The Music for All Blog
The Music for All Blog
Debbie Laferty Asbill


Win a full scholarship to the 2020 Music for All Summer Symposium and get a chance to win a VIP experience at the Bands of America Grand Nationals or a Super Regional Championship of your choice. 

Invite and get 100 of your students and parents to the BAND app to win a scholarship to the Summer Symposium for you or one of your students. The Music for All Summer Symposium is "America's Camp" for school band students and directors and orchestra students. (100 scholarships available, first-come, first-serve.) 

Invite 200 or more people to get a chance to win 1 out of 5 VIP Experience Package for the Bands of America Grand National Championship or a Super Regional Championship of your choice (VIP Experience BAND promotion package includes tickets and hotel for two people – 2 nights hotel if you choose the San Antonio and St. Louis Super Regional, 3 nights for Grand Nationals).

How Can You Earn Your Free Summer Symposium 2020 scholarship? I am new to the BAND app:
1. Download the app (if you use the link the promotion registration form should popup after registration, link works best on mobile)
2. Register before September 30th (click this link on your smartphone after signing up)
3. Create a group or more on the BAND app (see here how)
4. Create an invite link (see here how)
5. Share the link with your students/parents or staff via text, email, Whatsapp or Remind101
6. Make sure that at least a total of 100 new users sign up between August 1st and September 30th by using one of your invite links.

I am already using the BAND app:
1. Register before September 30th (click this link on your smartphone after signing up)
2. Create an invite link (see here how)
3. Share the link with your students/parents or staff via text, email, Whatsapp or Remind101
4. Make sure that at least a total of 100 new users sign up between August 1st and September 30th by using one of your invite links.

Bonus Reward:
Invite 200 or more new users to qualify for the chance to win the VIP Experiences package.

Do you have questions about how to use the BAND app?
Join our band director community on BAND! or check out the BAND app Learning Center


  • A FREE communication platform for  and any type of group
  • Used by more than 70,000 marching band directors and students every week
  • Email, chat, calendar, cloud storage – all in one app! 
  • Directors tell us they save up to 10 hours per week

This promotion ends on September 30. 

This promotion is a BAND program being offered and connected to their sponsorship investment. Music for All will be a significant part of the delivery of the prize, but not the operation of the promotion.

Contest Rules

After more than eleven years of great impact at Music for All, our Chief Financial Officer Nancy Carlson will be stepping down from that role, and Music for All invites you to participate in our search for our next CFO.

When Nancy Carlson joined Music for All as Chief Financial Officer in 2008, the organization was in need of expert financial guidance to recover from recent years’ losses. Along with the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer Eric Martin, Carlson immediately got to work and implemented a fiscally-responsible cost structure for the organization, strengthened internal controls, and made tough decisions in order to reduce expenses. Thanks to these efforts, Music for All recovered, allowing us to continue serving the mission to create, provide, and expand positively life-changing experiences through music for all.

As to the future of the Music for All finance team, while Ms. Carlson has elected to step down from her role as CFO, she will remain with Music for All as Senior Financial Analyst and a source of institutional knowledge for our next CFO. Our Controller, Sarah Loughery, who has made a significant positive impact at Music for All since joining us in 2018, has accepted another position. We congratulate Ms. Loughery and thank her for her service. We now ask for your help in spreading the word and helping identify the next leader of our finance team. This is an exciting time of transition, and our next CFO will have significant influence on the future of Music for All.

Since our merger with Bands of America in 2006, the past decade has been one of growth and maturity for Music for All. We are so much more today than an organization providing positively life-changing experiences to students through events. As we prepare to enter the next stage of the organization’s life, we are working hard to achieve our vision of providing access and opportunity to music-making and addressing issues of equity.

“I am grateful for having had the opportunity to serve through Music for All for many years,” says Eric L. Martin, President and CEO. “As we draw nearer to our half century mark, we are looking for people for not only their skill sets, but also to play a role in serving our mission and vision to provide equity and opportunity for all Americans.”

Music for All exists because of students, teachers, schools, and communities who, with support from our donors and sponsors, choose to participate in our educational programming. This is your organization and you are included every time we use the pronoun our. We have a duty to inform you of major staffing changes, and we ask that you join us in celebrating the 11+ years of dedicated service of Nancy Carlson as our CFO. Frankly, no position at Music for All is easy, but the rewards of servant leadership (and witnessing the successful outcomes achieved thanks to a laser focus on mission and vision) are worth the effort. With every vacancy we are looking for an expert in his or her field who is also fully committed to Music for All’s mission and vision. Perhaps one of our 1.7 million alumni will become our next CFO. Application information and job description for Music for All Chief Financial Officer can be viewed at

We look forward to seeing over 1,700 of you at the Summer Symposium in a few days, and well over 120,000 of you this Fall! Thank you for being part of the Music for All family.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Student Success From Day One

Vandoren Editorial Image JUNOVandoren has been the preferred reed of professionals since 1905. However, during much of this time beginning students have often had to resort to inexpensive, lower quality reeds to save money. With Vandoren’s introduction of JUNO reeds in recent years, beginning students are finally able to enjoy that trademark, unparalleled Vandoren quality from their first note at an affordable student price.

