The Music for All Blog
The Music for All Blog

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Orpheus and The Volunteers

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Day_4_76Hi, everyone! I'm Erin, the Participant Relations Coordinator at Music for All. With my position I don't normally get the chance to blog, but the Marketing department has graciously let me guest blog today about my experience at Tuesday's evening concert.

First of all, this is my first year at Music for All's Summer Symposium. I started with the organization last August so while I've been with MFA for a little while, I'm still a newbie at camp! Part of my job is building relationships with future participants, and telling them about our programs. I can tell anyone why they should attend our camps and about the people who will be there instructing them. But, while reading through literature and watching videos on the website can tell you a little bit about camp and what it's all about, it's not the same as seeing it happen. As corny as I know it sounds, the energy on campus is incredible and inspiring. I know that for myself, being here at camp and seeing it first hand has helped me understand why people LOVE Summer Symposium.

I love walking into Emens Auditorium after a long day at camp and seeing all of the students doing the wave and various cheers. No matter what time you woke up in the morning, or how long your day has been, you can't help but smile when you see, hear and feel the energy in the room and know how much fun the students are having. Most of the students have been up since early morning, playing all day, marching, learning tosses, etc., yet they are still full of energy and waiting for the evening concert entertainment to begin.

Tuesday night definitely did not disappoint.

Orpheus, the first band of the night, is a SchoolJam USA finalist. SchoolJam USA is a battle of the bands contest for 13-19 year olds sponsored by NAMM. You can find more information about this program here.

As Orpheus played some covers and a few originals, the students danced and sang along through the whole set. Swags, nurses and staff couldn't resist dancing along as well!

My favorite part of the opening act was when one of the members of Orpheus told the crowd how he was a camper himself just two years ago, sitting in an evening concert.

"I looked over to my friend Mariah and said wouldn't it be awesome if one day, I could be up there on that stage?" he said. He told the audience he didn't really believe it would happen, but here he is - so don't ever think that you can't do something.

What would you do if you couldn't fail? Believe in yourself. Everyone hears these things all the time - I know I do. But, proof of statements just like these was up on that stage last night. These students just graduated high school a couple of weeks ago, and now they are on stage, with a crowd of over 700 rocking out to their music. At one point during the performance, I leaned over to a fellow staff member, commenting on how cool it was that we had Orpheus here since they are the same age or just slightly older than the majority of our campers. They are completely relatable. I truly hope that at least a few students looked up at the stage last night and thought to themselves, "yeah, I could do that."

Orpheus was great; everyone was pumped up, including me. I wasn't sure what to expect from the next performance, and then The Volunteers, who are part of the U.S. Army Field Band, came out.

The Volunteers had an incredible amount of energy and were fantastic players. They did a combination of newer, popular songs like Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream," and some older favorites like "Barracuda."

I didn't think it was possible for the students to get more pumped up than they already were, but The Volunteers definitely caused that to happen!

After The Volunteers finished their last song, they walked off stage to the sound of students chanting "USA, USA, USA." It was pretty incredible to hear that. The Volunteers came back out for an encore and sang "Don't Stop Believin'," by Journey and "I Want You Back" by The Jackson 5.

After the encores, students continued the "USA, USA, USA" chant that progressed to a standing ovation.

The Volunteers expressed to the students how awesome it was that they were here at camp. They said to work hard, and don't stop playing music.

I definitely left Emens feeling much more energized than when I went in. It was great seeing the students have so much fun at the evening concert, even after a very long day in their sessions.

There is definitely a lot more in store for the upcoming evening concerts this week, and I personally can't wait!

Participant Relations Coordinator

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

George N. Parks Drum Major Academy

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The George N. Parks Drum Major Academy students were hard at work today. I decided to spend part of the afternoon observing what they were up to so I headed over to Burris School.

DMA is for any band member who wishes to improve and develop his or her leadership, communication, conducting and marching skills and become a stronger asset to his or her band program. Students learn marching fundamentals, command basics, teaching techniques, conducting patterns, how to command the block, and baton and mace technique.

I started outside Burris School and watched instructor Frederick Omega Pye work on marching fundamentals with a group of students. They were working on stationary drill movements when I arrived, but rather than just emphasizing the movements themselves, Pye stressed leadership skills as well.

"You have to look like you're leading so people will follow you," Pye said. He encouraged the students as he instructed and corrected them.

Pye is a senior staff member, celebrating his 28th season with the George N. Parks Drum Major Academy. In his biography, he says "it is with a heavy heart that I continue on with George's mission - to develop the finest student Drum Majors across the country."

