The NAMM Foundation, Music for All's Strategic Advocacy Partner, recognized 376 school districts and 96 schools across the country last week, part of the 2014 Best Communities for Music Education. This annual program highlights school districts that provide outstanding music education as part of the core curriculum. We are extremely proud that many of the 2014 Best Communities participate in Music for All programming, including the BOA Marching Championships and MFA National Festival. Click here to read more about the Best Communties program and view the list of honorees.
Close to 500 advocates from across the U.S. visited Washington, DC last week to advocate for several important issues for the arts, including increased federal funding for the arts and funding for arts education in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Music for All was a Cosponsor of National Arts Advocacy Day, held March 24-25, 2014 and presented by Americans for the Arts. As one of seven advocates representing Indiana, I had the opportunity to meet with staff of several Indiana Congressmen and convey the incredible impact of arts education in the state and across the country. Additionally, I had the pleasure of attending the White House Briefing on the Arts, which featured acting National Endowment for the Arts Chair Joan Shigekawa and several members of President Obama's administration. The Congressional Arts Handbook, created for Arts Advocacy Day, is an excellent resource that provides excellent facts and figures to make the case for music and arts education to your representative.
Also at Arts Advocacy Day, America's only television network devoted entirely to the arts, Ovation, launched their new advocacy campaign, "Stand for the Arts." According to Ovation, "The arts are an essential element in shaping a positive, productive, successful society on a local, regional and national level. How we support artists and artistic endeavors is a metric for our health as a nation." The "Stand for the Arts" launch video presented at Arts Advocacy Day features actors Ed Norton and Kerry Washington. Check out standforthearts.com to learn more and find resources to support the arts in your community.
MFA Strategic Partner, the National Association for Music Education will head to Capitol Hill this week to take part in "Music Matters," a panel discussion about the impact of music education hosted by the Congressional Rock and Roll Caucus. An important part of the conversation will be Broader Minded, NAfME's new music education advocacy campaign that focuses on the benefits of music education beyond just test scores. This campaign provides excellent resources in making the case for music education, including information on music's impact on 21st century skills such as creativity, verbal and nonverbal communication and critical thinking.
If you are a musician, you are probably already aware of the pysical benefits to playing an instrument or singing, especially if you were in marching band or show choir. This popular video from 2009 displays the power of music in Stockholm, Sweden. Overnight, workers installed electronic piano keys on stairs in a Stockholm metro station. In addition to being a fun and creative project, there was a profound physical impact: 66% more people took the stairs over the escalator than in previous days. What are other ways music can improve physical fitness? We'd love to hear in the comments below!
Whether you're a professional musician or your instrument sits dusty in the back of our closet, a music teacher likely remains as one of the most impactful people in your scholastic experience. Music In Our Schools Month is the perfect time to recognize an music teacher in your life. Last year, The GRAMMY Foundation created a new way to recognize music teachers through the GRAMMY Music Educator Award. This program allows anyone - students, parents, fellow teachers, administrators, professional musicians - to nominate a music teacher. Any school music teacher, public or private, Kindergarten through College, is eligble for the Award. Kent Knappenberger, a music teacher and Choir Director at Westfield Academy and Central School in New York, was the recipient of the inaugural GRAMMY Music Educator Award. In addition to his appearance at the 56th GRAMMY Awards in January, Kent's inspiring story was shared across the country, including a CBS This Morning feature you can view below.
The deadline to nominate a teacher for the 2015 GRAMMY Music Educator Award is March 31, 2014. Nomination forms and more information on the Award are available online at www.grammyintheschools.com. After the nomination process, quarterfinalist educators are asked to provide additional criteria for submission. Semifinalist music educators are selected through committee interviews, and finally a Blue Ribbon Committee selects up to 10 finalists and the GRAMMY Music Educator Award recipient. Each finalist receives a $1,000 award, and the recipient receives a $10,000 award in addition to the opportunity to experience and appear at the GRAMMY Awards in 2014. Click the button below to recognize a teacher who ahs made an impact in your life.
