The Music for All Blog
The Music for All Blog

Stories (283)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Start Making Memories

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When I was in high school, I always looked forward to the beginning of a new school year. There were pristine pads of paper, a Technicolor rainbow of brand new pens and fresh folders just begging for a doodle or two. There were new things to learn and a locker to decorate and fill with books. All of my color guard friends and I were still excited about what we had learned at band camp, knowing we would get the opportunity to show off soon. The year was filled with possibility and it was mine to shape.

Rachel Color Guard Girls

With all the hustle and bustle that accompanies the start of school, it can be easy to get caught up in what needs to be done NOW. The marching season looms large for many of us and concert band season can seem like a distant dream. But it’s not too early to plan. Planning starts today for tomorrow's experiences.

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You’re on stage, squinting past the lights to see if you recognize anyone in the audience. Your instrument is tuned, your music is open and you are ready. People who’ve become lifelong friends in the span of 5 days surround you and the nervous energy sounds like an electric buzz. The hours you have spent in sectionals, master classes and full rehearsals have all led to this moment. The conductor enters to applause, you sit up a little bit straighter, the baton raises and it begins.

That is the experience of participating in a Music for All Honor Ensemble, and that kind of life-changing experience really begins long before you set foot in the J.W. Marriott hotel in Indianapolis in March 2014. It begins long before the acceptance letters are put in the mail in November. It even begins before the September 15 application deadline. That experience starts TODAY. It starts when you fill out an application to be part of one of the Music for All National Honor Ensembles.

So as you crack open that new bottle of valve oil, restring your bow, pick up some fresh reeds; enjoy it. Savor this time when possibilities abound. But also take the time to learn more about the Music for All Honor Ensemble experience. Once you know more, the next step will be clear. Don't put off till tomorrow what can be done today. Apply for the Honor Band, Honor Orchestra or Jazz Band of America. Start making memories.

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Click here to learn more about the Music for All Honor Ensembles

Apply today!

 

-Rachel

Rachel McFadden is currently an Administrative Assistant at Music for All and is thrilled to get back to her band nerd roots after so many years of trying to "blend in." She has a degree in Communication Studies from Manchester University and has previously held such varied jobs as Copywriter, Arts and Crafts Director and Aeronaut. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

It's all about the focus!

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All of us at Music for All love hearing from students, directors and parents about what is happening in THEIR band and in THEIR communities! Every once in awhile, someone sends us a great message on Facebook, gives us a call, sends a letter, or shares a photo with us, just because. Words cannot express how much we love hearing from all of you who BELIEVE in music education! The following note was shared with us via Facebook this week and we thought we would share it with our extended Music for All family by posting it here on the blog. (With permission as always!)

 

"So excited for the upcoming fall marching season. We attended the BOA Lucas Stadium event last year and I want to compliment the volunteers...they were helpful and courteous. I am hoping my personal work schedule will allow me to volunteer at some point in the future.

I know all schools involved have and continue to work on their programs for 2013...I attached a photo of my son Nik I just took during the summer camp program at Jeffersonville High School, under the direction of Scott Cooksey. I think it is a nice representation of the focus the kids put into their practices. 

Thank you for all your hard work and dedication to music!

Regards, Elke W."

Student photo

 

Yes!- this photo definitely showcases that focus reguired in marching rehearsals! Thank you for sharing this photo and your kind note Elke, it definitely brightened this staff member's day!

Have a story or a photo you want to share with our community of music education advocates? We'd love for you to share! Send us a message on Facebook, or email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.!

 

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Erin Fortune is the Marketing Coordinator focusing on digital marketing at Music for All, and has been working with Music for All for nearly three years, first in the Participant Relations department and now in marketing. She is a graduate from the Music Industry Management program at Ferris State University in Michigan and is a former Percussive Arts Society Intern and a Yamaha Corporation of America, Band and Orchestral Division Intern.

