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Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Changing Trends in Collegiate Music Recruiting

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Students with an entrepreneurial vision, songwriting and composing skills, are as highly recruited as those with advanced music theory knowledge. Students are becoming more aware of the many career paths available to them in the music entertainment industry: movies, television programs and commercials, podcasts, video games, streaming content, and recordings. And high schools are finding they need to incorporate instruction in composition, orchestration, arranging, and songwriting into class curriculum to help the student make college and career decisions. So what does that mean for the scholastic music educators?

Scholastic music educators--choral directors, band directors, and orchestra directors—now need to incorporate arranging and songwriting in their curriculum from early grades through high school to give their students a competitive edge in the collegiate application and audition process. Students with these skills are in high demand, and in fact, several Schools of Music over the past five years have offered scholarships to songwriters and rappers because of their potential ability to bring copyright and publishing royalties into their coffers. Several universities have stated that a student’s advanced placement theory credits are weighted less in the admission decision process than a songwriting submission, especially if the song follows proper song structure.

Additionally, many School of Music and Music Department recruiters are looking for students with an entrepreneurial mindset. Recruiters have realized the US media and entertainment industry is the largest in the world and there are now over 20 colleges or universities offering an undergraduate degree in Music Entrepreneurship. At $717 billion (in 2019) in the US alone, music represented 1/3 of global media and entertainment. This industry includes motion pictures, television programs and commercials, broadcasts, radio, video games, and ancillary services and products. In 2019, the music industry was ranked 11th in the US economy and it is predicted the industry will reach more than $825 billion by 2023.

Collegiate music education is a business. Colleges, universities, and conservatories must make a profit. A growing trend among many Music Departments is to have publishing and recording companies within the department, where they publish new music from professors, students, and alumni, as well as educational resources and curriculums. Music Departments also depend on tuition and student fees, such as lab fees and tutoring fees. And they sell services—master classes, camps, symposiums, and ensemble weekends—as well as showcasing seniors in musical theatre before Broadway producers, opera singers in New York for talent agencies, and instrumentalists before the American Symphony League.

The face of collegiate recruiting has changed and will, in light of COVID-19 and its repercussions, continue to evolve. Scholastic music educators will find themselves with new challenges as they strive to help students and their parents navigate the collegiate music application and audition process.

ScholarshipAuditions.com is the premier site for resources for teachers, parents, and students to help in this new, evolving world. And we are proud to announce that Eric Martin, former CEO of Music for All, has joined ScholarshipAuditions.com as its President. Mr. Martin and Randall Bayne, founder and CEO, are committed to assisting students, along with their teachers and parents, navigate these ever-changing and somewhat treacherous waters to find the scholarship opportunities best suited for their career goals. Visit ScholarshipAuditions.com today and explore the possibilities and connections available to help you and your students, especially during this challenging year.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

The Virtues of Virtual Acoustics

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Many schools built in the 60’s and 70’s have music rooms that resemble typical math or science rooms: small cubic volume, low ceilings, poor soundproofing and inferior or no acoustical treatments.

That was unfortunately the case at Jefferson High School in Bloomington, Minnesota. Knowing that there were no plans for new construction in the near future, Choir Director Philip Brown pleaded with the school administration to improve the room.

“We talked about options and our superintendent said, ‘Let’s do it right the first time.’ He asked what the best solution was, and we liked the idea of virtual acoustics,” Brown says.

A virtual acoustics system includes an array of microphones and speakers placed strategically in the music room to digitally alter and improve the acoustics of a space. These systems can also go beyond that capability and mimic the acoustics of a broad range of performance venues — from a large recital hall to a cathedral to a small auditorium. The goal is to help performers hear what they’ll sound like at a venue they’ll be performing in. It helps them hear themselves and each other and know when and how to adjust to improve the overall performance.

Hearing is Believing

Brown had experienced virtual acoustics firsthand at the national American Choral Director’s Convention at the Minneapolis Convention Center. He watched a demonstration of Wenger’s VAE® (Virtual Acoustic Environment) Rehearsal System and quickly realized how much it could help solve their acoustical problems.

