Mindi Abair is no stranger to being in the spotlight. She has performed with artists as diverse as American Idol winner Phillip Phillips, Aerosmith and Josh Groban. And this Tuesday, she will be blowing up the stage at Emens Auditorium at Ball State University as part of the Music for All Summer Symposium Concert Series.
Mindi started playing the saxophone as many do, in elementary school. Traveling with her father as he played sax in a band influenced her to pick it up on the day of instrument. It wasn’t an easy path from that fourth grade music class to playing on the American Idol stage with Phillip Phillips, but she always believed that if you love what you’re doing and you try hard, you will succeed.
Hear all about it from Mindi herself:
Mindi’s latest album, a collaboration with fellow saxophonists Dave Koz, Gerald Albright and Richard Elliot, hit #1 on the Amazon.com Best Sellers for Jazz before it was released on June 11. If you want some cool tunes to help you beat the heat, check it out.
See more of Mindi’s amazing performances on her YouTube channel:
Not only does Mindi have a passion for performance, but she also serves the musical community as President of the Los Angeles chapter of NARAS, the company that puts on the Grammys. According to her website, Mindi will “preside over all chapter meetings and guide the board's work with charities like MusiCares and educational music work with kids through the Grammy Foundation as well as advocacy efforts in Washington DC and decisions about the membership and governance of the Grammys.”
We are excited to have Mindi with us at the Summer Symposium! If you are a student or director enrolled in camp we will being seeing you for this concert on Tuesday evening! If you arn't enrolled in camp this year, don't worry, this concert is open to the public! Tickets are $15 for Adults (reserved balcony seating) and $5 for Students/Seniors. Children 10 and under are free. Click here for more information on tickets and how to order!
Rachel McFadden is currently the Participant Relations Coordinator at Music for All and is thrilled to get back to her band nerd roots after so many years of trying to "blend in." She has a degree in Communication Studies from Manchester University and has previously held such varied jobs as Copywriter, Arts and Crafts Director and Aeronaut. Summer Symposium is her favorite Music for All event.
Admittedly, a summer camp experience for some kids serves as a temporary separation from home and family. It's a chance to briefly be on your own and experience a taste of "dealing with the world" in a developmentally appropriate way. Having worked with a variety of summer camps – from Boy Scout camps to Girl Scout camps, collegiate camps to cabin camps, church camps to band camps – I can personally attest to Music for All having one of the finest music summer camp programs in the country!
Not just because of the spectacular staff, the high-calibre clinicians, the first-class concerts and super SWAG Team volunteers. But more uniquely than other camps, the welcoming and closing activities Music for All intentionally creates for parents. You see many camps are a "dump and run" proposition for both parents and kids. Yet Music for All understands their mission to reach beyond students and directors to parents and communities. For one week, we strive to create a kind of community that cares about everyone involved. Bringing parents in on both the beginning and ending of Symposium significantly ties together the experience for students and their families. Plus, it provides a bridge from home, to what we do at Ball State, to back home again – where ideally the lessons learned at camp are brought to life the rest of the year.
When more people in a student's life are "in on that process," the more impactful the inspiration and instruction they receive becomes – long term. That's why as a fellow parent (with a daughter who's also attending the 2013 Summer Symposium) I want to sincerely encourage every parent who can make the roadtrip to attend the first day and the last day of this year's camp experience. I promise both days will be inspiring. To see 1,000+ students, performers and teachers launch one of the largest summer camps in America is a sight to see. Plus, you'll get to have an exclusive sneak peek into "how we do what we do" following the opening session. Consider it a behind the scenes chance to find out how Music for All brings its mission to life.
Then plan on coming back Saturday morning. We'll buy you breakfast, share a bit about how YOU can "be in on making the magic last longer back home," and share some constructive ideas on how students tend to decompress after such an intense camp experience. You'll get to see and hear final performances and concerts as well as participate in our family picnic – where anyone and everyone can take part in a drum-circle team-building leadership hands-on experience. (No previous drum skills required!)
Please do join us Monday and Saturday at the 2013 Music for All Summer Symposium so we can KICK IT IN!
