The Music for All Blog
The Music for All Blog
Erin Fortune
Erin Fortune is the Marketing Manager focusing on digital marketing at Music for All and has been working with Music for All since 2010, first in the Participant Relations department and now in marketing. She is a graduate of 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.

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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



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


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


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


-Nicole Presley


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

Better Leaders Followers Make All The Difference!

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

Now consider these questions:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, April 08, 2013

Life is better with music

Today's blog post in support of Arts Advocacy Days is written by Music for All's President and CEO, Eric L. Martin.

Life is better with music! That’s a tagline I borrow with pride from the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, a great institution and strategic partner of Music for All. Advocacy (for the arts and especially arts education) is a pillar of Music for All’s strategic plan and vision to ensure that every child across America has access and opportunity to engage in active music making in his or her scholastic environment.

In March, we celebrated “Music in Our Schools” month with presentation of one of the largest ever Music for All National Festivals that included 2,100 students from across the nation in performances and camaraderie that showcased the best of scholastic music making and the excellence that comes from music and music education in our schools.

Perhaps, legendary drummer, Ndugu Chancler summed it up best in his “rap” with the Jazz Band of America confirming his belief in music, music education and power of jazz with an affirming “uh huh, yeah, that’s right.” 

This month, we are a proud National Co-Sponsor of “Arts Advocacy Day 2013,” supporting and helping to bring our collective voice about the importance of the arts and arts education to our nation’s leadership in Washington.

“Uh huh, yeah, that’s right,” we believe that every child in America is entitled to a quality arts education. A child’s education is simply incomplete unless it includes the arts.

Quality education and the educational preparedness of our children, rightly so, are driving and central issues demanding and deserving attention in our nation. As a people, we are exploring all of the possibilities. Many of the choices being explored are valid, valuable and viable. I work, as do all of us at Music for All, to ensure that whatever our choices, be they CORE, STEM or “all of the above,” include affirmative support and plans that ensure access and quality of opportunity for all children to engage in active music making (and the other arts) in his or her scholastic environment. My own experiences in school environments that appreciated and provided active music making and music education programs made me who I am, and opened and facilitated unique and powerful experiences in and avenues to leadership, teamwork, collaboration and community essential to my development and my performance as a leader. It is for this reason I believe arts education is essential to the development of our youth, and consequently, the character of our nation.

Life (family, community, business, or nation and our world) simply is better with music and the arts... “uh huh, yeah, that’s right.” Who we are as a people and a nation depends on it.

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Read Eric's last blog post on the subject of STEAM titled:  Music (and arts) for All in the 21st Century.

ericEric Martin is President and Chief Executive Officer of Music for All, Inc. He is a Past Chairman of the Board of Directors of the International Festivals and Events Association, of which he is a member of its Hall of Fame. Mr. Martin was previously president of ELM Productions, an Atlanta-based special events production company. He has numerous annual and “once in a lifetime” production credits and was recognized with a regional Emmy Award for his production of the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Holiday Parade on SuperStation TBS. Mr. Martin is a Certified Festivals and Events Executive and an honors graduate of Dartmouth College. He holds a Juris Doctor degree from University of Michigan Law School.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Educational Team

The Music for All Education Team provides the philosophy, vision, planning and guidance for each of the education events. While each team member has leadership responsibilities for their specific events, all the work is a collaborative team effort designed to support the MFA Strategic Plan. The Education Team works in concert with the MFA staff to create, provide and expand positively life-changing experiences through music for all.


