The Music for All Blog
The Music for All Blog

registration photoIt’s been a busy day at the 2012 Music for All Summer Symposium! I had hoped to blog a bit earlier today, but with registration and our Opening Session for camp participants, today kept not only our campers but also our staff busy as well.

Today was the first full day of Symposium, and I started my day at registration. As I walked to the registration room at Park Hall around 7:30 this morning, I was pleasantly surprised to see that a line of students was already winding around the corridor, ready to get started with their day. When the registration doors opened, students were greeted with a wall of applause from the SWAG Team. SWAGs gave students a warm welcome and helped them get registered for the week.

After hanging out in the registration room for a bit, I decided to walk to the front of Park Hall where the MFA info table was located today. I was surprised to see Leadership Weekend Experience students lined up and welcoming the full week campers with applause, high fives and handshakes. It was truly wonderful to see how welcoming the students were, and it shows the leadership lessons they learned this past weekend.

yypa jazzBefore I knew it, it was time for the Opening Session. Students heard performances from Yamaha Young Performing Artists Jazz Winners to start things off. Kevin Sun, Jazz Tenor Saxophone; Josh Shpak, Jazz Trumpet; and Chase Morrin, Jazz Piano performed at the beginning of Opening Session.

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), William Galvin (Music for All Educational Consultant), Dean Westman (Orchestra Division Coordinator), Stan Schoonover (Music for All Educational Consultant), Bob Buckner (Director of the 2013 BOA Honor Band in the Tournament of Roses® Parade), Fran Kick (Leadership Division Coordinator), Dr. Tom Caneva (Concert Band Division Coordinator), the Camp Medical Team, and Eric Martin (President and CEO of Music for All). The SWAG Team also contributed some helpful tips about staying energized, hydrated, well-rested and sunscreened up for the week!

color guardAfter the Opening Session, students began their classes. Admittedly, I had to assist with some tasks in our headquarters and around campus this afternoon so I didn’t get to attend any full sessions. However, as I walked around campus today, it was wonderful to see activity around every corner as students attended their sessions. I look forward to attending sessions this week so I can fill you in on what students are learning.

After classes tonight, students attended the Yamaha Young Performing Artists (YYPA) concert. The Yamaha Young Performing Artists Program (YYPA) recognizes outstanding young musicians from the world of classical, jazz and contemporary music. Winners of this competition were invited to attend an all-expense-paid weekend awards ceremony at the Summer Symposium, receive a once in a lifetime performance opportunity in front of thousands, national press coverage, receive a recording and photos of the live performance, and participate in workshops designed to launch a professional music career. Winners also enjoy many of the privileges of a Yamaha artist, including services and communication with Yamaha's Artist Relations department. Finalist performances and a selection of one winner occurred at this evening's concert.

I’m eager to see what else this week has in store and attend some sessions tomorrow. Summer Symposium is off to a great start!


Published in News

Opening SessionVisit the 2012 Music for All Summer Symposium online coverage page for more information and camp highlights throughout the week.

Welcome to the 2012 Music for All Summer Symposium! My name is Kristin Conrad, and I’m the Senior Marketing Coordinator at Music for All. I will be blogging throughout the week to keep you informed about the activities students will be participating in at Summer Symposium. Unfortunately, I won't be able to be in two places at once, although I wish I could since I would enjoy seeing everything happening at camp. But, I'll do my best to keep you in the loop throughout the week and help provide an insider’s look at 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 Summer Symposium blog last year, you may remember that last year was my third year at camp as an MFA staff member. This is my fourth camp, and it’s so nice to be back on campus at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. This is the second year Summer Symposium has been held on the campus of Ball State University.

The MFA staff moved into our headquarters this past Wednesday, and we've been hard at work setting up and prepping for the week. The SWAG Team is also on site, working hard already to help make sure your children have a great experience. The SWAG Team plays a major role in the Summer Symposium, serving as counselors, staff assistants and role models to the 1,000+ student participants.