Designed specifically for beginners, Vandoren JUNO reeds are designed with a special cut that provides young players with everything they need to hit the ground running – immediate response, easy articulation, and a warm, round sound right from the start. Instead of fighting against their reeds, JUNO allows kids to do what they want to do most – PLAY!

“My students have been very successful on JUNO reeds!  The ease of playing with these reeds allows students to focus on other concepts that we're building upon in rehearsal, without sacrificing quality of sound.” – Chris DiMassimo, beginning and Middle School Band Director

Vandoren is keenly aware of the musical needs of young musicians, and is extremely proud to offer a variety of products appropriate for each stage of their development. Most students who begin with JUNO will move to professional Vandoren reeds as they develop.

JUNO reeds are available for Eb, Bb and bass clarinet as well as soprano, alto, tenor and baritone saxophones.

Learn more

Wenger Editorial Band Room after 1   Wenger Editorial Band Room after 2

Above: the "after" photos. See the "before" photos at the bottom of the story.

When Wenger Corporation got the call from a producer at The Ellen DeGeneres Show about participating in a music room makeover to help two local drummers at a Baltimore High School, they simply had to say yes.

The Ellen DeGeneres Show introduced Baltimore drummers Timothy Fletcher and Malik Perry, better known as A1 Chops, to the world. The duo began drumming in high school and decided to take their talents to the streets of Baltimore performing songs with complex drum tricks and popular dance moves. Ellen brought them on her show to perform and show how the two have been giving back to their community along the way.

Wenger partnered with their team to supply a roomful of equipment that converted an old, outdated and disorganized music room into a beautiful, orderly, acoustically superior space. Wenger items now installed include acoustic wall treatments, music chairs, music stands, instrument storage cabinets and conductor’s equipment.

Watch the series and the students’ emotional reactions to the stunning new space on ellentube. The music room makeover portion airs during episodes three and four.

Wenger Editorial band room before 2  Wenger Editorial band room before 2

"Before" the music room makeover.

The I-65 Corridor Project

A Program of Music for All


About the I-65 Corridor Project

Music for All has broadened and modified its approach to expanding scholastic music education opportunities, refining and opening new pathways for student and music program participation. This approach is best demonstrated by our 2018 launch of Music for All’s I-65 Corridor Project - a program designed to create and implement sustainable student-teacher driven collaboration and tools intended to increase participation and reduce barriers to scholastic music-making within coreurban school communities along the I-65 corridor (from Gary, Indiana to Mobile, Alabama).

The project envisions, develops, and implements “self-help” strategies supporting music education. The focus is to provide students and teachers with a forum and the collaborative planning resources and skills that encourage and are necessary to help them (acting alone and independent of challenges posed by lack of program support from administrators, policy decision-makers, and the community) address everyday challenges and the systemic inequities and disparities facing urban scholastic music programs. The goal is to create small steps (and appreciation and recognition of them) that move the needle in favor of securing an ultimate outcome of increased program support from administrators, policy decision-makers, and the community. Schools from Gary (Region 1), Muncie (Region 5), and IPS (Region 7), are directly engaged in this program, with Muncie serving as an “I-65 Corridor spur,” capitalizing on and levering our existing Summer Symposium programming in and commitment to ensuring access and delivery of quality scholastic music making and education in Muncie/Delaware County.

Why I-65?

For nearly two decades, Music for All has maintained a commitment to diligent, hands-on engagement with the scholastic music programs of Indianapolis Public Schools. These efforts have sparked research into “peer” communities in hopes of finding new strategies to address barriers and threats to sequential music education, such as frequent administrative or faculty turnover, financial struggle, and state-imposed solutions. In the course of this research, MFA found many parallels in the challenges and concerns faced by communities along the corridor, with most schools facing challenges characteristic of threatened and traditionally underserved schools and populations. Inspired by this observation, the I-65 Corridor Project was established with the goal of forging and implementing new strategies that address possibilities for growth and increased achievement within these underserved communities. In the first year of the I-65 Project, Music for All developed ongoing partnerships with 11 schools in eight communities along the I-65 corridor: Gary, IN; Indianapolis, IN; Louisville, KY; Nashville, TN; Huntsville, AL; Birmingham, AL; Montgomery, AL; and Mobile, AL.

