Last week, 222 music educators from across the U.S. were recognized as quarterfinalists in the 2015 GRAMMY Music Educator Award. The GRAMMY Music Educator Award program began in 2012 and named its first recipient, Kent Knappenberger, late last year. Music for All is proud that 11 music teachers who participate in MFA programming were honored by the GRAMMY Foundation. More than 7,000 nominations from all 50 states were submitted this year. Semifinalists will be announced in September, with Finalists and the winner named in December.
In a middle school band, just the thought of performing could send a student into a panic attack. For several students in Florida, their nervousness likely went a step further. Phil Collins came out of semi-retirement last week to perform with the Miami Country Day School band, where his son attends. The British musician and singer-songwriter performed some of his hits with the middle school band. While definitely before any of the kids' times, I'm sure the kids had a blast playing with Collins. The performance has also generated plenty of press for the Miami Country Day School band, as this video had close to 285,000 views when this blog was posted. The performance, which you can view below, was Collins' first since 2010.
I can still remember vividly field trips in elementary school to the local symphony orchestra for matinee concerts. Musicians would also visit the school and introduce each of the different instruments and feature an instrument petting zoo for students who would then begin band the next year. For kids across the country, this is a common experience, including students across the Bay Area in California. 30,000 students visit the San Francisco Symphony each year, providing many their very first live music experience. The San Francisco Symphony also features an outreach initiative for underserved areas of the Silicon Valley called Concerts for Kids. Volunteers of the Silicon Valley League of the San Francisco Symphony bring students to concerts and introduce them to live classical music. Does your community feature a similar program? We'd love to hear about it – click here to tell us your story!
We have featured several articles and social media posts about the incredible work of Dr. Nina Kraus at Northwestern University, who has been a leader in researching the scientific benefits of musical instruction. A student of Dr. Kraus wrote this recent blog post explaining why scientific evidence is an excellent resource for making the case for music education. Jessica Slater states: "If a policy-maker isn’t swayed by music teachers telling them that the kids who play music seem to do better in school, perhaps they will listen to researchers saying that music training strengthens attention and memory skills, or improves the ability to hear a teacher in a noisy classroom, or the precision of neural responses to speech." If you're having trouble convincing a representative of the benefits of music education in your community, I encourage you to check out Ms. Slater's blog post for plenty of scientific research to make your case.
If you are not familiar with a YouTube phenomenon called "ASAPScience," I encourage you to click here, block out an hour or two of your time and learn the scientific reasoning behind tons of phenomenon in our society. From "The Science of Laziness" to "Which Came First: The Chicken or The Egg," ASAPScience is an easy way to learn more about our fascinating world. Last week, the creators of ASAPScience featured a post focusing on our ears and followed up with a moving video on how music can impact your life. They referenced clinical trials where playing music from each decade has helped brain injury patients regain some memories, as well as a trial where individuals associated the happiness/mood of a photo depending on what type of music was playing in the background. Watch the video for yourself below, and let us know if you think music can save a life!
For many students, music teachers are often the most impactful teacher in school. Whether it's the countless hours in rehearsal or the inspiration that music can spark, music teachers are a vehicle for student success and deserve to be recognized. This week, the GRAMMY Foundation announced the 222 quarterfinalists for the 2015 GRAMMY Music Educator Award. Music for All is proud that 11 music teachers who participate in MFA programming were honored by the GRAMMY Foundation. The GRAMMY Music Educator Award was created in 2012 to recognize current educators who have made a significant and lasting contribution to the field of music education and who demonstrate a commitment to the broader cause of maintaining music education in the schools. After more than 7,000 nominations, 222 were selected as quarterfinalists. Those quarterfinalists are invited to send additional information to be considered for semifinalist, finalist and eventually the Music Educator Award recognition. Look for the seminifinalist announcement in the fall and the finalist and winning announcements in December. Finalists receive a $1,000 honorarium and the winner receives $10,000 and a trip to Los Angeles to be honored at the GRAMMY Awards next year.
Below are the 11 music teachers who participate in Music for All educational programs. If you know or were taught by any of the recognized teachers, be sure to thank them for their service!
Steven Acciani Diamond Bar H.S., CA
Neil Anderson Murrieta Valley H.S., CA
Caleb Chapman Pioneer High School for the Performing Arts, UT
Josh Chodoroff Waubonsie Valley H.S., IL
Mark De Hertogh R.L. Paschal H.S., TX
Johnnie Green Lehman H.S., TX
Randy Greenwell Lawrence Central H.S., IN
Melissa Gustafson-Hinds O'Fallon Township H.S., IL
Kyle Johnson JJ Pearce H.S., TX
Peter Sampson Whiteland Community H.S., IN
Jay Wardeska Brunswick H.S., OH
Music for All congratulates each of these educators in addition to the 211 additional honorees! You can view the entire list of honored music educators here.
