The Music for All Blog
The Music for All Blog

Stories (288)

Today's guest post is from CJ Longabaugh, Assistant Director of Bands at Blue Valley West High School in Kansas. CJ was a part of the Collegiate/Young Teacher division of the Music for All Summer Symposium the summer before his very first teaching job! Our many thanks to CJ for sharing some thoughts on his experience and why he recommends others to take part in the Summer Symposium as well! 

CJ LongabaughAccepting my first teaching position was probably one of the scariest moments of my life. I immediately began questioning my ability to understand the logistics of the position, effectively managing parents and administration, and successfully teaching students so they have the most musical experiences in high school band. Reflecting on my first years of teaching at Blue Valley West High School, I can honestly say with complete confidence that attending the MFA Summer Symposium has set me up to be the most successful first year teacher I could be for several reasons. Below are some things that I gained by attending the symposium just months before I began teaching.
 
I connected with students. In June 2011 I drove a school van of high school students to the MFA Summer Symposium. Surrounding myself with our leadership team before band camp allowed me to connect with students on so many levels. I was able to learn their about personalities and strengths while showing them how passionate I am with helping them actualize their potential as musicians and leaders. Before band camp even started, I knew 13 students that trusted me as their teacher, and that helped me build strong relationships with all of my students.
 
I learned from the best. Music for All hires the best band directors in the country to conduct clinics and sessions that cover a wide variety of topics: fundamental techniques, conducting clinics, marching show production and design, instrument-specific pedagogy, round table discussions, one-on-one sessions, the list goes on! These expert teachers give insight to the real world of education in the public schools. I specifically remember sitting down with David McGrath in a “one-on-one” session to discuss teaching the “second” band. David gave me more advice and resources in one hour than I ever received in college. Before stepping into my first real classroom, I was able to pick the brain of an extremely successful band teacher who understands how to effectively teach in the modern day band room. His advice allowed me to enjoy the successes I had in the first years of teaching.
 
I networked. I was fortunate to meet so many young, enthusiastic music teachers from all around the country while at the Summer Symposium. After the symposium ended, several of us became “friended”  through many different types of social media. I am able to keep tabs on other band teachers that are going through the same things I am at Blue Valley West. It’s great to hear about new music, performance opportunities, and teaching methods just from reading the newsfeed. The “band director” friends I follow are my current and future colleagues. I could possibly work with one of these colleagues in the future…or maybe one of them helps me get a new job. Either way, networking allows you to build relationships in the intimate music community.
 
The summer before you begin teaching is the perfect opportunity to set yourself to make the most out of your first year. You are able to connect with your future students, work with the best music educators in the country, and network on a national level with other terrific music educators.
 

 

As CJ explains, the Collegiate/ Young Teacher division is a great way to start your career and set yourself up for success! The best part is that you get to participate in the Director's Track, but at a discounted price! If you want to read more about this incredible value, check out the Collegiate/Young Teacher division page on the Music for All website.

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Are you still debating whether or not you should attend the the Music for All Summer Symposium, presented by Yamaha in June? Here are the top 10 reasons why you should consider it!

10. Awesome Evening Concerts!

Each night after a day full of track intensive work (and fun!), the WHOLE camp comes together for an evening of inspiring music! Whether your favorite is an evening of jazz, virtuosic soloists or some of the world’s best drum corps, there will be at least one night you can’t wait to tell your friends back home about!

9. There’s something for everyone

Whether you are a jazz cat, guard diva, marching band buff, orchestra nut, concert band wiz, or drum guru, there’s a division and a place for you at the Music for All Summer Symposium.

8. Leadership is the theme

At the Music for All Summer Symposium we don’t believe that only drum majors or section leaders benefit from leadership. We believe that EVERY student benefits from leadership training and that’s why it is incorporated in EVERY division of the Summer Symposium. Anyone who is willing to pay attention, respond and get involved has the potential to positively lead others.

7. Learn from the best

Where else would you get to go to be instructed by so many of the top music educators and clinicians from across the country?