As an avid fan of the Music for All blog, (we know everyone currently reading is a subscriber. No? Well what are you waiting for?) you probably know all about the Directors’ Academy and what is has to offer.
But JUST in case you don’t know about the sessions offered at Summer Symposium FOR DIRECTORS- I’m going to tell you about it. (And even if you think you know, humor me and read this post? It helps my self-esteem when my work gets read; my ego thanks you in advance.) ☺
First of all, the Summer Symposium really is an amazing opportunity. It brings you the absolute best to provide a comprehensive experience. It truly is a TOTAL experience, with something for every band director: high school and middle school, from the most experienced to the younger teacher at the start of his or her career. Music for All offers tools that will allow you to achieve peak performance for your ensembles and yourself. The Symposium is the place to get a head start on next year’s thinking. It’s a place to make connections, get new ideas and learn new strategies.
At the Music for All Summer Symposium Directors’ Academy, you get:
• Control of your own experience
• The Cavaliers in Residence
• Peer-to-Peer Networking
• Professional Development
• Dream Team Faculty
• Great Facilities
• One-on-one directors’ lounge: personal consultation with the masters
• Universal Pedagogy for Schools Small and Large, Suburban, Rural and Urban
• Nightly concerts
• An opportunity to play in the Directors’ Band
• And everyone’s favorite part: Director Socials in the evening!
Now I realize that everything I just told you is a very general overview and you are probably still reading this and thinking, “But WHAT will I really be learning in sessions at camp? Is it worth it?”
Well, I can tell you that we have directors from all different backgrounds and school sizes who come back to camp year after year. And if those directors were sitting across from you today they would all absolutely tell you it’s worth it.
But don’t take it from me- hear it from those directors themselves!
We know sometimes it’s hard to make a case for attending a workshop/convention/camp without first knowing exactly what sessions will be available. Maybe you are looking to brush up on new technology, talk with someone about your marching band show design, or just looking for a chance to play your instrument and hear new music coming out in the next year. Well, we understand that completely! Here's the full, tentative schedule of sessions for the 2013 Directors' Academy!
You can also watch a collection of featured Directors’ sessions on the MusicforAlltv YouTube channel:
Don’t forget- if you are a Color Guard or Percussion Instructor, there are specialized tracks within the Directors’ Academy for you!
So make sure you register today and I'll see you in Muncie in just a few weeks. Make sure you stop by headquarters and say hi and tell me about your camp experience!
While I hope most teachers feel appreciated every day of the year, there’s nothing like a “holiday” to make us really think about why we appreciate someone. With this week being Teacher Appreciation Week I have been doing a lot of thinking about teachers in my life who have given so selflessly to their profession and have had a true passion for educating their students. I have been blessed with having so many remarkable teachers and mentors throughout my life. Grade school through college there have been several teachers who left their mark, but the one who I really want to thank today is my music teacher.
I went to a fairly small school, where my music teacher was with me from Kindergarten until I graduated High School. Thirteen years certainly helped grow a relationship with my teacher, Ms. O’Neil, but even if she had only been my teacher for one year I know she would have made an impact. Through the help of my music teacher, I realized my passion for music at a very young age. Her enthusiasm for music, and her confidence in me as a performer really shaped the way I viewed myself as a child. Throughout school I ALWAYS had a place where I felt I belonged and that was in music class, and then once I hit Junior High, in the choir room.
Ms. O'Neil gave (and is still giving at Yale Public Schools in Yale, Michigan) so tiresly to her students. I will never forget each year hearing about the choir seniors graduating and Ms. O'Neil sharing a beautiful inspiring story with that particular class and giving them a pearl and telling them how unique and special they were. Every year I watched that beautiful end of the year "ceremony" and I couldn't wait until I was a senior. And then that moment came.. and I was sitting in first hour choir, in a circle of the other Senior choir students and Ms. O'Neil and she told the story yet again that was so familiar to me.
It was the story about the man walking along the sand, and trying so hard to throw each starfish he came across that had washed up to the shore back into the ocean. Another man walks up to him and says, what are you doing? There are so many and you can't possibly throw each one back in, you will never make a difference. But the man keeps going, and throws yet another starfish back in and says "it made a difference to that one."