Music for All's Strategic Advocacy Partner, NAMM, took over Capitol Hill last week for their annual D.C. Fly-In, meeting with Congress, celebrating the arts and promoting access to music education for all students. This year was NAMM's largest Fly-In, featuring 65 NAMM members, STEAM Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, auditory learning expert Dr. Nina Kraus, musician Bernie Williams and actor Doc Shaw. In the photo, you may recognize House Speaker John Boehner with GRAMMY Music Educator Award recipient Kent Knappenberger and other NAMM representatives, including the Red Hot Chili Peppers' Chad Smith, who's recent drum off with Will Ferrell on the Tonight Show has received over 17 million views. NAMM Members also took part in the White House Talent Show, where First Lady Michelle Obama announced an expansion of the successful Turnaround Arts initiative (see article below for more on Turnaround Arts).
In 2012, the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities launched the Turnaround Arts initiative to investigate the arts' impact on educational outcomes in low-performing schools. Major artists and entertainers "adopted" schools and helped lead increased access to arts education. In just two years, the program reported improvements in math and reading, as well as behavior and parental involvement. Last week, Michelle Obama announced the expansion of Turnaround Arts from eight schools to 35 in 10 states. Arts advocate Malissa Feruzzi Shriver provides a great breakdown of Turnaround Arts and why it is successful on Americans for the Arts' ARTSblog.
While many teachers and booster organizations already have budgets set for next year, budget concerns are seemingly continuous in the music wing of many schools. School Band & Orchestra Executive Editor Eliahu Sussman provided a thought-provoking commentary on the cost of music education in a recent issue. While we can all wish for unlimited budgets, the true cost of music ed can be a contentious topic. How much technology is needed in the band room? Do most students own their own instruments? We'd love to hear your thoughts on the cost of music education. Click here to tell us your story.
Connecticut music educator Kaela Crystal provided an excellent argument for music's important role in schools, especially those with STEM and Core Curriculum focus. "The chance to take real, non-standardized, creative risks in the music classroom is one of the greatest gifts we can give our students," said Crystal. Crystal found that even at a STEM Academy where she interned, creativity was vital. From inventions in a physics class to musical compositions, creativity helped develop integral 21st Century skills.
At a concert last week, the James Bowie H.S. Bands and director Kim Shuttlesworth were awarded the 2013 Sudler Shield, an international award given by the John Phillip Sousa Foundation for excellence in high school marching band. The band previously received the honor in 2005. The James Bowie H.S. Outdoor Performing Ensemble is a three-time Bands of America Grand National Finalist and the 2013 Texas Dairy Queen BOA Austin Regional Champion. Director Kim Shuttlesworth is also on the Drum Major Institute faculty at the MFA Summer Symposium. The band was notified of their honor at the Midwest Clinic in December. Congratulations to the entire Bowie Band!
Join the next SupportMusic Coalition Webinar for the latest in music advocacy live from our nation's capital on Thursday, May 22 at 11 a.m. Eastern. NAMM Members are currently in Washington, DC this week advocating for music education. NAMM Members will also participate in a "day of music making service" this week at a school in Washington. The Webinar on Thursday will be led by NAMM Director of Public Affairs and Government Relations Mary Luehrson and will include a recap of visits with Members of Congress, a report on NAMM advocacy asks, information garnered from policy and advocacy training and news of NAMM's collaboration with the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities. Click here to learn more and register.
As a young middle school alto saxophone and piano student, the first after-school program I participated in was the middle school jazz band. Jazz band opened me up to a whole new world of music styles and genres I had no clue existed. An after-school jazz program from 4th grade through high school is providing that experience to underserved students in the San Francisco Bay Area. The Alum Rock Jazz Program was created in 1973 by music educator Bill Nicolosi and has provided after-school jazz experiences for thousands of students since. Nicolosi was able to successfully advocate for a permanent school-funded position for the after-school program in 1980, which has remained today. The program also utilizes donations and local funding partners to provide instrument, travel and instrument coach expenses. The Alum Rock Jazz Program has sent alumni to major in music in college and perform jazz professionally, many of whom return to train young jazz students.
