The Music for All Blog
The Music for All Blog



Cecily Yoakam has joined the Music for All staff as Advocacy and Educational Resources Coordinator. Cecily comes to Music for All most recently having taught band at Barton Middle School in Buda, TX as part of the Hays Consolidated Independent School District, where she focused primarily on teaching beginner woodwind students.

Cecily graduated from Union High School in Tulsa, OK, where she was a drum major and played the oboe. She went on to study Music Education at the University of North Texas, graduating in 2017. She is a member of Mu Phi Epsilon, Texas Music Educators Association, and Texas Bandmasters’ Association.

She is a former Bands of America Championship and Music for All Summer Symposium participant. In the summer of 2017, she served as the Advocacy and Educational Resources Intern. Cecily served on the Summer Symposium SWAG Team for three years.

“The Music for All Education Team along with the Indianapolis office staff are thrilled to have Cecily Yoakam join the organization in this crucial role,” says James Stephens, Director of Advocacy and Educational Resources. “Cecily certainly has the passion, energy, and experience to be a key player in the development and expansion of our educational programming and advocacy work. I am excited to work alongside Cecily through our commitment and support of scholastic music education and access to it for every child.”

“The impact music has had on my life inspired me to become a music teacher so I may have the chance to give others the same experiences, and I feel incredibly humbled and grateful to serve this organization.” says Yoakam, “Without the experiences I had as a student participant and SWAG team member, I would not be who I am today. I firmly believe everyone should have access and opportunity to music, not just the few who can afford it. I believe in Music for All because I believe that through growing young musicians, it is an opportunity to grow a better future. By providing students with diverse and positive opportunities to experience music, Music for All is changing the world -- one student at a time through music.”

Headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, Music for All, Inc. is a nonprofit, a 501(c)3 educational organization that presents more than 45 programs and events across America annually and is a voice for music and arts education in all scholastic environments.


Thursday, September 05, 2019

What Does It Mean to Be Elite?


\ ā-ˈlēt  , i-, ē-\

1. The choice or best of anything
2. A group of persons exercising a major share of authority or influence

What does it mean to be ‘elite’?

Elite is a conscious effort to be better, stronger, livelier than the performer you were yesterday. It’s embodying the spirit of an organization. It’s performing harder and engaging the audience more genuinely. It’s following through on tradition and simultaneously impacting those who will follow after you have left. Elite is not a score, nor is it a ranking. It’s earned through the hearts and minds of those you impact.

Elite is not a status; it’s a mindset.

From high school marching band, to winter guard, to drum corps, to college band, DSI is dedicated to supporting a mindset of growth, spirit, and tradition. We share a joy in watching young performers bring crowds to their feet cheering, dancing, singing along, rallying a team to victory. We believe in the power of performance. We believe in Elite.

DSI understands that the most elite performers deserve the most elite equipment! That’s why we are proud to offer footwear, accessories, and color guard equipment that meet the demands of these students. No matter the crowd, it pays to look and feel your best. From Friday Night Football, to Game Day and Competition Saturdays, to indoor performances, to stadium finals, trust DSI to help you reach Elite.

Tuesday, September 03, 2019

Seven Habits for Highly Effective Bands

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Phillips John Festival 2017Throughout my career in teaching and adjudicating music festivals, I have observed that successful band performances are based on the development of certain habits. Forming the correct habits takes time, patience and persistence. Developing incorrect habits involves limited effort and can produce a harmful effect on the ensemble’s performance.

Effective and efficient performance in band requires individuals to function cooperatively in the pursuit of common goals. Along the continuum of musical growth from the early to advanced stages, students transition from being dependent learners to independent musicians. For me, an ideal scenario is when they become interdependent performers and achieve a synergistic relationship in their collective musicianship. To aid students along this musical journey, band teachers may find it beneficial to impart their charges with specific, repeatable behaviors. I refer to such behaviors as habits. When students behave in a musical way, the results are musical. By encouraging young musicians to form the correct habits, teachers prepare them to engage in music making without impediments such as poor posture, lack of breath support, lack of attention to detail that may negatively affect the overall outcome.    