The Music Educator Award was established 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. The application process for the award will adjust each year to allow the broad array of effective teaching styles and methods used in the discipline to be recognized and awarded. The GRAMMY Music Educator Award is supported by Music for All partners the NAMM Foundation and the National Association for Music Education.
Your voice is essential to ensuring that music education remains an integral part of scholastic education, and Music In Our Schools Month is the perfect opportunity to make your voice heard. Music in Our Schools Month (MIOSM®), supported by the National Association for Music Education (NAfME), began with a small statewide celebration in 1973 and has grown to a nationwide month of awareness, advocacy and music making. The purpose of MIOSM is to raise awareness of the importance of music education for all children. MIOSM is an opportunity for music teachers to bring their music programs to the attention of the school and community and to display the benefits school music brings to students of all ages. At Music for All, we believe in music education and music in our schools, and we are a proud partner of the National Assocaition for Music Education in promoting Music In Our Schools Month.
This year’s slogan for Music In Our Schools Month is “Music Makes Me ___!” Tell your friends, teachers, school administrators and elected officials why music in our schools is important to you. When sharing on social media, use #MIOSM to connect with other music education advocates. You can download the “Music Makes Me ___!” logo or purchase MIOSM products at nafme.org.
Throughout the month, Music for All will be providing several opportunities for you to make your voice heard. Connect with MFA's social media channels for opportunities to share why you beleive in music in our schools. Additionally, you can tell your story of music’s impact through our website. Your story could be featured in a MIOSM blog post this month! Stay tuned to the MFA Blog and our social media channels for more ways to connect with Musc In Our Schools Month.
One of the most entertaining parts of the Music for All National Festival each year is the Jazz Band of America concert on Friday evening. Since it's creation in 2007, jazz greats such as Patti Austin, Shelly Berg, Wayne Bergeron, Ndugu Chancler, John Clayton, Dr. Lou Fischer, Luke Gillespie, Wycliffe Gordon, Ron McCurdy, Jeff Rupert, Stan Smith and Phil Woods have jammed alongside some of the most talented high school jazz musicians in the country. Today, we're looking back to that very first Jazz Band of America concert in 2007, which featured the legendary Wynton Marsalis.
Wynton Marsalis with the 2007 Jazz Band of America
The 2007 Festival marked the first year the event was named the "Music for All National Festival," combining the honor ensembles, National Concert Band Festival, National Percussion Festival and Orchestra America National Festival under one spectacular and educational experience for thousands of students. To celebrate the creation of the Jazz Band of America, Music for All welcomed conductor Ron McCurdy and jazz legend Wynton Marsalis to lead the ensemble at Clowes Memorial Hall. The talented young musicians also had the unique opportunity of opening for the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. You can watch a clip from the 2007 performance of the Jazz Band of America below.
The experience of performing with Wynton Marsalis and witnessing the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra firsthand had a lasting and life-changing experience for the participants. Many of the young musicians of the 2007 Jazz Band of America have gone on to study jazz in college and perform on some of the greatest stages for jazz. Last month, the tenor saxophone soloist in the above video, Paul Melhus, appeared on an episode of NPR Music.
This year, Music for All welcomes Yamaha Artist and music educator, producer and author Caleb Chapman to lead the Jazz Band of America. Trombonist Robin Eubanks will be the featured soloist for the Friday evening concert. Click here to learn more about the 2014 MFA National Festival and purchase tickets. On March 29, Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra will return to Clowes Memorial Hall with the rest of the Marsalis family for a special Clowes Hall 50th Anniversary event. You can visit cloweshall.org for more information.
Seth Williams is the Advocacy Coordinator at Music for All. Seth is no stranger to Music for All and Bands of America – first as a participant and as an intern in Development and Participant Relations. He is a graduate of Butler University and previously worked in the Broadway theatre industry in New York. A proud alumnus of “The Centerville Jazz Band,” Seth is likely the biggest band nerd he knows.
