The Music for All Blog
The Music for All Blog

Stories (283)

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The 2017 Indiana State Fair has just come to an end and now we reflect on the Music for All Indiana State Fair Band Day presented by Music Travel Consultants, which took place on Saturday, August 5. This is the final contest of the Central Indiana Track Show Association’s (CITSA) season, where “track-style” marching bands perform and are judged by a panel of educators. CITSA has had an active season with five contests prior to State Fair Band Day that includes, Drums at Winchester, Noblesville Black & Gold Marching Invitational, Muncie Central Spirit of Muncie Contest, Jay County Fair Lions Contest, and Centerville Archway Classic.

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 In 2015 Music for All and Music Travel Consultants began a relationship with CITSA to have a five-year shared partnership of State Fair Band Day, which has been taking place since the 1940s. With our mission being “to create, provide, and expand positively life-changing experiences through music for all” this special partnership is significant, as it will provide student musicians more access and opportunity.

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The grand-stands were filled with many excited spectators, fans, and parents of the 49 participating bands, with 16 bands advancing to finals. Richmond High School who made their 58th appearance at the Indiana State Fair Band Day, earned a spot in finals. The final results were Noblesville High School placing first, Winchester Community High School placing second, and Jay County (Portland) High School placing third.

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 Tom Benson

The 2017 Fall season is approaching, with less than one month left and Music for All could not be more thrilled! There are 21 Bands of America regional championships across the country, including the Grand National Championships that will be taking place November 8-11 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN. It’s a privilege to have positively life-changing events in world-class facilities across the country, where students get the opportunity to perform in good-natured competition and where people get to witness the showcase of some of the most talented students in the nation. 

This year Music for All is excited to be holding the Bands of America Northeast Ohio Regional Championship, presented by Yamaha at the new Tom Benson Stadium in the Johnson Controls Hall of Fame Village at the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday, September 16. This event will bring the arts and sports together, and will give students, teachers, and spectators a unique experience. This Regional will be the first marching band competition to take place in this stadium! As Music for All’s partnership with the Pro Football Hall of Fame continues to grow, not only will students get the unique experience of performing in an incredible venue, they will get free admission to the Hall of Fame museum!  Spectators will also get to share in the excitement with 20% off admission for the museum! If you’re interested in attending the Northeast Ohio Regional be sure to check out the ticket options here: http://www.musicforall.org/what-we-do/boa-marching-championships/ticket-information

We hope both participants and fans will enjoy this unique and fun perk from the Pro Football Hall of Fame! We look forward to seeing everyone in Canton, Ohio very soon!

DCI Champs

With the marching band season approaching and summer ending, Music for All’s Strategic Partner Drum Corps International’s (DCI) 45th season came to an exciting conclusion on August 12 with the Blue Devils taking their 18th Champion title. 

As a Strategic Partner of DCI, and a fellow organization based in Indianapolis, Music for All took part in DCI World Championship week festivities. Music for All staff attended the DCI Hall of Fame event to kick off the week, participated in the Future Music Educators Experience, volunteered at events throughout the week, and hosted guests and VIPS during quarterfinals, semi-finals and finals. One-hundred and six shows took place across the country from June through August. Fans and spectators also got to enjoy the DCI Central Indiana show that took place at the Music for All Summer Symposium. DCI wrapped up their diamond anniversary with World Championships, from Thursday, August 10 through Saturday, August 12 at Lucas Oil Stadium.

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(Members of the Music for All Summer Symposium Drum Major Institute stopped by the Music for All booth during DCI week at Lucas Oil Stadium.)

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(Various members of Music for All staff volunteer at DCI Showcase, August 9.) 