With the aforementioned assertions in mind, I have generated a list of Seven Habits for Highly Effective Bands (with apologies to Stephen Covey.) While some teachers may have other priorities, it has been my experience that instituting these “habits” leads to confident and competent results. The only priority with these seven habits are the first three which I feel are essential building blocks before others may accrue.

HABIT #1: Posture is the initial step to establish an ensemble that not only looks professional but is physically primed to produce a well-supported tone. Sitting toward the edge of the chair and raising the music stand are two very simple strategies initiate this habit.

  1. Ask students to move their body closer towards you but don’t move their chair. This simple request will direct the musicians to move forward and away from the back of the chair, sitting in such a way that breathing will be full and relaxed.
  1. Have students raise the music stand so that they are not slouching in the chair. While this may seem obvious, I have witnessed countless groups in adjudications and clinics where simply changing the stand height achieved an immediate improvement in the group’s sound and focus on the conductor.

When ensembles enter the stage for a festival or perform in a venue other than the rehearsal room, they may encounter a different seating arrangement and should adjust the stands as required. It is well worth the time to address this issue with the band prior to any performance outside of the customary rehearsal/performance space. Young students in particular are reluctant to change a stand height in a new setting. After all this is someone else’s stuff. Ensure they can see you, are grounded with good posture and are positioned comfortably away from the back of the chair.

HABIT #2: Holding the instrument is another habit to bolster any wind players’ musical development. As with posture, ensure that students are aware of the correct holding position and repeat it every time they pick up their instrument.

Try these ideas to improve your players’ set-up:

  1. Have students bring the instrument toward them, rather than moving toward the instrument. With the correct posture set, all wind players should keep their head up, chest elevated, shoulders relaxed and bring the instrument to their mouth. If they go on a “journey” to position their mouthpiece, most likely posture will be affected and so too will sound.
  1. Have students balance the instrument. Be sure they have the correct hand(s) supporting the weight. Try to have them balance their instrument with only one hand. Be sure to demonstrate this carefully or you could have some major repair bills.

Some examples of a balanced instrument position include:

  • Flutes balance the instrument between the thumb and pinky of the right hand and their chin as if playing a Db.
  • Clarinets balance between the mouthpiece in their mouth and just using the thumb on the thumb rest so that no keys are pressed down as if playing an open G.
  • Saxophones balance the instrument with the neck strap only, using no fingers as if playing a C#.
  • Trumpets hold the majority of the weight in the left hand so that the right hand is able to move freely while working the valves.
  • Horns find the correct balance point by positioning the bell on the right knee and right hand placed properly inside the bell with the mouthpiece set securely on the embouchure.
  • Trombones are quite often challenged by holding their instrument. The left hand should make a “gun” so that the thumb will rest on the cross brace, then put at least one or two fingers over the lead pipe and the fourth finger and pinky are tucked around the remaining bracing. The right hand should move fluidly with the slide and the thumb and first two fingers should “pinch” slightly the brace on the slide with the fourth finger and pinky free. Don’t let them use the death grip.
  • With larger instruments such as tuba, bass clarinet, baritone sax, bassoon, and euphonium, stress that positioning of the mouthpiece to the embouchure is imperative so that the student doesn’t have to reach, stretch or contort to do so. Whether this requires a phone book for the student to sit on, cradling the instrument or adjusting a seat strap or peg, be sure they are set-up for success.

HABIT #3: Breathing should be a natural and repeatable habit that wind players demonstrate every time they produce a tone on their instrument. There are countless resources available to assist teachers in establishing good breathing habits with their students. An internet search will yield an abundance of ideas to establish and form effective breathing habits. Developing this habit involves two important phases, inhalation and exhalation.