“It was fascinating to see how the singers made modifications using the VAE system versus not having anything at all,” Brown says. “That was the biggest thing to me as a music educator. How are the singers responding to it?”

“The power of the system comes in so many angles,” he explains. “It heightens everything to a different educational and performance level.” He was able to convince school administration and the system was installed.

Custom Installation

Jefferson’s virtual acoustics system was made specifically by Wenger for smaller settings, such as classrooms. The system isn’t a new concept, but it’s nimble enough – and affordable enough – that classrooms in colleges and high schools across the country are finding that it’s a solid solution to help their students get more out of their rehearsal time.

“The Wenger Acoustic Team came in and explained what they would do to work with the low ceilings and two different ceiling heights and how they would make it work,” Brown says.

He describes the old room as “dead.” He says singers would overcompensate, push too hard, and get tired, affecting their technique. “Virtual acoustics increase your sensation of what’s coming back to you, so you can stay with a healthier technique for a longer period of time,” Brown says. “The system adds energy back into the room and provides a teaching tool for the instructor,” says Matt Hildebrand, Acoustics Product Manager at Wenger Corporation. “When the system is off, the classroom is quiet and perfect for verbal instruction or teaching theory.”

The Benefits of Better Sound

Users frequently site these three things that they enjoy most about the system:

  • It’s easy to use. The environment can be changed with the touch of a button, even from the podium where the control panel is positioned.
  • The different acoustic environments are preset and offer flexibility as well as custom settings. The nine settings include studio, baroque, medium recital hall, large recital hall, medium auditorium, large auditorium, cathedral and a custom setting.
  • Digital record and playback capabilities work with any of the nine acoustical settings for immediate listening in rehearsal, archiving or creating an audition recording.

Before the system was installed, Brown says his students did not enjoy singing in the choir room.

“After adding the system, we did a total flip and the kids were very excited to get in here and experiment with it,” Brown says.

There is a custom setting that mirrors the acoustics of the school’s auditorium which helps them practice without having to occupy the performance space.

“We only get so many rehearsals in our auditorium before our concerts because it is a space that gets reserved for a lot of events and activities,” Brown explains. “Now, they walk into the hall and there are no surprises, so it takes us less time to acclimate.”

Using the system during rehearsals, Brown likes to sample different settings. If they are practicing a baroque piece, they can use the baroque setting and transcend the class into a different time period.

Brown says the system helps eliminate the unknowns and builds confidence in his students.

“There’s an arena setting to prepare us for a national anthem stadium performance. We can actually rehearse in an arena setting so the kids will know how much feedback they’re going to get and how much echo there’s going to be so they can respond to it. When we arrive, the group is prepared and can sound their best.”

Record, Listen and Learn

For both teacher and student, the record and playback functions allow for learning and adjustment. Brown says it gives the students more ownership of the performance and constant reflection about what they are hearing. They can perform something two different ways, listen to both and decide which they like better.

They can use the VAE Rehearsal system with the entire choir working together, or in small groups. If students are not in class at the same time, they can record their session and the second group can use their recording as an accompaniment.

It has also come in handy for submitting competition and scholarship recordings.

Worthwhile Investment

With every “wow” moment that students experience when hearing the system for the first time, Brown’s decision to install the system is solidified. As he sees each class of students learn, grow and improve, he knows that students for years to come will reap the benefits.

“The students can now go so much further. They know how to listen and improve. It allows them to have flexibility so whatever environment they play in they can be comfortable and feel successful in those environments. It really makes a difference at an incredibly high-quality level.”

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

DONOR SPOTLIGHT: Patrick Mainieri

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More often than not, when you ask someone what makes Music for All special, they talk about the people, and we couldn’t agree more. “People” is one of Music for All’s core values and we are incredibly fortunate to have many committed supporters of our mission to create, provide, and expand positively life-changing experiences through music for all. We hope that our new Donor Spotlight series will introduce you to some of these incredible advocates of Music for All as they share their stories of Music for All’s impact on them and why there were compelled to pay it forward to ensure that others feel that impact as well.