DCI kicked off their Championship’s Week with Open Class Prelims and Finals in Michigan City, IN on Monday, August 7. Vanguard Cadets who are celebrating their 50th anniversary placed first, with Blue Devils B placing second. Things kicked off in Indianapolis on Wednesday with the DCI Showcase at the Indiana Convention Center and Indianapolis Arts Garden. This is an event that takes place before the Preliminary, Semifinals, and Finals performances that gives corps members the opportunity to perform in a solo and ensemble setting outside of their regular corps repertoire, with vocal and woodwind categories included as well. Forty World and Open Class Corps performed in Prelims on Thursday, with 25 corps advancing to Semifinals performances on Friday, and with 12 corps moving on to Finals on Saturday. However, it was not just all corps performances. DrumLine Battle kicked off the final day of performances at the SoundSport International Music and Food Festival at the Pan Am Plaza with drumlines from high schools, colleges, and different corps performing.   

Blue Devils took the Drum Corps International World Championship title in front of a record-breaking crowd of 23,342. Santa Clara Vanguard who is celebrating their 50th anniversary placed second. The remaining top 12 corps in placement order include, Carolina Crown, The Cavaliers, Bluecoats, Boston Crusaders, The Cadets, Blue Knights, Phantom Regiment, Blue Stars, Crossmen, and Madison Scouts. Additionally, Blue Devils took two World Class Caption awards for Best General Effect and Best Visual Performance, with Santa Clara Vanguard taking Best Percussion Performance and Best Color Guard Award, and Carolina Crown took home the Best Brass Performance Award. 

Congratulations to all of the corps, the age-out performers, and to DCI on another fantastic season! We can hardly wait for the 2018 season!

Jason Ferdinand

Music for All is proud to recognize Dr. Jason Max Ferdinand, member of the Music for All Choral Music Artistic Committee, and the Oakwood University Aeolians for their recent designations as “Choir of the World” and “Outstanding Director.” The honors were granted during the World Choral Festival during the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod in Wales, Great Britain. The annual festival features thousands of singers, dancers, and instrumentalists from countries around the world.

As many of you know, we are truly becoming “music for all” as we expand our National Festival to include the National Choir Festival in 2018. The Oakwood Aeolians will be featured in performance during this premiere festival, where Dr. Ferdinand will be joined by Choral Music Artistic Committee members Dr. Kent Hatteberg, Ms. Ly Wilder, Dr. Joseph Flummerfelt, Dr. Rollo Dilworth, and Music for All Artistic Director, Mr. Henry Leck, to provide evaluation, master classes, and a massed-choir with orchestra experience to all invited choirs.

Additionally, Music for All will launch its first Affiliated Regional Choral Music Festival, The Southern Invitational, October 26 and 27, 2017, under the leadership of Dr. Shannon Jeffreys, Director of Choral Activities at Georgia Southern University. Dr. Ferdinand will serve as our “Music for All” clinician and evaluator during the Southern Invitational.

Dr. Ferdinand enjoys watching the up-and-coming composers and conductors he mentors become composers and conductors in their own right. Music for All is honored to provide further opportunity for Dr. Ferdinand to positively influence young musicians through its exciting and emerging choral programming.

Friday, May 05, 2017

Finding the Courage to Create

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Most artists follow a curve in their development that rises, peaks, plateaus, and eventually declines. The inevitable question we all face is regarding how to keep growing.

What have you done lately to be inspired and how have you followed through on that inspiration?

No matter how good you are at what you do, you’ve got to keep creating if you want to keep growing, and this requires finding courage to put yourself out there again and again, to stretch beyond what you’ve done before and continually reinvent your work. Rehashing what you’ve done before isn’t really being creative, and you’re only as relevant as your last project.

For more established artists, this means you can’t rest on your laurels. For developing artists, it’s a reason to get busy, because if you have the drive and energy to be prolific, generating a bulk of material could take you far, fast.

Supposedly, most visionaries make their greatest innovations before they become experts, i.e., when they are novices. Once recognized as experts, once we are “trained,” we become less willing to go into that vulnerable space of the “novice,” where real exploration happens. We become afraid that we will lose our status as experts and be revealed for the bumbling, fumbling human beings that we really are.

