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norwood Making your ensemble pop THE MARCHING BAND DILEMMA JOHN HILLSMAN


The Future of Music Education georgia music news / summer 2015



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georgia music news / summer 2015


President Frank Folds President-Elect Dr. John Odom


Vice-President of All State Events Dr. Kerry Bryant


Vice-President of Performance Evaluation Events Carl Rieke

Association News

Past Presidents’ Representative Dr. Bernadette Scruggs

06 The Pesident: Signing Off 07 Historian: You Just Made History!

Executive Director Cecil Wilder Band Division Chair Neil Ruby Choral Division Chair Jeff Funderburk


Elementary Division Chair Karen Leamon College Division Chair Carol Benton

Lowell Mason Fellows Award



Orchestra Division Chair Nicole Thompson

Around the State

Piano Division Chair Donna Dasher

16 District News 17 Woodstock High School goes to Ireland 18 Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia: 50 Year Recognition

District Chairs 1 - Kenza Murray 2 - Andrew C. Bell 3 - Jonathan Carmack 4 - D. Alan Fowler 5 - Carolyn Landreau 6 - Samuel Miller 7 - Bob Steelnack 8 - Catheryn Shaw 9 - Pat Gallagher 10 - Gene Hundley 11 - C. Lloyd McDonald 12 - Paula Krupiczewicz 13 - Lee Newman 14 - Dion Muldrow

Making Your Ensemble Pop Recording artist Norwood reaches out to band and orchestra programs with a unique performance opportunity.

32 The Marching Band Dilemma Presenting an applicable framework the marching band director can utilize to maximize the potential of his or her marching band.

Editor, Georgia Music News Victoria Enloe For the complete list of Board Members please visit:

GMEA Staff Aleta Womack Brandie Barbee Ryan Barbee GMN Advertising/Exhibitors Cindy Reed


Janice Folsom & Wally Shaw

Š Copyright 2015 by the Georgia Music Educators Association Printing by Priority Press, Stockbridge, GA All pieces reproduced in this issue are under prior copyright of the creators and publisher by the contractual arrangements. Nothing shown may be reproduced in any form without obtaining the permission of the publisher and any other person or company who may have copyright ownership. Photos provided by Andy Edwards of Ace of Photos Visit


Purchase a qualifying instrument between April 1, 2015 – June 30, 2015 to receive a $100 mail-in rebate and EPH-100SL Earphones For a complete list of qualifying instruments and to begin the rebate process, visit




4 georgia music news / summer 2015

Athens get to know




Well, we have come to the end of another school year, and it is time for yet another edition of the Georgia Music News. I could write the usual epistle congratulating you on your hard work and wishing you a restful summer. You probably hear more of that than you need without me adding to the pile. Instead, I will leave you with some things to ponder. The following are in no particular order, have no relationship to each other, have no direct bearing on music education, and have no deep or hidden meaning. They are strictly for your entertainment and, possibly, your enlightenment, in that order. When preparing a report for a meeting, begin by voiding any use of the pronouns “I” and “me”. Those are best reserved for job interviews. The removal of those from the lexicon will shorten your report and make it much easier for the attendees to focus on what you are saying. Most people, once they start, have no idea how long they have been talking or when they have made their point. Somewhere along the way these people are likely to say “I don’t mean to dominate the conversation”. We start to think this person should run for congress and learn to recite or read “Green Eggs and Ham”. The astute meeting facilitator will put a limit on the length of time for any person to hold the floor and then stick to it. Many a tedious gathering has been made less so by the simple observation of these two guidelines. An informed electorate is many a politician’s worst nightmare. Do your part for democracy and keep them awake nights. A politician gives people what they want in the hopes of keeping his job. A statesman gives people what they need and convinces them that they want it. This person may or may not keep his job, but he is likely to be treated well by history. A school cannot give you an education, only a diploma. You have to get the education for yourself and, hopefully, a school is a good place to do that. You can get an education without getting a diploma. For clarification I refer you to Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Abraham Lincoln. You can also get a diploma without getting an education, and I will refrain from naming names there.



FEATURED CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Division Chairs The GMEA Division Chairs give readers a recap of the 2014-2015 (Page 10)

The Districts Read up on all that’s going on around the state. (Page 16)

summer 2015 / georgia music news


Victoria Enloe, Bo Na, Kathryn Wyatt, and Janice Yoon Reflecting on the school year and planning for the year ahead. (Page 20)

Norwood Recording artist Norwood reaches out to band and orchestra programs with a unique performance opportunity. (Page 24)

Those who can, teach, and those who cannot, make laws and policies that annoy and get in the way of those who can. An ounce of pretention is worth a pound of manure. “Nothing you do for children is ever wasted”. This one is too good to not give credit. It belongs to Garrison Keillor. I wish I had said it! On any given day, the person whose presence is most likely to be missed in a school is either the custodian or the secretary, not the principal. That is not an indictment of the principal. It just means that she has done a good job of hiring and of establishing the kind of climate in the building that allows people to do their jobs without having someone looking over their shoulder.

John Hillsman Presenting an applicable framework the marching band director can utilize to maximize the potential of his or her marching band. (Page 32)

The first prerequisite to creating a pearl is to irritate the oyster. Citizenship is hard work and patriotism doesn’t mean always agreeing with your government. For all school children: “There is a difference between saying the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag and pledging allegiance to the flag. Sadly, there is more where this came from, but humor and wisdom are hard to come by and need to be rationed so as not to run out in this lifetime. Most of it is common sense, hopefully made more attractive with a humorous delivery. But, hey, why should Mark Twain have all the fun? And that, friends, is just the way I see it.


