The Music for All Blog
The Music for All Blog
Friday, November 02, 2012

Shaun Canon at Grand National Finals!

Shaun Canon to perform at the finals of Music for All’s Bands of America Grand National Championships

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Music for All is pleased to welcome international singer-songwriter Shaun Canon to the 2012 Bands of America Grand National Championships, presented by Yamaha, taking place November 7-10, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana.

 Shaun will perform live as part of the championships’ Grand Finale on Saturday evening, November 10. Surrounded by the 2,000 student members of the Grand National Finalist bands on the field, Shaun plans to perform his hit song, “Live for Music,” which gained international attention earlier this year. Shaun’s “Live for Music” videos (featuring marching arts performances, including of bands performing in Bands of America Championships,) have been viewed more than 700,000 times on YouTube.

 Formerly known as Shaun Barrowes (a top contestant on American Idol Season 7) has built an impressive resume since leaving the popular show. With a potent combination of tenacious work ethic built upon a familiar and comfortable pop/rock sound, Shaun has deftly navigated the often-tumultuous dynamics of a competitive music industry with a mixture of innate artistic talent, entrepreneurial sensibilities and good old-fashioned grit.

 Shaun’s “Live For Music 50/50 tour” has traveled to over 50 locations and supports “Save the Music Programs” in the school systems and has received great reviews from students as well as teacher and parents.  Shaun has been positioned as the spoke person to lead the charge to save and bring attention to the decline of funding for music and art programs in schools. This is a cause that he is very passionate about and he supports with his strongest tool, his voice and his lyrics.

 “We are thrilled that Mr. Canon will be joining us at Grand Nationals,” said Eric L. Martin, President and CEO of Music for All. “His commitment to music education makes his performance during the Finale a meaningful celebration for every student, director, parent and supporter of music who steps into Lucas Oil Stadium during the four day showcase of marching excellence.”

 After what seems like a lifetime of paying dues at the indie level, Shaun has finally come into this own as a major player and is now set to break out nationally with his third  tour ,  the “We Are Music tour”, scheduled for early January 2013.

Shaun's Website:

Find Shaun on Facebook

Follow Shaun on Twitter: @ShaunCanonMusic

Watch the "Live for Music" Video!
Published in News
Thursday, November 01, 2012

Directors' Behind the Scenes Tour

Music for all invites band directors to join us Saturday, November 10 for the Directors' Behind-the-Scene Tour at the Bands of America Grand National Championships.

The Directors' Behind-the-Scene Tour gives band directors and booster leaders of bands who are considering participating in Grand Nationals or any Bands of America Championship for the first time a look at the event flow and procedures for bands.

The Behind-the-Scenes Tour at the Grand National Championships is during Saturday's Semi-Finals, from 10-11:15 a.m. in Lucas Oil Stadium. A Semi-Finals ticket is required for admittance to the stadium. There is no charge for the Tour. Reserve your spot by completing this online form.

You'll then pck up your Tour pass at the Music for All Info Table, Booths 1-3 in the Expo, on the North Gate concourse inside the stadium. You can pick up your pass on Thursday or Friday, Nov. 8-9, during open stadium times.

Space is limited. Submit the form to reserve your spot today!
Published in News
Friday, October 12, 2012

Call for Medallion Bearers


Are you a Bands of America alumnus from 1975-2011? We are looking for you to come and be a part of the magic of Finale at Grand Nationals!

Music for All is currently taking applications for alumni to participate as Medallion Bearers at the 2012 BOA Grand National Championships, during the Finals Awards Ceremony, Saturday evening, November 10th in Indianapolis.

We are seeking a wide range of BOA and MFA alumni – graduates over the three-plus decades of BOA events - and will select Medallions Bearers who best represent the diversity of history, geography and storytelling of the "BOA story."

Medallion Bearers are on field during the Grand Finale awards ceremony, accompanying the MFA dignitaries as they present Finalist medallions to the Grand National finalist bands.

Fill out an application


Transportation and housing is not covered, but if you are already planning to attend, have participated in the past in BOA events and would like to be a part of the awards ceremony, carrying the Drum Major medallions for the Finale presentation.