Even though I’ve been to camp before, I’m still always amazed that this is an all-volunteer group! Dedicated band directors, college students, graduate students, directors and others interested in music education volunteer their time – over a week out of their busy lives – to provide a positively life-changing experience for each and every student participant. But, it extends even beyond this. Every time I have encountered a SWAG this week, he or she has either offered to help me with something I was working on, asked how my day is going, or simply smiled and told me they’re here if I need anything. It’s that compassion, dedication, responsive attitude and friendliness that truly sets this amazing group apart from the crowd.

The Leadership Weekend Experience is now under way, and I spent most of my morning over at registration in Park Hall. SWAGs helped students register, passed out their notebooks with materials for the week and provided them with a namebadge. They also chatted with them about what they can expect this weekend. I snapped a few photos while milling around registration, and you can find them here.

After registration, it was time for the Leadership Weekend Experience Opening Session in Pruis Hall. All participants attended this session, and they heard from Norm Ruebling, Camp Director of the Music for All Summer Symposium; Eric Martin, Music for All's President and CEO; and the Camp Medical Team. Then Leadership Division Coordinator Fran Kick presented a session that provided helpful tips for the weekend (or week ahead for full week campers).

Music for All recently adopted a new vision, and President and CEO Eric Martin talked about this at the beginning of the Opening Session. Music for All’s vision is to be a catalyst to ensure that every child across America has access and opportunity to participate in active music making in his or her scholastic environment. MFA will use our resources to provide national programs that recognize and support music students' performance and success, offer music educator training and professional development, and deliver tools and resources to participants and their communities that will assist them in supporting music education by promoting awareness of music’s impact on student growth and achievement.

Martin discussed how student campers here at Symposium can help advance Music for All’s mission and vision by simply passing along the message that music education is important and telling their story. Tying in to Leadership Weekend, students can be effective leaders and help by acting as “foot soldiers” for music education by telling others about their own positive, musical experiences.

“I believe in music education. I believe in Music for All. I believe in you,” Martin said to close his speech. Powerful words. If you’re interested in learning more about Music for All’s “I Believe” advocacy awareness campaign, you can read more on our website. And, check out this video in which music educators, student musicians, conductors and composers share why they believe music education is so important.
Fran Kick began his session with the students by discussing the concept of rules versus expectations.

“We need to make sure that one of the expectations, in fact, traditions of Music for All, is an attitude of gratitude,” Kick said.

Kick encouraged students to “thank everyone you see” and tune in and pay attention to the clinicians and faculty they’ll hear throughout the week. He also encouraged students to “pay attention, respond appropriately and be involved in what’s going on.”

These are serious and important lessons, but Kick delivered this message in a way that was fun and engaging for the students, joking here and there and incorporating team-building exercises. He had the students laughing, listening and also paying close attention to these important leadership lessons.

I left thinking about the concept of “actions speaking louder than words.” Kick told a story about students in a college lecture hall. Picture your typical college lecture hall, and then also picture it littered with trash left over from a class. Papers on the floor, empty soda cans, etc. As students attending the next class in the hall file in, most simply take their seats and go about their own personal business. But, one person begins picking up trash in his area and then sits back down. Immediately, others follow suit and do the same, cleaning up near their respective areas. Were any verbal instructions given? No. Actions speak louder than words. A simple, easy gesture from one student led to action from several others. Interesting.

Attitude really is everything, and I was reminded of that as well. As Kick discussed that “you get what you give,” I was reminded of a quote from John Horn that I truly love. “Anyone can be cranky or unkind or mediocre. Being positive and kind and excellent takes a lot more discipline and power."

At times when I’m feeling tired and unwilling to give any more of myself, I try to remind myself of this quote. I’m, admittedly, not perfect and sometimes forget this. But, it’s a quote that has stuck with me, and Kick’s session reminded me of this concept.