MarkhamWEBGary Markham

Senior Music for All Educational Consultant
Bands of America Chief Judge
Gary Markham retired as the Supervisor of Music for the Cobb County School District in 2013 and previously spent 25 years as a band director in Pennsylvania, Georgia, and the Robinson Secondary School in Fairfax County, Virginia. His programs have consistently received superior ratings. In 1992, Colonel Eugene Allen, Director of the United States Army Band, presented the Sudler Flag of Honor to the Robinson Band, and Markham received the John Philip Sousa Foundation’s Sudler Order of Merit, one of the multitude of awards he has received during his career. Markham has been inducted into the Phi Beta Mu Honorary Bandmasters Fraternity in both Pennsylvania and in Virginia and has also been inducted into the Bands of America (BOA) Hall of Fame.
Markham works internationally as a clinician, guest conductor, adjudicator and consultant. He currently serves on several Metro Atlanta Arts Boards, the BOA Advisory Board, the Drum Corps International (DCI) Rules and Systems Taskforce, and the Advisory Committee for the MidWest Clinic. He is the Chief Judge for BOA, Senior Education Consultant for Music for All and Judge Education Director for DCI. Markham received his B.S. degree from Mansfield State University, M. Ed. degree from Penn State University, and did Ph. D (ABD) study in conducting and music supervision at George Mason University.

tim lautzenheiser2005 125pxwTim Lautzenheiser

Music for All Senior Educational Advisor
Tim Lautzenheiser is a trusted friend to anyone interested in working with young people to develop a desire for excellence and a passion for high-level achievement. His career involves ten years of successful college band directing at Northern Michigan University, the University of Missouri and New Mexico State University. He has also spent three years with McCormick’s Enterprises working as Executive Director of Bands of America.
In 1981, Lautzenheiser created Attitude Concepts for Today, Inc., an organization that manages workshops, seminars and convention speaking engagements focusing on the area of positive attitude and effective leadership training. In the last three decades, over two million students have experienced his acclaimed student leadership workshops.
Lautzenheiser’s books, produced by G.I.A. Publications, Inc., continue to be bestsellers in the educational world. He presently serves as Senior Educational Consultant for Hal Leonard, Inc. and as Senior Educational Advisor for Music for All.
Lautzenheiser holds degrees from Ball State University and the University of Alabama. In 1995 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the VanderCook College of Music. He is presently an adjunct faculty member at Ball State University, Indiana-Purdue/Ft. Wayne University and Butler University. In addition, he serves on the Midwest Clinic Board of Directors and the Western International Band Clinic/American Band College Board of Directors.

Casagrande  ScottScott J. Casagrande

Music for All Educational Consultant
National Concert Band Festival- Invited Bands & Regional Concert Festivals
Scott J. Casagrande has been Director of Bands at John Hersey High School in Arlington Heights, Illinois since 1999. He served previously as Director of Bands at Plainfield and Stephen Decatur High Schools. He received his B.S. and M.S. in Music Education from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana.
Ensembles under Casagrande’s direction have been selected to perform at honor clinics and festivals, and his bands have been consistent winners at marching and jazz contests and festivals. His ensembles have performed at the French Reeds Festival in the French Riviera, at Orchestra Hall in the Chicago Symphony Center, at Carnegie Hall in New York City, and throughout Europe. In 2007, the John Hersey band program was awarded the prestigious Sudler Flag of Honor from the John Philip Sousa Foundation.
In 2004, Casagrande was one of three conductors in the United States chosen to participate in the National Band Association International Conducting Symposium in Rome, Italy, conducting the Italian National Army Band. Casagrande was inducted into the prestigious American Bandmasters Association in 2009. He has been published in The Instrumentalist, The National Band Association Journal and has presented at the Illinois Music Educators Association State Convention. He currently serves as Second Vice President of the National Band Association.

Galvin William BillWilliam Galvin

Music for All Educational Consultant
National Percussion Festival
William Galvin is the former Director of Instrumental Studies and Music Department Chair for the Trinity Area School District. A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, he received his Bachelor of Music Education degree from Morehead State University (KY) and Master of Music Education degree from Duquesne University. Galvin has been awarded the National Band Association’s Citation of Excellence and the Citation of Excellence presented by the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (PMEA). During his tenure at Trinity High School, Galvin’s ensembles earned twenty-eight Superior Ratings and eight consecutive Pennsylvania Interscholastic Marching Band Association Class Championships. His ensembles performed for five PMEA State Conferences, one Music Educators National Conference Eastern Division Conference, and three Music For All National Festivals.
Galvin was cited as an Outstanding Young Educator in America and has been listed in “Who’s Who Among American Teachers.” He is conductor of the Washington (PA) Symphony Chamber Orchestra. He has served on the board of directors of the Washington Symphony Orchestra, as a member of the Music for All Advisory Board, is a past president of the Washington County Music Educators Association, a past PMEA District President, and a former chair of the PMEA Music Booster Affiliate. In his retirement, Galvin continues to be active as a consultant, speaker and guest conductor.