georgia music news / summer 2015




Has it been two years already? It has been a whirlwind! I have been humbled and honored to serve as President of such an outstanding group of educators. GMEA is strong because of you and the quality teaching you provide for the students of Georgia. Thank you for your dedication and inspiration. It has been an eventful and exciting tenure. We closed the book on our Savannah adventures for the time being and opened up the new book of Athens. All-State events are getting acclimated to the Classic Center and environs. Now it is time to take it for a spin with our In-Service Conference. Please be sure you make the trek to the Classic City for our initial ISC there. A new venue means new possibilities with scheduling events and, as the band, chorus, and orchestra divisions already know, provides an outstanding performance location. Our President-elect, John Odom, and the new state officers will be planning the conference and exploring the Classic Center to

provide the optimum professional learning experience possible. Get your applications for performances or clinics in as soon as you can. Speaking of new officers, let’s congratulation our newly elected vice-presidents. Richard Prouty becomes our new VP for Performance Evaluations, while Tracy Wright takes over as VP for All-State events. Both gentlemen bring a great deal of energy and experience to these jobs. I must take time to thank the members of the Executive Committee who served during my term as President: Mary Land, Immediate Past-President; John Odom, President-Elect; Kerry Bryant, Vice-President for All-State; Carl Reike, Vice-President for Performance Evaluations.; and Bernadette Scruggs, Past-Presidents representative. I have great admiration for each of them as educators and leaders. Also, much thanks to the GMEA office staff. The Georgia Music Educators Association could not function as efficiently as it does without the outstanding work of Cecil Wilder, Brandie Barbee, Ryan Barbee, and Aleta Womack. Please let them know you appreciate their work when you get the chance. Again, thank you for allowing me the opportunity to serve as President of GMEA. It has been my pleasure. I will be forever grateful for this experience. Many good wishes your way as you refresh and recharge over the summer, and I pray for many great blessings for your new year of 2015-16.


HISTORIAN YOU JUST MADE HISTORY! I know - that’s an odd title. How could history be now? Isn’t history something that happened, “way back when”? Just give it a thought. That thought is now history! Yes, you are making history as you read this article. And we are making history as we hold our Large Group Performance Evaluations or District Honor Bands, Orchestras, and Choirs. Also, we make history when we hold our All State groups, Executive Board Meetings, and district meetings. Yes, all of those events and many more are GMEA history, or they are going to become history before this school year ends! Programs are printed and minutes are taken. Then what? The Real Question is: Ten years from now, will anybody know what happened in your district and the state during GMEA’s 2014-15 year? That’s where the vital link between you and your Historian/Archivist comes in. I need for our officers and event hosts to send me copies of every state and district event program so that I can preserve that history in the GMEA Archives. Granted, we haven’t done a good job on

this in the last couple of decades, so no one is used to taking this extra step. Usually we organize, host the event, and then forget it. Now let’s add archive it! There is no time like the present to restart the History Engine. That is basically what I am attempting to do. Preserving our GMEA History needs to be a joint project between our membership and your Historian/Archivist. If you send it to me, I will archive it. Sounds easy, eh? Well…..yes and no. In addition to our state activities, we also have 14 districts in GMEA, and they are all very active. I have tried my best to contact all our state and district officers to request copies of both state and district event programs and meeting minutes. How well we do will depend on the response.



To systematize the gathering of this information, I have established hard folders in which to file state and district minutes and programs. That way, in years to come, we will have hard copies ready to access when our membership requests information. At some point, we also hope to digitize all our records. Your help in getting me the programs and minutes archived will be greatly appreciated and much more effective than me chasing the information down. Also, a thank you goes out to past GMEA President Herb Cox for his ongoing interest in our archives. It was my privilege to spend some time with Herb when he attended the District Five High School Band LGPE. Herb is an excellent source of information about our GMEA history. It is great to see his dedication to our association. Mr. Herb, we salute you!

in service conference


georgia music news / summer 2015



9 summer 2015 / georgia music news


Lowell Mason (1792 – 1872) is credited with being the father of music education in U.S. public schools. He was a lifelong musician, educator, and hymn composer. In 1833, Mason and others founded the Boston Academy of Music, and this helped to establish music as part of the Boston public schools curriculum. This year, Cecil Wilder was awarded the distinction of being named a Lowell Mason Fellow. This NAfME honor recognizes music educators, music education advocates, political leaders, industry professional, and others for their exceptional contributions to music education. Mr. Wilder’s accomplishments in the field of music education will be detailed on the NAfME website and his name will be added to the Fellows Window at NAfME headquarters.

georgia music news / summer 2015




Dear Colleagues, The GMEA Band Division enjoyed another great year with increased membership and participation in all areas. The level of talent displayed at each of our events further displays the exceptional teaching and leadership taking place in our band programs. The 2015 In-Service Conference was a huge success! It was the perfect way to end our many years in Savannah with beautiful performances and inspiring clinics. Attendance at all of the events was extremely high, further proving that the Band Division is ready for even more performances and clinic session offerings in the years to come. Special thanks to all the directors who served as Hosts and Presiders to make sure everything ran smoothly. We will certainly all miss going to Savannah at the end of January but I am confident we will continue the tradition of excellence and provide even more opportunities for our directors as we move ISC to Athens. All-State Band weekend was also a tremendous success. The conductors working with all of the groups were very talented, professional, and motivating. All of the performances were absolutely incredible. The snow and ice certainly made the days leading up to All-State weekend interesting and stressful. Despite the many weather related cancellations in the state, I am very proud to say that the Band Division only had two students not attend, and the event ran on schedule the entire weekend. This is a testament to the caliber of band students we have in our state and the unwavering support they receive from parents and directors. I would like to personally thank some individuals for helping me through my first year as State Band Chair. Mr. Robin Christian has been an incredible support tool for me in this transition year and I would not have made it through the year without his guidance, support, and friendship. I would also like to thank Cecil Wilder, Brandie and Ryan Barbee, and the entire GMEA office for everything you do for me and our entire organization. Lastly, I want to thank Alfred Watkins for the support and wealth of knowledge he provided me over the past year. We are very fortunate in GMEA to have so many directors working for us in so many different capacities. As I look back over the year and think about the many events we run, I am reminded that we would not be the organization we are today without you, our directors. John Quincy

Adams said, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.� And leaders you are. Our students are so blessed to have what I feel are the best music educators in the world. You are the lifeline of our organization. Special thanks to all of the Band Division Chairs, Committees, Hosts, Organizers, and Volunteers that make these events happen. It takes the united effort of us all to do what we do and that is provide our band students with the best opportunities possible. There is still much to be done in our division and organization as a whole. We need to strive for even greater excellence in all we do and offer our students. We need to continue to be a support tool for other directors in our state and we need to continue to work together to make GMEA the best Music Education Association in the country! I hope everyone is able to take a least part of the summer to rest and recharge their batteries before another school year begins. For those who are retiring this year, we congratulate you on your career and thank you for the service you gave GMEA and our students. Have a great summer, God Bless, and I look forward to seeing everyone next school year!