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


Published in News
Thursday, May 17, 2012

Music Advocacy Slideshow

Download this slideshow of music education facts, from and other sources, to support music education in your schools.

This slideshow is played at Music for All and Bands of America programs.

As of April 3, 2017

Keynote slideshow (Self-extracting .zip containing .key format slideshow, no audio)t)

PDF of slides (.pdf format, for printing or viewing)

PowerPoint slideshow (.ppt format)


Published in Music Advocacy

166 School Districts and 10 Schools Achieve Prestigious National Designation

BestComm2012 0 2 1CARLSBAD, Calif. (April 17, 2012)The NAMM Foundation announced the results of its 13th annual Best Communities for Music Education (BCME) survey, which acknowledges schools and districts across the U.S. for their commitment and support for music education as part of the core curriculum. In all, 176 communities out of 237 that submitted surveys were recognized, including 166 school districts and 10 schools. The announcement comes in anticipation of NAMM’s National Wanna Play Music Week, (May 7-13) a weeklong promotion designed to encourage people of all ages and skill levels to experience the proven benefits and fun of playing music.

Established in 1999, The BCME survey is a nationwide search for communities who provide access to music education as an essential part of a complete education and exemplify commitment and support for music education. The BCME survey is designed and implemented in collaboration with The Institute for Educational Research and Public Service of Lawrence, Kansas, an affiliate of the University of Kansas.

The announcement of the 2012 Best Communities for Music Education campaign comes during a crucial time as school districts nationwide finalize budgets. The Best Community designation is a distinction worthy of pride, but is also a call to action for local music education advocates to help preserve and potentially expand access to their current music education programs.

Past designees have reported that making the Best Communities list had a positive effect on their ability to advance recognition and support for music programs. NAMM Foundation Executive Director Mary Luehrsen, encourages communities to use the designation as a cornerstone of vigorous advocacy for music education programs.

“We know that communities are struggling to maintain funding for many education programs and we applaud these communities that remain committed to a complete and quality education that must include music and the arts,” said Luehrsen. “We urge communities to celebrate the designation as a national recognition for their commitment to children and most of all, keep the music playing in their schools for years to come.”

Each school receiving the “Best Communities” designation scored in the 80th percentile or higher in the survey’s grading process. Participants in the survey answered detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, support for the music program and other relevant factors in their communities’ music education programs. The responses were verified with district officials and advisory organizations reviewed the data.

A copy of the survey can be downloaded for review at

In conducting the annual survey, the NAMM Foundation is joined by advisory organizations in the fields of music and education: Americans for the Arts (, League of American Orchestras (, The Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation (, Music for All (, Music Teachers National Association (, National Guild For Community Arts Education (, Yamaha Corporation of America (, Young Audiences (, and VH1 Save The Music Foundation (

View the full press release for the complete list of Best Communities for Music Education. The roster is listed alphabetically and can also be viewed at

About The NAMM Foundation

The NAMM Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to advancing active participation in music making across the lifespan by supporting scientific research, philanthropic giving and public service programs from the international music products industry.

Published in News

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!

Brian Logan
Director of Bands
Wheeling High School

Published in Stories
Thursday, March 29, 2012

I Believe

Music for All believes that music education is a core component of a student’s education and must be available to all students. Music for All’s mission is to create, provide and expand positively life-changing experiences through music for all. Our vision is to be a catalyst to ensure that every child across America has access and opportunity to participate in active music making in his or her scholastic environment.



Music for All uses its national profile programming to recognize, model, showcase and provide individual, teacher and organizational examples of music performance excellence and achievement. We believe in supporting our participants through innovation and growth while setting the standards needed for high-quality music education experiences.

Music for All is dedicated to providing participants and their communities with access to valuable advocacy tools and resources. These tools support music education by promoting awareness of music’s impact on student growth and achievement. We hope you join us in our “I Believe” advocacy awareness campaign by making a donation to support our educational programming and teacher training across the country. Music for All will work relentlessly to ensure that every student across America has access to hands-on music making. We hope you are inspired by and become part of our cause to BELIEVE!