A second group of Drum Major Academy students walked up the path to head into the Burris School for an indoor session. I followed to watch Chris Cansler's session with the students. Cansler is the Director of Bands and Fine Arts Department Chair at Guyer High School in Denton, Texas.

In this session, students had the opportunity to improve their conducting by observing video of themselves. Students were given tips on how to improve their form and style during this evaluation.

I heard Cansler say "Starred Thought, 90% of your conducting problems can be corrected by beginning with and maintaining the appropriate starting position." Sadly, we lost George Parks unexpectedly within the past year. His students, staff and colleagues know that his "Starred Thoughts" were, and still are, important parts of his teachings – too important to be lost with his passing. It was nice to hear his staff carrying on this tradition.

As I watched students soaking up the instruction and thoughts on how to improve, it was overwhelmingly clear to me that even in George's absence the Drum Major Academy will continue to thrive due to the heart and dedication he inspired in his staff.


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Students on SupportMusic Coalition Call

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Two Music for All students participated in a live SupportMusic Coalition conference call today during MFA's Summer Symposium. NAMM, the National Association of Music Merchants, is one of Music for All's corporate sponsors. The NAMM Foundation seeks to strengthen music education in schools and communities nationwide through its SupportMusic Coalition. Joey, a 5-year MFA Summer Symposium participant in the Marching Band track, and Andrew, a 3-year MFA Summer Symposium participant in the Drum Major Academy, joined MFA Staff, NAMM Staff and other NAMM members on the call today.

Both of the participants commented about the leadership opportunities they've gained from participating in Music for All programs.

"After the first year at camp, I changed and improved and then when I went back home, I was able to change and improve my own program because of all the new skills I learned," said Andrew.

Not only did both of the participants share their excitement about meeting friends from around the globe when attending MFA programs, but they both shared that their experiences have been positively life-changing.

"With music, I've found that I can do anything," said Joey who plans to become a music educator.

Several other guests were on the call, including another student, Kaitlyn Lee, who has been a strong advocate for music and arts education in her school district in Washington state. Her efforts have saved music programs in her community.

Remember that each and every one of us can be an advocate for music and arts education. Help educate your community to support arts education. For advocacy tools and resources, click here.

After the call, the SupportMusic Facebook page received a comment from one of their Facebook friends: "It WAS a great call! Hearing students talking about why they play music - and its emotional power in their lives - was really inspiring. Young musicians = the best evidence @ why music education in the schools is so important."

What an amazing testament to Music for All and music education!




Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Summer Symposium Music Playlist

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Have you been enjoying the mix CDs played prior to different Symposium events? If so, check out the playlists below to see what you've been listening to:

Dog Days are Over by Florence & The Machine
Me & The Moon (Clock Opera Remix) by The Drums
Sweet Disposition (RAC Remix) by Temper Trap
Tighten Up by The Black Keys
Stars Come Out by Calvin Harris
What you Know by Two Door Cinema
Walking on a Dream by Empire of the Sun
If I Ever Feel Better by Phoenix
Miracles by Norwegian Recycling
White Knuckles by OK GO
Animal by Miike Snow
Kids by MGMT
When You Were Young by The Killers
Typical by Mute Math
Rolling in the Deep by Adele
Sleepyhead by Passion Pit
Something Good Can Work by Two Door Cinema
One More Time by Daft Punk

Everlasting Light by The Black Keys
Cosmic Love by Florence & The Machine
The Compromise by The Format
Love Lost (Keljet Remix) by Temper Trap
Buddy Holly by Weezer
Fancy Footwork by Chromeo
On Melancholy Hill by Gorillaz
Dancing with the DJ by The Knocks
Capital (Orignial Mix) by Christoph Andersson
Whoa Oh! (Me Vs. Everyone) by Forever the Sickest Kids
Lisztomania by Phoenix
Daylight by Matt and Kim
Sweep the Leg by No More Kings
Ambling Alp by Yeasayer
Odessa by Caribou

President_Jo_Ann_M._GoraVisit the 2011 Music for All Summer Symposium online coverage page for more information and camp highlights throughout the week.

Today was the first full day of the 2011 Music for All Summer Symposium. It was a rainy morning, but that certainly didn't dampen the mood of the excited students, parents and directors checking in at registration this morning. I stopped by early on during registration to see how things were going, and it was great to see all the excited, smiling faces as campers received materials and leafed through schedules.