To introduce the inhalation phase, try the following:

  • Stand tall and relaxed.
  • Inhale through the nose and hold. Sense an expansion around the midriff.
  • Breathe again through the nose and hold. Then take in more air through the mouth and hold. Then sip in a little extra through the lips. Observe how much capacity we have for inhalation. Don’t forget to release the air.
  • The next step is to think of a silent vowel sound “oh” and inhale through the mouth. This should be the habit for all breaths taken while performing.
  • Extend the process to inhale for various durations such as 2, 4, 8 and more.
  • Use a one count breath as if beginning a fast phrase. The concept of rhythmic breathing can be helpful in a variety of musical contexts.

Another technique for experiencing this sensation is to have students flop forward like one of those inflatable tube people you see at car dealerships that's been deflated, letting the arms and head hang down in front. Then, take full, deep breaths. They should be able to feel and see their upper body rising and falling with the intake of air. This exercise helps students more viscerally experience and visualize what it means to take a deep breath.

Repeat breathing activities often to form habits that reinforce both ensemble sound and unity. A general caveat is when dealing with slower or more nuanced music. In such instances, encourage an approach that leads to breathing in the tempo, expression and character of the music.

Exhalation is equally important and can underpin musicality through extended phrasing, expression, tonal focus, pitch accuracy and tuning. As with inhalation, this habit can be practiced without the instruments. Transferring the concept to the instrument is critical.

Try this exhalation method:

  • Breathe in using the correct habit of inhalation then immediately release the air using a hissing sound.  
  • Practice this for various durations such as 4, 8, 16 and more.
  • Next apply a silent “oh” to sense a release similar to airflow through the instrument.
  • Release using sizzle or silent “oh” for various durations, 8, 16, 24, 32 and challenge the players to measure the air throughout the entire interval.
  • To add interest and links to the repertoire, sizzle or silent release various rhythm patterns from the music being studied.

I reiterate, one can locate innumerable resources to support introductory through advanced breathing techniques. These initial breathing habits are intended to merely establish a base line for students to utilize each and every time they inhale and exhale. To quote Arnold Jacobs, “We must keep simple things simple.”

These first three habits create conditions for consistent and repeatable individual musical behaviors (habits) which lead to effective performances. Devoting time each day checking and rechecking a player’s set-up while emphasizing correct breathing practices will produce confidence and competence.

The following habits focus on the entire ensemble. These group exercises can be practiced in a warm up and seamlessly transferred to any piece of music. Essentially, the habit transforms from individual to communal behavior. Where scales are indicated in the exercises, a 5-note scale may be substituted for beginning bands.

HABIT #4: Watching the conductor is an important habit for all students to acquire. Inattentiveness is typically caused by not requiring the performers to watch direction from the podium or because the director counts the group in far too often. Counting aloud is not an especially bad practice on the part of the conductor since it encourages a consistent pulse and tempo. However, the result of frequently counting time may result in a band that does not respond to conducting gestures.  

This conducting strategy may be used to establish the habit of watching more and synergize non-verbal communication between the conductor and the performers:

  • Conduct each note of a scale with students playing the various degrees as indicated by your gesture.
  • Change the pace and duration of the notes as you ascend and descend, holding some longer than others, accelerating/decelerating and so on. 
  • Add a dynamic or style indication through the baton movement. (E.g. use legato or marcato style for a few notes)
  • Use smaller and larger baton movement to indicate a dynamic variation.

Applying this habit will soon have dozens of pairs of eyes focused on the podium. Make this habit a transferable skill that can be applied to the repertoire by indicating dynamics, style, tempo through all conducting gestures. In particular, consider repertoire or study material containing a variety of caesura to verify the habit has been established with your band.  

Another strategy to garner visual focus is to draw scale degrees or solfège names on a blackboard as a target point. Move a pointer, yardstick, baton or finger up and down the “modulator” and have the students play the scale degrees that you point to. Make up tunes using these scale degrees. Have the students play “Name that Tune” as you challenge them by incrementally adding one note before they solve the puzzle.