Check out first-hand testimonials below. Share your own story of why you believe in music education, why you believe in music in our schools, and why you believe in Music for All. Click the button below to tell your story, or email your story to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and include a video and a picture as well.


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

- Brian Logan, Director of Bands, Wheeling High School and 2012 Music for All National Festival participant 

To read Brian Logan's full testimonial, click here.

"My daughter started playing the trumpet in 4th grade, by the 7th grade she knew she wanted to be a Band Director. She attended her first band camp that summer and started attending the Summer Symposium soon after. The experience was truly positively life-changing. Now, she is close to completing her freshman year at the University of Illinois as a music education/trumpet performance major. I believe in music education not only because she will need a job in three years, but because music and band gave her a sense of belonging in high school and now in college. Being a member of the Marching Illini helped her make fast friends and gives her a place to belong. Thank you!"

- Jeannine M. Leuden, parent of a Summer Symposium participant

Read the full press release about the "I Believe" campaign. 


Published in Music Advocacy

hboaThe 2012 Music for All National Festival is now in the history books. What incredible ensembles and performances! We had a great time and hope you did as well. 

It's always wonderful and truly amazing to see so many musicians and music-enthusiasts gathered in one place for the purpose of celebrating music, learning about the power of music and music education, and of course making music together. We congratulate all the ensembles and participants in the Music for All National Festival, and we thank you for being part of such an incredible, musical experience. 

If you're feeling nostalgic and would like to reminisce a bit, check out the Festival photo albums found on the Music for All Facebook page.

Also, if you couldn't be there in person, or want to see it again and again, all concert band performances will be available after the event as Video on Demand, and the Honor Ensembles will also be available. Percussion Ensemble performances were not webcast live, but they will be available as Video on Demand. Please note: on-demand video will be made available 72 hours after the conclusion of the event. To learn more, click here.

We hope you enjoyed the 2012 Music for All National Festival and had a positively life-changing experience! Thank you for all the wonderful music.

Published in News

jazz tromboneIt's the last day of the 2012 Music for All National Festival, and it's been a busy day of National Concert Band Festival concerts, Middle School National Music Festival concerts, master classes and rehearsals. We enjoyed listening to the Jazz Band of America concert and the Honor Orchestra of America concert last night. The students sounded great!

Tonight, participants will enjoy a very special High School and Middle School Gala Awards Banquet in the Grand Ballroom at the JW Marriott. Festival participants will enjoy a formal dinner. They'll also listen to guest speakers, and there will be special award presentations to students and ensembles. 

Tonight's Gala Awards Banquet will also feature a very special presentation. Four individuals will be inducted into Music for All’s Bands of America (BOA) Hall of Fame tonight. The 2012 inductees are Charles “Chuck” Campbell, Chuck Henson, and Stu and Sharon Holzer.

The Bands of America Hall of Fame recognizes individuals who have greatly impacted Bands of America, which is a program of Music for All, as well as the nation’s band activity and music education. Hall of Fame members are recognized permanently in the Bands of America “Hall of Fame” in Music for All’s corporate headquarters in Indianapolis, Indiana. Congratulations to all inductees!

The Honor Orchestra of America's second performance will take place tonight at Hilbert Circle Theatre at 7:00 p.m. And, the Honor Band of America will perform tonight at 8:00 p.m. at Clowes Memorial Hall. The Honor Band will be conducted by Col. Lowell Graham, Chairman of the Music Department at the University of Texas at El Paso. He has held numerous conducting positions, including that of the Commander and Conductor of the United States Air Force's premier musical organization in Washington, DC. The Honor Band will perform Overture to "Colas Breugnon" by Dmitri Kabalevsky, The Warriors by Percy Aldridge Grainger, Brooke's Chicago Marine Band March by Roland F. Seitz, Symphony on Themes of John Philip Sousa - II. after "The Thunderer" by Ira Hearshen, and Overture in Five Flat by Julie Giroux. 