 

Sign up for a high school summer camp and… spin alongside a world class drum corps?
caviesguard1That’s exactly what the color guard MFA campers got to experience! On Friday of the Summer Symposium, the color guard track spent the morning working with the members of The Cavaliers Drum & Bugle Corps color guard. A bright sun, clear skies and open grassy field awaited the campers as they prepared for what would be, for a lot of them, one of the most exciting moments thus far in their color guard careers.

The Cavaliers session was broken into two blocks, with the first part of the morning focusing on movement and the second on equipment. At each block’s beginning, the students sat and watched The Cavaliers staff give a demonstration, taking the color guard through exercises and choreography. The campers got to see a snapshot of the technique exercises that the Cavaliers do every day, such as dance basics, across-the-floor dance exercises, flag drop spins and Peggy spins, a flag backhand exercise, and a spins-and-stops exercise on rifle.

CaviesGuard2This was a great experience for our color guard students. First, they learned that even the biggest, best and most well-known groups still do the same simple, basic exercises that their high school groups do (such as flag drop spins)—and that mastering these “building blocks” skills and learning to control their bodies and their equipment is so very important. On the other hand, seeing the more advanced exercises (such as the spins-and-stops exercise, which incorporated various dance and body movements simultaneously with rifle spins, tosses and catches) gave the students a picture of how their craft can be taken to the next level.

After watching the demonstrations, students broke into small groups and spread out across the Quad to work up-close and personal with The Cavaliers guard. After learning a new exercise, they would come back and everyone—the MFA students with The Cavaliers—would do the exercise together as a group.

CaviesGuard3The most exciting part of the morning, however, was when the campers actually got to learn some choreography from The Cavaliers’ show. Students picked up either a flag or a rifle and broke into small groups once again. A good chunk of the session was spent with the group spread out on the Quad learning this work before everyone came together once more to perform the choreography as an ensemble.

This session for our color guard campers was exciting, challenging, a lot of fun and certainly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The Cavaliers color guard, made up of members who have all worked hard to become the well-trained and talented performers that they are, serve as great inspiration for our students, many of whom are still very new to the color guard activity. The young campers still have a lot of growing and learning to do, but this session certainly marks a monumental day in their color guard careers. 

CaviesGuard4A BIG thank you to the Cavaliers guard for sharing their time with us at Music for All and for helping to create a positively life-changing experience for our campers!

 

 

-Carolyn T.

Carolyn Tobin is the Marketing Intern at Music for All. Drawn to all that is digital media, she was an award-recipient of the NMU Tube Student Video Contest and was named the Outstanding Graduating Senior in the Communications and Performance Studies Department at Northern Michigan University. She is a devout runner, and has also enjoyed blogging about her adventures living in Spain and Argentina. Carolyn is a music, dance and color guard enthusiast, the former color guard section leader of Legends Drum & Bugle Corps from Kalamazoo, and she has served on the guard staff for Legends and for Marian University in Indianapolis.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Summer Symposium Day 3 Photo Stream

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Check out the photos from Summer Symposium Day 3! (Day 5 for our awesome Leadership students!)

 

If the photo stream above is not viewable for you, try this link:

http://www.flickr.com//photos/officialmusicforall/sets/72157634364797692/show/with/9152586279/

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If I had to pick one adjective to describe the Wednesday concert in the Summer Symposium evening concert series, it would be…

Rad.

We welcomed to the stage The PROJECT Trio, a “passionate, high energy chamber music ensemble” from Brooklyn, New York (www.projecttrio.com). The group, comprised of Peter Seymour, double bass; Greg Pattillo, flute; and Eric Stephenson, cello, is anything but ordinary. The three met while attending the Cleveland Institute of Music together. A milestone for the group occurred in 2006 when Pattillo’s beatbox flute video went viral on YouTube. The PROJECT Trio concept stemmed from a desire to create music for the unique flue-cello-double bass combination, and these individuals’ pure love for music was evident as they performed for us last evening.