Please note that MFA is unable to provide or reimburse any travel or housing expenses. If you are planning to only attend to participate in the ceremony, please understand that if event production plans change, the role of the selected medallion bearers may change.

Apply Now- Applications due by October 26th

Published in News
Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Trivia Tuesdays


Trivia Tuesday!

To celebrate the rest of the 2012 BOA season we want to try something fun with all of our fans on Facebook, so every Tuesday until Grand Nationals week we are going to have BOA Trivia for prizes!

It's a simple game, but just to keep everyone on the same page, here are the guidelines for how this will work each week.

  • There will be a trivia question every Tuesday until the week of Grand Nationals.
  • It may not be at the same time every Tuesday.
  • A few hours before we post the trivia question we will post a reminder about the game, and an approximate time that the question will be posted on Facebook.
  • We will ask ONE trivia question each Tuesday, the first correct response will receive the prize for that day.
  • You may win only ONE TIME during Trivia Tuesdays for the 2012 Fall season
  • Final decisions/ disputes about the accuracy of a "correct response" will be determined by Music for All officials

If you have any great BOA trivia that you want to share, we would love to hear it! You can send those to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and you just might see your question used this season!

We hope that you enjoy Trivia Tuesdays and good luck!

Don't forget to Like us on Facebook to be able to see the Trivia questions.
Published in News
Thursday, September 13, 2012

I Believe- A Day at the Penrod Art Fair


Music for All staff were lucky enough to get the chance to exhibit at the Penrod Art Fair in Indianapolis this past weekend.

Penrod is an art fair who’s mission focuses on the cultivation, encouragement and development of public interest in and support of those arts, cultural and educational institutions located in and around Marion County, Indiana, its surrounding counties and the Central Indiana area in general.

We at Music for All love to see our community engaging and supporting public interest in the arts, so naturally this was a perfect fit for us! We joined over three hundred artists, six stages of entertainment and more than 50 arts-related non-profit organizations for what’s known as “Indiana’s Nicest Day.”

And what a gorgeous day it was!

Not only was the weather pretty much perfect, but everyone who stopped by to talk to us during the fair was incredible and had wonderful stories to share about their love of music.

For this particular exhibit our Development department wanted to do something extra special. They decided to create a fun and engaging activity that goes along with our “I Believe” campaign (if you are not familiar with the campaign, you should check it out here).

They created a tri-fold poster board with the heading “Tell us why you believe” and three panels that said: in music, in music in our schools, in Music for All.

The responses to the prompt were incredible. As someone who walked up to the booth toward the end of the day, I can tell you that the board had an incredible impact filled with the post-it note responses!

Here are some of the things that people wrote on the post-its.

In music in our schools:
  • Because music helps us learn to express ourselves
  • Because it installs creativity in students
  • Because it improves test scores!
  • Music in our schools is a safe haven for students to express themselves. It's crucial that all students have access to ALL music
  • Music makes kids smarter
  • It teaches students to work together toward a common goal
In music:
  • Music makes you smarter
  • Music moves you mind, body & soul
  • Music is always there for you
  • Music speaks across the universe
  • Because it is the window to the soul
  • Music takes you away (amen added by another!)
  • Expression and inspiration
  • It's my livelihood
  • Kids need exposure and education beyond the core subjects
  • It transformed my life
  • Because it heals the soul
  • It changes lives
  • It is essentially inexplicable
  • When words fail, music speaks
  • Music goes beyond facts and logic to the sublime!
  • So much expression- so much hope!
  • Music connects to everyone
  • Because music is my life
In Music for All
  • Every kid should be able to have good things about them and that means trying new things.
  • To find it!
  • Because music opens door of your soul to soar
  • Because helps the soul
  • Sounds are good
  • Because music is truly the universal language
  • Because music is for everyone
  • Music is reflection of the soul
  • Because it changes lives
  • Music is an art that you listen to and connect to
  • Music education develops the WHOLE person
  • Because music gives people a place to belong


I believe Poster

Penrod was on Saturday and I can tell you that I haven’t stopped thinking about these responses. I find it reassuring that there are so many people out there (and in my community!) that feel the same way about music as I do. I know that there are people across the country that feel this way as well.