At the 2014 Music for All National Festival, presented by Yamaha, Eugene Migliaro Corporon will not only be honored as a Bands of America Hall of Fame inductee, but he will also become the first to conduct the Honor Band of America three times in its 23-year history. Today, we're looking back at Maestro Corporon's first Honor Band of America at the 1995 National Concert Band Festival in Chicago, Illinois.
The 1995 National Concert Band Festival was the first since the death of bandmaster Dr. William D. Revelli, who was instrumental in the educational foundation of Music for All and whose vision helped create the National Concert Band Festival just four years earlier. Mr. Corporon, who just took over the baton for the University of North Texas' Wind Symphony, conducted the Honor Band of America at the historic Medinah Temple in Chicago. Like today, the 1995 Honor Band of America was comprised of talented young musicians from across the country. 16 accomplished concert bands also performed as part of the National Concert Band Festival.
1995 Honor Band of America, Medina Temple, Chicago, Illinois
The Honor Band of America performance featured a composition commissioned by Bands of America for the 1995 National Concert Band Festival. The piece, American Faces by David Holsinger, was a musical tribute to the diversity of America and is still frequently performed by high school and collegiate ensembles today. The concert also featured prominent clarinetist Eddie Jones, performing a transcription of Carl Maria von Weber's Second Concert for Clarinet.
Mr. Corporon also conducted the Honor Band of America in 2004 and will return to the Clowes Memorial Hall stage to conduct the 2014 ensemble in a sold out concert. He has been a long-serving member for Music for All's evaluator and clinician team since the early years of the National Concert Band Festival. Mr. Corporon is Conductor of the Wind Symphony and Regents Professor of Music at the University of North Texas. He is a graduate of California State University, Long Beach and Claremont Graduate University. Mr. Corporon, a frequent guest conductor at the Showa University of Music in Kawasaki City, Japan, has also served as a visiting conductor at the Julliard School, the Interlochen World Center for Arts Education and the Aspen Music Festival and School. He is also the principal conductor of the Lone Star Wind Orchestra, a professional group made up of musicians from the Dallas and Fort Worth metroplex.
To learn more about the 2014 Music for All National Festival and the Honor Band of America, click here.
This Throwback Thursday, I thought I would share a recent trip I made to the original home of Music for All: Whitewater, Wisconsin. While driving through a cold and snowy Wisconsin late last month, I decided to take a short detour to the quaint town of Whitewater. I can't imagine what this town looked like during the summers of the 1970s and 1980s, high school students and music educators teaching, practicing and performing. Starting in the summer of 1976, Whitewater became the center of marching music education when McCormick Enterprises took a huge risk and decided to invest in the success of young music students.
As I drove up to Perkins Stadium (originally Warhawk Stadium) in Whitewater, I was overcome by the memories made here. I could imagine the students and fans walking up the large hill to the stadium, overlooking the rolling fields of Wisconsin farmland. Bands of America Hall of Fame band directors Michael Rubino, Bob Buckner and Greg Bimm would be preparing their ensembles for a performance in the Marching Bands of America (MBA) Summer Nationals. MBA clinicians such as William D. Revelli would be providing valuable insight to young music students and band directors. If you were a music student or educator in the 1970s and 1980s, Whitewater was the place to be.
Driving through the small farm town, I wondered, "Why Whitewater?" Whitewater not only served as the home of Marching Bands of America, but also previously hosted the very first Drum Corps International Championships in 1972 and 1973. Both DCI and MFA provided placques to the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater honoring the college, which still stand out today on the stadium wall. Last year, DCI providing a fascinating look at the beginnings of drum corps at Whitewater. I also looked to Music for All founder Larry McCormick's book God Is My Drum Major for more information on Whitewater: "It was a perfect location with a beautiful stadium and facility with dorm housing available at reasonable prices."
William D. Revelli, Gene Thrailkill and Mike Davis at the 1976 Summer Nationals
Participation in the Summer Nationals and music workshops grew and grew after the inaugural year. The original purpose of Marching Bands of America stands true to Music for All's mission today to create, provide and expand positively life-changing experiences through music for all. In fact, you may recognize some of the language from MBA's original purpose statement: "An individual's choice to participate in the band, and that band's participation in the broadening experience of competition, is a postive step toward becoming a winner in life." That's right, even in 1976, each of the participants was a "winner in life!"