The PROJECT Trio composes and plays music in a vast array of genres. We were treated to all sorts of tunes, from Beethoven’s “5th” and the “William Tell Overture” to funky hip-hop and some sassy salsa beats. The audience even got to experience a more theatrical side of PROJECT Trio with their rendition of “Peter and the Wolf.”

The PROJECT Trio created a special opportunity for our Summer Symposium Strings Division students, who not only participated in in workshop with the Trio, but got to perform two pieces with them onstage. And what a stellar performance it was!

PROJECT Trio in rehearsal

The PROJECT Trio giving a workshop to the Strings students

 

playingwithstringsStrings students performing with PROJECT Trio in Emens Auditorium

A big congratulations to the Strings students, and a warm thank you to The PROJECT Trio for the unique blessing brought by their presence at the Summer Symposium!

For more information and a full bio of The PROJECT Trio, you can visit their website, www.projecttrio.com; connect with “Project Trio” on Facebook; and follow @thePROJECTTrio on Twitter.

 

-Carolyn T.

Carolyn Tobin is the Marketing Intern at Music for All. Drawn to all that is digital media, she was an award-recipient of the NMU Tube Student Video Contest and was named the Outstanding Graduating Senior in the Communications and Performance Studies Department at Northern Michigan University. She is a devout runner, and has also enjoyed blogging about her adventures living in Spain and Argentina. Carolyn is a music, dance and color guard enthusiast, the former color guard section leader of Legends Drum & Bugle Corps from Kalamazoo, and she has served on the guard staff for Legends and for Marian University in Indianapolis.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Mindi Abair Experience

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We’ve only had two evening concerts so far and the talent that has come to Emens Auditorium this week has already blown me away!

On Tuesday evening, Mindi Abair and her band came to the Ball State campus and I was lucky enough to get a few moments of her time to chat after her sound check.
Anytime I need to interview I interview anyone, let alone a professional musician, I wonder what the interview will be like: if it will be easy or hard, if they will be kind and sincere or if I will feel like I’m an imposition.

Lucky for me, the moment I was introduced to Mindi Abair, I felt at ease and like I was chatting with an old friend.

It was great talking with Mindi about the Summer Symposium and what happens throughout the week. She was genuinely interested in the Music for All's mission and talked at length about how important music education was to her own life. Mindi recognizes that because of how important music was to her life, she is a strong advocate for music education.

Watch Mindi’s Interview (as well as some highlights from the concert) here:

 

After leaving the interview with Mindi, I couldn’t stop talking about how awesome the concert was going to be (it was a really fun sound check!) and how great of a person she was. I definitely thought I knew how great the concert would be.

But I was wrong. It was better! The moment I walked into the auditorium I could feel the energy not only coming from Mindi and her band, but from the students who were up off their feet and simply enjoying the concert. It's almost impossible for me to explain the feeling that I had while watching our campers, watch the performance. It was amazing to see them so engaged and just LOVING what was happening on stage in front of them. Here's a photo that gives you an idea of what I'm talking about.

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The best thing about Mindi Abair: she's not only talented, she's just plain fun. You could see on her face, and on the faces of the members of her band, that they were having a BLAST performing for this incredible audience. At the end of the encore Mindi even invited students on stage with her (she couldn’t have known what she was getting into there, right!?) It was a pretty incredible sight, and I’m sure many students are not going to forget the night that they got to come up on stage while Mindi Abair finished out her show!

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This evening concert was defintly one of my favorites I have seen in my past three camp experiences. I hope that the students enjoyed it as much as I did!

 

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Erin Fortune is the Marketing Coordinator focusing on digital marketing at Music for All, and has been working with Music for All for nearly three years, first in the Participant Relations department and now in marketing. She is a graduate from the Music Industry Management program at Ferris State University in Michigan and is a former Percussive Arts Society Intern and a Yamaha Corporation of America, Band and Orchestral Division Intern.

