The Music for All Blog
The Music for All Blog

On Saturday, close to 500 hundred students arrived at Ball State University to begin the Leadership Weekend Experience! Students began with an opening session featuring Fran Kick, moved on to break-out sessions and small group sessions and finished the evening with a rousing keynote from Dr. Tim. Following the keynote, students were treated to a surprise party to cap off an exciting day! 

Students received Leadership Weekend T-Shirts and markers and began signing each other's shirts while dancing to tunes spun by DJ Blitz (aka MFA Senior Marketing Coordinator Erin Fortune). By signing these T-shirts, students are commemorating their Leadership Weekend experience and creating lasting connections with fellow campers. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Leadership Weekend Party is a long tradition at the Summer Symposium, and while the returning Leadership students likely remember the party from previous years, it was a complete surprise to first-year attendees. The SWAG Team and DTAs (Directors' Track Assistants) chaperoned the party, and even got in on some of the dancing! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the end of the party, campers left to their dorms for the evening with new leadership skills, t-shirts full of signatures and inspiring notes and memories that the students will keep for a long time.

Published in Stories

All of us at Music for All love hearing from students, directors and parents about their stories involving band and music education! Every once in awhile, someone sends us a great message on Facebook, gives us a call, sends a letter, or shares a photo with us, just because. Words cannot express how much we love hearing from all of you! Today's Student Feature is one of those photos and a story that was shared with us by Sara from the Cary Senior Marching Band!

Green Hope Hearts

 This past fall at the first ever BOA Winston-Salem Super Regional, The Cary Senior H.S Marching Band was attending along with our down the street rivals, The Green Hope H.S Marching band. During the award ceremony for prelims, when either of our band's names were called for caption awards, clapping didn't seem to be enough to show our respect to our fellow high-schoolers, musicians, and friends. At one point, a member in our band stood up when Green Hope's name was called and made his hands into a heart, and quickly the rest of our band followed. As the award ceremony progressed, suddenly there were hundreds of hearts in the air when either of our names were called. While both of our bands were able to move on to finals, that wasn't the point. The hearts and support we both gave and received is something I'll never forget. It perfectly showcased what marching band is really about, the love of performing, musicianship, unity, and the experiences you get along the way.

- Sara Mears

Sara is absolutely right- THIS is what band is all about. THIS is what Music for All is all about. The experience, the music education community coming together. What a fantastic story and an awesome photo, thanks for sharing Sara!

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

 

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

Published in Student Features

Congratulations to Dr. Barry Shepherd, Superintendent of Cabarrus County Schools in North Carolina who is the 2013 recipient of the George N. Parks Leadership in Music Education award. Dr. Shepherd received the award during the opening finals ceremonies at the 2013 Grand National Championships, presented by Yamaha on November 16.

Developed by NAfME, the National Association for Music Education and Music for All, the award is named for George N. Parks (1953–2010), director of the University of Massachusetts Minuteman Marching Band at the University of Massachusetts Amherst from 1977 until his death, and honors an exemplary music educator who embodies the characteristics and leadership that Mr. Parks personified.

Learn more about the George N. Parks Leadership in Education Award

About Dr. Barry Shepherd

Since joining Cabarrus County Schools in February 2008, Dr. Barry Shepherd has led the school system through some of its most challenging and exciting times.

During his tenure, the school system has seen unprecedented reductions in funding. Yet, Cabarrus County Schools has continued to thrive thanks to Shepherd, who has successfully advocated for placing value on “people rather than things.”

Despite the challenging economy, student enrollment for Cabarrus County Schools has continued to grow – resulting in the need for more schools. And Shepherd has the led the school system through the construction of five new school buildings, as well as numerous academic and educational programs including magnet schools at Coltrane-Webb Elementary and J.N. Fries Middle, Central Cabarrus and Concord High Schools, the Cabarrus-Kannapolis Early College High School, Language Immersion at Furr Elementary School, and the Mary Frances Wall Center, a preschool for children with special needs.