KickWEBFran Kick

Music for All Educational Consultant
Leadership Programs
Fran Kick, M.A. Educational Psychology, CSP, author, professional speaker and consultant, knows What Makes Kids Kick! Inspiring people to KICK IT IN® and TAKE THE LEAD since 1986, Fran is the creator and presenter of a series of self-motivational personal leadership presentations and published materials. Since taking an educational leave of absence from teaching band at Centerville High School (Ohio), he has developed his part-time speaking adventure into a full-time mission. Every year Fran presents programs across the U.S. and Canada to thousands of college, high school and middle school students, plus the many people who work with them. Fran has served as the leadership coordinator for the Music for All Summer Symposium since 1998. He also works with Drum Corps International each summer to help music students, directors and parents Kick start their season with DCI (! Fran is the coordinating lead-presenter for the biannual Future Music Educators’ Experience with NAfME, held every year at both the Bands of America Grand National Championships and the DCI World Championships ( Outside the music education world, Fran speaks at many state, regional and national conferences and has consulted with numerous schools, organizations and companies actively engaged in teaching and reaching today’s kids.

HenryLeckWEBHenry H. Leck

Music for All Educational Consultant
Choral Programs

An internationally recognized choral director, Henry Leck is a professor emeritus in choral music at Butler University, where he served on the faculty for 27 years. He is the Founder and Conductor Laureate of the Indianapolis Children’s Choir. This organization, founded in 1986, is one of the largest and most respected children’s choir programs in the world. The touring choirs of the Indianapolis Children’s Choir have performed regularly for national ACDA, MENC, OAKE and AOSA Conferences. Additionally, the ICC tours internationally every year and has sung throughout the world. Mr. Leck arranged and conducted the national anthem for Kelly Clarkson and the Indianapolis Children’s Choir at the Super Bowl XLVI and conducts regularly at the Indianapolis 500. Mr. Leck has conducted Mixed, Men's, Women's, Junior High and Children's All-State choirs and festival choirs in nearly every state. He is a frequent conductor of regional and national honor choirs, including the ACDA Southern, Southwest, North Central, Central, Western and Northwest Honors Choirs. In the spring of 2003, he conducted the ACDA National Junior High/Middle School Honor Choir in New York City and in 2011, the ACDA National Children’s Honor Choir in Chicago. On three occasions he has conducted National Honor Choirs for OAKE. He has conducted 26 National Youth Choirs in Carnegie Hall and conducts a number of international festivals every year.

Mr. Leck has received many honors including the Sagamore of the Wabash and the State of Indiana Distinguished Hoosier Award. He and the choir received the Indiana Governor’s Arts Award which is the highest honor one can receive in the arts in Indiana. Recently Mr. Leck was named a recipient of the “Lowell Mason Fellows Award” which is the highest award given, by the National Association for Music Education. He is also a Paul Harris fellow. He was just awarded the “Lifetime Achievement Award” by Nuvo Magazine and “Indiana Living Legend Award” by the Indiana Historical Society.

Mr. Leck is widely known as a specialist in choral techniques, Dalcroze Eurhythmics, Laban, the child voice, and the boy's changing voice . He has produced four teaching videos titled Vocal Techniques for the Young Singer, The Boy’s Expanding Voice: Take the High Road, Creating Artistry through Movement, Dalcroze Eurhythmics and Creating Artistry with the Male Maturing Voice. He was a lead author for the choral textbook series published by McGraw Hill/Glencoe titled Experiencing Choral Music and is the lead author of a new series of textbooks entitled Voices in Concert. He is also the editor of two nationally known choral series published by Hal Leonard Corporation and Colla Voce, Inc. He has recently written a textbook titled, Creating Artistry through Choral Excellence. Mr. Leck received his training from the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point, the University of Colorado and Indiana University.