 

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While conducting is an important part of the Bands of America Drum Major Institute at Summer Symposium, leadership training is key to the DMI curriculum. Each day, the DMI Faculty empowers campers to become effective leaders of their own band through varying lessons and exercises. I was intrigued by one of these exercises outside Pruis Hall and decided to stick around to watch our young leaders at work.

James Stephens, DMI Faculty member and Associate Director of Bands at Broken Arrow High School, created the exercise "The Brick Game" and presented it to the drum majors with fellow faculty member Kim Shuttlesworth, Director of Bands at James Bowie High School and former drum major of the University of Texas at Austin "Showband of the Southwest."

DMI-bricksThe challenge: Each group of approximately 15 students is provided 10 bricks in order to travel a path of 20 feet without touching the ground. All of the bricks start on one side, and one member must be touching each brick at all times until they cross the path. If any group member touches the ground or leaves a brick unattended, they must start over. Groups are given a couple minutes to devise a plan; however, they cannot speak during the exercise. Although nonverbal communication is key in "The Brick Game," there are many more attributes of effective leaderership required to be successful in this exercise.

Many groups first attempted to cross the bricks individually without assistance; however, many fell or left bricks unattended. Quickly, members began to use each other for support and assistance. An active awareness of each other and their surroundings proved valuable to the groups. Patience was one of the most important attributes for the "The Brick Game." The group I watched required several tries before reaching the goal. While it was easy to become frustrated after a failed attempt, patience and perseverance prevailed.

Unlike most leadership exercises where the difficulty lies in finding the solution, the difficulty in this exercise was completing the exercise once the solution is found. Very quickly, groups had successful plans to get across the path; however, executing the plan proved very difficult and required that each member commit to the plan. The success of the group falls on every single member, not just one leader. Just like in an ensemble or on the field, the weak link was easily visible. Positive reinforcement and support helped the entire group achieve the challenge.

DMI-3In the end, only two of nine groups were successful. It took participants nearly 30 minutes to get the entire group across the path. Once one group was successful, I was surprised at the reaction—they clapped and celebrated for themselves politely, but quickly stopped to encourage the other groups. While friendly competition served as the initial motivation, the drum majors remained committed to each other. The unsuccessful groups did not seem too discouraged, as they recognized the leadership skills learned during the exercise.

The Drum Major Institute's core teaching principles include Character, Content, Communication and Chemistry, and "The Brick Game" reflected these principles: the patience and persistence revealed the character required for an effective drum major and leader; the requirement for all to commit was similar to the content of marching ensembles; all forms of communication, including nonverbal, were integral; the awareness and support between group members reflected the chemistry of a successful community.

I am very glad I decided to stop by the Drum Major Institute. The leadership and life skills displayed in just one exercise were astonishing, and I am confident that each of the participants will become an excellent drum major, leader and human in his or her own community.

-Seth

Seth Williams is currently Development Coordinator at Music for All. Seth is no stranger to Music for All and Bands of America – first as a participant and as an intern in Development and Participant Relations. He is a graduate of Butler University and previously worked in the Broadway theatre industry in New York. A proud alumnus of "The Centerville Jazz Band," Seth is likely the biggest band nerd he knows.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Summer Symposium Day 2 Photo Stream

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Check out the photos from Summer Symposium Day 2! (Day 4 for our awesome Leadership students!)

If the photo stream above is not viewable for you, try this link:

http://www.flickr.com//photos/officialmusicforall/sets/72157634344220950/show/with/9145571040/

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The first out of a week-long evening concert series, the 2013 Yamaha Young Performing Artists Concert was a powerful, beautiful and magically musical closing to our first day of the full-week Music for All Summer Symposium. Our 1000+ campers filed into BSU's Emens Auditorium, but I'll bet very few, if any, knew exactly what kind of treat was in store.