1976 Grand National Champions, Live Oak H.S., CA and director Michael Rubino
Whitewater was home to Music for All during the formative years of the organization. From the decision to move to a fall marching band championship in 1980 to restructuring as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, Whitewater was home to some of the earliest memories and first positively life-changing experiences. Still today, Perkins Stadium remains a venue for marching ensembles, including a yearly DCI show and the Wisconsin State Marching Band Championships. Although Summer Nationals ended after 1988 and the Summer Band Symposium moved to Illinois State University in 1992 to accomodate the growing camp, Whitewater remains an important part of Music for All's story. My short trip to Whitewater was well worth the detour and provided a fulfilling look into Music for All's earliest history.
Each year, arts advocates from across Indiana travel to the State Capitol in Indianapolis to participate in “Arts Day at the Statehouse,” presented by the Indiana Coalition for the Arts. Music for All is a proud member of the vibrant arts community in the state, and I was excited to represent Music for All and the arts in Indiana last month at Arts Day. I joined close to 50 other artists, teachers and arts administrators in an advocacy training session, a community arts project and most importantly, meeting with legislators to demonstrate our support for the arts in Indiana.
Because Music for All’s pinnacle programs are located in Indiana, MFA has an incredible impact on Indiana’s young people as well as the state and local tax revenue generated from tourism during MFA events. MFA also receives general operating support from the Indiana Arts Commission, partly funded by the Indiana State Legislature. I had the great fortune of sharing with legislators the important work that Music for All and other arts organizations across the state are doing: improving the quality of life, providing economic impact, and providing impactful arts education for Hoosier youth.
After a brief training session where we learned how simple it is to speak to your elected officials, we headed to the Statehouse to “storm the floor.” It was a very busy day at the Statehouse, as many important pieces of legislation were in discussion, but we were still able to meet with many elected officials. In addition to talking points from Music for All, the Indiana Coalition for the Arts also provided us with brief items to discuss with legislators, which included thanking legislators for increased funding for the Indiana Arts Commission and promoting a bill supporting ensemble music education in middle and secondary schools.
Right away, I met with Representative Eric Koch, who is an active supporter of the arts in his South Central Indiana district. While nervously ensuring that I covered all of my talking points, we had a great conversation about Rep. Koch’s passion for the arts. I also had the pleasure of meeting Senator Jean Breaux, who represents my home district in Indianapolis. “The arts have always been an important part of my life,” explained Sen. Breaux. She also represents many underserved families in Indianapolis, including some who participate in MFA’s Indianapolis Public Schools outreach programs. Sen. Breaux been an important advocate for the arts in the State Senate, and it was inspiring to speak firsthand with a legislator with so much passion for the arts.
Indiana State Senator Timothy Lanane and MFA Advocacy Coordinator Seth Williams
(Photo courtesy of Randy Orr, Indiana Coaltion for the Arts)
Later in the afternoon, I met with Senate Minority Leader Timothy Lanane, who represents East Central Indiana, including the home of the MFA Summer Symposium - Ball State University. I spoke with Sen. Lanane about the Summer Symposium and MFA’s commitment to engaging the East Central Indiana community.
Because of the busy day in the Statehouse and the large number of visitors, I was not able to meet with as many legislators as I had hoped. Instead, we had the opportunity to meet other artists, teachers and administrators from all over the state and participate in a community art project entitled Have a HeART, developed by Hoosier artist Joe LaMantia. The project helped spread a message throughout the Statehouse of passion and collaboration through the arts.
The 2014 Arts Day at the Statehouse was a simple yet effective way to meet with legislators and display the impact of the arts, including music education, on Hoosiers. You too can contact your federal, state and local elected officials and spread the message of music education’s impact on students across the U.S. The Indiana Coalition has many resources specific to Indiana elected officials here. You can also visit our partners at SupportMusic.com, including NAMM and the National Association for Music Education, for more national resources. Whether writing an email or letter, calling your representative’s office or visiting them in person, advocating for the arts is integral to ensuring public support for the arts, including music education in our nation’s schools.