Under his direction, Cabarrus County Schools’ students are making strides on end-of-year assessments, the graduation rate has increased and the school system has received hundreds of thousands of dollars in grant funding.

Dr. Shepherd also is leading the school system in its focus on global education. Through a partnership with the Center for International Understanding at the University of North Carolina, Cabarrus County Schools is among several school districts across the state participating in Confucius Classrooms. Through this program, Cabarrus County Schools’ teachers and administrators have visited schools in China to learn about Chinese education and as part of a reciprocal agreement.

Prior to joining Cabarrus County Schools, Dr. Shepherd served as superintendent of Elkin City Schools and as assistant superintendent in Mooresville Graded School District.

Dr. Shepherd is a native of Wilkes County, N.C., and has held administrative positions in Iredell-Statesville Schools, Lexington City Schools and Thomasville City Schools.

He is a graduate of Appalachian State University, where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in music education and a Master of Arts degree in educational leadership. He received his Doctor of Education degree in education from Columbia University in New York.

Dr. Shepherd is married to Laura Shepherd. They have two daughters: Fran and Parker, who attend Cabarrus County Schools.


Published in Stories

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Join us for the Tim Lautzenheiser Student Leadership Workshop during the 2013 Grand National Championships, presented by Yamaha! Work with the man himself, Dr. Tim Lautzenheiser on Friday, November 15th. This leadership workshop encourages the growth of the group via a nurturing of agreed-upon organizational values that establishes a solid foundation for positive growth in every aspect of your band program.

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This is a MUST on your list of things to do while at the Grand National Championships. And the best part? The early pricing has been extended! Register online BEFORE you arrive and you can register for the workshop for $30 per person! Remember: one director attends FREE for every 10 students enrolled! (But register now for these savings, it will be $35 per person on site).

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Leadership skills are not just something that will help you in band, or in high school. This is one of those workshops where you will learn things that you will utilize every day for the rest of your life, and have fun while learning them!

So don't wait- register now and get ready for an awesome two hours with the incomprable Dr. Tim Lautzenheiser and more than 500 of your new best friends!

Read more about the Dr. Tim Lauzenheiser Student Leadership Workshop here. Register online for just $30 per person here.
 

Published in Stories
Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Kick it in: Acknowledging others

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. Fran Kick also co-presents the Future Music Educators' Experience during the Grand National Championships.

Break Ranks

Supporting others and acknowledging other groups needs to go beyond just applauding, screaming and spelling. After all, performing for attentive enthusiastic audiences in high-quality settings is one of the hallmarks at each and every Bands of America event/

 So what can we do to ensure every band gets the best audience:

#1 Be as attentive and polite during other band performances as you’d want during your own– looking and listening. While football stadiums hardly require or demand the same kind of concert etiquette as a symphony orchestra hall, we can certainly raise the bar way beyond the average football game.

 #2 Be sure to say hi to other band members acknowledging their performance and/or wishing them the best for a good show.

 #3 If you hear something or see something that excites you on the field, then let the performing band know right then and there with your applause. Later on, be sure to follow up and congratulate them on their performance.

 Acknowledging others in a positive way – both on and off the field – is what sets BOA events apart from other programs. We’re not just there for our own band, we come together to celebrate all the bands of America. And if we want others to pay attention to us, then we need to pay attention to them. You get what you give, so give it all you’ve got both on and off the field acknowledging others.

 

This post was originally released on the “Break Ranks” podcast with Dan Potter. The .mp3 audio file is available to hear, download, and share.

 

Fran Kick currently serves as division head of the Music for All Summer Symposium Leadership Weekend Experience. He is a nationally-recognized speaker and educational consultant who talks with students and the many people who work with them. You can find more information about his work with music-related organizations and events at http://www.kickitin.com/music/

 

Published in Stories

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. Fran Kick also co-presents the Future Music Educators' Experience during the Grand National Championships.

for Fran kick Week 4 blog

Last week we talked about the real competition – learning week to week and improving yourself, yet how can you make sure you know what you’re doing?