Saucedo RichardRichard L. Saucedo

Music for All Educational Consultant
Jazz Band of America & MFA Outreach
Richard L. Saucedo retired as Director of Bands and Department Chairman at the William H. Duke Center for the Performing Arts at Carmel High School in Carmel, Indiana in 2013. He will be retiring at the end of the 2012-13 school year after teaching for 31 years. Under his direction, Carmel bands have received numerous state and national honors. The Indiana Bandmasters Association named Saucedo Indiana’s “Bandmaster of the Year” for 1998-99, and recently named him the state’s 2010 “Outstanding Music Educator.”
Saucedo is a freelance arranger and composer, having released numerous marching band arrangements, concert band works and choral compositions. He is currently on the writing staff for the Hal Leonard Publishing Corporation. Saucedo travels throughout the country as an adjudicator, clinician and guest conductor and has been a featured clinician at a number of prominent conferences and clinics. He has served as Music Caption Head for the Drum Corps Midwest Judges Guild and as a music judge for Drum Corps International. Saucedo has also served as the brass composer/arranger for the Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps and will be the brass composer/arranger for the Blue Stars in 2013. Saucedo did his undergraduate work at Indiana University in Bloomington and finished his Masters degree at Butler University in Indianapolis.

Schoonover Stan colorStan Schoonover

Music for All Educational Consultant
National Concert Band Festival- Featured Bands
Stan Schoonover has served for fourteen seasons as the founding conductor of the Fairfax Wind Symphony in Virginia. He retired from the Fairfax County Public Schools after thirty-two years of service to education, including eleven years as Music Supervisor. Ensembles under his direction have appeared at Mid-West Clinics, the National Concert Band Festival, National Music Clinics, and Virginia Music Educators Association (VMEA) conferences.
Schoonover received his B.S. Degree from Gettysburg College and a Master of Music degree from West Chester University. Postgraduate work has included study at the University of Virginia, George Mason University and the University of Michigan.
Schoonover is an active Past-President of the Virginia Band and Orchestra Directors Association (VBODA), a recipient of multiple Citation of Excellence awards from the National Bands Association, the 2006 VMEA Outstanding Administrator Award, and the 2012 VBODA Philip J. Fuller Award for sustained musical excellence. He is an elected member of the American Bandmasters Association.

Susan L Smith Head ShotSusan Smith

Music for All Educational Consultant
MFA Chamber Programs
Currently, Susan L. Smith is Director of Bands at the Saint James School in Montgomery, AL. The Saint James Bands consistently receive Superior ratings in concert, jazz and marching band events. Her professional affiliations include Music Educators National Conference, Alabama Music Educators Association, Sigma Alpha Iota, Phi Beta Kappa and the National Band Association. Smith is in demand as a clinician, conductor and adjudicator throughout the country.
Susan has taught at all levels of education and in many facets. After completing her degree in Music Education from James Madison University, she taught in the Virginia public schools. Her responsibilities included the direction of elementary and secondary instrumental music programs as well as teaching other arts-related courses. Her ensembles consistently received superior ratings from the Virginia Band and Orchestra Directors Association festivals during her tenure.
After completing her master’s degree in Education from Troy State University, she taught as an Adjunct Professor of Music. While at TSU, she also served as the Executive Director of the Southeastern United States Concert Band Clinic and Honor Bands. In addition, she coordinated the visual program for the Sound of the South Marching Band.

David-Starnes 470David Starnes

Music for All Educational Consultant
Honor Band of America & Student Programs
David Starnes joined the School of Music at Western Carolina University in the summer of 2011 as Assistant Professor/Director of Athletic Bands. He directs the Pride of the Mountains Marching Band and the Symphonic Band. Starnes graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in 1988, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education. Prior to coming to Western Carolina, Starnes was the founding Director of Bands at Kennesaw Mountain High School in Kennesaw, Georgia, where he served for 11 years.
Starnes is sought out nationally and internationally as an adjudicator, clinician, guest conductor and creative designer. He serves as an adjudicator for several state, national and international organizations, including Music for All, where he is a member of the Advisory Board, and Winter Guard International and Drum Corps International, where he served as an adjudicator and Percussion Caption Head from 1998-2002. He also serves as an Educational Consultant at Music for All was appointed program director for the Bands of America Honor Band, which appeared in the Tournament of Roses® Parade in Pasadena, California in 2005, 2009 and 2013.