The Yamaha Young Performing Artists program, known as YYPA (pronounced YIP-pa), began in 1988, with last night's concert marking its 25th anniversary. In honor of this milestone, composer David P. Sartor composed a special trumpet fanfare that was performed by 2013 YYPA winner, Josh Gilbert, and two former YYPA winners, Stephen Bottom (1994) and Chad Winkler (1995).

trumpet-trioPerforming the trumpet fanfare, "Prologue," from left to right: Chad Winkler, Stephen Bottom and Josh Gilbert

YYPA is an annual competitive program designed to recognize outstanding young musicians, ages 16-21, from the world of classical, jazz and contemporary music. Winners are invited to attend an all-expense paid YYPA Celebration Weekend, where they perform in Emens Auditorium with national press coverage, attend an awards ceremony, and participate in professional workshops and clinics designed to launch a professional music career. This year's eleven YYPA winners, listed below, underwent an extensive audition process and were selected from a pool of hundreds of applicants from across the country.

2013 YYPA WINNERS:
Xue Su, Cincinnati, OH - Flute
Ron Cohen Mann, New York, NY - Oboe
Danny Mui, Kalamazoo, MI - Clarinet
Tsz Kiu Kwok, Iowa City, IA - Saxophone
Alekos Syropoulos, Ann Arbor, MI - Jazz Saxophone
Joshua Gilbert, Lexington, MA - Jazz Trumpet
Markus Osterlund, Honolulu, HI - Horn
Joe LeFevre, Kalamazoo, MI - Tuba
Johnathan Hulett, South Miami, FL - Jazz Drum Set
Addison Frei, Oviedo, FL - Jazz Piano
Kanako Shimasaki, Springfield, OH - Violin

While helping to seat YYPA winners' families in the auditorium, I enjoyed brief conversation with some of them. It was awesome to hear how proud these families felt and how excited they were to see their young musician perform that night.

And for good reason. These performers were, simply put, astonishing. From a drum set jam session and a beautifully soothing clarinet piece to a sassy violin tune and a musical montage of flute, humming and beat-boxing, the concert showcased an array of diverse, naturally talented and well-disciplined emerging artists. I am confident that if each of this year's YYPA winners continue to pursue their craft, they have bright futures ahead of them.

Former YYPA winners have gone on to highly successful careers, becoming faculty at universities, members of prestigious ensembles and recording artists. Many have become Yamaha Performing Artists and Clinicians.

The concert also gave campers a special chance to see some of their Symposium faculty perform, as Sammy K, Jeremy Allen and Luke Gillespie were featured onstage for select jazz numbers.

jazz-with-alekos-syropoulosLuke Gillespie (piano), Jeremy Allen (bass) and Sammy K (drums) performing with YYPA winner Alekos Syropoulos

The evening exemplified the incredible musical talent of our nation's youth, exactly what we strive to create, provide and expand through the Music for All programs. The YYPA concert operates in conjunction with the Summer Symposium, and Music for All is proud to have the program continue in our relationship with Yamaha Corporation of America. A special thank you to our camp participants—you guys were a great audience!

all-onstageAll 2013 YYPA Concert Performers

Ron-Cohen-Mann-with-JohnYYPA winner Ron Cohen Mann pictured with John Wittmann, Director of Artist Relations, Yamaha Corporation of America, at the post-concert reception

For more information about YYPA, follow "Yamaha Young Performing Artists (YYPA) Competition" on Facebook.

Think YOU might have what it takes to be a Yamaha Young Performing Artist? Check their website,
http://usa.yamaha.com/music_education/yypa, to learn more and apply.

-Carolyn T.

Carolyn Tobin is the Marketing Intern at Music for All. Drawn to all that is digital media, she was an award-recipient of the NMU Tube Student Video Contest and was named the Outstanding Graduating Senior in the Communications and Performance Studies Department at Northern Michigan University. She is a devout runner, and has also enjoyed blogging about her adventures living in Spain and Argentina. Carolyn is a music, dance and color guard enthusiast, the former color guard section leader of Legends Drum & Bugle Corps from Kalamazoo, and she has served on the guard staff for Legends and for Marian University in Indianapolis.

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