That story that Ms. O'Neil told every year really epitomises to me what she was always all about...and what so many teachers live for. She worked so hard all of the time, because she knew, even if it was just one student at a time...she could make a difference.
Well, I'm fairly certain that Ms. O'Neil has made a difference in so many lives of the students she has taught..not only teaching them about music, but helping each one of us to be a better person. I know I AM a better person from having known her. Ms. O'Neil if you are reading this, I still have and cherish that pearl you gave me on my last day in your class, and the last time I was home, I saw that my brother, who had graduated four years before me, still had his. Thank you for inspiring my passion for music...and for teaching me that I can make a difference, and even if it's just one starfish... I made a difference for that one.
Yesterday when I was thinking about writing this blog and sharing MY story about the special teacher in my life, I knew that there had to be others in the Music for All office who also had stories of teachers who inspired them. I was so happy to read about so many more amazing stories about inspiring teachers that I just had to share those as well.
“Mr. Philip Shepherd was my high school band director (1977-81). I went to an average sized high school (about 1,000 9-12, I think), in a smallish town (about 7,000) in Eastern Kentucky. What is amazing to me looking back is that he instilled in us not just a belief that we could accomplish anything but a real sense of connection at the deepest level to the music and to the highest level of music-making. He had high expectations and it never occurred to us that we weren't going to meet those expectations. I follow the careers of my fellow band mates from that time and see that they are contributing at the highest levels in their chosen professions and I have no doubt that part of that is due to having the privilege of being a student of Mr. Shepherd.”
- Debbie Laferty-Asbill, Vice President of Marketing and Communications
"Though I have had the pleasure of learning from and working with many remarkable educators in my lifetime, I'd specifically like to celebrate my high school band directors, Mr. Charles M. Smith and Dr. Terry Magee. They are both selfless advocates of music education in our schools and deserve consistent recognition for their commitment to excellence. The time I spent as a student at Lafayette H.S. in Lexington, KY under their direction had a huge impact on who I am as a leader and professional today. I know that I am not the first or last person to acknowledge their efforts and want to personally thank them for being such valuable assets to the 'Pride of the Bluegrass!'"
- Molly Miller, Event Coordinator
"Even after many years of education and hundreds of teachers, the most impactful remains my elementary music teacher, Mrs. Mason. After looking forward to music class each week in third grade, I was entranced by Mrs. Mason’s piano playing and begged my parents to buy a piano. Mrs. Mason’s passion for music was contagious, and after starting lessons, I was hooked. Her compassion for students and high standards of success both propelled my interest in music and improved my work ethic in subjects beyond music. After succumbing to cancer while I was in high school, her legacy of inspiring young students through music for over 40 years solidified my belief in music education and music in our schools. Because music remains a cornerstone of who I am, Mrs. Mason’s legacy lives on."
- Seth Williams, Development Coordinator
“I am blessed to have crossed paths with a number of amazing, inspiring educators, from a cross country coach who kindled my love for my sport and a physics teacher whose “Socratic Method” of teaching helped me discover how much of an investigative thinker I am at heart, to a college professor who taught me as much about broadcast media as he did about persevering through life’s challenges through faith. It certainly takes a special kind of heart to fill the role of a teacher, and I feel so thankful for all the people in our nation who double as amazing educators and amazing human beings.
Undoubtedly, I wouldn’t be the same person I am today if it wasn’t for a certain color guard instructor of mine. When I met him, I felt like a very little person trying to break into the very big world of drum corps. Under his leadership, I learned how to focus my energy, refine my skills, and after five spectacular seasons have blossomed into an extremely confident performer and person. What impacted me the most is that he continually challenged me to challenge myself, showing he was confident in me and my talents and never letting me think otherwise. It really is true that when you hold someone to higher standards, they WILL go beyond their original expectations of themselves to achieve them. A heartfelt thanks to Ryan Miller, as well as to all our other teachers who set out on a daily basis to change the lives of students!“
- Carolyn Tobin, Marketing Intern
"Thank you Frank Herzog! My 8th grade history teacher who inspired and rewarded intellectual curiosity. The quote posted on our classroom wall: "in this room, ignorance is not bliss" "
- Nancy Carlson, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
For every story of an inspiring teacher we have here in the Music for All office, we know there are millions more out there in the world. So share it with us. Çomment with a story here on this post. Tell us about it on Facebook or Twitter. Send that amazing teacher a note, to tell them just how much they meant to you. Spend a few minutes thinking about what an incredible job they did. Just celebrate these wonderful teachers in some way.