Maineri DSBlog

How did you become involved with Music for All?
I was a participant as a drum major my senior year of high school. It was the first year in our school’s history that our band performed at BOA events. We performed at the St. Louis Super Regional and Atlanta Super Regional that fall. I got reengaged with MFA during the Fall of 2015 as the assistant band director of a program that participated in fall events. In Summer of 2016 I became a SWAG for Summer Symposium and have enjoyed that role each summer since. In March 2017, I attended my first National Festival with our Wind Ensemble students. After building relationships with many of the amazing MFA staff, I began helping on the Events and Participant Relations teams, now regularly assisting at Fall events, Festival, Tournament of Roses, and Summer Symposium. I also enjoy serving on the Advocacy in Action committee, as I get to have amazing conversations about the trend-setters in the music education profession. There is an incredible amount of creativity among music educators!

What attracted you to the cause?
Hands down, the mission and the people. There is an amazing ‘energy’ around everyone at a MFA event. Every person affiliated with MFA is mission minded and focused on the experience. I have taken much of the "vibe" from a MFA event and used it to guide my work as I create experiences for students and families at the school level.

What is your favorite Music for All memory?
There are too many to describe...but if I had to pick one, I'd say watching nervous campers become confident in their leadership over the week at Summer Symposium is always the best. Many kids “find themselves" at camp...because they get to BE themselves.

What impact has music education had on your life?
Music education has impacted almost every aspect of my life. My mom took me to my first trumpet lesson on February 1, 1996. I still remember the room upstairs in the music store. That lesson teacher inspired me from day 1 to love the process of making music. My junior high and high school band directors taught me the value of supporting and defending music education. I married my high school sweetheart, who I met through band. College revealed the network we have in our country to amplify music education. I learned a lot about the value of music education on our society through my work with my collegiate chapter of Phi Mu Alpha, Sinfonia and NAfME Collegiate. Now, as a school administrator, I find myself using many skills learned in my music classes and coursework - leadership, patience, attention to the smallest details, teamwork, listening, communication with varied stakeholders...the list goes on and on – in my daily work with the full school population and supporting teachers and parents.

What does Music for All's mission mean to you?
The word that I take from the mission is 'experience'. Everything in life is an experience and I want to ensure that my interactions with others, as well as the experience they are having holistically, are enjoyable and positive, for them. My personal gratification comes from observing others enjoy the experience.

What compelled you to be a donor?
My wife and I value donating, both financially and through service, with organizations that are meaningful to us. MFA is at the top of our list. Our donations to MFA became amplified when we saw we could make a difference in a child's experience at summer camp. Our focus started with helping get kids to camp, as we feel Summer Symposium is one of those 'once in a lifetime' experiences that could change the entire trajectory for a student.

In your opinion, what is the most important work that Music for All does?
I feel the most important work that MFA does is when it is centered on the student experience. Without students, we don't have music classes. Without music classes, we don't have music directors. And, without those students, MFA would no longer be needed in the capacity it serves. MFA does a lot of things REALLY well, but when the students and their experiences are front and center, I see MFA staff and programming reach new heights.

What do you wish people knew about Music for All?
I wish people FULLY understood that MFA is working, relentlessly, to better diversify its programming by adding more opportunities for all types of music education while working to reach those communities that have a higher need for advocacy and support.