Westman Dean sizedDean Westman

Music for All Educational Consultant
Orchestra Programs
Dean Westman is the Performing Arts Department Chair and Orchestra Director at Avon High School in Avon, Indiana, where he also serves as a Program Coordinator for the Avon High School Marching Black and Gold. Previously, Westman worked as the Educational Director for Bands of America and Orchestra America as well as held band director positions in Texas and Illinois. Ensembles under his direction have won numerous honors and recognitions and have performed at Carnegie Hall and the prestigious Midwest Clinic in Chicago. In 2002, Westman was named the Texas Young Bandmaster of the Year. He has taught the Tenrikyo Aimaichi Marching Band from Nagoya, Japan, which has frequently won the All-Japan Marching Band Championship.
Westman continues to present clinics throughout the United States and Japan. An active instructor and arranger in the drum corps activity, he has worked with the Cadets, Santa Clara Vanguard, the Cavaliers, Carolina Crown and the Troopers Drum and Bugle Corps, as well as the Yokohama Scouts, who in 2011 became the first Japanese drum and bugle corps to ever perform at a Drum Corps International World Championship. Westman currently serves as the Program Coordinator for the Bluecoats. Westman is a native of Park Ridge, Illinois, and a proud alumnus of the University of Illinois.
Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Why do you #BelieveInMusic ?

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Music motivates. Music mesmerizes. Music moves.

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

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

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

Take a look at what people are already tweeting:

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

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

“I #BelieveInMusic because music is life”

 To learn more about Music for All’s music advocacy program, visit


Make sure you’re staying connected with us!

“Like” us on Facebook:

 Follow us on Twitter:


Music for All is proud to announce that three employees have been promoted to executive and manager positions. 


Debbie Laferty Asbill has been named Vice President of Marketing and Communications. Asbill joined the Music for All (MFA) staff in 1985, when the organization was known as Bands of America. She most recently served as MFA’s Director of Marketing and Communications. She has a degree in communications from Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky and was inducted into Music for All’s Bands of America Hall of Fame in 2011.


laura blakeLaura Blake has been named Events Manager. Blake joined the Music for All (MFA) staff in May 2005 as Receptionist and quickly moved to an Event Coordinator position the next fall. Since then she has been heavily involved in the operations of all events, taking the lead on volunteer recruitment and management as well as equipment logistics. Laura, raised in Indianapolis, attended Butler University and is a former Bands of America participant. 


Tonya Bullock WEB copyTonya Bullock has been named Accounting Manager. Bullock joined the Music for All (MFA) staff in September 2009 as an Accounting Specialist.  Since then she has been heavily involved in the daily accounting functions as well as managing tickets and merchandise for all events. She has a degree in Accounting from Indiana University. 


Join us in congratulating Debbie, Laura and Tonya on their promotions as they continue to provide postively life-changing experiences for all!

Read the full news release here. 


Music for All is thrilled to announce that we will be streaming Live Webcasts of the 2013 Honor Band of America, Honor Orchestra of America* and Jazz Band of America. While there’s nothing that compares to being in the audience when your favorite musician performs, our streaming Webcasts give you the opportunity to still enjoy the honor ensemble concerts live.



Jazz Band of America – Friday, March 15, 8:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time

Honor Orchestra of America – Saturday, March 16*, 7:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time

Honor Band of America – Saturday, March 16, 8:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time

* Only Saturday’s concert by the Honor Orchestra of America concert will be Webcast Live from Hilbert Circle Theatre. Friday’s Honor Orchestra concert will not be Webcast Live. 


Solo or Subscribe 

HBOA WebYour one-year Premium Subscription includes all of the 2013 Honor Ensemble Live Webcasts, for just $59. As an added bonus, if you start your one year Premium Subscription now you’ll get the 2013 fall Bands of America Championship Live Webcasts, plus all Video On Demand of the 2013 Festival concerts and past MFA and BOA performances.