To all of the teachers who personally touched MY life. Thank you.
To all of the teachers who touched the lives of my coworkers and made them the extraordinary people they are today. Thank you.
To all of the very special band and orchestra directors I have had the pleasure of getting to know through my work at Music for All. Thank you.
To all of the music teachers of all of the students our organization has ever touched. Thank you.
And to all teachers out there in the world, the ones I know and the ones I don’t have the pleasure of knowing: Music, Math, Science, English, History, Art, Health, Physical Education, Technology… no matter what you teach, you are appreciated. Thank you for sharing your passion and for being there each day for your students.
Thank you, from the bottoms of our hearts, for giving all that you can to your students, for working late, for spending your extra money on something for your classroom because your school budget doesn’t cover it, for being someone your students can talk to, rely on and learn from. You really do make a difference. You really do shape and mold young people to be the best they can possibly be.
Happy Teacher Appreciation Week.
Erin Fortune is the Marketing Coordinator at Music for All, and has been working with Music for All for nearly three years, first in the Participant Relations department and now in marketing. She is a graduate from the Music Industry Management program at Ferris State University in Michigan and is a former Percussive Arts Society Intern and a Yamaha Corporation of America, Band and Orchestral Division Intern.
Today's guest post is from CJ Longabaugh, Assistant Director of Bands at Blue Valley West High School in Kansas. CJ was a part of the Collegiate/Young Teacher division of the Music for All Summer Symposium the summer before his very first teaching job! Our many thanks to CJ for sharing some thoughts on his experience and why he recommends others to take part in the Summer Symposium as well!
As CJ explains, the Collegiate/ Young Teacher division is a great way to start your career and set yourself up for success! The best part is that you get to participate in the Director's Track, but at a discounted price! If you want to read more about this incredible value, check out the Collegiate/Young Teacher division page on the Music for All website.
Are you still debating whether or not you should attend the the Music for All Summer Symposium, presented by Yamaha in June? Here are the top 10 reasons why you should consider it!
10. Awesome Evening Concerts!
Each night after a day full of track intensive work (and fun!), the WHOLE camp comes together for an evening of inspiring music! Whether your favorite is an evening of jazz, virtuosic soloists or some of the world’s best drum corps, there will be at least one night you can’t wait to tell your friends back home about!
9. There’s something for everyone
Whether you are a jazz cat, guard diva, marching band buff, orchestra nut, concert band wiz, or drum guru, there’s a division and a place for you at the Music for All Summer Symposium.
8. Leadership is the theme
At the Music for All Summer Symposium we don’t believe that only drum majors or section leaders benefit from leadership. We believe that EVERY student benefits from leadership training and that’s why it is incorporated in EVERY division of the Summer Symposium. Anyone who is willing to pay attention, respond and get involved has the potential to positively lead others.
7. Learn from the best
Where else would you get to go to be instructed by so many of the top music educators and clinicians from across the country?
6. Create life-long friends
At camp you will be with nearly 1,000 other students from all across the country. You will not only have the opportunity to make friends within your own track, but you will make friends with other students in your dorm, your swags, and faculty! These are relationships that can last you a lifetime; just think of the friend requests you will have when you get home!
5. Take music & performance skills to the next level
This IS the Music for All Summer Symposium, so first and foremost you will be getting top-notch performance instruction from our outstanding faculty!
4. Get energized for next school year
There is no doubt about it that you will take things that you learn at Music for All Summer Symposium back to your own band, orchestra or guard program back home, not only music or performance skills, but attitude, energy, and a new outlook. Imagine how much stronger of a performer and leader you’ll be and how it could positively impact your school ensemble!