Urban Education Advisory Committee

In order to develop and execute the I-65 Corridor Project, Music for All has assembled the Urban Education Advisory Committee, a team of educators and administrators with extensive knowledge of the strategic planning process and experience working with core urban school districts. Committee members William Earvin, Zachary Harris, Tim Linley, Myran Parker-Brass, and Ayatey Shabazz oversee all aspects of the project, from the development of relationships with corridor teachers and administrators to the creation of content and curriculum for project participants. Committee members serve as liaisons to participating teachers in each community, providing mentorship and guidance as teachers develop and implement strategic plans to maximize local investment and elevate community recognition of their programs. The Committee is also responsible for executing one specially-designed professional development session or “engagement opportunity” per academic school year in each of the corridor communities.


Zachary Harris, Chair
Adjunct Professor of Music, William Carey University

William Earvin
Director of Bands, Baker High School

Ayatey Shabazz
CEO, The DevMusic Company

Tim Linley
Executive Director for Visual and Performing Arts, Dallas ISD

Myran Parker-Brass
Executive Director for the Arts, Boston Public Schools

The I-65 Corridor Summit at the Music for All Summer Symposium

Each teacher who participates in the I-65 Corridor Project is invited to attend the I-65 Corridor Summit, which takes place during the Music for All Summer Symposium each June. Music for All provides full-ride scholarships for one teacher and two students from each community to attend this experience. During the I-65 Corridor Summit, participants have the opportunity to network with each other and share their experiences, gaining valuable insight from the successes and challenges of their peers. Participating teachers have access to the full offerings of the Summer Symposium Directors’ Academy, as well as a specialized curriculum for music teachers in core urban environments, which is curated by our Urban Education Advisory Committee.

Student attendees of the I-65 Corridor Summit elect one of ten divisions of study that serves as their primary focus for the week. In addition to rehearsals, master classes, leadership sessions, and performances, I-65 Corridor students also participate in collaborative discussions with their teachers, during which they develop a strategic plan to support the growth and sustainability of their music program during the following academic year. The curriculum for the I-65 Corridor Summit is guided by the belief that collaboration between students and teachers is the best method for creating and developing a comprehensive music program that can sustain itself through the support and investment of its most important groups of constituents.

What Comes Next?

In 2019, Music for All’s commitment to the I-65 Corridor Project is expanding to include a second school in each of the original eight communities, as well as three new “spur” communities located in districts adjacent to the I-65 Corridor. By expanding this network of similarly-resourced schools, Music for All hopes to continue to inspire productive and engaging communication between participants that will lead to mutual support, actionable strategies, and an extensive anthology of resources for demographically similar communities. Through the I-65 Corridor Project, Music for All aims to identify strategies for the advancement of music education that can be adapted and replicated by programs in core urban school districts across the United States.

Jason Max Ferdinand, Conductor of the Oakwood Aeolians has been named Associate Artistic Director of the Music for All National Choir Festival. “I am filled with joy that Jason has accepted this position,” stated Henry Leck, Founding Artistic Director of Music for All Choral Activities. “Jason has a magnificent sense of artistry. His affirming and inspiring heart is truly aligned with the Music for All philosophy of positively life-changing experiences through music.”

Ferdinand, known for his focus to “Execute the all-important crescendo…the crescendo of the human heart,” serves as Chair of the Music Department and Director of Choral Activities at Oakwood University in Huntsville, Alabama. A native of Trinidad & Tobago, Ferdinand received his Bachelor of Arts Degree from Oakwood University in Piano, the Master of Arts in Choral Conducting from Morgan State University and the Doctor of Musical Arts in Choral Conducting with a minor in Orchestral Conducting from the University of Maryland.

Under the baton of Dr. Ferdinand, the Oakwood Aeolians have won numerous gold medals at the World Choir Games in the United States and South Africa; were named “Choir of the World” at the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod in Wales, and were the featured choir in Russia as part of the Russia-US Bilateral Presidential Commission on development of cooperation between Dmitry Medvedev and Barack Obama. During the recent American Choral Directors Conference, the Oakwood Aeolians became a popular featured choir by presenting a program of international music ranging from Bach to Ken Burton’s “Promised Land.”