All of us at Music for All love hearing from students, directors and parents about their stories involving band and music education! Every once in awhile, someone sends us a great message on Facebook, gives us a call, sends a letter, or shares a photo with us, just because. Words cannot express how much we love hearing from all of you! Today's Student Feature is one of those photos and a story that was shared with us by Sara from the Cary Senior Marching Band!
This past fall at the first ever BOA Winston-Salem Super Regional, The Cary Senior H.S Marching Band was attending along with our down the street rivals, The Green Hope H.S Marching band. During the award ceremony for prelims, when either of our band's names were called for caption awards, clapping didn't seem to be enough to show our respect to our fellow high-schoolers, musicians, and friends. At one point, a member in our band stood up when Green Hope's name was called and made his hands into a heart, and quickly the rest of our band followed. As the award ceremony progressed, suddenly there were hundreds of hearts in the air when either of our names were called. While both of our bands were able to move on to finals, that wasn't the point. The hearts and support we both gave and received is something I'll never forget. It perfectly showcased what marching band is really about, the love of performing, musicianship, unity, and the experiences you get along the way.
- Sara Mears
Sara is absolutely right- THIS is what band is all about. THIS is what Music for All is all about. The experience, the music education community coming together. What a fantastic story and an awesome photo, thanks for sharing Sara!
Learning week to week – the real competition!
Are you better today than you were yesterday? Did you do anything to improve what you do and how you do it? That’s the real competition! It has very little to do with what the judges may say, the scores may show, or an audience appreciates. The real competition is improving yourself!
So what could you do to make sure you’re learning week to week? Well here are a few things you can try:
Find yourself one of those inexpensive hand-held audio recorders – the kind the judges use. Record yourself in two different settings: one in rehearsal (set it on your stand and hit the record button) Next time you’re practicing on your own at home, give it a listen and follow along in your part with a pencil in hand. Put a small check mark next to the stuff you need to work on and work on it!
At the end of your practice session, re-record yourself playing the same sections you check marked. If they’re better, erase the check mark. If not, you still know what to work on next time you practice.
Color guard can do a similar approach via video. Ask someone you know to video you (kind of close up) during your next run through at practice. Use the video to review what you know and what you don’t.
Have someone else listen to and/or watch your performance. Give them your part and let them follow along and make the check marks. You might find some other areas you thought were okay, but in truth still need some work.
Developing your own self-assessment skills will enable you to improve what you do and how you do it. Learning week to week and improving yourself, now that’s the real competition.
Heartland Truly Moving Pictures will hold the 22nd Annual Heartland Film Festival on October 17-26 in Indianapolis. The Festival will showcase the very best in inspiring independent film from all over the world with screenings at AMC Showplace Traders Point 12, AMC Castleton Square 14 and the Wheeler Arts Community in Fountain Square.
Like Music for All, Heartland Truly Moving Pictures is an Indianapolis-based nonprofit arts organization. Their mission is to inspire filmmakers and audiences through the transformative power of film. We are excited to participate in the 2013 Heartland Film Festival $2BACK Program, which gives us $2 back for every ticket purchased online! Use the promo code “MUSIC4ALL.” This is an amazing opportunity to support both Heartland Truly Moving Pictures and Music for All!
You can click here to see the full schedule of films in the Heartland Film Festival, including Life Inside Out, a film that uses music to connect a struggling family: When a mother returned to her musical roots, she rediscovers the passion of her youth and finds a way to connect with her troubled teenage son.
If you are looking for something fun and entertaining to do in Indianapolis this month, why not support local arts organizations while enjoying new, award-winning films! When you purchase tickets online, be sure to enter the promo code “MUSIC4ALL” and support Music for All’s “I believe” campaign.
For more information about the Heartland Film Festival, check out their website: www.HeartlandFilmFestival.org;