HABIT #5: Expression is an important concept many ensembles seem to lack or marginally develop. Expressive playing should not be foreign to any musician. It may take time to acquire this musical behavior, but it is well worth the effort and will soon become an innate habit for your students. Developing expressive performance during the formative stages of music learning yields positive results for the student’s entire musical experience.   

An introductory strategy for this habit is shaping a phrase cultivated through the warm up routine:

  • Perform a scale in a returning fashion using half notes at a moderate tempo (E.g., do-re-do, rest for half note, then do-re-mi-re-do, rest for half note, and so on) covering the entire compass of the scale.
  • Have the students initiate the scale at p dynamic and crescendo ascending, decrescendo descending. As they become proficient, reverse the dynamic range.
  • Make the goal to perform the scale in one breath ascending and descending thus extending this habit to include both shape and length of phrase.
  • Ideally this approach is most successful when the students start each phrase by breathing together, though it can be led by the conductor.

A further extension of this habit is to have the musicians provide their own expression for a unison passage from a method book or an entire etude containing no expressive markings. Have them share their product with the class and then the full ensemble repeats what is demonstrated.

Perhaps the most natural way to inculcate expression as a natural habit for young musicians is to have them sing. Whether they vocalize just one note or an entire phrase, producing a sound from within can have a profound effect on their musical development. Singing should become a natural habit that supports all music learning including sight reading, pitch control, and most importantly expression. When band members are reluctant to vocalize by singing, try having them “say” the note. Ask them to “say” this note (F concert) but you sing it. They will respond by “saying it” at pitch – actually singing. Move from this one note approach to singing segments of the melody and having them repeat. Eventually the group will move from “saying” short melodic phrases to singing their own parts independently. To quote Arnold Jacobs again, “Singing is what develops the music centers in the brain.”

HABIT #6: Rhythm, counting and playing in time are important ensemble skills as well. Once rhythmic independence and interdependence becomes a habit, the more fluency and facility the performers will demonstrate. There are countless resources to aid in the development of rhythm and pulse control. I recommend these simple strategies to assist in nurturing this habit.

The “thinking exercise”, like previously suggested warm-ups, is based on a scale.

  • Set a steady pulse of 4 quarters or subdivided eighths
  • Have percussionists keep the pulse, clap it yourself or use a metronome
  • Wind students play the first note of the scale as a single eighth note then rest for the completion of 4 pulses (the rest of the measure in common time).
  • They breathe on beat 4 then play two notes of the scale in measure 2, as eighths ascending only, and rest for the remainder of the bar.
  • Continue the pattern adding a note each time until they get to the 8th scale degree, then descend the scale all in eighth notes. It takes 9 bars to complete an entire scale using this format.  

Once they can perform this with a steady pulse in the background, take the pulse away and have them do it by simply breathing together at the end of each measure.

Using solfège, it looks like this:

d+ 2+ 3+ 4+; dr, 2+ 3+ 4+; drm+,3+ 4+; drmf, 3+ 4+; drmfs+ 4+; drmfsl 4+; drmfslt+; drmfsltdtlsfmrd.

Another strategy is the play and rest approach:

  • Play the first note of the scale at a moderately slow tempo for one pulse then rest for one pulse
  • Immediately move on to the second degree of the scale playing it twice and resting for 2 pulses.
  • Continue to the third note played 3 times and rest for 3 pulses. Continue the pattern.
  • Upon reaching the eighth note of the scale, remain focused and continue to count for 8 rest pulses before bringing the instrument to rest position
  • OR continue the pattern descending the scale and return to low Do.

Using solfège, it looks like this (R=rest): Do - R; Re Re - RR; Mi Mi Mi - RRR; Fa Fa Fa Fa - RRRR; Sol Sol Sol Sol Sol - RRRRR; La La La La La La - RRRRRR; Ti Ti Ti Ti Ti Ti Ti - RRRRRRR; Do Do Do Do Do Do Do Do – RRRRRRRR.