I can think of many artists who made their biggest statements at a relatively early age, when they had nothing to lose.

It could be said that each of us is at the same time both immeasurably powerful and incredibly insignificant. To focus on our “smallness” is to wallow in despair. To focus on our power is to become obsessed with delusions of grandeur. The trick is to truly accept this contradiction by both owning your power and accepting your weakness. Ride the wave! Artists who create every day
are optimistic in their ability to transcend their limits, and are at the same time able to be realistic about their limitations and constructively critical of their work, maintaining a skeptical confidence without succumbing to the uncritical denial of arrogance or
the paralysis of insecurity.

If you can’t overcome your insecurity, or if you you have trouble acknowledging any limitations, I recommend sublimating through exercise, meditation, reading, or other activities that allow you to lose yourself in something totally unrelated to your art. (One of my favorite activities that helps me sublimate my feelings is hacky sacking.)

I take inspiration from my students. They haven’t “proven” themselves yet, so they have nothing to lose. Their lack of experience is unrelated to the courage they are capable of employing to reach their goal. I must have demonstrated courage at some point when I was young, but now it’s my students that lead by their example, reminding me that I need to step up to the plate with the kind of fearlessness they demonstrate. “The curve” of development suggests that our willingness to display creative courage diminishes as we get older and more established, and I don’t want to suffer the fate of having my work become stale,
like yesterday’s news.

Many of my students are aspiring jazz violinists and cellists. I meet other jazz string players around the U.S. who complain about the difficulties of “breaking in” the jazz scene. It’s hard to gain acceptance in the jazz community for various reasons. And then there are infinite reasons that each person has for why it’s even harder for them, whether it be their training, race, gender, geography, financial position, physical handicaps, something that happened to them when they were a kid, their Zodiac sign, and so on. Today I listened to the new CD of one of my former students, Tomoko Omura, and I was humbled by the realization of what she has overcome, and the courage it must have taken to produce such a great creative work of art. She came from Japan, learned a new language, a new culture, and overcame tremendous odds to get where she is now.

I can imagine how many times she was NOT invited to play on stage at a jam session after waiting for hours just to play one song. I can imagine how many times she must have thought, “Why am I even trying to do this? It seems impossible!” And now, she’s created one of the most beautiful, important, creative and relevant works of jazz violinists in the recent past. Shu Mei Yap lives in Singapore and has worked with me now on the production of two CDs. She is another example of an artist who refused to allow barriers to get in the way.

My daughter Camille is one of the most inspiring examples to me of courage. She’s gone through her whole life with a dad who might have seemed a little bit bigger than life at times. Every year I surround her with all my favorite jazz string players at my annual “Creative Strings Workshop,” a week during which all the world’s hottest players jam and show their stuff. I’m thrilled that she’s gotten to know all these cool people and amazing artists, except that she’s also got to deal with measuring herself against that standard, and I can only imagine the kind of pressure she may feel sometimes!

Every day that she picks up her violin and keeps going for it, I feel immensely proud and take inspiration from her because that takes courage. My students make me humble. They make me remember that it’s not how much knowledge or experience you have, but whether you’re willing to keep pushing through your own fears, re-engaging continuously in the creative process, no matter what form that process takes for you, because you know that wherever you fall on life’s curve is a function of the strength of your last project.

Here are some quick tips for getting engaged creatively:

  • Narrow down/compartmentalize: Instead of writing “a song,” be specific: Write a 12-bar song, a bass line in 4/4, a song in a certain style/tempo, a melody, etc. Instead of writing “an essay,” write a “persuasive essay” about a specific subject, with a specific duration.
  • Limit the scope; write just one paragraph, one sentence, or 4 bars of a song.
  • Schedule: Schedule time in your calendar for working on your project.
  • Keep notes: Use your phone to keep voice memos or keep a journal.
  • Review: Listen back to your work at various stages – listen uncritically at first, and listen critically later, allowing for your insights to change over time.
  • Try different processes: For a musician, you may work better with pencil and paper, or improvising into a recorder, or using a different instrument, or employing software.

