it brought me back to that moment for me when I was in high school. Working on our side of it, we are often so caught up in making the event run, it’s easy to forget that those reactions are why we do what we do. We make it a point to step back and watch a few shows, just to remember what it’s really about.

Also, I have the best co-workers in the world. It takes a special kind of person to do this kind of work, and we are so lucky to have an office full of them.  Plus, they tolerate me making EXTRA strong coffee.

What is your favorite Music for All event, and why?

Grand Nationals is my favorite event that we do. First of all, Lucas Oil Stadium is an INCREDIBLE venue and the stadium staff we work with are amazing. The city of Indianapolis embraces this event and we are so grateful that they work with us each year to make it bigger and better.

From my perspective, it is really nice to have the MFA and site staff together in one place. For the previous two months, we have all been traveling around to various parts of the United States and we get to finally sit down and share the hilarious and enlightening experiences from the fall. It is a perfect end to the season!

What’s one interesting thing about yourself that some on staff may not be aware of?

I have a little sister that my parents adopted from China when I was a junior in high school. It has been an awesome experience to watch her grow up and I absolutely love her to death. I am jealous of her ability to ALREADY play piano better than I ever could (she has been playing for 4 months…I took it for 2 years in college), but am very proud to see her embracing music as a part of her life. In a few years, I look forward to seeing her in a Castle Marching Band uniform.