An additional strategy to develop this habit, and watching, involves students counting aloud as you conduct a variety of tempos and beat patterns in changing meter. This approach ensures that all eyes are on the baton and interpreting the meter changes you indicate. Practicing without instruments further reinforces what students experience while performing and introduces a certain degree of novelty.

HABIT #7: Listening is a skill that may be taken for granted by wind band conductors. We tend to assume the students are listening to one another and recognize how their parts connect to the other voices in the score. In most instances however, student listening is focused exclusively on their own part. While we may praise this independence, I challenge us to demand they become more interdependent performers and listen across the large ensemble setting. Consider using reflective questions to have students identify their role within the musical context.

Some simple strategies to focus and foster listening as a reliable habit are as follows.

Example 1:

  • Ask students to play a unison note in a comfortable range, for example concert F.
  • Ask them to play the tone again and listen to the person immediately to their left. You will be astonished at how much the sonority improves.
  • Ask them to listen to the person on the right side, then on both sides as they repeat the process.  

With very little adjustment, the tuning, blend and balance progresses significantly. Why? Because they are listening!

Example 2:

Beyond listening for single pitches, transfer the habit of listening to include multidimensional aspects as well. Selecting passages within the repertoire to heighten the ensemble’s awareness of role is an advanced skill that will eventually lead to more clarity and quality in overall sonority of your group.

  • Choose a tutti chord within any performance work, possibly the final note or cadence.
  • Have students listen for another instrument that has the same pitch they are playing and ask them to identify who also plays that note?
  • In repertoire where there are distinct parts such as a bass line, harmonic material and melody, ask the entire group “who has the melody?”
  • Have all musicians sing or perform just the melody. Those not performing the melody should assess where they fit in and/or what other voice(s) has a similar part. 
  • Once the discreet parts are revealed, improved balance will result. Listening in this setting often requires secondary voices to play softer so that the melody or any designated voice can be heard.
  • Critical listening can also aid with adjusting dynamic levels and improving balance. If the brass cannot hear the flutes in a “pp” passage, they might well be too loud.

It is important that we make listening a habit for students to apply continuously in order to improve their individual, sectional and ensemble sonority.

All teachers have interesting ways of assisting students in the development of habits leading to successful performance. I encourage you to emphasize those that work for you and to be consistent in your expectations. Remember that patience and persistence are key conditions in the pursuit of skills, techniques and behaviors which eventually become effective habits.

According to Covey, a habit is the intersection of knowledge, skill and desire. He defines knowledge as the What to do and the Why; skill as the How to do; desire as the Want to do. In order to make musical behaviors repeatable habits, students should possess all three characteristics. Developing effective habits with your band will eventually lead to effective performance.

John Phillips is a retired Music Professor from the University of Western Ontario. Throughout his career, he has participated as a clinician and consultant in numerous initiatives with Music for All including the National Concert Festival, the Summer Symposium, and the Bands of America Grand Nationals.  

HSPVA is one of the top-ranked performing arts schools in the country, whose mission is to provide a balanced program of challenging academics and rigorous training in the arts. The school focuses on six art areas: vocal music, instrumental music, dance, theatre, visual art, and creative writing.

HSPVA was originally built in 1971 and had experienced piecemeal renovations as the school aged. It was bursting at the seams with more students across the country interested in attending. After an extensive search for a new facility, school administration decided to open a new location in downtown Houston and design a building to meet the growing needs of the school.

Updated Technology

The $88 million project would ultimately feature specialized performance and fine arts spaces to enhance the artistic environment of the school. Architects created a five-story, 168,000-square-foot building featuring a dramatic front entrance with double-high glass windows and a wide stairwell, 800-seat main theater with a balcony, dance and music studios, 150-seat recital hall, 200-seat theater, 190-seat black box theater, rehearsal rooms, modern outdoor dining area, two levels of underground parking and an outdoor roof terrace.

The beautiful exterior needed to be matched with first-class music education equipment on the inside.