Wow! The last two years…well, actually four years have flown by! We’ve accomplished many things through this term. I appreciate the activity of our choral division membership. Your input through emails, surveys, and personal conversations has been instrumental in helping to get our work done. Many of you have spent hours helping run our division. Our standing committees have been fully functional with their areas. They have been a great source of advice and encouragement. Thank you for your patience and understanding as I consulted with these committees to provide answers that were sometimes unpopular. You all have been super supportive. I know that you will continue that support of Wes Stoner as he assumes the role of State Choral Chair. Let me encourage you to stay actively involved or become more involved in your choral division. Read your handbook, explore Opus and the GMEA websites, update your school and personal calendars with all of the important dates and deadlines, and get to know your leadership. Thank you to all of you who have been ears and eyes for documents, emails, tests, etc. Your friendship through my term has been more than appreciated! To quote one of my favorite performers, Carol Burnett, at the closing of her TV show, “I’m so glad we’ve had this time together. Just to have a laugh or sing a song. Seems we just get started and, before you know it, comes the time to say…so long!” It’s been a GREAT experience! Thank you for your support!

ELEMENTARY DIVISION Karen Leamon What a privilege it has been to serve these past two years as your GMEA Elementary Division Chairman! The elementary music teachers in Georgia are alive and well. I appreciate all the help you have freely (and without complaint) given during my tenure. I’m confident you will lend a helping hand to Vicky Knowles, our incoming elementary division chairman, as well! In case you did not see my recent article in the Spring GMN, there has been a change in schedule for next year’s Statewide Elementary Honor Chorus. The event will be held February 19-20, 2016, in Athens, GA. (We will no longer have Statewide Elementary Honor Chorus in November.) This is the same weekend as Sixth Grade Honor Chorus. Holding the event in February in Athens will allow for a later registration deadline and make it easier on the teachers who teach both 5th and 6th grade. The new registration deadline is October 27, 2015. You will be allowed to register five 4th or 5th graders. We hope the change in date and venue will make it easier for everyone to participate this coming school year! I encourage you to use the summer months to recharge your “batteries” and learn something new you can incorporate into your teaching next year. It could be as simple as catching up on reading the NAfME journals and Georgia Music News or testing out a new technology resource. Maybe you will decide this is the summer you are going to get that Orff or Kodaly certification or participate in a World Drumming course. Check out the many workshops and staff development opportunities in our area or across the country. Be adventuresome! Where ever you go or whatever you do this summer, find a way to sing, dance or play your cares away.


Jeff Funderburk

summer 2015 / georgia music news



georgia music news / summer 2015


GUITAR DIVISION Dr. Luther Enloe I hope that you found the 2014-2015 academic year to be enriching and rewarding in all of your endeavors, especially those directed toward teaching guitar. This year, Georgia music educators have continued to grow guitar education in both quantity and quality. For instance, many of you answered a questionnaire contributing to Rob Pethel’s research as he pursues a Ph.D. in music education. This research explores the practices of top ranking guitar teachers throughout the country and will contribute to a better understanding of teaching practices and techniques. We hosted guitar pedagogue Glen McCarthy in four sessions at the 2015 In-Service Conference, in addition to many outstanding sessions and performances by both students and professionals. Another major stride forward was the event, “Giocoso! Guitar Day @ North Gwinnett Middle School”. This event, created and hosted by Caryn Volk, provided both large group and solo/ensemble evaluations for guitar classes. Participating groups included both year-long performing ensembles and one-time, nine-week, elective classes. Groups too far away to participate in person were able to enter video submissions,

as well. Indeed, this was a great year for guitar education in Georgia! I am thrilled to have colleagues across the state willing to work together for the betterment of students’ music education and our profession. Let’s continue this spirit of camaraderie as we charge our batteries this summer and begin planning our endeavors for next year. If you teach guitar and have not gotten involved, please do so. Whether you are the teacher of a nine-week guitar connections class, a high school teacher with graded ensembles, or a professor of guitar at the college level, GMEA has something to offer you. With continued communication and cooperation, we are creating a network of guitar programs across the state, and the more people who get involved, the more enriching the experience for everyone!

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georgia music news / summer 2015


ORCHESTRA DIVISION Nicole Thompson Happy Summer! Another successful year is wrapping up in the GMEA Orchestra Division, and I’d like to thank everyone who has generously volunteered their time for the purpose of music education. I’ve always been appreciative of the willingness of orchestra teachers to say yes when called upon to help. There are so many volunteers required to host events and they are all very time-consuming jobs. I am so thankful for those of you who work tirelessly to give kids more and more opportunities to succeed and enrich their lives through music. My tenure as your State Orchestra Chair has come to an end, and I am passing the responsibilities to the capable hands of Sarah Black. Ms. Black has quite a bit of experience to bring to the GMEA State Orchestra Chair position. She has served as state Treasurer for GA-ASTA and the GMEA District 13 Orchestra chair. Ms. Black has organized many GMEA events including solo/ensemble, and she served as 9-10 All State Orchestra Coordinator for two years. Ms. Black has presented professional development sessions in several states, including Georgia, South and North Carolina, and Tennessee. She serves as a mentor to new orchestra teachers in Gwinnett County and has supervised numerous student teachers who have gone on to become successful orchestra teachers. I know Sarah will do a fantastic job! I have been honored and humbled to have served you these past two years. I hope you have a restful summer planned! That is; once summer camps conclude, private lessons wind down, and graduate work/PLU Credits are completed; I hope you still have time to take a well-deserved break. Congratulations on the hard work you have put in this year! Music is important, music is academic, and we will continue to work diligently to share music everywhere we can. I wish you the best in the future.