3. Get the away from home “college experience”
You’re probably already thinking leaving home to go to college and into the broader world in the next 1-4 years. Heading away from home can be pretty nerve wrecking. Going to a week long summer camp on a college campus is a great way of getting the experience of being away from home, navigating around a campus and having a roommate! It’s a week of learning about yourself in a new environment.
2. It’s more fun than a summer job!
This one is pretty self-explanatory. What would you rather do? Come to camp, make music and hang out with awesome people or go to work everyday? (p.s. you have the rest of your life to work, spend this summer at camp!) Plus, we know that a large percentage of Fortune 500 CEOs participated in their school music programs, so think of it as an investment in your future!
1. Surrounded by students from across the country who are different – but also JUST LIKE YOU!
At school you probably are in a band with anywhere from 50-250 students (give or take) who have similar interests as you, and maybe half who are as PASSIONATE about music making as you are. Can you imagine being in one place, where the focus is music making and you are surrounded by nearly 1,000 people who are just as passionate as you are about band, orchestra or guard? Well, you can stop dreaming because that place exists, and it’s in Muncie, Indiana at Ball State University June 24-29.
So what are you waiting for? If these reasons didn't convince you that the Symposium is the right place for you, check out our videos on YouTube, Student Testimonials, and the Symposium coverage from last year!
Are you a student or director who has been to Symposium in the past? Comment and give us your top reasons for why someone should come to the Music for All Summer Symposium this year!
Today's guest post is from Nicole Presley, a Music for All Summer Symposium SWAG (if you do not know what a SWAG is, read more here) and former Summer Symposium student division participant. Thank you Nicole for sharing your story with us!
It’s funny how even though I’m still a full-time student sitting in class for hours upon hours for thirty weeks of the year, attempting to learn as much as I can, I learn the most during ten days at the end of June. I don’t sit in a classroom for those ten days. I don’t have a textbook to read. Sometimes I can’t even take notes. But I know for a fact that it’s for those ten days at the Music for All Summer Symposium that I learn the most.
For four out of the past five summers I’ve attended the Summer Symposium; once as a camper and three times as a SWAG. Between the campers, the Music for All staff, the clinicians, and the other SWAGS, I feel as though I’ve had the privilege of meeting some of the most beautiful people that walk this earth.
When I’m talking about camp I find myself saying things like, “It’s just the best.” If you’ve been to the Symposium, you know: sometimes it’s hard to put a finger on just what makes it so overwhelmingly great. I’ve come to realize that the people are what make it “the best.” I learn so much more than just music from the people I interact with at camp.
In December of 2011, I was coming back from a four month long study abroad trip in Spain and once I was back in the States my connecting flight home was cancelled. I would have been stranded in the airport overnight if it hadn’t been for a SWAG who came to save me even though it was a school night and she was already in her pajamas.
Last summer at camp I was a little sick and lost my voice almost completely for the majority of the week. Every day there was one camper who, no matter how terrible I sounded or how hard I was to understand, would say, “You’re sounding much better today, Nicole,” with a sympathetic smile on his face.
The SWAG Team shouted “Happy Birthday” at me on my birthday, sending me into silent fits of laughter (it’s really hard to laugh when you have no voice!) at seven o’clock in the morning.
On the last day of camp last summer, one of the SWAGs who has been SWAGging for so much longer than me, who I admire incredibly, told me how proud he was of me and the person I was becoming.
From them I’ve learned that friendship means going far out of your way to help someone in a time of need, no matter how big or how small; that a smile and a little understanding can go a long way; that laughter really is the best medicine; and that being a mentor means letting someone know that they’re doing at least a little bit of the right thing. They’ve taught me that I want to be more like them.
Sometimes in my head I hear George Parks saying: “Raise your hand as high as you can. Now raise it two inches higher. That’s what wrong with your lives!"
When it comes down to it, I think that’s one of the biggest things that I try to take away from the Symposium each year. I hear it said in sessions with clinicians and I see it carried out in the actions of the people around me.
Give as much as you can give, and then give more.
Better Leaders Followers Make All The Difference!
Now consider these questions:
What if we over-rely on our best students to be our leaders and do little to develop all our students’ leadership potential?