Band, Orchestra, and Vocal Rehearsal Spaces

For any student practicing their instrument, keeping environmental noise out is critical. A sound isolation practice room can help them fine-tune their performance and concentrate on their craft.

Administration opted for Wenger’s SoundLok® Practice Rooms with superior sound isolation. Each room is 25 percent quieter than any other practice room available. Built-in absorption and diffusion enables the musician to clearly hear the best possible sound. The rooms also have built-in virtual acoustic environment (VAE®) technology, allowing the musician to learn how to adapt to performing in different performance spaces and get immediate feedback with record/playback during the practice session.

“Our students are really enjoying the new practice rooms and experimenting with the virtual acoustics,” Orchestra Director Dr. Brad Smith says. “We also like the fact that there are glass doors on them so we can see what’s going on and potentially help them if they need assistance.”

To round out the first-rate equipment, music administrators also chose the company’s durable stands and chairs to serve a variety of performance needs. They opted for cabinets that keep instruments well organized when not in use, and a portable stage and riser system to prepare them for any number of rehearsal situations.

“I am most excited about the shelving and the music library in the new space,” Dr. Smith says. “Being able to organize all of our instruments, sheet music and other items means I can devote more time to the students, rather than searching for miscellaneous items.”

Denney Theatre

The heart and soul of the building is the 800-seat Denney Theatre, which is utilized for a variety of performance types ranging from orchestra and choral to dance, theatre, and lectures. To enhance the sound quality and ability to cater to these performers, teams installed a new custom acoustical shell, a motion control system, rigging systems and hoists and lightweight choral risers that can easily be set up or stored as needed.

“Students are getting great experience working with this cutting-edge equipment,” explains Costume Design Manager Paul Davis. “The students are very pleased with the new equipment,” says Choral Director Pat Bonner. “This is advanced equipment that they haven’t seen in other schools.”

She says it’s also a treat for the staff to have a superior shell and risers after years of making due with inferior equipment.

“We have worked so hard for so long that we have earned the right to be proud of this lovely theatre, which is the jewel of our campus,” Bonner says. “Audiences that come will enjoy it just as much as we do.”

Black Box Theatre

One of the main benefits of a Black Box Theatre is its versatility. The simplicity of the space is used to create a flexible stage and audience interaction. The use of staging and lighting in Black Box Theatres can range from extremely minimal to very elaborate, depending on the performance.

Portable audience seating and risers included in this space provided flexible configurations for the theatre’s many needs. They’re lightweight, strong, and easy and quick to set up or move.

Time to Shine

With all of the new equipment successfully installed, it was time for the school to open its doors. Everybody raved.

“HSPVA is now able to provide the best music education for our students, and to prepare them to be the best musicians they can be in the future with his new facility,” Dr. Smith says. “Our students and faculty now have access to practice and performance facilities that are some of the best in the industry. Very few high school students around the nation have access to this type of space.”

The equipment in the new facility is providing students, staff, and faculty the opportunity to improve their performances, continuing the school’s long-standing tradition and nationwide acknowledgement of excellence.

“Kinder HSPVA is truly a school like no other,” says Principal Scott Allen. “As I walk the hallways of the school and observe students studying and participating in the creative arts, I realize how fortunate they are to have a fine arts campus to attend in the Houston Independent School District.”

Get a Glimpse of HSPVA’s Rehearsal Room

For more about HSPVA, please click here. For more about Wenger’s Music Education solutions, please visit

Music for All has appointed Robin Clendening as the new Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. Ms. Clendening will assume the CFO role from Nancy Carlson, MFA’s Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. Ms. Carlson will continue to serve Music for All as Senior Financial Analyst.

Most recently, Ms. Clendening worked at IU Health as the Manager of Financial Operations and System Lab Services where she served as a liaison between Lab Executive team, central finance, and System Clinical Services Leadership, with financial responsivity for over 50 cost centers. While at IU Health, Ms. Clendening led the financial components of a system-wide workgroup to redefine the intercompany revenue methodology for laboratory services to ensure break-even in future years. Previously, Ms. Clendening worked at the YMCA of Central Kentucky as the controller, as well as at various other organizations providing accounting, payroll, tax function and consulting services. Ms. Clendening holds a degree in Business and Accounting from Indiana University.