Before I knew it, it was time to head over to the Opening Session at Emens Auditorium. The energy was contagious as students rocked out to the walk-in music, and soon Orpheus, SchoolJam USA Finalists, took the stage. They performed SKA music – a melting pot of Punk, Jazz and Reggae.

After this fantastic performance, students were introduced to Norm Ruebling (Camp Director), Jamie Weaver (Camp Director of the SWAG Team), David Starnes (Educational Consultant for Music for All and Camp Director), Gary Markham (Senior Educational Consultant for Music for All and Camp Director), Jo Ann M. Gora (Ball State University President), Fran Kick (Leadership Division Coordinator), the Camp Medical Team, and Eric Martin (CEO of Music for All). Team SWAG also contributed some helpful tips about staying energized, hydrated, well-rested and sunscreened up for the week!

After the Opening Session, students began their classes. It was so nice to see campus milling with activity today. After classes tonight, students will attend the Yamaha Young Performing Artists (YYPA) concert. The YYPA program is designed to provide early career recognition for outstanding young musicians in the United States. Hundreds of applicants ages 16- 21 apply annually and undergo a rigorous, taped audition process for a panel of national celebrity musicians. Yamaha's competition for outstanding young musicians culminates in finalist performances and a selection of one winner at this evening's concert.

As I watched students arrive on campus today, I remembered my own time spent at music camps when I was a student. I play French horn, and I had some of the best musical experiences of my life at music camps. I hope that your students feel the same way, and I look forward to spending time this week observing their sessions.



Sunday, June 19, 2011

Taylor University Challenge Course

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Visit the 2011 Music for All Summer Symposium online coverage page for more information and camp highlights throughout the week.

Hello, my name is Ashley Strahan, and I am the Marketing Assistant at Music for All. I am guest blogging today about my first-hand experience with the leadership weekend experience.

Today brought students closer to the end of Leadership Weekend Experience, but I believe it was the most important day of the weekend. Today, students were able to reflect on their experiences and put what they've learned to use, whether they participated in small group activities or were at the Taylor University "Escape to Reality" challenge course.

The challenge course allowed students to work in small groups in an outdoor setting to build trust, communication and teamwork through various activities and initiatives.

I followed a group out into the woods to watch their first challenge to test their communication and cooperation skills. The fictional setting: The treacherous Colorado River. The Story: An adventurous group of students set out on a white water rafting trip. The raft accidentally tips and knocks three members out into the river. The Challenge: To rescue the members without getting off the raft before it is too late. I watched as a group of about 10 students crowded around a barrel, careful to not overstep the boundaries laid out for them. The students used a pulley system with ropes in order to retrieve logs (the members that fell off the raft) and place them in a barrel (the raft). The group demonstrated good use of communication, cooperation and teamwork in order to defeat the challenge. At the end, the group talked about using patience with others in order to achieve the same goal. They talked about applying what they learned in a musical setting and also shared that their strategy was to give and take. Sometimes you have to give in order for others to take, and sometimes you have to take when others give.

I found myself relating to the students and reflecting on my time here at Music for All and our staff. In order for Music for All to create, provide and expand positively life-changing experiences, we communicate, cooperate and work together as a team. Just like the pulley-system, we know when to pull and when to let go – we know when to follow and when to take the lead.

Not only did the students participate in small group activities, they also were able to take part in a high ropes course, 20-35 feet above ground level. I watched as students flew down the zip line, participated in the "flying squirrel," and completed an obstacle course up in the trees. The high ropes course taught the importance of support, encouragement and trust and, once again, teamwork.

Leadership Weekend Experience is a time for students to grow and learn about what it takes to become a leader not only in musical settings, but also in life. The lessons learned throughout this weekend will continue to be useful down the road when they enter college and the workforce.


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Leadership Lessons

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Visit the 2011 Music for All Summer Symposium online coverage page for more information and camp highlights throughout the week.

More than 400 participants learned leadership lessons yesterday during the Opening Session with Fran Kick, Leadership Divison Coordinator. Kick shared some helpful tips with the students to ensure they have a positively life-changing experience during the Leadership Experience Weekend.

Leadership Tips:

  • Lead by example
  • Actions speak louder than words
  • Make things happen and have people follow you
  • You don't need a title to be a leader
  • Put a lot into anything you do so that you get a lot out of it
  • Pay attention
  • Respond appropriately
  • Get involved with what's going on
  • It's not just what you know, but who you know

After participating in the session, I was reminded of so many tips and pointers to help me on my own leadership journey. Remember when your student comes home to continue to instill these leadership lessons as they embark on their own leadership journey.