Do you have an anecdote/story about Music for All or a Music for All event that really moved you?
After working on Event staff at the Bowling Green, OH Regional in Fall 2018, a few of us headed to Waffle House to get a late night snack. There was a teenage boy in a band shirt sitting at the table next to us and we began a conversation with him and his parents about the regional. The kid, Max, was a sophomore and that regional was his first MFA event – he loved every second of it. I told them about Summer Symposium and percussion track. Fast forward to summer…While working registration at the percussion track table, Max's mom says, "You may not remember us, but we met you at Waffle House in Bowling Green and you told us about this camp." I had one of those, “is this really happening?” moments as we registered Max for camp. Max enjoyed the 'best week of the summer' as he honed his snare drum skills and grew his leadership skills. It was awesome seeing Max, a nervous 10th grader at Waffle House, enjoy every second of camp that summer. Max is now a section leader for his high school program. I guess the anecdote is – Informing people of the opportunities MFA provides is often times the tipping point for them to have the experience. People can’t experience what they don’t know about. But, once they know, if it matters to them, they will make it a reality in their life.

What would you tell someone who is thinking about donating?
Do it. When we donate to MFA, we give based on the trust and knowledge that our donation is going to support music students and advocacy across our nation.

Join Patrick in making a gift in support of Music for All's impact here.

Kennedy Karen 242x350Music for All is saddened by the passing of Dr. Karen Kennedy, a founding member of the Music for All Choral Artistic Committee. Dr. Kennedy’s insights and vibrant inspiration were instrumental in the early development of the Music for All National Choir Festival.

Dr. Kennedy was the Director of Choral Studies at the University of Miami, where she oversaw the DMA and MM programs in choral conducting. Previous to her appointment at Miami, she held positions as the Director of Choral Activities at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa, Artistic Director of the Honolulu Symphony Chorus, and Director of Choral Studies at Towson University.

Outside of her work in academics, Karen enjoyed leading festival performances, most recently in notable venues such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Mormon Tabernacle, the Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm, Sweden, St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican, Canterbury Cathedral in England, and multiple venues in Austria. Off the podium, Dr. Kennedy was passionate about leading workshops on innovative rehearsal technique, vocal pedagogy and the choral classroom, and music literacy, garnering invitations nationally and internationally for teaching residencies at established festivals and retreats.

Equally at home working with orchestra, Dr. Kennedy conducted fine ensembles including the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra, the Miami Symphony, the Boca Raton Philharmonic, and the Symphony of the Americas. She prepared choruses for a wide range of events, from performances on MTV to collaborations with the Cleveland Orchestra. NAXOS released two recordings with her ensembles in spring 2017, joining her featured choir performance on the Latin Grammy-winning album Loco de Amor.v

Dr. Kennedy received numerous awards for teaching, including the University of Hawai’i Chancellor’s Citation for Meritorious Teaching, and Arizona State University’s Manzanita “Top Prof” Award and was a two-time recipient of the Lawrence Township Schools Superintendent’s Award. She was a past-president of the Hawai’i Chapter of the America Choral Directors Association (ACDA), founding member of the National Collegiate Choral Organization (NCCO), a past Repertoire and Standards Chair for Collegiate Choirs in ACDA’s Eastern Division, and maintained an active student ACDA chapter at the University of Miami.

“Karen was my student at Butler University, an esteemed colleague, and a friend,” said Henry Leck, Artistic Director of Choral Activities at Music for All. “She was beloved by her students and all those who witnessed her inspirational passion as a teacher and conductor.”

Music for All is pleased to welcome Neil Larrivee as Vice President of Mission Advancement. Mr. Larrivee will play a crucial part of Music for All’s current efforts to lead through the challenging times of the pandemic with new and expanded fundraising efforts through donations, grants, and new sponsorships. Looking forward, Mr. Larrivee’s vast experience and knowledge of the music industry will help support a strong Music for All long into the future.

Mr. Larrivee was the Vice President of Drumstick & Mallet Innovation for the Avedis Zildjian Company. For 34 years, Neil played a unique role in the overall growth of Vic Firth while also coordinating its music industry leading education program. In 2016, he was responsible for bringing together both the Zildjian and Vic Firth Education staffs into a single, fully integrated department. Most recently he was responsible for drumstick and mallet product innovation for Zildjian, Vic Firth & Mike Balter Mallet brands.