Two years serving as your GMEA Piano Division Chair has come and gone quickly. These were most memorable at Conference time as “The Year of the Ice Storm” and “The Last Year in Savannah”! Many thanks go out to all of the GMEA members and staff who have been helpful and supportive in my efforts to lead and direct the Piano Division during these past two years. There are some important changes that have occurred during my term. Teachers must now participate in the All-State Piano Auditions if sending students, or forfeit their eligibility to participate in the following year. The auditions have also moved to Clayton State University on the Saturday before Thanksgiving instead of the first Saturday in December. Hopefully, we will now all be able to enjoy time with our families, having completed the event before the holiday season begins. And, students and teachers will have adequate time to accept a performance spot at the In-Service Conference, if earned, while

not rushing the chair to provide the performing students and repertoire for the conference program. Also, starting this year, students will sight read, perform scales, and take a written theory exam as part of their All-State Auditions, which will bring the Piano Division up to the standard of All-State. With regard to All-State, once students have accepted a position of performance in the GMEA In-Service Conference, they, too, will forfeit their eligibility to audition the following year if they fail to perform. Additionally, and very importantly, teachers must pay conference fees to enter any conference event, including recitals, which are a central part of the conference. Teachers will have to show their conference ID badge to enter any GMEA event. Teachers, and especially those with students performing, should plan to attend not only the recitals, but also the conference sessions that have been so carefully planned for your education and advancement in skills and teaching expertise. In addition, new sight reading material has been implemented for the spring or fall performance evaluations, and is being disbursed electronically to the district chairs rather than by “snail mail.” Teachers should plan to use the spring and fall performance evaluations to gauge their students’ progress and performance, and as a stepping stone to the All-State auditions. The All-State auditions should not be entered into simply for “the experience.” The performance evaluations will give your students the experience of performing for adjudication that they need prior to performing at the state level. There are also 14 districts now, and we are in need of several district chairs to fill all the positions. If you love teaching piano, and care about the future of piano within GMEA, please consider volunteering your time as a District Chair and Piano Council member in the coming years. Trust me, two years comes and goes quickly, and the work involved is small compared to the good that can be achieved in the lives of our students. Before I leave you, I want to introduce you to your new Piano Division Chair. Dr. Joanna Kim is a nationally certified teacher of music in piano and a group piano teaching specialist. She serves as the director of keyboard studies at the University of North Georgia. She is an active clinician and an adjudicator around the state. She maintains an active performing career and recently has earned the designation of a Steinway Artist. She has performed throughout the United States and Europe as a soloist and a chamber artist. Dr. Kim is an advocate of music education and is very excited about this new responsibility as Piano Division Chair for GMEA. Please give her your sincere support during the coming years as she works to lift the Piano Division to higher standards and professionalism.


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summer 2015 / georgia music news

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georgia music news / summer 2015



AROUND THE STATE DISTRICT NEWS • The Cantabile Chorus from McIntosh High School in Peachtree City competed at a national competition in March. The choir earned a Gold rating and won Grand Champion for the event. The group that competed is made up of 24 auditioned 10th-12th grade girls under the direction of Hannah Beth Potter.

• The Glynn Middle School Symphonic Band was recently named Grand Champion of the OrlandoFest Band and Orchestra Competition. The Glynn Middle Band, under the direction of Alan Wendel, performed Welcome by Harold Bennett, Air for Band by Frank Erikson, and Arabian Dances by Roland Barrett. The band placed first in the middle school concert band division and was named Grand Champion, overall, scoring higher than all other middle school and high school ensembles.


• District VII had a very exciting year with the District VII Honor Band performance being held in the new Robin L. Christian Performing Arts Center. The Performance Center was dedicated on August 12, 2014 to Robin L. Christian, who also received the GMEA Music Educator of the Year award for 2015. The clinicians for this Honor Band were Peter Boonshaft from Hofstra University, NY, Captain Brian Walden, Commander, US Navy Band, Washington, D.C., Ralph Ford, a composer from Troy, AL, and Jon Cotton, Oconee County Middle School. • The last honor band of the year, District Clinic Honor Band, offers an opportunity for first and second year players who did not make District to have an opportunity to experience an honor band setting. These students came highly recommended by their directors, who chose them for the nomination process. This year we had over 200 students and 20 different schools participate from across the district. The honor band was held on Saturday, May 2, 2015, and was hosted by Brandi Crider at Model High School in Rome, Georgia, where Tim Burton is the director of bands. The clinicians for 2015 were Jane Seanor from Cartersville Middle School and Wesley Brooks, Assistant Director at Woodland High School, who also assists at both South Central and Woodland Middle School.


• District Eight instrumental music is alive and well! The number of bands that participated in the 2015 LGPE is up some 10 to 12 bands. We are working on approving a district handbook for procedure which should be voted on during our spring meeting 2015. Some notable 2014-15 district eight events include: • The Charlton County High School Band, under the direction of Curt Hersey, was invited to perform at Southeastern United States Middle School Clinic and Honor Bands (SEUS) at Troy University. • The Ware County High School Brass Ensemble per- formed at the 2015 GMEA In-Service Conference. • 11-12 District Honor Band was conducted by Dr. David Holsinger. • 9-10 District Honor band was conducted by Mr. Vincent Rosse. • District Jazz Band was conducted Dr. Wycliffe Gordon.


WYCLIFFE GORDON • Middle School Honor Band were conducted by Mrs. Natalie Brown and Mr. Lloyd McDonald. • John Reed (Jeff Davis High School band) conducts a five year old community band in Hazelhurst, “Three Riv ers Symphony Winds” • Deborah Bradley and Frank Butenschon conduct a new community band in Valdosta, “Azalea Winds”

Dublin,Ireland • The Woodstock High School Marching Wolverines represented Cherokee County and the state of Georgia well at the 2015 St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Dublin, Ireland! Parade Day brought over 500,000 people to downtown Dublin. There were at least 20 national TV stations streaming live and four filmed the band and drum line warming up. Back home, family and friends were able to view the live stream early in the morning.

summer 2015 / georgia music news



• District nine held its inaugural District 9 Honor Orchestra on May 1and 2, 2015. The hugely successful event was held at River Ridge High School and organized by River Ridge director Daniel Gray. Participating schools include River Ridge High School (director, Daniel Gray), Mill Creek Middle School (director, Ben Rice), Woodstock Middle School (director, Jefferson Doyle), Dean Rusk Middle School (director, Tim Christian), Lambert High School (director, Scott McCoy), and Woodstock High School (director, Christin Lawhorne). Since this was the first year for the event, students were nominated by their directors. Ashley Culley, Dodgen Middle School, served as the middle school honor orchestra clinician, and Jere Flint, Reinhardt University, served as the high school group clinician. Tiffany Watson (violin), Sara Beth Wilson (viola), Ruth Mehari (cello), and Ian Scheffer (bass) were guest instructors in the mini master classes.