The Music for All National Choir Festival is for advanced High School and Middle School Choirs who audition for invitation. Held annually in Indianapolis Indiana, the Festival is part of the bigger Music for All National Festival that includes Concert Band, Orchestra, Percussion Ensemble and Chamber Ensembles.

marlasmithMusic for All is mourning the loss of Marla D. Smith, a member of our Board of Directors, who passed away February 19, 2019. Born in Ft. Wayne, Indiana on January 3, 1946, Marla brought to Music for All not only her expertise as an Executive Assistant and Office Manager, but her lifetime of passion as a featured and state champion twirler and a Westfield High School Marching Band (IN) Band Parent.

Marla will be greatly missed. She is survived by her husband, Tony Smith, daughter, Dede (Felice) Panarisi, grandson, Robert Panarisi, granddaughter, Megan Panarisi, other relatives and many friends.

Celebration of Life Services and Obituary.

Nearly 100 winners from schools and school districts across America have been recognized as recipients of the Music for All Advocacy in Action Awards for 2019.

Behind most great school music programs are strong recruitment, retention, and booster programs. The Music for All Advocacy in Action Awards recognizes music programs, schools, and communities across the United States that demonstrate outstanding achievement in efforts to provide access to music education for all students.

Music for All received more than 95 entries for the 2018-2019 school year – the debut year of the awards.

To qualify for the Advocacy in Action Award designation, schools or districts submitted a detailed description of its music program and its project entry. Submissions were reviewed by a national panel of educators, administrators, and community and business leaders.

“For too long music advocacy has leaned mainly on research-based justifications. Music for All’s Advocacy in Action Awards collect and share ideas so music programs and their supporters can get practical and inspire each other,” says Eric Martin, President & CEO, Music for All.

It is Music for All’s vision to be a catalyst to ensure that every child across America has access and opportunity to participate in active music-making in their scholastic environment.

2018-2019 award-winners are recognized online at The website curates the winning entries as a resource for arts educators.

PepWear and Music for All Enter Into An Unprecedented 10-Year Agreement

PepWear and Music for All are poised for an exciting future. The two organizations, which have been working together for more than 15 years, have agreed to a new 10-year merchandise and sponsorship agreement.

With the new agreement, PepWear will continue to design, produce, and sell commemorative merchandise for all Music for All events, including Bands of America Championships, Music for All Summer Symposium, and Music for All National Festival for bands, choirs, and orchestras. In addition, PepWear will be an Official Corporate Sponsor of Music for All.

“Music for All and PepWear have worked side by side for more than 15 years and have developed a very close bond,” said Craig Johnson, President of PepWear. “By entering into a new 10-year merchandising agreement, we are mutually endorsing our shared values. I couldn’t be more proud or supportive of what Music for All stands for.”

“In addition, we will now be an Official Corporate Sponsor of Music for All, strengthening our relationship and reach,” he added.

“We are thrilled to continue our journey with PepWear,” says Music for All President and CEO, Eric Martin. “For more than a decade, PepWear has stood side-by-side with Music for All in commemorating the ‘positively life-changing’ programming and experiences provided to our participants and attendees. We look forward to PepWear’s increased and extended role in advocating and delivering on our mission and vision to make music education and its benefits more available and accessible.”

The new agreement secures PepWear’s long-term partnership with Music for All, one of the nation’s largest and leading organizations in support of scholastic music education, through educational programs, performance events, and music education advocacy efforts.

Merchandise will be sold at all Music for All events and can be purchased online at:

camdelawareSince her arrival as Director of Operations in 1989, Camilla Stasa has been a face of Bands of America at its events and music educator conventions where she represents the organization.

On Saturday, October 20, Camilla will become a Voice of Bands of America, when she becomes the first female announcer for a Bands of America Championship, announcing the BOA Regional at the University of Delaware in Newark.

While this is her Bands of America announcing debut, this is not Camilla’s first announcing gig. She has been the Master of Ceremonies at the Chicagoland Invitational Concert Band Festival since 2003. For over 20 years, she has announced the Lake Park Lancer Joust, a high school marching band competition held annually on the campus of Lake Park High School in Roselle, IL. In fall of 2016, Cam had the privilege to announce the 51st Annual State of Illinois Invitational High School Marching Band Championship at Illinois State University.

A graduate of Eastern Michigan University, Camilla taught in secondary schools prior to joining Bands of America. She is currently Director of Participant Relations for Music for All. She previously served as Associate Director of Admissions at VanderCook College of Music in Chicago before returning to Music for All and rejoining the staff in its Indianapolis headquarters. In March 2014, Camilla was inducted into the Bands of America Hall of Fame.

All of her colleagues at Music for All wish Camilla the very best as she makes Bands of America history in Delaware – Go for it!

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