Near Jacksonville, Florida, two elementary students received musical instruments for their inspiring essays about music. "I love music," a fourth grade music student said. "It helps me express my feelings. Also, I have a passion for music since I was little. Don't you think music is all inspiring?" The Music for Dreams Foundation provided the instruments to two students at the low income W.E. Cherry Elementary School in Orange Park. The Foundation was created to provide outlets for underserved children to express themselves. The Foundation partners with VH1 Save the Music to provide musical instruments.
For many of us, when we think of "child composer," we think of a child prodigy or genius. For educator Danie Deutsch, child composers should be componplace in our music education landscape. According to Deutsch, one of his students exclaimed, “When I play my own music, my soul is released. I can fly. I’m special.” Deutsch advocates for teaching composition not as theory exercises, but as the idea and expression. “Sometimes you can guess the identity of the composer by the personality of the piece, but sometimes hidden facets of character are revealed, like the tender elegy of a sturdy athlete, or the eloquent grandeur of a painfully shy student,” says Deutsch. Do you teach composition in the music classroom? Does it creatively engage your students?
As a self-professed millenial, I often find myself on Buzzfeed more often than I should be. If you are not aware of Buzzfeed, it is a list-making content creation platform that relies on viral content to be successful. In hundreds of posts per day, there was bound to be a musical instrument-related post, but this one felt awfully close to home. "What Your Middle School Band Instrument Says About You" provides a brief generalization of the stereotypes we've all come to know for band instruments. As a saxophone player who switched to French horn in middle school, I'd like to think that I am both opinionated and charming. In addition to finding out what your instrument says about you, how do you feel about these instrument stereotypes? How do they impact recruitment and retention? Do they create instrumentation issues from an ensemble perspective?
Voters in Arlington, Texas overwhelmingly supported a $663 million bond package last week for the Arlington Independent School District. Arlington ISD and Arlington First, a political action committee formed to support the bond issue, utilized an active social media campaign and important endorsements from community business leaders to pass the largest school bond in Tarrant County history. Fine arts were an important part of the bond package, which supported the construction of a 2,500 seat fine arts center, the purchase of instruments, uniforms and equipment to increase access to performing arts programs and several other fine arts initiatives. The district, which largely serves Hispanic and African-American communities, boasts a vibrant fine arts program, serving close to two thirds of the 64,000 students in the district. Congratulations to Arlington ISD!
For school districts that lack adequate funding for arts education, enrichment programs provided by local nonprofit organizations have become more popular. Los Angeles County is a prime example where local nonprofits have stepped up to provide high quality music instruction for underserved students. Education Through Music is an enrichment program originally founded in New York in 1991 that partners with schools to provide all students with music instruction, from elementary through high school. In 2006, Victoria Young Lanier created a Los Angeles affiliate of Education Through Music to enhance student academic performance and creative development among disadvantaged schools throughout Los Angeles. Victoria and Program Director Ryan Rowles recently sat down with a local radio station to discuss the program and its vast impact in LA. You can listen to the audio below, which features Education Through Music's recent "Music Unites the World Festival." At the Festival, underserved students had the opportunity to rehearse and perform "Let it Go" from Disney's Frozen with composer Christophe Beck, arranger Tim Davies and prominent vocal coach Evelyn Halus.
While we spend a lot of time advocating solely for the arts or music, we often must collaborate for our message to be impactful. Educator Stacey Boyd advocates in this US News and World Report OpEd for all extracurriculars, including music. She advocates for music, foreign language and physical education, which are all integral in a well-rounded education. "Concentration, strong recall skills, evolved communication skills, and being a good team player are just a few of the benefits research shows music, foreign language and physical education have on a developing mind. To me, that list reads as one I might put together for a model employee," says Boyd.
Schools across the country competed in Yamaha's Quest for Music Education Contest late last year, which awarded $100,000 in Yamaha instruments to elementary, middle and high schools, as well as colleges. The contest included a variety of online quests throughout the Yamaha website, including Yamaha Artists, Yamaha Internships and music advocacy. Bands of America Grand National Finalist Round Rock H.S. from Texas was awarded 2nd place in the high school division, receiving $10,000 in Yamaha instruments. “We have a number of needs for instruments, so any chance to win some, especially from Yamaha, was a real motivator for us," said Round Rock director David Mobley. "We have selected a french horn and an oboe, both of which we had to borrow from other schools." You can view the complete list of winners here.