Honor Ensemble performances are also available as a Live Solo:  Live Webcast of all three performances for $19. Click here for more information on pricing and ordering


Video on Demand, post-event

All of the Festival concerts, including the three honor ensemble concerts, the Festival concert bands, orchestras and the percussion ensemble performances will also be available as Video on Demand, after the event, with your MFA Encore video subscription. Video on Demand allows you to enjoy your honor ensemble performance after you return home, whenever you want.  

Click on this link to see more details, schedule of concerts and how to order:

Stay Connected

Another great way to stay connected with what is happening at the National Festival is to connect with Music for All on Social Media!

ConcertBand WEB

“Like” us on Facebook for updates and photos!


Follow us on Twitter


Follow us on Instagram



*Use hashtag #mfafest on Twitter and Instagram to join the conversation with us and other festival participants & fans! 


The article below was featured in the Music for All January/February Newsletter. With March being Music in Our Schools month, we thought it would be appropriate to share again here on the blog, enjoy!

Music (and arts) for All in the 21st Century
by Eric L. Martin, President and CEO, Music for All

“Humans need to communicate, share, store and create.As a species, we’ve engaged 
in these functions for centuries. There’s really nothing new about them. What is new are the forms, or tools, that students use to meet these needs.”
From 21st Century Skills: Rethinking How Students Learn, by James Bellanca and Ron Brandt (Eds.) (Leading Edge series)
SpeakingMusicOver the several months leading up to last November’s elections, I was inundated (as I’m sure you were) with campaign ads touting the virtues (or lack thereof) of candidates of all persuasions and ilk. These ads showcased each candidate’s commitment and ability to address and solve our largest challenges, most important human needs and their ability to perpetuate and allow us to attain the quintessential “American Dream.” Beyond the economy, much emphasis was and still remains placed on maintaining or reclaiming our ability to compete and lead globally. The conversation about our young people was often about the loss of our educational edge. We’re convinced, and maybe rightfully so, that we are failing to educate and prepare our children for the competitive challenges of the 21st century. It’s a valid conversation, however, I feel a responsibility to bring another voice into the discussion.
Folks around my office sometimes fondly (or not so fondly) know and label me “a diploma snob.” For some, a diploma snob means where you went to school, but for me, and I own this observation, it’s more about how you’ve been prepared and trained to think and reason. Science, technology, engineering and math, the STEM concepts we hear about so often, have their rightful place and I certainly support moving from STEM to STEAM, infusing and demanding that the arts be inserted and recognized as a core, valid and vital part of the learning and achievement equation. However, my support for STEAM is more deeply rooted in my “snobbery.” 
What I care about in every student and every professional I encounter, be it personally or for Music for All, are their “abilities to think and reason.” I look for and build my faith in the future of our children, our nation and our culture on the ability to teach children “how to think and reason,” a very different concept than “what to think.”
I am a product of the arts, infused naturally and effectively, in a total education. Engagement in the arts (and other programs of human engagement), coupled with core academic subject matter, gave me the opportunity and platform to help understand and advance human, societal and business relationships. Understanding not just that things work, but how they work, why they work and realizing their impact on ones’ self, and others, form the essence of prepared and effective leadership. In this context, I am a “snob” about preparing our children to thrive effectively in the future.
So what does this have to do about the 21st century workforce? For me, its about the 21st century “Life Force.” I’ve traveled across the country speaking to students, teachers, administrators and parents with an “artistic” interest that drives my professional commitment. Almost daily, I struggle to hear effective dialogue and collaboration as our leaders seek to address, solve and resolve some of our most difficult local and global challenges and conflicts. I long for more conversation with the historical, philosophical and “civil” teachings and dialogue about the development of America’s strength and destiny from an ultimate commitment to the common good, general welfare and societal empathy and commitment to the wellbeing and advancement of “the least of those.” I miss experiencing our American commitment to active listening, the common good and the art of compromise. Too often, the dialogue (or absence thereof) is centered on winners and losers, my way or the highway, and to the winner goes the earned and rightful spoils. 
I often ask what our student performing arts ensembles would be and sound like if they did not learn skills about individual and ensemble commitment to concepts like intonation, leading and following, collaboration and exchange of thoughts and ideas, or if they refused to accept and see the benefits of leadership. I can only imagine the unintended discordant result of an ensemble whose idea of excellence is “every man or woman out for himself or herself.”
Great ensembles know, and are taught, that great results only come from collective achievement. The whole is only as successful as the individual parts comprising it. Performance responsibility of each individual is necessary for ensemble success. In other words, all members of the ensemble have a vested interest in the skill development, well-being and achievement of others. “We’re in it together,” is a vital and essential factor and tool for success. We become great when each and every member not only understands “the what” and “the how”, but also “the why.” It is then that they can lead themselves with effective decision-making and collaboration for the “common good.” If only all of our leaders, including government leaders, shared that common understanding. In the end the “audience,” like our world, benefits.
“The combination of core academic subjects, 21st century themes and 21st century skills redefines rigor for our times. However, rigor traditionally is equated with mastery of content (core subjects) alone, and that’s simply not good enough anymore.”