We've enjoyed a great week and weekend of wonderful music making! We hope you enjoy this evening's concerts.

Published in News

saxophone mcIt's a beautiful day in Indianapolis, and we've enjoyed more wonderful music at the Music for All National Festival, presented by Yamaha. Sandy Feldstein National Percussion Festival Concerts started this morning at 8:00 a.m. at Warren Performing Arts Center, and the final performance today is at 4:30 p.m. Simultaneously in Clowes Memorial Hall, National Concert Band Festival Concerts and Middle School National Music Festival Concerts are taking place. 

Students have also been participating in master classes today at the JW Marriott Hotel. You can view some photos from these master class sessions here. We'll be posting additional photos of the week and weekend events on our Music for All Facebook page.

This evening, two of the Honor ensembles have the opportunity to showcase all their hard work. We have two Honor ensemble concerts this evening. The Honor Orchestra of America performs at 7:00 p.m. tonight in a shared concert with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra at Hilbert Circle Theatre. Larry Livingston will be conducting the Honor Orchestra in this evening's concert. Mr. Livingston is conductor of the Thornton Orchestras at the University of Southern California. If you can't make the Honor Orchestra concert this evening, they will also be performing tomorrow night at 7:00 p.m. at Hilbert Circle Theatre.

The Jazz Band of America also performs this evening at 8:30 p.m. at Clowes Memorial Hall. Grammy-winning bassist/composer/conductor John Clayton will conduct the ensemble. John Clayton's talents are consistently requested by the movers and shakers in the jazz industry, such as Quincy Jones and Tommy Lipuma. As a testament to his immense talent and broad-ranging appeal, Mr. Clayton served as the Artistic Director of Jazz for the Los Angeles Philharmonic from 1999 through 2001.

We hope to see you this evening at the Honor Orchestra of America and Jazz Band of America concerts! And tomorrow night, we hope to see you at the Honor Orchestra of America or Honor Band of America concerts. However, if you can't be there in person, the Jazz Band of America concert will be webcast live on tonight. Learn more here. Tonight's Honor Orchestra concert will not be webcast live, but Saturday evening's Honor Orchestra and Honor Band of America concerts will be webcast live.

Published in News

facebook photoIt’s been a busy but great day at the 2012 Music for All National Festival, presented by Yamaha.

The High School and Middle School Opening Sessions offered participants the opportunity to gather as a group and listen to some truly inspiring speakers. Students, parents and directors had the opportunity to listen to Music for All President and CEO Eric Martin, Music for All Senior Educational Consultant Gary Markham and Music for All Educational Consultant David Starnes.

Dr. Tim Lautzenheiser presented sessions to participants at both the High School and Middle School socials. Dr. Lautzenheiser is a well-known name in the music education world as a teacher, clinician, author, composer, consultant, adjudicator, and, above all, a trusted friend to anyone interested in working with young people in developing a desire for excellence.

This evening, participants are attending social events at the High School Social, Middle School Social, or the Directors’ Social. Tomorrow is another busy day with Sandy Feldstein National Percussion Festival concerts at Warren Performing Arts Center, National Concert Band Festival concerts at Clowes Memorial Hall, Honor ensemble rehearsals, and master classes. And, the Jazz Band of America concert and Honor Orchestra of America concerts are tomorrow evening as well. We’re ready for another day of fantastic music making!

If you can’t be here in person, you can still enjoy some of the most outstanding concert bands in America, Webcast live on All concert band performances will be Webcast Live and available after the event as Video on Demand, including the Honor Ensembles. Percussion Ensemble performances will not be Webcast Live but will also be available as Video on Demand, post-event. Learn more here.

Also, keep up with Festival happenings by viewing photos on our Music for All Facebook page.

Published in News
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