If you are not familiar with MFA leadership faculty member and "Be Part of the Band" creator Scott Lang, I encourage you to sign up for his newsletter now! Every week, Scott shares creative tips and tricks for students and educators to improve your ensemble. Last week, Scott shared his "Happy File" for Teacher Appreciation Week. Scott's "Happy File" includes gifts from students he has received throughout the years in addition to photos, accolades, mementos, etc. He also encourages all of his students to make their own "Happy File" as well. Whether you need inspiration or are having a particularly tough day, the "Happy File" is a great reminder of great impact educators and musicians have. Be sure to check out Scott's video about the "Happy File" below, which was filmed by his sons!
Since 1975, passionate and skilled educators have been key to ensuring that Music for All programs are positively life-changing. We are incredibly thankful for the continuous support of music teachers across the country. In celebration of both Teacher Appreciation Week and Throwback Thursday, here are some of the many wonderful teachers who have impacted Music for All!
Our vision at Music for All places an emphasis on providing scholastic music education to every child across America, so its no surprise we found this National Association for Music Education article from Arizona music educator Ruth Argabright moving. Ms. Argabright, District Music Education Coordinator at Mesa Public Schools, imagines a public school system where all upper elementary students receive instrumental and vocal music education during the school day. Under Argabright's plan, the pull-out system would no longer be necessary, and all students would have access to quality music education. Argabright says, "The young people in our schools today will soon take our places in the work force and community. They should be provided with as many opportunities during their developmental years to help ensure that they become outstanding, productive citizens."
Just in the short history of "Fanfare," we have shared many moving commentaries on the impact of music and music education. While they collectively show the vast power of music, each also provides a slightly different angle that may change the view of a "non-believer." This Huffington Post commentary from Music Unites founder Michelle Edgar moved me, especially the story of Kwasi Enin, the New York student accepted to all eight Ivy League colleges. "I directly developed my capacity to think creatively around problems due to the infinite possibilities in music," said Enin, who studied viola, in an admissions essay. Enin will be attending Yale in the fall and plans to study medicine.
While in Washington, DC for Arts Advocacy Day, I had the opportunity to hear from U.S. Representative Suzanne Bonamici, who is head of the Congressional STEAM Caucus and a fervent advocate for including the arts as a core component of education. Last week, Rep. Bonamici questioned Education Secretary Arne Duncan on arts education funding during a committee hearing. By consolidating several Department of Education programs, Rep. Bonamici spoke to ensure that funds would be available for arts programming through STEM funding. Rep. Bonamici is a wonderful advocate for arts education in the House and helped found the Congressional STEAM Caucus last year. You can watch a clip of the committee hearing below:
Performing at Carnegie Hall is quite an honor, especially for high school students. Not only did nearly 200 students from the Broken Arrow Performing Arts Department perform on one of America's most famous stages, but they also were led by legendary Broken Arrow alum Kristin Chenoweth in a rousing performance of the title song from "Oklahoma!." Local CBS affiliate provided in-depth coverage on the trip to New York, which even featured a slight hiccup: damaged and destroyed instruments from a car accident. Thanks to a Florida high school band and a music store that opened on Easter Sunday, the group was able to replace damaged instruments in time for the concert. Congratulations to Broken Arrow, and thank you to KOTV for some excellent music education news coverage! You can watch the feature below.
Growing up in Ohio, the often-criticized school levy funding program in the state was common practice for me. Every few years, administrators and teachers shifted focus from teaching students to appealing to voters for school levies and bond issues. Because of failed ballot initiatives, many schools in Ohio have faced serious budget issues that have eliminated or reduced busing, extra curricular activities and arts programs. After multiple levy failures for Medina City Schools, the district got creative in order to preserve its long tradition of musical excellence. Through a partnership with the Medina City Schools Foundation, students would receive elementary band and string instruction through an enrichment program funded entirely by private donations. This new enrichment program engages the local Akron Symphony Orchestra to provide instruction and master classes for more than 1,000 students who would not have received music instruction due to budget cuts. If your school is facing budget cuts, visit our Advocacy webpage for tools and resources to keep music in our schools.
Each year, the Grammy Foundation awards grants to support research in music. From music therapy to recording preservation, the Foundation supports a wide variety of initiatives that support music in America. Last week, the Grammy Foundation announced that more than $200,000 would be awarded to 15 recipients. The recipients include a University of California, Davis project to study memory retention through music for Alzheimer's patients and a University of Memphis study to examine the possible benefits of music training in strengthening the ear and preventing hearing loss. The Foundation also supported several organizations who are attempting to properly archive and preserve early recordings. Click here to view the entire list of 2014 grants. The video below displays a few of the research initiatives recognized last year by the Grammy Foundation.