6. Create life-long friends

At camp you will be with nearly 1,000 other students from all across the country. You will not only have the opportunity to make friends within your own track, but you will make friends with other students in your dorm, your swags, and faculty! These are relationships that can last you a lifetime; just think of the friend requests you will have when you get home!

5. Take music & performance skills to the next level

This IS the Music for All Summer Symposium, so first and foremost you will be getting top-notch performance instruction from our outstanding faculty!

4. Get energized for next school year

There is no doubt about it that you will take things that you learn at Music for All Summer Symposium back to your own band, orchestra or guard program back home, not only music or performance skills, but attitude, energy, and a new outlook. Imagine how much stronger of a performer and leader you’ll be and how it could positively impact your school ensemble! 

3. Get the away from home “college experience”

You’re probably already thinking leaving home to go to college and into the broader world in the next 1-4 years. Heading away from home can be pretty nerve wrecking. Going to a week long summer camp on a college campus is a great way of getting the experience of being away from home, navigating around a campus and having a roommate! It’s a week of learning about yourself in a new environment.

2. It’s more fun than a summer job!

This one is pretty self-explanatory.  What would you rather do? Come to camp, make music and hang out with awesome people or go to work everyday? (p.s. you have the rest of your life to work, spend this summer at camp!) Plus, we know that a large percentage of Fortune 500 CEOs participated in their school music programs, so think of it as an investment in your future! 

1. Surrounded by students from across the country who are different – but also JUST LIKE YOU!

At school you probably are in a band with anywhere from 50-250 students (give or take) who have similar interests as you, and maybe half who are as PASSIONATE about music making as you are. Can you imagine being in one place, where the focus is music making and you are surrounded by nearly 1,000 people who are just as passionate as you are about band, orchestra or guard? Well, you can stop dreaming because that place exists, and it’s in Muncie, Indiana at Ball State University June 24-29.

  

So what are you waiting for? If these reasons didn't convince you that the Symposium is the right place for you, check out our videos on YouTube, Student Testimonials, and the Symposium coverage from last year! 

Are you a student or director who has been to Symposium in the past? Comment and give us your top reasons for why someone should come to the Music for All Summer Symposium this year!

 

Today's guest post is from Nicole Presley, a Music for All Summer Symposium SWAG (if you do not know what a SWAG is, read more here) and former Summer Symposium student division participant. Thank you Nicole for sharing your story with us!

 

It’s funny how even though I’m still a full-time student sitting in class for hours upon hours for thirty weeks of the year, attempting to learn as much as I can, I learn the most during ten days at the end of June. I don’t sit in a classroom for those ten days. I don’t have a textbook to read. Sometimes I can’t even take notes. But I know for a fact that it’s for those ten days at the Music for All Summer Symposium that I learn the most.

 

NicolePhoto1For four out of the past five summers I’ve attended the Summer Symposium; once as a camper and three times as a SWAG. Between the campers, the Music for All staff, the clinicians, and the other SWAGS, I feel as though I’ve had the privilege of meeting some of the most beautiful people that walk this earth.

 

When I’m talking about camp I find myself saying things like, “It’s just the best.” If you’ve been to the Symposium, you know: sometimes it’s hard to put a finger on just what makes it so overwhelmingly great. I’ve come to realize that the people are what make it “the best.” I learn so much more than just music from the people I interact with at camp.

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In December of 2011, I was coming back from a four month long study abroad trip in Spain and once I was back in the States my connecting flight home was cancelled. I would have been stranded in the airport overnight if it hadn’t been for a SWAG who came to save me even though it was a school night and she was already in her pajamas.

 

Last summer at camp I was a little sick and lost my voice almost completely for the majority of the week. Every day there was one camper who, no matter how terrible I sounded or how hard I was to understand, would say, “You’re sounding much better today, Nicole,” with a sympathetic smile on his face.

 

The SWAG Team shouted “Happy Birthday” at me on my birthday, sending me into silent fits of laughter (it’s really hard to laugh when you have no voice!) at seven o’clock in the morning.

 

On the last day of camp last summer, one of the SWAGs who has been SWAGging for so much longer than me, who I admire incredibly, told me how proud he was of me and the person I was becoming.

 

From them I’ve learned that friendship means going far out of your way to help someone in a time of need, no matter how big or how small; that a smile and a little understanding can go a long way; that laughter really is the best medicine; and that being a mentor means letting someone know that they’re doing at least a little bit of the right thing. They’ve taught me that I want to be more like them.

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Sometimes in my head I hear George Parks saying: “Raise your hand as high as you can. Now raise it two inches higher. That’s what wrong with your lives!"

 

When it comes down to it, I think that’s one of the biggest things that I try to take away from the Symposium each year. I hear it said in sessions with clinicians and I see it carried out in the actions of the people around me.

 

Give as much as you can give, and then give more.

 

-Nicole Presley

 

Today's guest post is from Fran Kick, professional speaker, author and division head of the Leadership Weekend Experience at the Music for All Summer Symposium presented by Yamaha.

Better Leaders Followers Make All The Difference!

by Fran Kick
 
Here’s a test to try during your next ensemble rehearsal that just might prove my point faster and more interactively. Pick a particularly challenging part in the music to play – yet tell your first-chair players NOT to play. How does that sound?

Now consider these questions:

What if we over-rely on our best students to be our leaders and do little to develop all our students’ leadership potential?

If we constantly go to our leaders to “carry the load” and/or “make things happen” how engaged do you think others will be “watching things happen?”

iStock 000018302110XSmallWhat if leadership has less to do with leaders and more to do with followers? After all, bad leadership only occurs when there’s bad followership and good leadership only occurs when there’s good followership.

Could the quality of followership in your program actually have more influence on the quality of leadership in your program?

That’s why over the years, we’ve intentionally dovetailed our leadership curriculum to enhance both leadership and followership. [See “What we believe when it comes to developing student leadership” for more insight to our approach to leadership development—both for the leadership weekend and the weeklong summer symposium.] Every day, every section of the Summer Symposium gets to play with, and experience first-hand, the leadership+followership dynamic.

Now, we don’t call it that per se. After all, students do come to the Leadership Weekend Experience to be better leaders. (Imagine how many students would come to a Followership Experience?) Yet the truth is we’re simultaneously sharing both the importance of better leadership and better followership. Effective leaders need to know how to develop effective followers and ultimately your future leaders.

Next time you pass out a piece of music to your ensemble, make sure all the first-chair players receive all the parts for their entire section, rather than just the first-chair part. That way they can help all the players in their section KICK IT IN! Because better leaders and better followers will make all the difference in your program!

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Why do you #BelieveInMusic ?

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Music motivates. Music mesmerizes. Music moves.

We at Music for All believe in music and in music education, which is why we strive to create, provide and expand positively life-changing experiences through music for all. We believe that, apart from the pure beauty of music, it provides benefits to us outwardly and inwardly through personal learning and growth, team building, striving to reach goals and much more.

But we want to know about our followers—why do YOU believe in music?

We invite you to follow the #BelieveInMusic hashtag and join our Twitter campaign to help spread the word about the amazing powers of music. Reply @musicforall with “I #BelieveInMusic because…” to share your thoughts and feelings. Great responses will be retweeted!

Take a look at what people are already tweeting:

“I #BelieveInMusic because it helps me recognize beauty.”

“I #BelieveInMusic because it can teach us what we should know about each other and what we already know about ourselves.”

“I #BelieveInMusic because music is life”

 To learn more about Music for All’s music advocacy program, visit www.musicforall.org/i-believe.

 

Make sure you’re staying connected with us!

“Like” us on Facebook:

www.facebook.com/musicforallnetwork

www.facebook.com/bandsofamerica

www.facebook.com/orchestraamerica

 Follow us on Twitter:

www.twitter.com/musicforall

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Today's blog post is a very special post written by Julianne Clements from Bentonville H.S. in Bentonville, Arkansas. Julianne was one of the four Drum Majors for the 2013 Bands of America Honor Band in the Tournament of Roses® Parade. Our thanks to Julianne for sharing her story with us, and with all of you! We know there are great things ahead for Julianne and  we are looking forward to hearing all about them in the years to come.