Misty Wick
Director of Development and Partnerships


Saturday, June 18, 2011

Welcome to the MFA Summer Symposium

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Visit the 2011 Music for All Summer Symposium online coverage page for more information and camp highlights throughout the week.

Welcome to the 2011 Music for All Summer Symposium! I'm Kristin Conrad, Senior Marketing Coordinator at Music for All. I will be writing throughout the week to keep you informed about the activities your students will be participating in at this year's Summer Symposium. Unfortunately, I won't be able to be in two places at once, although I wish I could since the participants will be involved in so many different events and activities. But, I'll do my best to keep you in the loop throughout the week and help provide a window to the Symposium experience. You'll also see posts from other MFA staff members this week as they attend sessions and experience camp.

If you followed the Symposium blog last year, you may remember it was my second year. This is my third year at Symposium, and it's great to be back. This year, we're in a new location - Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. Ball State University is a wonderful place to be, and we're excited to spend the week on campus.

The MFA staff moved into our headquarters earlier this week, and we've been hard at work ever since. Team SWAG is also on site, working hard already to help provide a positively life-changing experience for your students. The heart and soul of the Summer Symposium, Team SWAG, is a volunteer group of dedicated college students, graduate students, band directors, and others interested in music education. These enthusiastic individuals spend the week helping fulfill the vast and varied logistical needs to ensure that the Summer Symposium runs smoothly and that all our participants have a positive experience. The Summer Symposium could not be held without Team SWAG.

Today, the morning started out in a flurry of activity as Leadership Weekend Registration opened at 8 a.m. in Park Hall. It was wonderful to see all the participants chatting and milling around the lobby while looking over the weekend schedules and materials.

After registration, it was time for the Leadership Weekend Experience Opening Session, in which participants had a chance to meet Norm Ruebling, Camp Director of the Music for All Summer Symposium; Eric Martin, Music for All's CEO; Jamie Weaver, Camp Director of our wonderful volunteer SWAG Team; and Erin Bergland, head of our on-site nurses. Then Leadership Division Coordinator Fran Kick presented a session that provided helpful tips for the weekend (or week ahead for full week campers).

After Opening Session and some lunch, the weekend sessions began. I was lucky enough to have time this afternoon to attend one of Dr. Tim Lautzenheiser's sessions. Admittedly, I was a bit tired and kind of hitting an afternoon wall around the time the session began. I've heard Dr. Lautzenheiser speak previously, but I'm still always amazed at how I feel when I leave his sessions. After his session, I was instantly re-energized and felt wonderful! That's how powerful his message is - it truly motivates you to be a leader and in his words, "give up giving up."

I took away several thoughts from this session, and I'm sure your students did as well. One idea that really struck me was, "What would you do if you knew you couldn't fail?" The room full of energetic students was instantly quiet after Dr. Lautzenheiser said this. It's an interesting thought - what would you do?

Another point that really resonated for me was, "If it comes between being right and being kind, be kind." It got me thinking about something Dr. Lautzenheiser said previously - "Maturity is the ability to understand how your behavior affects others." You can always go back and be right, but you can't go back and be kind after you've said something negative or hurtful that affects others. The students in the session were on the edge of their seats, attentively listening to tidbits like this, and it was clear they were thinking hard about how to apply these lessons to their own lives - just as I was.

Leadership Weekend continues tomorrow, and I look forward to seeing what happens next!



New Web page is one-stop resource for great stories about the positive power of music education

Music for All is collecting the best of the stories we read about the power and impact of music and arts education. Please use and share this resource in your own efforts to support music and arts education in your local schools.

Check out the stories page in progress, and be sure to send us the links to stories you find that would be good additions to the page. Send links to stories to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.MFA's Senior Marketing Coordinator.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Thank you for your help!

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We'd like to take a moment to extend our heartfelt thanks to all our friends who voted for Music for All in the Chase Community Giving program. We made a good showing and ended Round two with 3,075 votes total and in 38th place overall, which put us just a bit short of the top 25 and additional funding from Round two.

However, we're absolutely thrilled to have gained funding from Round one. Thanks for all your help! You helped us receive $25,000 from Round one, and we could not have done this without you!

Congratulations to our partner Drum Corps International, who finished in 10th place in Round two! Partners WGI (33rd place) and NAfME (37th place) also finished strong as well.

Thank you again for helping us get out the vote and for supporting music education and the arts.