“Growing proportions of the nation’s labor force are engaged in jobs that emphasize expert thinking or complex communication- tasks that computers cannot do.”
“The assessment is forward looking, focusing on young people’s ability to use their knowledge and skills to meet real life challenges, rather than merely on the extent to which they have mastered a 
specific school curriculum.”
From 21st Century Skills: Rethinking How Students Learn 
Harvard Professor, Shelley Carson, wrote the following for the Huffington Post after a 2010 G-20 Summit meeting: “The G-20 Summit in Toronto is now over and, not surprisingly, one of the conclusions of the conference was that in order to attract investors, nations need to provide an ’environment that promotes creativity.’ From politics to business to education to sports, creativity is one of the buzzwords of this decade. We used to think of creativity as the province of artists, musicians and writers. Now we’re waking up to the fact that all facets of modern life demand creative input.1”
Most social and educational scientists agree that creativity is a necessary core “skill.” Creativity is an essential tool for 21st century success. And the beauty of our opportunities is that the human brain is built for creativity. Our responsibility as practitioners and promoters of music education is to ensure that our children have access, opportunity and skills necessary to discover and activate their God given and innate abilities. Our individual, organizational and human success depends on it. In short, Dr. Carson summarizes that, “creativity is important for artists, writers, musicians and inventors; but it is also crucial for societies, businesses and individuals who need to juggle fulfillment with the demands of the rapid-change culture. You not only need to be creative to enhance your life, you need it to survive.”
Our society is replete with evidence of success authored by artistically inspired achievers. A 2009 Harris Interactive poll shows that three-quarters of Fortune 100 executives were involved in some type of music program while in school and research shows that the longer executives participated, the more successful they became in life.
“The skills that they are learning, the things that they’re doing as a part of their music program, and their leadership experiences … these are the things that I look for when I’m hiring people. When I see on the resume that there is some type of artistic activity and leadership experience, I know that is someone I’m interested in interviewing. It’s the skills that aren’t taught anywhere else that make that person stand out above the rest.”  – Christian Howes, San Francisco Bay Area based Computer Software Designer/Engineer
I am fortunate to live in a state and a community that truly embraces the importance of arts, arts education and a strong artistic environment. Music for All’s corporate presence in Indianapolis, IN is no accident. Instead, our presence is part of our community’s plan to embrace, encourage and build a holistic support of the arts into its community growth strategies and initiatives. In a community that, for the most part, has no grand natural attraction or calling, like mountains, oceans or lakes, Indianapolis has created its own enticements and incentives for the arts. The city’s commitment to the arts is the reason that Music for All, Drum Corps International, the Percussive Arts Society, the International Violin competition, the American Pianists Association and the Heartland Truly Moving Pictures International Film Festival call Indianapolis home. 
It is no accident that Indiana is a state where one of its (and America’s) largest privately held corporations is led by the corporation founder’s son’s middle school band director. Entrepreneurs clearly recognize and are attracted to talent that includes evidence of creativity, creative instinct and problem solving in their repertoire. It is further no accident that Music for All is blessed to be governed by leaders who themselves (or their children) are products and beneficiaries of quality music education. They are entrepreneurs, corporate executives, lawyers, accountants and community leaders who see and are passionately committed to music and arts education.
The arts, and particularly ensemble experiences in the arts, have always provided an edge for development and appreciation of creativity, in an environment defined by collaboration, group and individual problem solving, mutual respect and cooperation. If it is true that success and a successful workforce in the 21st century require critical thinking, creative problem solving, innovation, effective communication and team work, then every American child’s scholastic day should include an active “hands-on” experience in the band, orchestra, dance, theatre, art and/or choir room. The collaboration necessary for success (student to student, student to teacher, student to parent, parent to teacher and everyone to their community – the audience and beneficiary) is inherent in the process. The goal is 
not professional artistry. They all will not become Christopher Martin (Principal Trumpet of the Chicago Symphony), renowned actress Jennifer Morrison or even Carl Cook or Kem Hawkins (CEO and President, respectively, of the Indiana-based Cook Group), but they will be better prepared and more able to compete and contribute meaningfully in the 21st century. 
The discussion about 21st century skills and creativity as a necessary and essential component is not new, nor is it likely to go away, at least not before we begin to look to the needs of the 22nd century. One need only look to Time’s 2005 article on the subject, still valid and valuable in 2012. At Music for All, we are committed to being 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. Our name and mission require no less of us. We believe in music education, music in our schools and Music for All.
1 “Creativity in the 21st Century” Huffington Post Article By Shelley Carson, Ph.D.
Research psychologist; lecturer, Harvard University, following the 2010 Toronto G20 Summit
ericEric Martin is President and Chief Executive Officer of Music for All, Inc. He is a Past Chairman of the Board of Directors of the International Festivals and Events Association, of which he is a member of its Hall of Fame. Mr. Martin was previously president of ELM Productions, an Atlanta-based special events production company. He has numerous annual and “once in a lifetime” production credits and was recognized with a regional Emmy Award for his production of the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Holiday Parade on SuperStation TBS. Mr. Martin is a Certified Festivals and Events Executive and an honors graduate of Dartmouth College. 
He holds a Juris Doctor degree from University of Michigan Law School.