What is your take on “courage and the creative process?”

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March was an exciting and busy month in the Advancement department, with Music for All’s National Festival as the center of it all. This was my first National Festival I have attended, and the musicality and energy of all the participants blew me away. This event overflowed with talent, thrill, and passion for music. It was fantastic to see this talent celebrated and awarded during the Gala Awards Banquet and Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. One award that the Advancement team was especially excited to present was the William D. Revelli Scholarship.

The Music for All Foundation, formerly known as The Revelli Foundation and established in honor of Dr. William D. Revelli, has a longstanding history of awarding scholarships to future music educators. Dr. Revelli’s legacy continues to live through the many students who benefit from the scholarships. The $1,000 William D. Revelli Scholarship is a one-time award, and it honors a student performing at the Music for All National Festival. This scholarship is named after a talented and renowned educator. At the time of his death in 1994, at the age of 92, he was regarded as one of the great music educators and band conductors of the century. During his long career, he had received every honor and accolade imaginable. With a name of a legacy, this scholarship is truly an honor.

Of the many applicants, one stood out. She demonstrates exemplary leadership skills, work ethic, and musical talents and is truly invested in her high school music program and strives to be a servant leader among her peers. This year’s winner is Leah Warman from Thompson High School in Alabaster, Alabama.

We were moved by her compelling scholarship essay that ended with important advice that we all follow: “I have a secret: music is not about what other people want or who is better than another, but about what you feel. If it makes you feel good, then that is justification enough. Always remember this.”

Music for All scholarships, like the Revelli Scholarship, are awarded annually at Music for All events throughout the year. These scholarships are possible due to the generous support and donations from those who wish to help Music for All be a catalyst to ensure that every child across America has access and opportunity to participate in active music-making in his or her scholastic environment.

You can learn more about all Music for All scholarships opportunities, how to apply, and especially, how you can support them by visiting our scholarship page at http://www.musicforall.org/resources/scholarships.

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Music for All remains committed to providing educational resources and professional development tools in support of music in our schools and our communities. Our most recent program was the Directors’ Academy at the Music for All National Festival, a three-day professional development conference for directors and music education majors. Held in Indianapolis during the Music for All National Festival from March 9-11, the 2017 Directors’ Academy offered an unparalleled opportunity for colleagues to share best practices focused on our grand profession.

We kicked off the event with Thursday afternoon’s Opening Session delivered by Dr. Tim Lautzenheiser to a room of over 2,300 students, parents, and educators. Over the course of three days, attendees had access to the full scope of the Music for All National Festival featuring more than 50 concerts of wind bands, orchestras, percussion ensembles, and chamber music as well as rehearsal and ensemble clinic sessions given by some of the most well-respected musicians in our field.

One of my favorite aspects was observing the student Master Class sessions, broken out into specialized instrumentation and led by Yamaha Performing Artists and members of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. Witnessing the young musicians learn from these dedicated and professional musicians was very inspiring!

The most special part of the experience was having the opportunity to sit down in an intimate setting and learn from the icons of music education in our Directors’ Academy classes. Hosted by Richard Crain (Retired Director of Music; Spring Independent School District, TX) this year’s attendees gained valuable insight into the past and future of music education through the lens of four passionate educators.

Gary Green (Professor Emeritus; University of Miami, FL) shared his thoughts on the importance of being a music educator. It’s not just about teaching notes and rhythms, but more importantly making music and sharing the process with others.

Craig Kirchhoff (Director Emeritus; University of Minnesota) asked for us to consider whether or not our conducting is helping or hurting our ensemble. Kirchhoff also shared his personal viewpoint on selecting repertoire. It’s not about choosing pieces to play, but rather defining a curriculum and our beliefs about what music education should be for our students.