Reading all of the responses encouraged me to come up with my own responses for why “I believe.”

So why do I believe?

  • I believe in music because music enriches my life and the lives of others.
  • I believe in music education because EVERY child deserves to be touched by music.
  • And I believe in Music for All because I believe in the power of music and the power of the positively life-changing experiences that Music for All brings to students across our country.

So today as you take a break from work, from school, from rehearsal, your busy life in general, read through the repsonses again on why people at the Penrod Art Fair in Indianapolis, Indiana believe.

And then? Tell me why you believe.



Erin Fortune
Marketing Coordinator
Music for All

Published in News

It's the last day of the Music for All Summer Symposium, presented by Yamaha. It’s hard to believe we’ve reached the last day of camp – the week has really flown by!

Marching Band trackI want to back track for a moment and talk about last night’s Drum Corps International show and the marching band track students’ performance with Carolina Crown. The Summer Symposium offers marching band students the unique opportunity to rehearse and perform with Carolina Crown Drum and Bugle Corps at a major DCI show. Marching band students spent the week learning drill sets and music from Carolina Crown’s show, and performed with the corps last night at Scheumann Stadium. They sounded wonderful! Students also played the national anthem at the start of the show last night. What a cool experience – playing for that many spectators in the stands! I was really proud of the marching band students, and they had a truly amazing performance.

Today is a special day for each of our campers as final performances are taking place. Parents, friends and family arrived on campus this morning for the Parent Breakfast in the Atrium of the Arts and Journalism Building. Parents had the opportunity to learn more about what their students have been up to this week, and they had the opportunity to listen to Fran Kick, Leadership Division Coordinator, say a few words. Eric Martin, President and CEO of Music for All, spoke as well.

Final performances are under way now and will continue throughout the day. The Orchestra, Concert Band and Percussion Ensemble performances started at 9:00 a.m. and will continue through 11:30 this morning in Sursa Hall in the Music Instruction Building. And, the Drum Set Development Class and Jazz Bands have their performances in Pruis Hall starting at 10:00 a.m. and running through 11:30 a.m.

The Community Day Picnic will be happening from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. today. Families can enjoy a picnic in Worthen Arena with the full camp, faculty and staff. Then final performances continue starting at 1:30 p.m. with Color Guard, Marching Percussion, Marching Band and the Drum Major March Off.

After final performances, camp is officially over. What a week it has been! Enjoy the final performances!


Published in News

Today's blog is written by Erin Fortune, Music for All's Participant Relations Coordinator.

Visit the 2012 Music for All Summer Symposium online coverage page for more information and camp highlights.

It’s hard to believe that it is already Friday of camp week. What an exciting week it has been. We saw nearly 1,000 students and directors on the campus of Ball State – all eager to share ideas, learn and come together in support of music making. Today, as I cover the MFA Headquarters, answering questions and phone calls from directors, clinicians, students and parents; I think about how awesome it is to be here in Muncie, Indiana and a part of this camp.

phoca thumb l 28 Thursday June 28Yesterday was definitely a busy day for me but it was also one of the best. The morning was spent running around getting prepared for the Tournament of Roses® BOA Honor Band Luncheon, where we brought together currently accepted students and students who were interested in applying to be a part of the band. It was pretty amazing to see that we have 21 students at camp who will be joining us for the parade in January!

Some people don’t realize, but in addition to the 7 student tracks we have at camp we also offer a Directors’ Track and Color Guard Instructor Academy. Throughout the week, the directors can choose from different sessions to attend like “Competition and the Instrumental Program” by Joe Allison and Amanda Drinkwater, “iPad Apps for Band and Beyond!” by Robert W. Smith, and “Exploring Show Concepts in Design” by Michael Gray, Lee Carlson, Alfred Watkins, and David Vandewalker. One highlight of my day is the director and clinician lunch that I get to attend daily. I love talking with directors about the sessions they have been attending.