Julianne4One of my greatest journeys began last year. I auditioned to be a piccolo player in the 2013 Bands of America National Honor Band. When I got accepted, I was overcome with joy because this was to be the biggest accomplishment of my life. Marching in an ensemble with 300 students from everywhere, working with world-class staff, performing in front of over a million live viewers; it was one of my childhood dreams coming true before my eyes. My dream didn’t end there, so I decided to just go for it and try out to be drum major of the Honor Band. I knew it was a long-shot that I would get the position, but I wasn’t going to shy away for fear of failure. The day I received notification of my selection as one of four drum majors, I was so enthused and excited I could not take the smile off my face. I could not believe that out of all the applicants from around the nation, I had been chosen. It was truly an honor and privilege that I will be grateful for the rest of my life. My dream had come true, but the excitement didn’t stop after making the ensemble. Never could I have pictured that one week could mean so much in my life.

I first met with the group on December 27th. We rehearsed nearly nonstop for two days in order to give our first performance on the 29th. During those days I learned more about myself and the world than I have ever before. I learned that people expect perfection from everyone, including themselves. And that even though I know perfection is impossible to reach, I still believe that this drive found in all of us is what sets us apart and drives humanity to greatness. Demanding and expecting perfection doesn’t constitute infinite failure, it means that excellence is the only outcome that is possible. The staff members there did demand perfection, because they already knew how great the band could be. After our first performance the band too realized and this is what drove us to strive even harder. We thirsted for more; for more time with the other amazing students, for more time with the incredible staff, for more time getting to know everyone who made this group, the National Honor Band. One of the greatest things the staff expressed was that we were THE National Honor Band. No one else was a part of that, and no one else could be. We were it. We could either give it everything we have and make it the greatest experience ever, or walk away knowing we could have done more. I think every single person realized their full potential in that week and we truly became the 2013 Bands of America National Honor Band.  Julianne3 

My favorite moment of all with this band was the final stretch of the parade.  The 300 students I had met only days before came to the end of marching close to 6.8 miles. Some held up 50 pound instruments, others drummed; some moved their fingers, others moved a slide; some danced, others tossed a flag; but I conducted this ensemble. I stood in front and saw all 300 of my peers march for nearly two hours and still have smiles on their faces. I witnessed the band play Firework for the very last time and just give it everything they had. It brings tears of joy to my eyes to remember that final moment of the parade. Even though we had played that song a million times, even though the musicians were exhausted, even though some were bleeding from blisters or shaking with pain, we came together at the end and played that song one last time for us. There was not an audience or any need to continue playing, but we danced away and blasted the music with all our heart and soul anyways. I have never heard an ensemble play with such true exuberance, such joy and such exaltation. We played for the family we had become and for the struggles we had triumphed over. We played because we had become the Bands of America National Honor Band. Never have I been as inspired by an act as in that moment. It truly is indescribable; the way we all smiled when it was over and cheered each other on, it just blew me away. We had persevered and achieved something truly magnificent. 

I don’t know any other group of students that could celebrate the New Year at 9:00 PM and be perfectly happy with it. I don’t know any other group of students that could rehearse for an entire day and still, after 8 hours, run back every time the staff called reset. I don’t know any other group of students that could make close, lifetime friends with a few people, and yet still be friends with everyone involved. I don’t know any other group of students that could make wearing trash bags look so good. I don’t know any other group of students who could change the meaning of eating an orange so much that every time I see one, memories flood my mind. I don’t know any other group of students that could have so many different backgrounds, or accents, or languages, or experiences and yet still come together to perform in complete unison. I don’t know any other group of students like the 2013 Bands of America National Honor Band.

Julianne1300 people learned to step on the same foot, in the same way, at the same time. 300 people learned to breathe together, eat together, and just be together. 300 people became a family that shares the memories of a lifetime. 300 people’s lives were changed forever by the other 299, and I am one of them.  My life was forever changed for the better by this ensemble. If all of that can happen in a week, well then I truly believe anything is possible. 



-Julianne Clements, Drum Major, 2013 Bands of America Honor Band in the Tournament of Roses® Parade

I’ve had the distinct privilege of bringing our band, from Wheeling High School, Wheeling, IL, to the Music for All Festival on three occasions, including this year. Your 2012 National Festival was incredible. The best one yet! The JW Marriott Hotel, Dr. Tim, meals, Buca di Beppo, Clowes Memorial Hall, clinicians, concerts, Indianapolis, and the Music for All Staff, were all wonderful. Our expectations for the National Festival were extremely high and you exceeded all of them, and much more.

Your goal, “to create, provide and expand positively life-changing experiences through music for all,” was in full force with our kids, parents, and staff. Your event is unique, positive, musical, rewarding, and special. You have made a mark on our kids and program that will last forever. Because of this, we will have many students applying for your 2013 Honor Band of America and Jazz Band of America.

It was incredibly refreshing to hear about your new focus and vision to truly make Music for All, Music for All. I believe our program is an example of where you are heading. Greater than 50 percent of our student body is Hispanic. We also have large Russian and Polish immigrant populations. A large percentage of our student body qualifies for our free and reduced lunch program. While many of our students and families have socio-economic challenges, we have a parent booster group that provides tremendous financial support. Our wonderfully diverse community supports our kids and program like no other. There are many schools, some very close to us, with numerous financial advantages, including large homes, and expensive cars, yet our kids have learned about a great equalizer, education and work ethic.

Thank you for providing a forum for young musicians, and us directors, to aspire. I too believe in Music for All!

Sincerely,
Brian Logan
Director of Bands
Wheeling High School

MFANF11programbook roundedMusic for All is offering space in our Music for All National Festival keepsake program book for you to honor your student, ensemble or director! It’s a great way to acknowledge the dedication, passion and experience of participation in Music for All programs while supporting Music for All’s annual fund.
 
Ideas for Celebration:

• Honor your student, ensemble or director.
• Congratulate a senior for his or her dedication.
• Tell someone how proud you are of him or her.
• Honor a director or parent volunteer.

To learn more and place your order by February 10, 2012, click here.

Misty revelli rounded2Deadline: February 24, 2012

The William D. Revelli Scholarship was established in 1993 in honor of the late Dr. Revelli, for his contributions to music education. This $1,000, one-time scholarship honors a graduating senior who is performing at the 2012 Music for All National Festival and is nominated by his or her director. Recipients must intend to pursue a degree in music education. The scholarship will be awarded during the banquet at the National Festival in Indianapolis on March 17, 2012.

Click here to learn more and complete your application. Completed applications are due February 24, 2012.

Impact2011 roundedImpact, Music for All’s annual report and resource for education, advocacy and performance information for fiscal year 2011 (March 1, 2010 - February 28, 2011), is now available for download here.

As the current fiscal year comes to a close, Music for All has much for which we can be thankful. Most of all, we are thankful for friends and supporters like you who embrace and support our mission to create, provide and expand positively life-changing experiences through music for all.

In 2011, we took Music for All, Bands of America and Orchestra America programs to 11 states and drew participants from 30 other states and three foreign countries. Almost 3,000 students and teachers participated in the Music for All Summer Symposium and Music for All National Festival, and another 70,000+ students participated in Bands of America events before more than a quarter million fans, families and supporters. We provided counsel as well as access to our advocacy tools and resources for hundreds of teachers, parents and students who saw their access and opportunities to participate in music education and performance threatened by educational budget cuts.

We know that you believe in our ideals and programs, and we ask and hope we can continue to have, deserve and count on your support. As we approach the end of the year (February 29, 2012), Music for All has reached 97% of our fundraising goal, and we need your help to continue to strengthen our programs and educational experiences.  A gift from you will give us the significant boost we need to reach our goal of influencing students and educators through our programs and providing Positively Life-Changing experiences through music for all. More importantly, your gift provides leadership and inspires others – individuals, corporations and foundations alike – to join in and support our cause.

Support you provide now will help ensure that we can continue to serve at a high level and execute key objectives for 2012 and beyond. To donate to Music for All, donate online, or send your donation to:

Music for All
Development Department
39 W. Jackson Place, Suite 150
Indianapolis, IN 46225

Thank you for supporting Music for All’s positively life-changing programs and experiences!

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