what’s going on in your



information to your district



georgia music news / summer 2015


DISTRICT NEWS • The 2014-2015 school year has been a busy one for District 12 band programs! In September, the Dickerson Middle School Symphonic Band was named a state-level winner in the Foundation for Music Education’s Wind Band Honors program, while the Hillgrove High School Wind Symphony was the only band from Georgia to be named a national-level winner. • In November, the Kennesaw Mountain High School Band was crowned the Bands of America AAA National Champion at Grand Nationals, and was a national finalist! Georgia was represented by the Harrison High School Marching Band in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, and by the Walton High School Band in the Rose Bowl Parade in Pasadena, TX. • Bands from Dickerson Middle School, Hightower Trail Middle School, and two bands from Hillgrove High School each performed at the inaugural Music for All Southeastern Regional Concert Band Festival at Georgia State University in February. In March, the Lassiter High School Percussion Ensemble performed at the Music for All National Percussion Festival and the Lassiter High School Symphonic I and Symphonic II bands performed at the Music for All National Concert Band Festival in Indianapolis, IN. • The Cobb Wind Symphony and the Mabry Middle School Symphonic Band both performed at the 2015 GMEA In-Service Conference, and Jonathan Deakins, a 7th grade student from Pine Mountain Middle School, was one of the composers chosen for the GMEA Composition Conference. Pine Mountain band alumni currently in the Kennesaw Mountain High School Band performed his composition. • The Kennesaw Mountain High School Wind Ensemble was also a guest band at the University of Georgia JanFest, Lovinggood Middle School was a guest band at the University of Georgia MidFest, and Hightower Trail traveled to perform at the University of Alabama Middle School Honor Band Clinic. The Dickerson Middle School Percussion Ensemble represented District 12 and Georgia in a featured performance at the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic.

• Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, the world’s oldest and largest secret national fraternal society in music, honored several Music Educators in GMEA District 12 this semester. The recognition ceremony was held in the heart of District 12 at the Bailey Performance Center on the main campus of Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, GA. • The Nu Theta chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia at KSU hosted the event that included the presentation of anniversary pins to some of Georgia’s leading mu sic educators who have maintained membership in Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia for 10, 25, or 50 years. • Receiving the 10-year anniversary recognition were Brian Westphal - Dodgen Middle School; Fred Norton - Hightower Trail Middle School; Christopher Farrell - Cobb County Instrumental Music Supervisor; and John Palmer - Dickerson Middle School. • Receiving the 25-year anniversary recognition were Andrew Cole - Hightower Trail Middle School; Dr. Tony Bernard - Eastvalley Elementary School; David Klausman - Freelance Trumpet Performer; Dr. Charles Jackson - Kennesaw State University; William Payne; and Dr. Harry Price - Kennesaw State University. • Receiving the 50-year anniversary recognition were Robert Cowles- Retired Director of Bands at Walton High School; John Mote- Retired Director of Bands at Etowah High School; and Boyd McKeown- Retired Director of Bands at Marietta High School, Past-Music Supervisor of the Cobb County School District, and GMEA Past-President.

Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia: 50-year Anniversary Recognition

• GMEA’s District 12 extends thanks and gratitude to these Sinfonians for their many contributions to students of music in Georgia. • The Walton High School Chamber Orchestra, under the direction of Perry Holbrook and Sara Grimes, received the 2014 Mark of Excellence Award from the Foundation for Music Education.

Students from PALMER MIDDLE SCHOOL perform with Christopher Cross at the Cobb Energy Center

• Middle School singers from all over District 12 joined together to make beautiful music under the direction of Dr. Kenney Potter at this year’s Honor Chorus event. The concert hall at Lassiter High School proved to be the perfect performance space for this event. • Congratulations to Lindley Sixth Grade Academy student, Kayla Robinson, who wrote an essay that netted her a $1000 music scholarship for her winning entry in the contest called “How Does Your Music Class Prepare You for Life?” • Ten students from Palmer Middle School were chosen to sing with Christopher Cross at the Cobb Energy Center. The students were treated like celebrities and thrilled to have such an amazing performance opportunity. • On May 26, 2015, Gwinnett County orchestra teachers came together to perform at the Gwinnett County Public Schools Spring Teachers’ Retirement Luncheon held at the Gwinnett Arena. Each year, orchestra teachers from around the county meet to perform, honor those who have devoted their careers to education, and enjoy some fellowship over lunch after the performance. Bernadette Scruggs organizes this great performance opportunity each year, and the number of teachers participating has grown steadily, reaching 30 orchestra members in 2015. This year, David DuBose, GCPS Director of Fine Arts, served as guest conductor for this fine ensemble. For many orchestra teachers, this event has become a much anticipated gig and a great way to start the summer break!

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georgia music news / summer 2015


It may seem that an article entitled New Year’s Resolutions would be out of place in the summer edition of a magazine…unless you’re a music educator. For many of us, summer marks the beginning of a natural time for reflection, much like December 31st. We have presented four or more concerts and have received detailed feedback on our groups’ performances at district Large Group Performance Evaluations. Now, as we wrap up the school year, there may be a bit more time to look back, take stock of our accomplishments and stumbling blocks, and begin formulating plans for the school year ahead. As I reflected on my orchestras’ performance experiences this year and compared notes with colleagues Kathryn Wyatt, Janice Yoon, and Bo Na, regarding LGPE in particular, we brainstormed some ideas for next year. Below are some of the things we either took away from our experiences, or practices we have put into place in years past that continue to work for us. I share them in hopes that there may be something here others will find useful, or that will spark some discussion among colleagues.


Write It Down

KW: I need to incorporate a lot more listening in to my teaching and not spend every moment practicing through the music. I need to record the students frequently and have them listen to themselves. I should also make it a point to listen to as many other choral groups as possible, both good and bad so that I can compare and contrast my group’s sound to others. As it gets closer to LGPE, I am hearing my own groups so many hours a day that I can lose the goals that I originally had for my group’s overall sound. I need a chance to “reset” my ears by listening to groups I admire in hopes of being able to really listen to my own groups more critically.

JY: In rehearsal, I wrote in some extra dynamics, but didn’t write them in the scores for judges, so in places marked piano, when we did a crescendo, they commented that it was too loud. So, write everything in the judges’ scores!