Well in addition to the strategies shared last week, here are a few things you can do:

First, learn it right the first time. While it may sound like it’s too late in the season for that – you’d be surprised how many things we learn incorrectly. You’ve heard the expression that “practice makes perfect” – well in truth “practice makes permanent!” The more you do it wrong, the more challenging it can be to fix it later on. After all “old habits do die hard.”

Second, figure out what you’re already doing right and identify what still needs work. Create a list of “everything you still need to fix!” While some of these items will be addressed in the few rehearsals that remain, many more will not.

Finally, take what you need to work on and plan when (outside of rehearsal time) you’re going to work on it. Perform what you work on for others and have them “check you off” so you’ll know you got it.

Making sure you know what you’re doing individually is the single greatest thing you can do to improve yourself and your section. Your directors and staff have a limited number of rehearsals left to correct way too many things. Show some initiative and make sure you know what you’re doing.

 

This post was originally released on the “Break Ranks” podcast with Dan Potter. The .mp3 audio file is available to hear, download, and share.

 

Fran Kick currently serves as division head of the Music for All Summer Symposium Leadership Weekend Experience. He is a nationally-recognized speaker and educational consultant who talks with students and the many people who work with them. You can find more information about his work with music-related organizations and events at http://www.kickitin.com/music/

Published in Stories

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. Fran Kick also co-presents the Future Music Educators' Experience during the Grand National Championships.

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Learning week to week – the real competition!

Are you better today than you were yesterday? Did you do anything to improve what you do and how you do it? That’s the real competition! It has very little to do with what the judges may say, the scores may show, or an audience appreciates. The real competition is improving yourself!

So what could you do to make sure you’re learning week to week? Well here are a few things you can try:

Find yourself one of those inexpensive hand-held audio recorders – the kind the judges use. Record yourself in two different settings: one in rehearsal (set it on your stand and hit the record button) Next time you’re practicing on your own at home, give it a listen and follow along in your part with a pencil in hand. Put a small check mark next to the stuff you need to work on and work on it!

At the end of your practice session, re-record yourself playing the same sections you check marked. If they’re better, erase the check mark. If not, you still know what to work on next time you practice.

Color guard can do a similar approach via video. Ask someone you know to video you (kind of close up) during your next run through at practice. Use the video to review what you know and what you don’t.

Have someone else listen to and/or watch your performance. Give them your part and let them follow along and make the check marks. You might find some other areas you thought were okay, but in truth still need some work.

Developing your own self-assessment skills will enable you to improve what you do and how you do it. Learning week to week and improving yourself, now that’s the real competition.

 

 

This post was originally released on the “Break Ranks” podcast with Dan Potter. The .mp3 audio file is available to hear, download, and share.

 

Fran Kick currently serves as division head of the Music for All Summer Symposium Leadership Weekend Experience. He is a nationally-recognized speaker and educational consultant who talks with students and the many people who work with them. You can find more information about his work with music-related organizations and events at http://www.kickitin.com/music/

Published in Stories

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. Fran Kick also co-presents the Future Music Educators' Experience during the Grand National Championships.

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Playing with control vs. playing with emotion

Performing music musically pushes us beyond the notes, rhythms, articulations, and dynamics. Whether you’re a brass or woodwind player, a member of the color guard or a percussionist – playing music and performing to music needs to move both the performers and the audience emotionally beyond what’s printed on the page or counted in our heads.

While marching bands on the field today simultaneously seem like a giant audio sound board, an artists pallet and a theatre, it’s the music, the movement and the emotion that contribute the biggest impact.

Now of course it all needs to be presented with control – that’s a given. The right notes, the right steps, the timing, and all that needs to be done, when it needs to be done, the way it’s supposed to be done. But how do we create that sometimes elusive emotional quality that lifts a performance to a higher level?

Since about 65 to 75 percent of us are "visual" learners, we actually "see" ideas in our mind's eye - visually remembering details via images or pictures we mentally paint in our heads whenever we learn something. What do you “see” in your mind during that phrase of music? If it’s just what’s printed on the page or choreographed to counts – you might be missing out on making an emotional connection with the audience.