A native of Indianapolis, Robin resides in Avon where she volunteers for her children’s school programming and is actively engaged in the Avon Choir Boosters.

“As someone who blossomed in music programs growing up, it is my passion for my children and every student to have the opportunity to find a love for music,” Ms. Clendening says. “It is not often that you find a position where you can combine both your professional knowledge and personal passions, but for me, this would be it.”

“With over 15 years of experience in finance and accounting, Ms. Clendening is equipped to be an integral member of the executive leadership team, ensuring the organization is sustained through strong internal control systems, diversified funding, and a strategic and compelling position,” says Eric L. Martin, Music for All’s President and CEO. “As an experienced and active ‘Parent-Booster leader, having served as Co-Treasurer of the Avon Choral Boosters, Ms. Clendening’s work helps to ensure directors and students have the support necessary for performance and show success and delivery of positively life-changing outcomes for student participants.”

Ms. Clendening will have a direct responsibility for organization wide financial strategy, performance, and risk management. She will manage and actively participate in all financial functions with direct responsibility for accounting, financial analysis, strategic planning, budgets and forecasts, payroll, and human resources.

Headquartered in downtown Indianapolis, Music for All is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit educational organization that uniquely combines regional and national music education programming with awareness and advocacy efforts aimed at ensuring and expanding access to music in schools and communities.

What is your hometown? City, State.
Hinsdale, New Hampshire

Where did you go to high school? Where did you go to college and when did you/will you graduate?
Muldrow High School in Oklahoma! I currently go to Arkansas Tech University and plan to graduate with my Music Education degree May 2020.


What is your musical background?
I have been involved with music ever since 6th grade! I was instantly in love with the flute and continued on to hold several leadership positions in my high school band. I now serve as a 2nd year teaching assistant with the Arkansas Tech Band of Distinction and am also a 3rd year member of our Symphonic Wind Ensemble.

What has been your favorite part of this internship experience?
I’ve loved being able to contribute to something bigger than myself, but working with Music for All has also allowed me to break out of my comfort zone and shown me resources I didn’t know existed for music educators. I get to live somewhere new while experiencing a different side of music!


What is an interesting fact about you?
I am a pro Olympic player of Facebook Messenger games... including the basketball one.

Who are your top three favorite artists?
The Front Bottoms, Modern Baseball, and Nova & the Experience

Would you rather be able to talk to animals or speak all the foreign languages?
While I would like to know what’s running through my cat’s head, I think it’d be better to be able to communicate with an infinite number of people! Plus, I assume that means I would be able to read Egyptian Hieroglyphics too!

What division at camp would you want to participate in if you were still in school?
That’s so hard to choose, but I think I would lean more toward Marching Band!


What are you currently reading?
I have been pulling inspiration from a book called Words I Wish I Wrote by Robert Fulghum a lot recently!

Do you have a favorite quote?
“Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.” -Jennifer Lee

What show have you binge watched recently?
Somewhat unashamed to say I binged the Society recently on a whim.

What actor or actress would play you in a movie written about your life?
Well, this was a bit hard to figure out, but I think Awkwafina!


What is your hometown? City, State.
Madison, IN.

Where did you go to high school? Where did you go to college and when did you/will you graduate?
Madison Consolidated High School and Ball State University. I graduated from Ball State in May of this year.


What is your musical background?
I played the trumpet until high school, but I am more into music business now. Besides being the Advancement Intern at Music for All, I also work at a concert venue and had an externship with Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival this summer.


What has been your favorite part of this internship experience?
It is cool to learn about how nonprofits are funded and be a part of that process. Music for All does so much good for students and educators across the nation, and I love being a little piece that enables us to do these great things.