JY: One of our LGPE judges commented last year that the real dynamics aren’t written on the page. This is something good for students and teachers to keep in mind…

Rehearse Small Groups

BN: Listening to professional recordings is important. Students need to listen and should know that our final result should sound almost like that. Start with the end in the mind! A couple weeks before LGPE, we record ourselves and let the kids critique themselves. You may be surprised how much you find by just listening to yourselves. VE: I would like to hear students play individually more frequently, weekly, just short passages and scales, things that I can hear quickly. This would help me identify students’ strengths and weaknesses and better enable me to seat them with partners that will help them improve.


KW: As I listen to my groups and hear areas of weakness, I need to make time to put away the music for a few minutes and just focus on those weak areas. For example, is the choir struggling with breath support? I need to take more time in warm-ups to introduce some new exercises that will help them to correct the problem. Giving them new exercises can also give them a break from the music to avoid burn out and can force them to concentrate on making the necessary changes needed for a superior performance.

VE: Insist that everyone write important information in their part. As a younger teacher, it didn’t occur to me to say explicitly, “Write this in your part,” but it can save a lot of time. Last fall, to assist with this, we decided to glue pencil holders to every stand and supply golf pencils (the short kind that students would be less likely to walk away with), so everyone has a pencil on their stand each day.

BN: If possible, sectionals are so helpful.

KW: I need to isolate individual sections in the ensemble more frequently throughout the rehearsal process to check for problems and address any questions or concerns the students might have. Even as we get close to our LGPE, it would be good to step back and check for slip-ups and mistakes in small groups and sections to ensure that everyone in the ensemble is completely prepared.


KW: Get the students in front of an audience a few times before the concert. I have really enjoyed having my students listen to the band as they prepare for LGPE and then having them serve an audience for the chorus. This also allows another director to come in and give me some feedback on their performance. VE: By the time of a concert, I often wish I had spent more time looking around the room, rather than with my eyes glued to the score. Reinforcing correct posture, uniform bow placement and usage, and encouraging students to look up and gain awareness of aspects other than their written parts are a few things to focus on. Also, having anyone, another teacher, administrator, or guest, observe brings me greater awareness in rehearsal, so having other people in the classroom can be a great motivator to get my best work done.



Step off the Podium



Select Appropriate Repertoire

BN: Let other teachers come in to work with your kids. I asked Georgia Ekonomou to come and work with our kids one morning this year. She was so awesome. The kids and I learned so much from her. We also get our fabulous high school teachers working with our kids, so that’s a great help, too.

BN: Choosing right repertoire is so important. The students will work hard and will sound good if the music is the correct level for them and is fun to play. I spend hours on the JW Pepper website to find the right music for my students, and it really helps. Choosing a slightly easier selection within a level helps us to perfect the little details.

VE: Ask a student to conduct rehearsal (even just standing on the podium keeping time) while you observe your class or grab an instrument (and a pencil) and sit at the back of a section. In my experience, students really enjoy being led by a peer, and there are many talented students (not necessarily the best instrumentalists) who have so much more to offer than just playing their parts. Observing the rehearsal from different parts of the room provides a lot of helpful information, as well.

JY: This year, many of my eighth grade students were highly opinionated about our music selections, so I was particularly careful in choosing LGPE repertoire. I knew that all three pieces would need to appeal to them if I wanted to hold their interest and keep them motivated as we dissected the music in rehearsal.

Strategize Seating

JY: I thought I was being smart by placing all the strongest violins on 1st violin, and, yes, it was easier to teach the difficult melodic passages that they have, but I thought the overall intonation of the orchestra was flat by about 20%, especially in 7th grade, because the inner voices, who usually have the third of the harmony, were flat. VE: Several years ago, we decided to try pairing stronger players with weaker players. We took this practice from our feeder program at Hull MS and found it to be extremely helpful for both partners. This seating gives stronger players the enrichment opportunity to act as teachers and provides some individual attention to weaker players.

VE: One of the best ways I’ve found to select music, especially for LGPE, is to attend pre-LGPE concerts and to watch as many LGPE performances as possible. You can see which selections are popular (and therefore judged worthwhile by colleagues) just by looking at the program, and after seeing a few ensembles perform them, you can identify the concepts each teaches as well as the true level of challenge they’ll provide for your group.

Final Thoughts

BN: I think we learn so much from the whole process. If we treat every performance like LGPE, then LGPE is not such a big deal. It’s just like another concert. KW: I tell my students all the time that as musicians, we are constantly striving to improve no matter how well we are doing. We should take every opportunity to learn more about our craft. VE: It’s important to take some time to reflect on the year, not only to make goals and plans for the future, but to celebrate students’ and our own growth. Hopefully, summer will provide us all with the much needed opportunity to rest and reflect so we might begin the next school year with a resolution or two!

summer 2015 / georgia music news





georgia music news / summer 2015



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-William Arthur Ward

23 summer 2015 / georgia music news

The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.

georgia music news / summer 2015



Eddie Owen, founder of the Decatur, GA, music venue, Eddie’s Attic, has always nurtured young musicians, helping to launch the careers of such performers as John Mayer, Jennifer Nettles, the Indigo Girls, and Shawn Mullins. Through his newest venue, Eddie Owen Presents @ Red Clay Music Foundry, in Duluth, GA, Eddie continues his mission of engaging up and coming musicians through several programs, including the Open Mic Project and Community Stages. He also offers the Red Clay stage, free of charge, for a unique outreach project to support Duluth area band and orchestra programs.