Outside of Zildjian, Neil has over 40 years of music teaching experience within the marching band, drum corps, and indoor marching percussion activities as well as private lesson instruction resulting in his induction into The Cadets Drum & Bugle Corps, Winter Guard International, Massachusetts Drum Corps and Music Educators Hall of Fame.

Neil is an active clinician and adjudicator in the marching band and indoor percussion arena. As an avid concert attendee, Neil will often be found taking in live performances of jazz, orchestral, or contemporary chamber music in Boston or wherever his travels may take him.

“With a decorated multi-decade career in the music education and business world, Neil will be a resource for all facets of Music for All, which includes the shouldering of responsibilities which will allow others to shift focus as we retool MFA for the realities of the years to come,” said Jeremy L. Earnhart, President and CEO of Music for All.

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.

Schools across America are in the midst of finalizing their plans for the start of the 2020-2021 school year. After thoughtful conversations over several months with enrolled directors, educational consultants and advisors, and several state associations, Music for All has announced today that it is unable to present its 2020 Bands of America Championships due to the many challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The decision was recommended by the Music for All staff and affirmed by the Music for All Board of Directors.

We are facing uncertain and unprecedented times, and the health, safety and wellness of the students, band directors, staff, volunteers, spectators, and others associated with our programs remain our number one priority.

With this extraordinary development, we share in the deep disappointment of the thousands of performing students, teachers, and supporters.

Music for All remains committed to providing educational opportunities this fall. We are offering several remote evaluation opportunities in order to provide quality feedback from BOA adjudicators and MFA evaluators, and goal-oriented experiences to motivate and inspire students during this unusual time. Details on how to sign up for remote evaluation and virtual performance opportunities will be announced soon.

We will begin work right away on the 2021 Bands of America Championship season, in order to announce the 2021 schedule and open registrations later this fall. We cannot wait to see you all on the field and in the concert hall in the future.

Thank you to all of the music educators, adjudicators, event staff, volunteers, and fans who have continued to support Music for All during this difficult time. We will get through this together. Music for All continues to be here for you to provide positively life-changing experiences through music for all and to do everything we can to ensure that we all make sure music in our schools is stronger than ever in the future.

Your Support Will Help Music for All Make It Through These Unprecedented Times

As with most of us, Music for All has been greatly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Ticket sales and event-related revenue from our Bands of America Championships is normally what sustains us year-round, serving more than 150,000 student and teacher participants each year.

In spite of current challenges, Music for All has been offering online learning opportunities for students and educators – and we want to continue to offer online guidance and peer support for teachers as we all work to make the most of this school year.

Your gift today will help Music for All to overcome current financial challenges and continue to promote and support music education, at a time when students need music and the arts the most.

Your Donation Makes a Difference: https://www.musicforall.org/ways-to-give/give-now

Music for All is extending the ensemble audition/application for the 2021 Music for All National Festival to September 1, 2020. Music for All is also expanding the period of time during which ensembles’ audition recording can have been made. Applicant ensembles can send a recording made on or after November 1, 2018 (within 22 months prior to the deadline).

These adjustments have been made to take into account the circumstances around the impact of COVID-19 on the final weeks and months of the 2019-2020 school year. We hope that this will help make application possible for more ensembles who wish to apply. All ensembles who apply receive recorded and written evaluation from the listening panel.

Download the full 2021 Festival application brochures and audition requirements at https://www.musicforall.org/what-we-do/mfa-national-festival.

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Music for All has teamed up with online musical instruction provider MusicProfessor to bring high-quality lessons to all levels of students, at a special Music for All discounted rate. We’ve heard the current concerns of band directors as they plan for large group instruction, whether in the classroom, remote learning, or a blend of both.

MusicProfessor’s catalogue offers solutions for beginning band teachers whose recruitment efforts and instruction for the start of the 2020-2021 school year may be impacted by COVID-19. Student lessons start from opening their case for the first time, to playing their first melodies, to all-state-level material—including music theory and musicianship skills.