If we constantly go to our leaders to “carry the load” and/or “make things happen” how engaged do you think others will be “watching things happen?”
What if leadership has less to do with leaders and more to do with followers? After all, bad leadership only occurs when there’s bad followership and good leadership only occurs when there’s good followership.
Could the quality of followership in your program actually have more influence on the quality of leadership in your program?
That’s why over the years, we’ve intentionally dovetailed our leadership curriculum to enhance both leadership and followership. [See “What we believe when it comes to developing student leadership” for more insight to our approach to leadership development—both for the leadership weekend and the weeklong summer symposium.] Every day, every section of the Summer Symposium gets to play with, and experience first-hand, the leadership+followership dynamic.
Now, we don’t call it that per se. After all, students do come to the Leadership Weekend Experience to be better leaders. (Imagine how many students would come to a Followership Experience?) Yet the truth is we’re simultaneously sharing both the importance of better leadership and better followership. Effective leaders need to know how to develop effective followers and ultimately your future leaders.
Next time you pass out a piece of music to your ensemble, make sure all the first-chair players receive all the parts for their entire section, rather than just the first-chair part. That way they can help all the players in their section KICK IT IN! Because better leaders and better followers will make all the difference in your program!
Music motivates. Music mesmerizes. Music moves.
We at Music for All believe in music and in music education, which is why we strive to create, provide and expand positively life-changing experiences through music for all. We believe that, apart from the pure beauty of music, it provides benefits to us outwardly and inwardly through personal learning and growth, team building, striving to reach goals and much more.
But we want to know about our followers—why do YOU believe in music?
We invite you to follow the #BelieveInMusic hashtag and join our Twitter campaign to help spread the word about the amazing powers of music. Reply @musicforall with “I #BelieveInMusic because…” to share your thoughts and feelings. Great responses will be retweeted!
Take a look at what people are already tweeting:
“I #BelieveInMusic because it helps me recognize beauty.”
“I #BelieveInMusic because it can teach us what we should know about each other and what we already know about ourselves.”
“I #BelieveInMusic because music is life”
To learn more about Music for All’s music advocacy program, visit www.musicforall.org/i-believe.
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I’ve had the distinct privilege of bringing our band, from Wheeling High School, Wheeling, IL, to the Music for All Festival on three occasions, including this year. Your 2012 National Festival was incredible. The best one yet! The JW Marriott Hotel, Dr. Tim, meals, Buca di Beppo, Clowes Memorial Hall, clinicians, concerts, Indianapolis, and the Music for All Staff, were all wonderful. Our expectations for the National Festival were extremely high and you exceeded all of them, and much more.
Your goal, “to create, provide and expand positively life-changing experiences through music for all,” was in full force with our kids, parents, and staff. Your event is unique, positive, musical, rewarding, and special. You have made a mark on our kids and program that will last forever. Because of this, we will have many students applying for your 2013 Honor Band of America and Jazz Band of America.
It was incredibly refreshing to hear about your new focus and vision to truly make Music for All, Music for All. I believe our program is an example of where you are heading. Greater than 50 percent of our student body is Hispanic. We also have large Russian and Polish immigrant populations. A large percentage of our student body qualifies for our free and reduced lunch program. While many of our students and families have socio-economic challenges, we have a parent booster group that provides tremendous financial support. Our wonderfully diverse community supports our kids and program like no other. There are many schools, some very close to us, with numerous financial advantages, including large homes, and expensive cars, yet our kids have learned about a great equalizer, education and work ethic.
Thank you for providing a forum for young musicians, and us directors, to aspire. I too believe in Music for All!
To learn more and place your order by February 10, 2012, click here.
Deadline: February 24, 2012
The William D. Revelli Scholarship was established in 1993 in honor of the late Dr. Revelli, for his contributions to music education. This $1,000, one-time scholarship honors a graduating senior who is performing at the 2012 Music for All National Festival and is nominated by his or her director. Recipients must intend to pursue a degree in music education. The scholarship will be awarded during the banquet at the National Festival in Indianapolis on March 17, 2012.
Click here to learn more and complete your application. Completed applications are due February 24, 2012.