Atlanta-based pop artist Norwood has been fascinated by music for as long as he can remember. “My parents used to sit me in front of a CD player with classical music to get me to stop crying,” he recalls. At the age of 18, after years of voice lessons, piano lessons, and participation in musical theater productions, Norwood was able to parlay his passion for music into a solo pop career. His aspirations, however, reach beyond his performance career into partnering with high school music ensembles to help them create one-of-a-kind performance opportunities. In the fall of 2013, Norwood and manager Jayne Madigan created Norwood’s Noteworthy Noise, a foundation aimed at helping school music programs raise funds through collaborative concert projects. “I am blessed to have benefited from music education throughout my life, and I wanted to find a way to give back and promote music education in schools. We have been losing funding for education in this country over the years, and often the arts are the first thing to be cut. So, through the foundation, I partner with high school orchestras/bands to create unique performance and fundraising opportunities.” While music performance is still the familiar basis for these collaborative shows, working with a pop singer offers students an uncommon experience with its own distinct rewards. For example, the director and students work with Norwood to determine the set list, likely a more diverse range of music than many concert programs comprise. The lineup could include classical and jazz selections, and pop covers Norwood will perform with the stu-

dents. Ensembles would also play transcriptions of Norwood’s original songs, which, Norwood adds, “gives the students a chance to take my Pop songs, put their own spin on them, and play them in a unique way.” Learning to rehearse and perform with a soloist are other relatively new dimensions for many students and directors. While there are many excellent arrangements of popular music, a selection may still require some discussion and editing to enable the best possible performance. Regarding his first performance with a high school orchestra, Norwood reflects, “We had to overcome differences in our musical styles and training along the way. For instance, the students are all fantastic at reading sheet music, while I am much more comfortable playing by chord charts or by ear – so we had to learn how to ‘speak each other’s language’ and work together to bring the performances to fruition.” An aspect of these projects particularly appealing to students and audience members is the chance to perform outside of the school auditorium. Norwood’s foundation seeks out venues like the Red Clay Music Foundry in downtown Duluth, GA, which lend themselves well to the pop concert experience and give students a glimpse into what goes on behind the scenes (lighting, sound check, etc.). Further, all of the money raised from ticket sales goes back to the band or orchestra program. Through his foundation, Norwood aids students in participating in enriching and divergent musical experiences while helping to support funding for school music programs. From collaborating with a talented professional singer to participating in an unforgettable performance, students benefit tremendously. When asked to describe what he has gained from working with high school instrumental ensembles, Norwood says, “I always learn something new from the students and their teachers – be it music theory, how an orchestra works, or how performing with 40 other people on stage is different than performing on your own. I also get to be a mentor for the students, which is incredibly rewarding. I’ve had students who want to pursue careers in music approach me for advice, and it feels incredible to be able to help them find their path in life.”

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26 georgia music news / summer 2015


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summer 2015 / georgia music news




georgia music news / summer 2015



Neil Ruby is in his seventeenth year as the Director of Bands and Fines Art Chairman at Central - Carroll High School, in Carrollton, Georgia, earning consistent superior ratings at concert, jazz and marching events. He is also the Fine Arts Liaison for the Carroll County School System. Mr. Ruby received a B.M. Degree in Music Education from the University of West Georgia in Carrollton, Georgia, and a M.M. Degree in Music Education from the Vandercook College of Music in Chicago, Illinois. He is a frequent performer, adjudicator and clinician for events throughout the United States. Mr. Ruby is the Georgia Music Educator’s Association State Band Chair. He has served four terms as the GMEA District Seven Chairman and on the Music Selection Committee, Nominations Committee, Marching Band Committee, All-State Committee, and as a Mentoring Teacher for the State of Georgia. He is a GMEA-Certified Head Adjudicator for the Large Group Performance Evaluations. Mr. Ruby has received the prestigious National Band Association Certificate of Merit for Music Excellence. He is a 2012 Teacher of the Year recipient in Carroll County and was chosen as the STAR teacher of Central High School in 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, and 2010 and STAR Teacher for the Carroll County School System in 2004 and 2010. Mr. Ruby was also chosen as the Teacher of the Year by the Wal-Mart Foundation and the 2012 STAR 94 “Teachers Make a Difference” recipient as a Georgia Teacher of the Year.


Under his direction, the Central-Carroll Band Program has earned over 400 superior ratings, 200 class placement awards, and 34 Grand Championships in the past 17 years. The Central – Carroll High School Bands have received letters of commendations from both Governor Sonny Purdue and Governor Roy Barnes and two resolutions from the Georgia State House of Legislature. Mr. Ruby and the Central –Carroll Marching Pride have represented the State of Georgia on two occasions in the Tournament of Rose Parade in Pasadena, California. Mr. Ruby is an active member of numerous professional organizations including: Georgia Music Educator’s Association, National Association for Music Education, Phi Beta Mu (Executive Board), National Band Association, Professional Association of Georgia Educator’s, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, and American School Band Director’s Association. Mr. Ruby attends Midway Macedonia Baptist Church in Villa Rica, Georgia.


A native of Canton, Georgia, Wes Stoner is the Choral Director at Hillgrove High School in the Cobb County School District, where he teaches and conducts the Chamber Choir, Select Women’s Ensemble, and Treble Chorus. He holds a Bachelor of Music in Music Education from the University of Georgia and a Master of Music in Choral Conducting from Michigan State University. Prior to Hillgrove, Wes held positions teaching choral music and music theory at Kennesaw Mountain High School, Lovejoy High School, and the Fine Arts Magnet at Mt. Zion High School, where he jointly served as the Lead Teacher of Choral Music for the Clayton County Public Schools. Conductors and teachers, under which he studied, include Rodney Caldwell, Edgar Scruggs, Allen Crowell, David Rayl, Jonathan Reed, and Sandra Snow.


An active member within the Choral Division of GMEA, Wes served as the organizer for the District 6 High School Honor Chorus for four years, and for the Senior Women’s All-State Chorus in 2012, under the direction of Dr. Sandra Snow. Wes is also active as a clinician and guest conductor, having conducted numerous district honor choruses across the state. In 2013, he conducted the Hillgrove Select Women’s Ensemble at the In-Service Conference for GMEA in Savannah, GA. He is a frequent guest conductor of the Cherokee Chorale in Canton, most recently for its 2011 - 2014 Pops concert series. Wes served two terms as the District 12 Choral Chair, and is currently the State Chair-Elect of the Choral Division for GMEA. Wes maintains an active singing schedule, having appeared with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus and Chamber Chorus at New York’s Carnegie Hall and twice with the Berlin Philharmonic. He also sings with, and is the Assistant Conductor for, Coro Vocati, a professional chamber choral ensemble in Atlanta, conducted by Dr. John Dickson. In the summers of 2011 and 2014, Wes sang as a member of the choir for the C.S. Lewis Institute’s Oxbridge program, in Oxford and Cambridge, England. Wes is currently a staff singer at First Presbyterian Church of Atlanta. Professional affiliations include NAfME and ACDA.