H. Robert Reynolds (Principal Conductor, Wind Ensemble at University of Southern California) discussed the use of batons and shared what he personally uses. Learning by listening and watching others that you respect was one of Reynolds’ themes. Look for those that use expressive conducting. Chances are the ensemble will want to match that level of expressiveness.

Anthony Maiello (Professor of Music, George Mason University) shared practical ways to develop confidence and security with the technical aspects of conducting, but also encouraged us and offered suggestions on how to move beyond technique to create emotionally engaging music with your ensemble.

This year’s attendees were inspired and rejuvenated, and reminded us WHY they teach music. If you missed out this year, it is my hope that you might consider joining us next year from March 15-17, 2018, to take part in this inspirational showcase of mission-oriented music educators who are committed to excellence.

The Southern Regional Concert Festival at Russellville Center for the Arts took place between March 30 - April 1. Tina Maria Christiansen, a sophomore music education major at Arkansas Tech University, had the pleasure of helping the host of the festival, and has provided a recap and photos from the event!

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The 2017 Southern Regional Concert Band Festival was a HUGE success! It was hosted by Arkansas Tech University, Russellville HS and The Center for The Arts.

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Throughout the three-day festival, Over 40 bands from the region signed up to give themselves the wonderful opportunity of performing in front of our extraordinary clinicians Robert Ambrose, Sarah McKoin, Cody Birdwell, Gary Green, and Allan McMurray.

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We would like to thank all students and directors for participating at the Russellville Performance Arts Center!

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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

From Music to Political Leadership

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We know that students who participate in Music for All programming have positively life-changing experiences. Many of these students will eventually graduate high school and go on to fulfill life in variety of ways. Some will become engineers, teachers, medical professionals, artists, managers, and influential leaders in a wide range of fields. One former student has done just that, becoming the mayor of Sonoma, California. Native of Charleston, South Carolina, Rachel Hundley began her musical journey at six years old playing the piano. She went on to play the clarinet from middle school through her freshman year of college. Rachel participated in the Music for All National Festival with the Wando H.S. Symphonic Band in 1998.

Ms. Hundley went on to receive her undergraduate degree in political science, and speech and communications, at the University of Georgia, graduating summa cum laude. She eventually received her J.D. from the University of North Carolina School of Law, summa cum laude. After her time as an associate at the law firm of McDermott Will & Emery LLP in New York, she relocated to Northern California and pursued her passions of food and small businesses, and opened up a southern cuisine food truck and catering business with her business partner Arthur Chang. About a year later, wanting to immerse herself into the Sonoma community, Rachel Googled “how to run a campaign” and went on to win a seat on Sonoma’s city council. During that time, Hundley was able to invoke a program that provided “safe parking” for homeless people who lived in their cars. In 2016, when the time came to elect a new mayor, Hundley was chosen. Since being elected in office, Mayor Hundley participated in the Women’s March in Sonoma, and she hopes to inspire younger people to be involved in their communities. She was recently featured on Fortune.com and the Washington Post as a leader on the current political landscape.

Today, Mayor Hundley talks to us about the key role music has played in her life and how she developed into the political activist and leader she is today.

How did your participation in school music impact and shape the person you are today and what lessons did you learn from being in band?
As an adult, my two biggest strengths are critical thinking and creativity. Learning and playing music helps the brain develop reasoning skills, pattern recognition, intellectual curiosity, and creative thinking. By the time I started law school after college, my brain had almost two decades of preparation for a career based in logic and problem-solving.
Participating in school music programs also helped develop self-discipline. Being accountable to a group is a great motivator to practice at home. Whether it is working at home to prepare for a trial, building my business, or keeping myself informed about everything happening in my city, it takes a lot of self-motivation to stay on top of all of the responsibilities I have today. I learned a long time ago the importance of putting in the time and effort no one sees, so that I'm ready when it is time to shine.
Being in band for 13 years also helped develop my social and leadership skills. First I was a section leader. Then I was on the band leadership council. In college, I was president of my chapter of Sigma Alpha Iota, a professional music fraternity for women. Today I'm the mayor of my city. Learning how to lead and inspire takes practice, and developing those skills within the microcosm of my band program gave me a strong foundation for the leadership positions I've had later in life.
Also, music is fun! My most cherished memories and my closest friends all came out of school music programs in middle school and high school. Even though we are scattered across the country, I still keep in touch with many of my friends from band, who are all living extraordinary lives.