So what could you do to make your performance more emotional? Well here are three things you can try:

#1 Define the various passages of music or sections of your show pictorially. Figure out what each section of music represents in your mind. Share with others and come up with various images or pictures that you collectively come to consensus on that best fit what the music is saying.

#2 Set aside some space on a bulletin board in your band room and tack up the pictures you pick. Look for them in magazines, books, online, even create some yourself.

#3 Find sequences of scenes in movies or videos that represent visually what you’re striving to create musically.
You get the idea. Create what a graphic designer would call a reference file of swipes or a collection of similarly inspiring visual representations of what you hope to emotionally communicate to the audience during your performance and soon you’ll be playing with emotion AND control.

This post was originally released on the “Break Ranks” podcast with Dan Potter. The .mp3 audio file is available to hear, download, and share.

 

Fran Kick currently serves as division head of the Music for All Summer Symposium Leadership Weekend Experience. He is a nationally-recognized speaker and educational consultant who talks with students and the many people who work with them. You can find more information about his work with music-related organizations and events at http://www.kickitin.com/music/

Published in Stories

 

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. Fran Kick also co-presents the Future Music Educators' Experience during the Grand National Championships.

What to do when the performer next to you just doesn't care?

AttitudeisEverything

 There's at least one in every band. The student who just seems to be going through the motions. Sometimes mumbling to his or her section “I’m just not into this today. Rehearsal sucks. It’s too hot today. It’s too cold today. Something’s wrong with my instrument” (and all the other variations on a theme of whining, griping, moaning, groaning, wondering why they’re having a terrible time). 

Notice how the entire focus of their complaining always seems to surround themselves. Or blaming other things for the fact that they’re not “into it.”

Rather than concentrating and paying attention, they’re complaining and perhaps attracting attention, certainly distracting others from paying attention, and in general making – and sometimes causing – more mistakes in rehearsal. 

What can you do to make a difference? Well short of kicking them out of band, which in truth isn’t a very good idea. Whether they’re the worst player or the best player, we need everyone in band. 

Besides, they might not always be this way. It’s just not their day. Think about it; They may have failed a test in class. Forgot their lunch, had to buy, and it was Sloppy Joe day in lunch lady land. Who knows, but we’ve all been there. Stuff happens outside of rehearsal that impacts even the best of us and especially the worst of us. 

Of course the trick is not letting it affect us. Allow band to be an escape from all THAT and focus on making music and movement that mentally brings us to a higher place above all the riff-raff, the hassles we have, the day to day thick of thin things. 

But what about that person next to you in your section who just doesn’t seem to care? How can you help?  Well here are three things you can do: 

#1 – Nothing! That’s right, ignore them. Don’t give them any attention. If we know that what gets attention gets repeated, then the last thing you want to do is pay them off with your attention. It only reinforces their negative behavior and you do NOT want them having “another bad day.”

 #2 – Ask them a performance related question. Say something like:

“Hey, I’m just checking – what count do our horns go to the press box?

When does that crescendo start? Where is our left hand when we finish that dance sequence.”

Now, you might already know the answer, but it’s a good way to distract them from their bad day and focus their thoughts on something rehearsal specific.

Do be careful when you ask them – while your director is talking would not be a good time – walking back to “do it again” would be better.

 #3 – Be sure to be the band member you’d want them to be. If actions speak louder than words, don’t get sucked into their negativity. Be the example, the role model, the leader who makes things happen and always KICKs IT IN!

 
 This post was originally released on the “Break Ranks” podcast with Dan Potter. The .mp3 audio file is available to hear, download, and share.