After lunch I was able to escape headquarters long enough to go check in on some student tracks. The color guard moved inside to escape the heat in the afternoon so they were doing some staging for their final show in the Sports Complex. The SWAGs in the color guard track have had “theme days,” and yesterday’s theme just happened to be Princess Day, which is my favorite day of the week! When I arrived, they already had a sash made for me that said “Princess Erin,” and they gave me a crown and a wand! They definitely have fun over in the color guard area of camp!

Later in the day I decided to go over to Emens Auditorium a little early to try to catch part of the Time for Three rehearsal. I’m going to forewarn you that I will absolutely GUSH about Time for Three. I think they are amazing! But on my way to check their rehearsal out, I got distracted by what I heard coming out of the University Theatre’s door that was ajar. I was really curious about what I was hearing so I wandered over to that stage and found out that the Directors’ Concert Band was rehearsing. It was pretty neat to see the directors in the seats where their students typically sit, and it was great to see them conducted by the one and only Alfred Watkins. They also sounded fantastic, and I ended up staying to watch longer than I had anticipated!

By the time I was done listening in on the director’s band, the Time for Three rehearsal was almost over. The Orchestra Track students were sitting in the audience, and you could tell they were very excited! Prior to this, the Orchestra Track had a few rehearsals with Time for Three’s Nick Kendall so they already knew a little bit of what was in store for them during the evening concert.

The evening concert opened with a wonderful tribute by Music for All’s CEO Eric Martin for Dr. Margot Lacy Eccles, a supporter and frequent patron of the arts, Time for Three, and Music for All. Dr. Eccles passed away earlier this week.  Mr. Martin reminded us that our life is the dash between birth and death, and that we should all strive to have the type of “dash” that Dr. Eccles had.

After this touching tribute, the Time for Three concert opened with the playing of their new music video, and anti-bullying message, “Stronger,” an arrangement of Kanye West's “Stronger” and Daft Punk’s “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” and “Nightvision.” Here is what Time for Three says about this music video on their YouTube channel:

“We are Time for Three, and this is our story -- the story of so many kids who every day face challenges to who they are and who they want to be: their dreams, their ambitions, their identity. This video is for you guys. Be strong. Stick with it. We did, and we are stronger for it.

As someone who has seen the video several times I knew what to expect, but I have a feeling that the majority of the students in the audience had never seen the video before. It was shockingly quiet as the video played, which still astounds me because how do you get nearly 1,000 high school students in one room to be silent? But when the video comes to an end, and the student featured in the video is playing at his school’s talent show, every single student started clapping in unison with the audience in the video. You can find the music video for “Stronger” here.

Time for Three then came out and wowed the audience with their impressive style and passion for improvisation, composing and arranging – all prime elements of the ensemble’s playing. They transcend traditional classification, with elements of classical, country western, gypsy and jazz idioms forming a blend all its own. Time for Three is Zachary (Zach) De Pue, violin; Nicolas (Nick) Kendall, violin; and Ranaan Meyer, double bass who met at Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute of Music.  

Time for Three played many selections, including arrangements of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” and Imogen Heap’s “Hide and Seek.” The energy in the auditorium was electric, as Nick Kendall from Time for Three mentioned on several occasions.

“It’s awesome to play for other musicians, no, performers, who really listen,” Kendall said. “We get our energy from the energy you are giving to us.”

Last night I was in awe watching Time for Three, as I usually am when I see them perform, but my favorite thing about Time for Three is their passion and dedication to music education and the next generation.

phoca thumb l 36 Thursday June 28 eveningTime for Three invited the 2012 Music for All Orchestra Track on stage with them to perform their last two pieces, “Hymn” (which Time for Three dedicated to Dr. Eccles) and “Orange Blossom Special.” The students received the music at the beginning of camp and have been working on these two, in addition to the pieces they will be performing during Saturday’s concert. Seeing their faces as they performed with Time for Three was awesome, and I’m sure the reaction from the audience made each and every one of those student’s nights. I know I was incredibly proud of them all.