What are your enduring memories you have of being in your high school and middle school band?
My clarinet section was the center of my high school universe. When I was a freshman, I thought the seniors were awe-inspiring. So grown up and smart, and so talented! When my time came to lead the section, I thought it would be fun to give everyone a different tree name. Yes, trees. Willow. Pine. Magnolia, etc. I have no idea why I went with trees. The names stuck for the entire year. My best friends came out of that clarinet section, and we spent countless hours together sweating at band camp, nervously waiting to march out on the field during a competition, riding the bus to away games, even eating lunch together in the band room during the school day. I'm thankful band and my clarinet section was my anchor throughout middle and high school.

What instrument did you play in school, when did you start playing? Do you still make music?
I started playing piano when I was six years old. In 5th grade, I joined the orchestra and played violin. In 6th grade I switched to cello, while also joining band as a clarinetist at Laing Middle School, led by Miller Asbill. After a semester of trying to do both music programs, I decided to focus on band. My high school band at Wando High School in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina was led first by Miller Asbill and later Scott Rush. I played the clarinet for 13 years, including one year with the University of Georgia concert and marching bands. Eventually I had to give up band as an extracurricular because I had three majors (political science, journalism, and speech and communications), but I stayed involved in music through Sigma Alpha Iota and two chorus classes. In law school, three female classmates and I put together a rock cover band called "Attractive Nuisance." Today, my schedule is too full for an organized group, but I do putter around on the piano and acoustic guitar every now and then.

What book did you most recently enjoy reading? What music are you listening to these days?
My brother, who played trombone in band, recently sent me a fascinating non-fiction book entitled, "If Mayors Ruled the World" by Benjamin R. Barber. Its premise is that local government is the most successful level of government because local leaders tend to focus on finding pragmatic solutions to the problems and issues at hand, rather than getting bogged down with partisan division. If the sewer needs to be fixed, then we better fix it.
Right now, my preferred genres of music are electronic (house) and hip hop (west coast).

What's an interesting fact about you not many people know?
I have terrible stage fright. Recitals, auditions and solos always terrified me when I was a student, but I did them anyway. Running for office was a hilariously terrifying experience. Sometimes when I'd walk up to the podium to speak to a large group of people my knees would be shaking, and I'd silently curse myself for getting myself into the situation. After two years of sitting in front of large groups during televised city council meetings and now running those meetings, the nervousness has faded. I'm an introvert, and extemporaneous speaking is not my strong suit, but I've been forcing myself to perform and speak in front of audiences long enough to know that I'll probably survive and the next time will probably be a little easier.

Anything else we should know or that you'd like to tell our school music student, teacher, and parent readers?
Thank you to all of the music teachers and supportive parents out there! Looking back, I can't believe all of the time and energy all of the "grown-ups" put into supporting our various programs. I wouldn't be the person I am today if it wasn't for the music programs I had when I was in school. I'd also like to thank my two biggest fans who shuttled me back and forth to practice, and dutifully attended almost every concert I had: my parents.

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Developing student leaders is an important part of almost every music program in the nation. Many programs send their students to Leadership camps and symposiums. In many of these student leadership camps, the focus is on defining what leadership is and what it looks like to your peers; however, these student leaders may not actually be taught how to refine their own student leadership skills. In other words, much time and effort is invested in teaching students (and in some cases directors) what leadership is and how to look like leaders, but due to a lack of time, or possibly understanding, little is accomplished in developing the leader so they can actually lead.