 

Fran Kick currently serves as division head of the Music for All Summer Symposium Leadership Weekend Experience. He is a nationally-recognized speaker and educational consultant who talks with students and the many people who work with them. You can find more information about his work with music-related organizations and events at http://www.kickitin.com/music/

Published in Stories

As we kick off the Bands of America Regional Championships this weekend in Kettering and Monroeville, the 2013 Bands of America Grand National Championships will be here in less than two months! This Throwback Thursday, I thought I would share my first Grand Nationals experience, as a member of the 2005 Centerville Jazz Band:

BLUESprintWhen my family moved to Centerville, Ohio my sophomore year of high school, the marching band was the first and only orientation to Centerville High School I needed. Coming from a small, rural school band that marched high-step and played pop tunes, the Bands of America world I stepped into was new and fascinating. For the first time, staff members were paying attention to every detail of my posture, movement and sound quality. At nearly every rehearsal, some mention of “The Dome” was included as we perfected our production, “BLUESprint.” “You’ll never forget the air lock at the Dome,” said most of my new friends. The hundreds of hours of rehearsal would supposedly be worth it once I reached “The Dome.”

As the evening rehearsals grew darker and colder, three months and an incredible first season with the Centerville Jazz Band was nearly finished. “Rock the Dome” posters for each section covered the hallway leading to the band room, filled with cheering band parents to send us off to Indianapolis. I knew something would be special about Grand Nationals after I learned that we would be attending a marching band competition instead of playing for the playoff football game that same weekend.

We boarded the buses Thursday morning, and I could barely stand the three months of anticipation. From the highway, I can remember first spotting the white roof of the RCA Dome. The indoor warm-up area was unlike anything I had experienced before. Hearing the other ensembles warming up across the pipe and drapes was hectic and distracting, and my nerves got the best of me. As we all gathered into the airlock, completely silent, our director gave us the last motivating words before our performance. “Hearts on fire, eyes cold as steel,” said Andrew Markworth. This phrase was handed down from Centerville Jazz Band to Centerville Jazz Band, creating a common experience for all alumni to relate. As the airlock opened and our wide eyes looked toward the fans, the expansive field and the incredible dome, everything clicked. We were able to hold everything together while soaking in one of the most life-changing experiences to-date.

Celebrate AmericaWe returned to Ohio for classes on Friday, but departed for Indianapolis after classes for the Prelims Award Ceremony. The RCA Dome was filled to the brim with students, parents and fans late Friday night to watch the 2004 Grand National Champion Lawrence Central and the exhibition Stephenson H.S. Marching Bands perform. The energy in the crowd was unlike anything I had ever witnessed. After prelims awards were presented and over 30 bands were announced for Semi-Finals, we headed to Pan Am Plaza for “Celebrate America!” The Riverside Community College and Stephenson High School bands provided entertainment as we awaited the performance order for the next day. For the finale of the evening, a spectacular fireworks display left us with “oohs” and “aahs” as we walked back to the buses. I was in complete disbelief that a marching band contest could warrant a fireworks display, let alone thousands of fans and a professional football stadium.

Saturday morning was a whirlwind of well wishes as we prepared for our Semi-Finals performance. The surroundings were more familiar this time, but the phrase was the same: “Hearts on fire, eyes cold as steel.” We were extremely fortunate to perform our show once more on Saturday night. There were quite a few tears in that last trip through airlock, but “Hearts on fire, eyes cold as steel” remained. After the performance, I watched our peers from across the country perform with such precision and passion I had not witnessed before, including Carmel’s unbelievable visual feats in “Suspended Symbols” and L.D. Bell’s incredible musical performance of “Lux Arumque.”

The Grand Finale celebration was a perfect capstone to the music-filled weekend. I can still remember distinctly my principal placing my finalist medallion during the ceremony. The intense emotions felt during that ceremony are still unmatched today, especially those final words from Chuck Henson, “Go for it – Break Ranks!” I met fellow high school musicians from across the country, sharing in the common Bands of America experience. Each of us embodied the positively-life changing experiences that made Bands of America events so special. After high school, I decided to pay forward my incredible experiences by volunteering at a Bands of America Regional. Six years later, I’m still involved and still indebted to Music for All’s mission, vision and core values. As a volunteer, intern, event staff and employee, I have constantly sought to continue the positively life-changing experiences I was afforded in high school.

Break Ranks!

Do you have a memory from your first Grand National Championships or other BOA event? Share it with us in the comments!

 

-Seth

 

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

Published in Stories
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