What is an interesting fact about you?
I recently won a regional Emmy for a documentary I produced.


Who are your top three favorite artists?
Walk the Moon, Judah and the Lion, and Vance Joy.

Would you rather be able to talk to animals or speak all the foreign languages?
I would love to speak all of the foreign languages. Communication between people of different cultures is so important for growth and learning, and language can be such a barrier.

What division at camp would you want to participate in if you were still in school?
Jazz Band for sure! That was my favorite when I played the trumpet.

What are you currently reading?
I have not had time to recently, but I love Nicholas Sparks. I will probably read his most recent novel soon..

Do you have a favorite quote?
“Life is what happens when you are outside of your comfort zone.”

What show have you binge watched recently?
I watched all of Stranger Things 3 recently. It was so good, and I sobbed like a baby. Now I am starting Queer Eye Season 4.

What actor or actress would play you in a movie written about your life?
I would say probably Jennifer Lawrence because she is goofy, tall, and loves to eat!


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 October 15th 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 extended and will end on October 15.

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

Music for All is pleased to announce that Memorial Stadium at Bakersfield College will host the 2019 Bands of America California Regional Championship, presented by Yamaha, on Saturday, November 2.

Music for All has adjusted the fall event schedule to include one Bands of America Championship in Central California in 2019, combining the two previously-scheduled shows in Northern California in Fresno and Southern California.

Memorial Stadium at Bakersfield College is a double-decked stadium and will feature new artificial turf, installed this fall during phase 1 of renovations.

Bands who were enrolled in the two Northern and Southern California shows have been given the option to move their registration to the Championship in Bakersfield. There are still preliminary performance spots available. 

“We are thrilled to be having a Bands of America Championship in Memorial Stadium at Bakersfield College,” says Cam Stasa, Director of Participant Relations and Special Projects. “There are still preliminary performance spots in the show. Bands of America Championships provide a fantastic educational performance opportunity for bands, with a positive, supportive environment and great input from our adjudicators for program growth.”

Interested directors should contact Music for All as soon as possible at 800.848.2263 or Cam Stasa at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Learn more and enroll at

Please join Music for All in welcoming two new members to its Board of Directors: Rodney Dorsey, Director of Bands at Indiana University, Bloomington; and Michael Bogers, Vice President of Commercial and Industrial Banking at The National Bank of Indianapolis, Indiana.

A Yamaha Master Educator, Rodney Dorsey is Professor of Music at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, a position he has held since 2018. As conductor of the internationally recognized Indiana Wind Ensemble, he guides all aspects of the graduate Wind Conducting program. In the past, he has held various director positions at the University of Oregon, University of Michigan, DePaul University, and Northwestern University. Dorsey is on the board of directors of the Midwest Clinic in Chicago and an elected member of the prestigious American Bandmasters Association. A native of Gainesville, FL, Professor Dorsey also taught public school for many years in Florida and Georgia.

“I am pleased to welcome Dr. Rodney Dorsey as a new member of Music for All's Board of Directors.” says Gayl Doster, Chairman. “Dr. Dorsey brings to the board extensive experience in all levels of music education that will help to guide Music for All in the future.”

As Vice President of Commercial and Industrial Banking at The National Bank of Indianapolis, Michael Bogers focuses on relationship-centered commercial entities that are looking for more than just a bank. Bogers received his Bachelor of Arts in History and Economics from DePauw University and received his Master of Science in Accounting from the Kelley School of Business. He participated in choir having studied with many remarkable voice teachers who lit a spark for music that still remains. Bogers hopes by serving on the board of Music for All, he will help continue those instructors’ good work by helping young people find themselves through the gift of music.

“Mr. Boger's financial expertise and involvement in various non-profit organizations superbly qualifies him to provide helpful guidance and oversight to Music for All,” says Gayl Doster.

Headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, Music for All, Inc. is a nonprofit, 501(c)3 educational organization that presents more than 45 programs and events across America annually and is a voice advocating for music and arts education in all scholastic environments.

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