Wednesday, March 06, 2013


Directions to Music for All National Festival presented by Yamaha Concert Venues and Hotels. Click on the hyperlinked addresses below to open directions in google maps.


Clowes Memorial Hall (Butler University)

4602 Sunset Avenue · Indianapolis, IN 46208
(National Concert Band Festival, Honor Band Concert, Honor Orchestra Concert for Friday night, Jazz Band Concert Venue)

Hilbert Circle Theatre

45 Monument Circle · Indianapolis, IN 46204
(Orchestra America National Festival Venue)

Howard L. Schrott Center for the Arts (Butler University)

4600 Sunset Avenue • Indianapolis, IN 46208
(Middle School National Music Festival, High School Additional Ensemble, and Honor Orchestra Concert for Saturday night Venue)

Indiana Historical Society

450 W Ohio St, Indianapolis, IN 46202
(Chamber Music National Festival Venue)

Warren Performing Arts Center

9500 East 16th Street · Indianapolis IN 46229
(Sandy Feldstein National Percussion Festival Venue)

Festival Hotels

JW Marriott Indianapolis

10 South West Street · Indianapolis, IN 46204

SpringHill Suites by Marriott Indianapolis Downtown

601 West Washington Street · Indianapolis, IN 46204

Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Indianapolis Downtown

501 W Washington Street · Indianapolis, IN 46204


Music for All Office

39 W. Jackson Pl., Ste. 150 · Indianapolis, IN 46225

Additional Directions/ Maps

Indianapolis Downtown Map

Directions Around Indianapolis

Victory Field PArking Map (Bus/Truck Overnight Parking)

Warren Performing Arts Center Map

Indiana Historical Society Map

Clowes Memorial Hall/Howard L. Schrott Center for the Arts/Lilly Hall Venue Map

Lilly Hall Map

Butler University Campus Map

Hilbert Circle Theatre Map