My friend and mentor, the incomparable Dr. Tim Lautzenheiser, often says: “Leadership is not something you do. Leadership is something you are.” This is so true; however, an apple tree produces apples and a grapevine produces grapes, so a leader must produce leadership. If we are truly leaders, we will do things that a leader does!

What are some qualities most leaders possess? They are usually good communicators, they are energetic, they are influential with their peers, and they usually possess good performance skills. While all of these are great attributes, the one essential for a leader to produce the most influence comes when they can actually instruct/teach their peers. This moves the student leader beyond being just a role model – someone their peers may model themselves after – and moves them to being a real model – someone that is capable of not just showing, but is also capable of producing leadership by helping to move their peers through instruction to higher levels of excellence.

What does a REAL student leadership MODEL do?
They Motivate. They are their peers’ biggest cheerleaders.
They Observe. They work to understand better the needs of their peers and their program.
They Demonstrate. Through their actions and words, they demonstrate what their peers should strive to become. They demonstrate how to play, march, behave, respect, and ultimately how to be the best possible member of their program.
They Evaluate/Educate. They evaluate their peers’ strengths and weaknesses, and then help instruct/educate them to achieve excellence.
They Lead. In difficult times and in times of celebration, they are consistent leaders day in and day out! To quote Dr. Tim again, “They walk the talk!”

At Ooltewah, we have done this for almost my entire career. Most of our marching band staff is comprised of former students, who developed their instructional skills by being leaders in our band program. Fortunately, we have now developed our program to the point we have a Band Leadership class that meets during the school day and mentors two to three days a week in our middle school band programs. Many other programs use a student leadership Peer Teaching model as well, but maybe none as well as the great Marian Catholic Band Program and Mr. Greg Bimm. For decades, the student leaders at Marian have taught music sectionals, taught marching fundamentals, and helped to teach drill. These are student leaders who are producing leadership! Through trust from their director and being taught how to be a peer teacher, they have moved beyond defining their leadership abilities and now are refining their leadership skills. When student leaders (and directors – we must allow it) make this shift in responsibility, their impact is like a pebble being dropped in the water. The initial splash may not be very large, but the ripple effect of influence keeps going and going. The efforts of these initial student leaders BEING leaders and producing leadership inspire other students to strive for the same excellence and influence. At my school, we have not used a title for all of these student leaders. The focus of our program has been that a title is much less important than actually being a leader and producing quality leadership. While some positions may require a title, our ultimate goal should be to inspire and equip student leaders to lead.

This is why we developed the new Peer Teaching Division at the Music for All Summer Symposium. The purpose of this new track will be to provide student leaders with the tools necessary to become effective leaders and Peer Teachers in their programs. They will learn how to teach music and marching techniques from some of the best instructors in the band world, and should return to their music programs eager and ready to MODEL REAL LEADERSHIP in their programs.

The Peer Teaching Division Staff includes Mr. Jeremy Spicer – outstanding band director/music educator, owner of SASI the Leadership People, and a national adjudicator. Mr. John Howell – accomplished visual designer, instructor, and a national adjudicator of all of the marching arts. Miss Anna Rodriguez – vibrant young band director/music educator, outstanding drum major instructor, and inspiring leadership instructor. Division Chair – Mr. Joel Denton – band director/music educator, national leadership consultant, and a national adjudicator. We will also be joined each day with a special guest who is an expert on developing student musicians and inspiring them to lead. These guests will include Greg Bimm, Bobby Lambert, Gary Markham, David Starnes, and Jeff Young. All of our division staff has a focused desire to see students become outstanding and productive leaders in their music programs and in life.

The program is designed to ensure the language and verbiage being used is consistent with what is being used by directors and staffs across the nation. It is going to be a dynamic week of learning, and of BEING and DOING for all involved! I hope you and your students will join us!

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