After the concert I headed to the Vic Firth reception and got the chance to hear the Directors’ Jazz Band, and they were also incredible! It was awesome to see and talk with Vic Firth himself, who was in town for Summer Symposium.

As busy as yesterday was it ended in such a positive way that I couldn’t help but smile the whole way back to my dorm room as I thought about the day and all of the people I had the chance to talk with. Thank you to all of the students, SWAGs, directors, and fellow staff members that made my Thursday wonderful. Thank you to Time for Three, the Orchestra Track, and the directors’ bands for making me smile while watching their performances. I’m looking forward to joining the students and directors at the DCI show tonight and can’t wait for another awesome evening at camp!  

-Erin Fortune, Participant Relations Coordinator at Music for All

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This afternoon, I decided to go listen to the Concert Band Honors Recital in Sursa Hall. But, on my way, I stopped by to check in on the Drum Major Academy. 

I caught the last portion of the Drum Major students’ afternoon, indoor session in Pruis Hall. Students were working on conducting patterns when I walked in.

“Do you see how different styles and patterns can affect the music?” Heidi Sarver, Drum Major Academy Coordinator, said. 

It was clear from the couple minutes I observed that conducting styles and patterns really affect the music and the result. Students were working on a lyrical pattern that perfectly matched the feel of the expressive music. 

I stopped to chat with Mitchell, a DMA student, on my way out. I asked how his week was going and also what the students had been working on throughout this session.

“I’m having a great week,” Mitchell said. “We’re working on the loop pattern and slide pattern.”

I looked at the time, and I realized I needed to head over right away to the Concert Band Honors Recital. I made it just in time as the first student ensemble took the stage. 

Clarinet ChoirStudents had the opportunity to form small chamber ensembles – and choose the names for their ensembles as well. First, the Clarinet Choir named “TENIRALC01” took the stage. They performed Chorale: “Awake, Awake, The Voice is Calling” by Johann Sebastian Bach, arr. Lucien Calliet. The ensemble was conducted by Elizabeth Crawford, Assistant Professor of Clarinet at Ball State University, and included 10 students. I especially enjoyed the singing high notes that soared as the ensemble performed this piece.

Brassters Brass EnsembleNext up was the “Brassters Brass Ensemble,” a group of 17 students led by Tom Bough, Associate Professor at the Northern Illinois University School of Music. They performed a beautiful version of Ave Maria by Friedrich Burgmuller, arr. Pelz. The music was extremely lyrical and had a singing quality that was beautiful to listen to. 

Michigan Wind QuintetThe “Michigan Wind Quintet” performed Presto by Franz Joseph Haydn. Keith Sweger, Professor of Bassoon at Ball State University, led this ensemble. This woodwind quintet had such a mature sound, especially for such young musicians! View a short video excerpt here.

The “Texas Brass Quintet” was up next and performed two pieces: O Canada and Bossa Nova. Both pieces were lovely and showed musical maturity (and as a horn player myself, I especially enjoyed the melodic horn line in Bossa Nova!) John Ellis, Professor of Music at The Crane School of Music, State University of New York at Potsdam, coached this ensemble. 

Texas Brass QuintetI took a look out at the crowd, and I noticed Dr. Thomas Caneva (Concert Band Division Head and Director of Bands, Professor of Music and Coordinator of Ensembles and Conducting at Ball State University) smiling and nodding as students performed. It was obvious he had a great deal of pride for the ensembles and the students’ hard work this week. 

Flute ChoirThe next ensemble was a flute choir, coached by Mihoko Watanabe, Assistant Professor of flute at Ball State University. This ensemble chose the name “Gelatina de Morra,” which we were informed means raspberry gelatin. It’s a mystery why students chose this name, but it was interesting to learn the meaning! I’m sure it means something to the students who chose it. I had not heard a flute choir in quite some time, and their airy, tranquil and light melodies were lovely and seemed to float on air as the flute choir performed A la Relevée by Claude-Henry Joubert.

Michigan Brass EnsembleTo close, the “Michigan Brass Ensemble,” coached by Gene Berger (Assistant Professor of Horn at Ball State University), performed Three Dances by Tilman Susato. This ensemble had a rich, singing sound as they performed the jaunty first movement of the piece. This piece featured three movements, and the third was a Pavane, or a piece with a slow tempo. 

I enjoyed every piece on this afternoon’s recital; however, this last piece really moved me. Have you ever experienced a moment when you’re listening to music and the music itself is enough to evoke a mood or emotion? This movement was definitely very stirring, and it reminded me of all the wonderful, musical moments happening on the campus of Ball State University this week. And, it also reminded me that music really is powerful!

Until tomorrow,


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It’s hard to believe it’s already Wednesday evening of the Music for All Summer Symposium! Tonight, I had the opportunity to listen to the jazz students’ dress rehearsal with the Buselli Wallarab Jazz Orchestra/Midcoast Swing Orchestra in Emens Auditorium, prior to their performance this evening.

BWJO 1I was very impressed with the sheer enthusiasm of the ensemble. The combination of the Buselli Wallarab Jazz Orchestra/Midcoast Swing Orchestra and all the jazz track students on stage was definitely impressive as well – they spanned almost the entire length of the stage, creating quite an impressive sound.

As I watched Mark Buselli rehearse the ensemble, he had so much energy and enthusiasm that the students couldn’t help but be enthusiastic as well. View this video of the dress rehearsal to learn more.

BWJO 2After the jazz dress rehearsal, I was excited to discover I had enough time to run across the street to the Music Instruction Building to catch the last half of the orchestra students’ Chamber Orchestra Rehearsal with Time for Three’s Nick Kendall.

The groundbreaking, category-shattering trio Time for Three transcends traditional classification, with elements of classical, country western, gypsy and jazz idioms forming a blend all its own. The members -- Zachary (Zach) De Pue, violin; Nicolas (Nick) Kendall, violin; and Ranaan Meyer, double bass -- carry a passion for improvisation, composing and arranging, all prime elements of the ensemble’s playing. Tf3 sets itself apart not only with its varied repertoire performed with astonishing technical acuity, but also through its approach. Its high-energy performances are free of conventional practices, drawing instead from the members’ differing musical backgrounds. The trio also performs its own arrangements of traditional repertoire and Ranaan Meyer provides original compositions to complement the trio’s offerings.

The trio also passes along strong, positive messages to young people. Their video, Stronger, relays the following message: “Be stronger, achieve your dreams, fight against bullies or WHATEVER strong force is against you.” You can view this video here.

As Kendall worked with the orchestra students on a piece called Hymn, he instructed students to play with feeling and really try to get into it.

“You guys can really just move with the music,” Kendall said. “If musicians look like [they’re thinking] ‘why am I here,’ it’s a waste of the audience’s time…believe in the moment and enjoy the harmonies.”

The results were immediate, and I watched students incorporate movement and really get into the emotional nature of the music, which was very lyrical and expressive. View a video from rehearsal here.

Nick Kendall 3As the students rehearsed the next piece, Orange Blossom Special, Kendall instructed the students to put as much enthusiasm and energy into the piece as they possibly could in order to truly get as much out of the musical experience as possible. I watched the students giving it their all, even so late in the day at almost 7:30 p.m. It was inspiring to see them working so hard to achieve a musical goal.

As rehearsal came to a close, I chatted for a second with Clarice, a student from Indiana. I asked her what it was like working with Nick Kendall.

“It was different,” she said. “A lot of new things – we learned some improv, and it was fun!”

Right now, students are enjoying the Buselli Wallarab Jazz Orchestra/Midcoast Swing Orchestra concert at Emens Auditorium, and the jazz students will be performing on stage for a couple pieces that are part of this concert. And, orchestra students have a special immersion performance on stage with Time for Three tomorrow, June 28, at 8 p.m. at Emens Auditorium.

These special immersion performances give students an opportunity to learn and absorb important musical lessons that I feel also translate to significant life lessons.