Last week, we brought you a moving op-ed column from a Southern California Superintendent advocating for the support of arts education. This week, a superintendent in Northern California is making waves for a district long without an instrumental music program. Students from the Ravenswood City School District in East Palo Alto received no formalized music instruction in middle school, and were then unable to join the band when they moved on to Menlo-Atherton High School. While students at the other eight school districts that feed into Menlo-Atherton participated in band in sixth through eighth grade, Ravenswood students were two years behind in music instruction. "I want to ensure that they get that option by offering music as part of our core program and when the students get to sixth grade, that we actually have a band program," said Superintendent Gloria Hernandez. Currently, Ravenswood partners with Music in the Schools, a local nonprofit to provide music instruction to students. Hernandez has also set aside $150,000 to provide instruments for students and begin a formalized instrumental music program at one middle school in the district.
Last year, 2013 MFA Summer Symposium faculty member Dr. John P. Lynch announced that he will be accepting a position at the University of Sydney, Australia. We wish Dr. Lynch the best and welcome the University of Georgia's newest Director of Bands, Dr. Cynthia Johnston Turner, previously Director of Wind Ensembles at Cornell University. Dr. Turner is an advocate of the 21st century classroom, speaking frequently on technology in music education. She even became one of 8,000 beta testers of Google Glass last summer. The Cornell Daily Sun highlighted her experiences with Google Class in October and noted that Dr. Turner has used Google Glass to coach her conducting students more efficiently and even import scores into Google Glass so she does not need to look down at the podium while conducting. Dr. Turner and student Tyler Ehrlich are also researching other applications of Google Glass for music education. Below is an example of how Dr. Turner uses Google Glass in her conducting class.
While on the topic of technology, I came across a new iPhone commercial last night while watching television. The commercial (displayed below) begins with several musicians using the iPhone in different ways to perform a song, the Pixies' 1988 hit "Gigantic." While I have hundreds of apps on my phone for just about any function, I often forget how often I use my iPhone for music. Beyond just listening and identifying music, I have several metronome, tuner and recording apps to use when practicing. The Ohio State University Marching Band was also featured in a recent Apple commercial for their innovative work in learning drill via iPad. How do you use your smartphone or tablet for music performance and instruction? Educators - you can also learn more on utilizing the latest in technology for music education at the Directors' Academy, part of the Music for All Summer Symposium, presented by Yamaha.
As a brass player myself, I love playing with other brass players in small ensembles. It is in those small ensembles where you are able to fully expereince the versatility of brass instruments. This is exactly why I am very excited for the Atlantic Brass Quintet’s (ABQ) performance at the Music for All Summer Symposium, presented by Yamaha in June. I’ve been listening to their recordings all morning and can’t wait to hear them fill up Emens Auditorium with some outstanding music!
The Atlantic Brass Quintet will be performing Tuesday evening (June 24) at the Symposium. The ABQ is a group of five virtuosic musicians from across the country who have played together for many years. From Brazil to Carnegie Hall to the White House, the Quintet has performed across the globe since its founding in 1985. The group performs a wide variety of music, from Monteverdi to Stravinsky and jazz standards to brass street music. Listen below to their most recent album, “Crossover,” just released this year:
The Atlantic Brass Quintet began in 1985 in Boston as a competition brass quintet, winning awards across the world for their performances. Current tuba player John Manning was a founding member of the Quintet. Since 1985, the group has been comprised of some of the country’s foremost brass players. Currently the group includes founding member John Manning (tuba), Tim Albright (trombone), Seth Orgel (horn), Andrew Sorg (trumpet) and Tom Bergeron (trumpet).
The Quintet has been the resident brass quintet of Boston University, the Boston University Tanglewood Institute, and the Boston Conservatory. Over the past 30 years of music making, the group has become known for their emphasis on music from across the world. The regularly perform ethnic music from the streets of Brazil, Cuba, the Balkans, and New Orleans. In 2012, the Atlantic Brass Quintet partnered with kerPlunk Dance to present a unique dance and brass piece entitled “Music in Motion.” You can watch selections of the piece in the video below:
I think The Boston Globe put it best of the Atlantic Brass Quintet: “They kick butt.” I'm looking forward most to hearing one of my favorite pieces, Franz Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2, which also happens to be an audience favorite for the group. For anyone thinking about attending the Symposium, don’t miss the opportunity to see the Atlantic Brass Quintet live! I certainly can’t wait to see what the group comes up with for their performance at the Summer Symposium!
Click here to learn more and to register for the Music for All Summer Symposium, presented by Yamaha, held June 23-28, 2014 at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana.