The Music for All Blog
The Music for All Blog

Stories (288)

Friday, April 29, 2011

Calling All MFA Alumni!

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Are you an alumnus of Music for All's positively life-changing programs, including Bands of America, Orchestra America or the Summer Symposium? As an alumnus, you know firsthand the lasting impact of Music for All programs on your life, and we want to hear from you!

Do you remember the adrenaline rush you experienced before a performance? Do you remember what it was like when you knew, collectively, that you nailed a performance? Do you remember the friendships you made while participating in these world-class programs?

We want to reconnect with each of our 1.25 million alumni and find out how Music for All was positively life-changing! Share your story with us by sending an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or a written note to our headquarters:

Music for All
Development Department
39 W. Jackson Pl., Suite 150
Indianapolis, IN 46225-1010

We also hope you consider giving back or "paying it forward" to help others receive the same opportunities you had when you participated in our programs. You can make an impact in the lives of our current participants by supporting the Positively Life-Changing Annual Fund Campaign.

Music for All's efforts to create, provide and expand positively life-changing experiences through music for all include awarding a number of scholarships each year to students who are financially unable to attend MFA programs without financial assistance.

These scholarships assist with financial support for MFA programs like Summer Symposium, which is located at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. Music for All has two scholarship opportunities for students:

Honoring the life and work of L.J. Hancock, the L.J. Hancock Scholarship benefits individual students with financial need who are interested in attending the Summer Symposium. Applications are due by May 6, 2011. To apply, visit this page of our website.

The Indianapolis Public Schools Summer Symposium Scholarships allow IPS students the opportunity to attend Symposium through full scholarships. The staff and faculty of IPS Instrumental Music Programs choose the recipients for this scholarship award.

If you would like to make a positively life-changing impact on a student in need by supporting one of our scholarship funds for Summer Symposium, you can donate online, or call the Music for All Development Department for more information at 800-848-2263.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Everyone Can Make a Difference

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How many of you are watching Secret Millionaire, a new show on ABC? For those of you who haven’t seen the show, the very basic premise is that self-made millionaires embark on a weeklong journey where they spend time volunteering in some of the poorest areas of the country. At the end of their journey, the millionaires make an impact by presenting a donation to the organizations where they've volunteered.

What really piques my interest about the show is the hope that is emanating from so many of these organizations, even though they are faced with uncertainty. I think they have hope because they are living their mission and changing the lives of those they serve.

I am personally impressed by the willingness of the millionaires to diverge from their every-day lives and live a life of poverty for one week, all while giving of their time and, eventually, their treasure to deserving organizations.

Even though I’m not a millionaire, I know that I can do some of the same things the “Secret Millionaires” are doing but on a smaller scale. I wonder what would happen if each of us considered making just one sacrifice? For example, you could take your lunch to work every day for a week or bypass your morning latte for one week, in order to donate those extra funds to Music for All.

Each and every one of you can help to support Music for All’s mission to create, provide and expand positively life-changing experiences through music for all. Best of all, you don’t have to be a “Secret Millionaire” to make a difference!

I look forward to hearing from you about how you plan to be positively life-changing. What a powerful statement we could make to change the future of music and arts education if we all had a passion for our mission mixed in with hope and a little bit of sacrifice. Let’s see if the idea of the “Secret Millionaire” can spread to all of us!

Musically,

Misty D. Wick, Director of Development and Partnerships

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

2011 Music for All National Festival

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The 2011 Music for All National Festival was an amazing showcase of the finest youth musicians from across the nation who gathered in Indianapolis on March 16-19. The excitement and musicianship that 1,950 participants possessed was exhilarating. The passion felt for active music making was at an all time high in the city, with activities taking place at three premier venues and more than 30 hours of concerts showcasing students. 

“I think it was just a superb activity to showcase some of America’s finest young musicians, “ said John Carroll, director, Permian High School Percussion Ensemble. “I applaud MFA for the opportunity of a lifetime for these students.” 

The Music for All mission to create, provide and expand positively life-changing experiences through music for all was truly at work in these youth. Student participants performed challenging music in premier venues, developed leadership skills, made new friends and learned from some of the top music educators in the nation.

“It was without a doubt the best week and best experience of my life,” said Ryan Flint, participant. “I met people who will surely be lifelong friends, played in a fantastic band and grew a huge amount as a musician.”

The students who participate in the Music for All Festival grow so much as musicians while they are immersed in a weekend of active music making. However, for all of our students, directors and parents, there is so much sacrificed for their children to participate in world-class activities such as the Music for All National Festival. These directors and families make these sacrifices in order for their students to experience top quality performance opportunities with other students from around the nation who share the same love and passion for music. These sacrifices are priceless though when you hear the first and final notes of world-class concert performance by extremely talented youth musicians, or you see a student play a duet with Allen Vizzutti during a soulful jazz concert, or your student takes a master class from a world-renowned percussionist. These experiences are made possible because Music for All knows the value music has in all of our lives. Music for All really is music for a lifetime.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

2011 Revelli Scholarship Award

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The 2011 Revelli Scholarship was awarded to Caroline White from Atholton High School in Maryland at the Music for All National Festival. The scholarship is awarded in memory of Dr. William D. Revelli, one of America’s foremost band conductors and the icon for whom the Revelli Foundation was created and named in 1994. The Revelli Scholarship honors Dr. Revelli’s vision for music education.

“I sincerely love music in all of its forms and want to teach others to love it as well, because it has positively influenced my life and will undoubtedly do the same for future generations,” said White.

The Revelli Scholarship is a $1,000 award given annually to a senior who will be attending college as a music major and who has participated in the Music for All National Festival.

This year’s recipient is an outstanding student, musician and community leader. She has participated in her school wind ensemble, marching band, orchestra, jazz band and pit orchestra as well as many community music groups. She received the honor of being chosen to participate in the National Symphony Orchestra Young Associates program at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. According to her band director, he feels very lucky to have taught such a talented student and musician.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

What do YOU believe?

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Enjoy this great article by Fran Kick, then click "Read more" at the end to share your thoughts in the comments box about how student leaders need to be better prepared to help make things happen. If we select your comments to post online, as a “thank you for sharing,” we’ll make sure you receive a PDF discussion starter guide–based on this article – that you can use with your students. PLEASE SIGN IN before you comment so that we have your email address to send your PDF to, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. separately with your name, requesting the PDF.

 Download the full January/February 2011 Music for All Newsletter.

What we believe when it comes to developing student leadership:
What Do YOU Believe?

by Fran Kick

“A student leadership curriculum that is integrated into an organization’s infrastructure can have a direct, positive impact on that organization’s ability to successfully plan, practice, process and perform.” – Kevin Ford, Band Director for The Leadership Conservatory for the Arts at Tarpon Springs High School, Florida. Florida Music Director, August 2010.

Having worked with Bands of America/Orchestra America/ Music for All over the past two decades, I share in their passion and mission to develop student leadership rather than just let student leaders “rise to the top.” Reaching out to the best-of-the-best in your program and inspiring them to lead is one thing. Helping all your students simultaneously be an example and a peer teacher for others is quite another thing.

In the course of creating the various leadership experiences—both for the leadership weekend and the weeklong summer symposium— everyone involved has come to believe and reinforce a number of approaches that collectively contribute to developing the leadership capacity in students. Here is what we believe when it comes to developing positive student leadership:

Leadership isn’t about a title. While many people will say that “leadership isn’t about a title or a position,” too many times it’s selected students who have titles or positions that end up going to “leadership programs.” This program strives to do something different. We offer all students an opportunity to learn more about leadership.

Anyone who is willing to pay attention, respond appropriately and get involved in what’s going on has the potential to positively lead others. Every day we see examples of too many people not paying attention, or not responding appropriately. The world and our future will challenge everyone to engage in what’s going on around us many times over. Whether you’re a leader, a participant, or someone who “sees something” that needs to be done, acting on that responsibility is the key to building a caring community, school, organization, family or company. Many might prefer to stand back and abdicate their responsibility, giving up the opportunity to make a difference. Perhaps even whining, griping, complaining and blaming a given situation on others. Think of all the people you know who do just that! Helping students see that they have the ability to create a response–and therefore the responsibility to make things happen in our world–might be one of the most important lessons we share and active examples we set.

“Making things happen” is better than “watching things happen” or “wondering what’s happening.” Everyone has a choice–based on how well they pay attention–to contribute, criticize, or even ignore what’s happening around them in the world. While everyone can’t do everything that needs to be done, we can all do something wherever we are in life to make a positive difference.

Collaboration and cooperation always wins over competition and criticism. The arts in general can be a pretty competitive environment since performance level comparisons abound. Both individually and collectively we sometimes get sucked into an I’m-better-than-you or we’re-not-as-good-as-them mentality. While some of the National and Regional events Music for All sponsors and creates are competitive, the truth of the matter is that ideally these serve as celebrations–acknowledging achievement, highlighting excellence, and showcasing improvement. The “competitions” simply serve as an excuse to come together and share “what we do and how we do it.”

Actions speak louder than words. That’s why leading by example drives so much of what we do. After all, you can’t lead others until you lead yourself. Team SWAG—a group of dedicated volunteer directors, parents, college students and alumni—serves as the finest living example of servant leadership on the planet. You’ll see them at many of the Music for All events making things happen. They selflessly give their time without much fanfare or attention so that things just happen—almost magically many times.

Another great example of actions speaking louder than words, while demonstrating collaboration and cooperation, is the College Music Education Major Championship Semi-finals events held each year at the DCI World Championships in August and the Bands of America Grand Nationals in November. All three organizations—DCI, NAfME and Music for All—know that if we expect students, parents, teachers, schools and communities to work together, organizations need to work together as well. These one-day events, which are free for any full-time college student currently majoring in music education (undergraduate or graduate level), brings three of the nation’s largest music education organizations together—alongside with their various sponsors and partners, reaching future music educators with a message and a method that might inspire them to professionally pay attention to what is possible in today’s marching music education world.

“Be the change you want to see in the world.” – Gandhi

Leadership is about attitude, behaviors and skills. It’s about helping students see that success in leadership, and ultimately in life, comes from working hard, getting better at what you do, and having fun in the process. Aristotle described this joy experienced during the pursuit of achieving excellence and called it “eudaimonia.” Maslow called it “self-actualization.” Csikszentmihalyi (pronounced CHICK-sent-me-high) calls it the optimal experience of “flow,” and I’d call it KICKin’ IT IN!

“Learning to enjoy the intrinsic rewards of hard work is essential to successful development.” – Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

The more you put into it, the more you get out of it. Some consider this the law of reciprocity; that you get what you give; as ye sow, so shall ye reap; that what you plant, is what you get. Call it cliché or karma, the world does tend to reflect back to you what you send out to it. This cycle of cause and effect reinforces that Golden Rule to do unto others, as you would have them do unto you.

We believe in active learning by presenting lessons within the context of an experience to bring to life the leadership content students need to succeed. That’s why there’s less sitting and listening to lectures and more moving and involvement via large and small group experiential, teambuilding and problem-solving initiatives. It’s illustrating and bringing to life the leadership lessons within our program so that students can bring to life and illustrate the leadership lessons in your program. It’s learning by doing with pragmatic, immediately applicable, people-skill-building attitudes and approaches that students can then bring back within their organizations to improve performance.

Student leadership development needs to be developmentally appropriate for students. While that might seem like common sense to anyone in education, you’d be surprised how many student leadership programs are simply corporate leadership programs “watered down for kids.” Same messages and methods inappropriately adapted for student groups. There might be some serious developmental considerations to this. If you don’t believe me, check out the way elementary school student councils too many times become more about “the election” than learning about “the service of leadership.”

We believe in a constructive servant leadership approach. Servant leaders achieve results by giving constructive attention and care to the needs of those they serve vs. just themselves. They’re more about We/Us than I/Me. Seems like a contrarian concept given our current culture that continuously craves more and more of the ego-gratifying, attentionseeking, self-aggrandizing, 15-minutes of fame, I’ve-got-more-friends-than-you, Facebookfrenzy, status-updating, Twitter-text-messaging mania. And admittedly, the status-oriented, command-and-control, power-centered authoritarian leadership style does have its place. But when it comes to developing student leadership, we believe it’s time for more servant leaders who are seen as humble stewards of their organization–leaving a lasting legacy in the younger students they teach.

“Intrinsic motivation” has greater impact and is better at maintaining meaningful change than “extrinsic motivation.” In other words: self-motivation over the long run is much better than manipulation. Sure you can carrot-and-stick your kids to do what you want them to do. But ultimately, you’re putting more emphasis on the external reward vs. the internal satisfaction of a job well done. Plus, you’re setting yourself up to always have to tell students what to do and when to do it. Students will start to see more value in what they get for doing something, rather than enjoy the process of doing.

Leadership wisdom is created when you stop and reflect. Which is why every leadership experience, activity and initiative is followed by time to debrief and think about what was experienced, what was learned, and how that lesson can be applied in future and/ or different situations. Helping students “stop their world” to reflect, think and process “what they’re doing” as well as “how they’re doing” is an important aspect to our leadership development approach. Too many times in our always-on, 24/7, over-scheduled world, students don’t take the time to slow down, think it through and decide what to do. Being able to slow down, self-assess, take corrective action and even take a time out can bring a bit of saneness in our seemingly insane world.

The leaders of tomorrow are in the bands and orchestras of America today. We all know there’s something about music that opens up the creative mind. This combined with the leadership experiences music organizations offer creates a huge developmental influence impacting students well beyond their high school years.

In a multi-year, multi-university study of leadership involving over 50,000 college students from 52 different campuses, researchers found that pre-college experiences “predicted most of the variance in college leadership outcomes.”1

That kind of pre-college influence demands that we intentionally consider the kind of influence we have on a student’s leadership identity development. Do we just pick leaders and expect them to lead? Are previous student leaders leaving a positive legacy? What kind of example are we setting with what we do vs. what we believe? Are we “walking the talk” when it comes to preparing, nurturing and growing more students into student leaders, or do we artificially limit it to one or two students per section?

What do YOU believe? Now it’s your turn to share what you believe student leadership development needs to be. Click "Read more" to share your thoughts in the comments box about how student leaders need to be better prepared to help make things happen. If we select your comments to post online, as a “thank you for sharing,” we’ll make sure you receive a PDF discussion starter guide–based on this article– that you can use with your students.

1 Dugan, J.P., & Komives, S.R. (2007). Developing leadership capacity in college students: Findings from a national study. A Report from the Multi-Institutional Study of Leadership. College Park, MD: National Clearinghouse for Leadership Programs. Fran Kick has been KICKin’ IT IN with Music for All since 1990 as both a speaker and clinician for students and directors.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Bravo, Bob and Donna Buckner

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Here's a nice story about Music for All's long-time friends  Bob and Donna Buckner and the Western Carolina University Pride of the Mountains marching band in the Rose Parade, from the Ashville Citizen-Times. Congrats to WCU and all of the bands in the Rose Parade New Year's Day...we'll be watching and cheering!  (Check out the list of bands.)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Making a Difference

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How MFA Summer Symposium students and teachers helped unlock a five-year-old’s potential

Tommy Telgenhoff’s mother, Toni Telgenhoff-Garmer, shared this story with us as thanks for the impact MFA and the 2009 Summer Symposium staff and campers had on her little boy:

tommy_storyThis summer, when I took my 5-year-old son to watch drummers practice during Music for All’s Summer Symposium at Illinois State University, he took a liking to the drum majors. He watched a small group of them from the sidelines and practiced saluting and marching along with them. Soon, their director approached Tommy and invited him to watch the entire group rehearse on the field the next day.

Tommy woke up the following day eager to start off. To our surprise, the head director, George Parks greeted us and asked if Tommy would like to tell the 560 campers what he wanted to be when he grew up. Tommy raced to the podium with George and told the kids that his name was Tommy and he wanted to be a drum major when he grew up. The kids cheered. Tommy ran back over to us, all smiles. This was the start of something awesome! Tommy marched on the sidelines all day long, watching the kids and practicing his salute.

When he returned the next day he was greeted by smiles, hugs, and high fives. This continued throughout the week. Tommy called out commands to the entire drum major group. Campers and staff had pictures taken with him. He was walking around, full of pride, saluting everyone. All week long he had the most incredible smile on his face. George made him an “honorary vet” and gave him a vet pin, t-shirt and certificate. Tommy was even included in the group picture and brought onto the field in front of everyone at their final performance.

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