I found this text on Time for Three’s website, as part of the description for their video I described above, and I think the philosophy and thought behind it make perfect sense:

“We are Time for Three and this is our story -- the story of so many kids who every day face challenges to who they are and who they want to be: their dreams, their ambitions, their identity. This video is for you guys. Be strong. Stick with it. We did, and we are stronger for it.”



Published in News

CG for blog 2Visit the 2012 Music for All Summer Symposium online coverage page for more information and camp highlights throughout the week.

Day two of the full week MFA Summer Symposium is coming to a close, and we’ve had a great start to camp! Today in the afternoon, I was able to take a break from my responsibilities in our staff headquarters to head out and watch some sessions.

First, I walked over to the quad to observe color guard students in their Equipment Technique and Repertoire teams. Students were rehearsing in small groups for their final performance on Saturday. I walked across the quad and stopped to watch several groups, including two groups tossing flags and another learning a dance routine. One group was working with flags and practicing a lyrical section of their routine, which was quite beautiful to watch.

CG photo for blog 3I stopped to chat with two students during one of their water breaks. I asked Whitney, a student from Kansas, if she was enjoying her experience at Summer Symposium. She said yes, and I asked what she enjoyed the most. “Everything! It’s just all fun,” Whitney said.  

I also chatted with Edyn, a second-year camper from Ohio. I asked if she could give me some details about what they were working on. “It’s a dance and routine for our show-and-tell performance on Saturday,” she said.

“It’s nice to see [and meet] these people,” Edyn said. “Since I live quite a long way away from most.”

Edyn lives in Ohio, and she said she has made friends with several students who live in Michigan.

CG for blog 1I observed for a couple more minutes as one of the small flag groups performed a full sequence from their routine to music. Then I decided to visit the Directors’ Academy for a little while.

I walked over to sit in on a session with Mark Buselli, Jazz Band Division Coordinator and Director of Jazz Studies at Ball State University. I made it in time for the second half of his session, and he was deep in conversation with the attendees. This session was smaller and more intimate, which allowed directors the chance to truly have in-depth conversations about their individual situations.

The session was called “Preparing Your Band for a Jazz Festival,” and Buselli chatted with the directors present to give advice and answer questions about how to improve their respective jazz programs.

One high school director participant was discussing how she has volunteered to work with a middle school jazz program. It has definitely added a lot to her plate, but it was clear from the conversation that it’s important to her that the program not only stays alive, but also thrives.

“At first when you said you volunteered, I thought, ‘oh, this poor girl,’” Buselli said. “But, then I thought – that’s your feeder school, that’s brilliant! I think you’re very smart and on the right track.”

Buselli was very encouraging and helpful as he discussed the unique situations each of these teachers faces in their day-to-day work. He also talked about why teaching can be so satisfying, and it was inspiring to see the excitement in his face, and hear it in his voice, as he discussed this.

Markblack“As a teacher, I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t care what level I teach, I teach to see the process,” Buselli said. “Young students – you can see so much progress over a short amount of time.”

Buselli also talked about the concept of active listening versus passive listening. He discussed an exercise teachers can use in the classroom. Buselli said to take five minutes of focused time and ask, “What is the bass player doing? How is the horn interacting with the piano player?” This is a way to focus on active listening and help students see that there’s more going on than just background music.

I took a moment at the end of the session to thank Mr. Buselli, and he also passed along a handout with some words I enjoyed reading. I left with these words in hand and contemplated them for a while today so it seems appropriate to leave them with you as well:

The Sweetness of Music

“As we approach a new century and a changing international economic climate, we think that scientific and technological education should be our highest priority. And yet these fields, at least the way they are practiced today, only tangentially affect the heart and soul, where morality and values are rooted, while music goes right to the heart.

Studying music, one learns about talent, thought, work, expression, beauty, technique, collaboration, aesthetic judgment, inspiration, taste, and a host of other elements that shape life in all its aspects. As we learn to control our fingers, lips, and breath in making music, subliminally, music is shaping us, making us people of sensitivity and judgment.”

-From Thomas Moore’s 1996 book: The Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life



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