This substantial library of lessons, taught by some of the finest faculty in the country, contains more than 5,000 pre-recorded, high-quality videos for students at beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels. The curriculum covers a wide breadth of instruction for woodwinds (flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, saxophone), brass (trumpet, french horn, trombone, euphonium, tuba), percussion, plus music theory and conducting.

A Teacher Pass gives teachers unlimited access to the entire MusicProfessor content library—over 229 hours of material. Teachers can easily supplement full-time classroom environments by providing access to students in their home and in blended learning environments. Additionally, in conjunction with group plans, teachers can track what content their students are consuming outside the classroom.

“Music for All is glad to collaborate with MusicProfessor and bring these instructional resources to teachers and students in schools throughout America at a deep discount,” said Dr. Jeremy Earnhart, President and CEO of Music for All. “I was so impressed with the quality of pedagogy when I was a fine arts administrator for the Irving and Arlington Independent School Districts near Dallas that we made Instructional Materials Allotment (IMA) funding available to make these online lessons available to students and teachers.”

Visit education.musicforall.org/instruction and use the Music for All discount code MUSICFORALL to save up to 50% on lessons and bundles.

School and district licenses are also available through Music for All. Contact us for information at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 800.848.2263.

Gracie Moore of Lake Braddock Secondary School in Burke, Virginia was awarded The Revelli Scholarship in connection to the 2020 Music for All National Festival, presented by Yamaha.

The Revelli Scholarship is a $1,000 award given annually to a senior who will be attending college as a music education major and who is participating in the Music for All National Festival. The scholarship honors the legacy and memory of Dr. William D. Revelli and his vision for music education.

In addition to being the principal bassoon for the Lake Secondary School Symphonic Band and Symphony Orchestra for two years, Gracie has performed in the All-District Band for four years, two on clarinet and two on bassoon. As a drum major at Lake Braddock Secondary School, she has a passion for music that she wants to share with as many people as possible and believes music is an important part to a curriculum. She looks forward to becoming a music educator, and hopes to inspire the future generation of musicians!

Congratulations to the 2020 Revelli Scholarship Recipient, Gracie Moore!

Music for All has elected a new member to its Board of Directors, David A. Golden of Kingsport, Tennessee.

Mr. Golden recently retired from Eastman Chemical Company where he served since 1995 as Senior Vice President, Chief Legal and Sustainability Officer, and Corporate Secretary. He also has experience in law, having worked at the international law firm of Hunton & Williams prior to joining Eastman.

David received his Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting and Juris Doctorate from Brigham Young University, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude and Order of the Coif. Additionally, he is an alumnus of the Harvard Business school having completed Harvard’s Advanced Management Program in 2012.

Mr. Golden engages in public service across the state of Tennessee and beyond. In addition to his appointment at Music for All, David also serves as Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees of East Tennessee University, on the Board of Directors at Ballad Health, the State Collaborative on Reforming Education, the Niswonger Foundation, and the Marine Advanced Technology Education Inspiration for Innovation based in California. Other service includes membership on the advisory board of Western Governor’s University and the University of Tennessee’s Howard H. Baker Center for Public Policy and service on the Governor’s Council for Judicial Appointments and the Tennessee Business Court Rules Commission. His passions and expertise include topics surrounding leadership, motivation, education, ESG, and sustainability.

“Mr. Golden brings to the Music for All Board a wealth of non-profit experience, including being involved with music programs at the scholastic level,” said Gayl Doster, Chairman of the Board for Music for All. “We welcome him to the Board and look forward to working with him.”

Headquartered in Indianapolis, Music for All is a nonprofit educational organization, with a mission is to create, provide, and expand positively life-changing experiences through music for all. Music for All annually presents more than 50 Music for All and Bands of America programs and events nationwide. Music for All’s programs also include the Advocacy in Actions Awards and educational resources available online at education.musicforall.org.

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