Laura A. Stambaugh is Associate Professor and Director of Music Education at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, GA. She teaches courses in music education and music cognition, and she supervises Field Experiences. She is also program director for an afterschool outreach program that provides teacher candidates the opportunity to teach group guitar and world drumming lessons to local elementary and middle school students. Prior to joining the faculty of Georgia Southern, she taught at Western Washington University, WA. Previously, she spent 11 years in New Hampshire teaching elementary and middle school band and chorus. Dr. Stambaugh’s primary research interest examines the development of woodwind playing skills through motor learning perspectives. She has presented her research at state, national, and international conferences in music education, performance science, and music cognition. Her publications appear in Journal of Research in Music Education, Update: Applications of Research in Music Education, Psychology of Music, Journal of Music Teacher Education, Music Educators Journal, and Teaching Music. Dr. Stambaugh has earned a BM in Music Education from Ithaca College, an MM in Music Education from Northwestern University, and a PhD in Music Education from University of Washington.

summer 2015 / georgia music news



VICTORIA KNOWLES Vicky Knowles received her Master of Music Education from the University of Georgia and Bachelor of Music Education from Augusta State University. She has taught elementary music for 20+ years and this is her eighth year teaching at Cloverleaf Elementary in Bartow County. Her classes include Kindergarten – 5th grade students and an after-school chorus. Her choruses have consistently earned Excellent and Superior ratings at Large Group Performance Evaluation. She is also teaching music appreciation online for Georgia Piedmont Technical College.




Vicky is a member of GMEA and the Atlanta Area AOSA. As a member of GMEA she has co-organized Statewide Elementary Honor chorus and assisted with numerous statewide and district events. She has presented for CMENC at Kennesaw State University and at the In-service Conference in Savannah. She is Orff Schulwerk certified in Levels I, II and III. As a member of AOSA Vicky served as co-chair for the Atlanta Area AOSA Honor Chorus and helped organize travel for that group to perform in Charlotte, NC for the AOSA National Convention, November 2008.

Vicky is active in her local music community. She is a founding member and current president of the Bartow Winds a community band in Cartersville. She has participated in adult church choirs and led children’s choirs and hand bell ensembles. She co-directed a summer musical camp at the Grand Theater in Cartersville and has volunteered with the Cass High Band, the Cartersville City Ballet and Cartersville Artistic Talent Showcase (C.A.T.S).



georgia music news / summer 2015



Sarah Black has been teaching orchestra for eighteen years, all in Gwinnett County, originally at Lanier Middle and now at North Gwinnett Middle School in Sugar Hill, Ga, where she is one of three orchestra directors. The North Gwinnett MS orchestra program has almost 580 students enrolled in grades 6-8. The 8th grade orchestra was selected to perform at GMEA in January (2012), and received the GMEA Exemplary Performance Award in 2009. In December 2013, the NGMS Honor Orchestra was one of three middle school orchestras selected internationally to perform in Chicago, Illinois at the Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic. Ms. Black holds a Bachelor of Music Education from Appalachian State University and a Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction from Lesley University. She was named the NGMS Teacher of the Year for 2011-12 and was selected as the middle school Teacher of the Year for Gwinnett County. She has served as state treasurer for GA-ASTA and is currently past-president of the chapter. She chairs the K-12 orchestra curriculum committee for national ASTA, and serves as the middle school liaison on two other ASTA education committees. She has held school leadership roles as curriculum and department chair at both Lanier MS and NGMS. Ms. Black has presented professional development sessions at the school, county, state and national level. She is active as a clinician and adjudicator throughout Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Tennessee and teaches at North Gwinnett Middle School Bulldog Training Camp, Encore Music Camp, and GA-ASTA camp during the summers. Ms. Black is a member of Georgia Music Educator’s Association, American String Teachers Association and Georgia Association of Educators. She is co-conductor of the Kendall Youth Orchestra, a county-wide honor orchestra comprised of students in grades 6-9, and most recently, began co-conducting the Main Street Symphony, a community orchestra for adults of all experience levels. She is a violinist and began her musical career in public school at the age of ten in Hendersonville, NC.



Dr. Joanna Kim, director of Keyboard Studies at the University of North Georgia, Gainesville campus, is a nationally certified teacher of music in piano performance. Dr. Kim maintains an active career as a concertizing artist both as a soloist and a chamber musician. Throughout her career she has performed in Korea, France, Austria, Germany, Australia, and the United States. She has appeared with many orchestras including the Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra, UGA Symphony Orchestra, WVU Symphony Orchestra, Bucheon Philharmonic Orchestra (Korea), and North Sydney Symphony Orchestra (Australia). Dr. Kim has won many piano competitions including the Yamaha High School Piano Performance Competition -National Finalist, McDonald’s Young Artist Music Festival- winner of the Chopin Division in Sydney, Australia and National Young Artists’ Competition – first place, Seoul, Korea. She attended prestigious St. Scholarstica’s College in Sydney, Australia where she studied with Elizabeth Powell at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music at the University of Sydney. Upon receiving a prestigious Herman Godes scholarship from West Virginia University, Dr. Kim moved to the United States and studied with Dr. James Miltenberger. While at WVU, she was named a state winner for three consecutive years and received an Honorary Performance Diploma from the West Virginia University, Division of Community Music. She then continued her musical education at the University of Georgian where she received Master’s & Doctoral degree, majoring in Piano Performance, minoring in Collaborative Musical Art under the guidance of Dr. Evgeny Rivkin.


Dr. Kim maintains an active private piano studio and her students have won numerous awards on regional and national level. She is an active clinician and an adjudicator around the state. She is also very involved in non-profit music organizations around the state; serving as the Program Chair for The Atlanta Steinway Society, President of Piano Division for GMEA, State Collegiate Piano audition chair and Wellness Forum Chair for GMTA. Dr. Kim has recently earned the designation of Steinway Artist in Spring of 2015.

summer 2015 / georgia music news


32 georgia music news / summer 2015



It has been said that problems are solvable, issues are resolvable, and dilemmas are neither solvable nor resolvable. Therefore, dilemmas are, in essence, situations where there is no singular best means for dealing with a given situation. Dilemmas foster the need to consider numerous possibilities in order to arrive at informed decisions that, we hope, elicit the best possible outcomes for a given situation. As the previous statement relates to the content of this article, the term “given situation” becomes paramount in itself when dealing with the many marching band dilemmas we encounter as band directors.

PREFACE AND PURPOSE Over my thirty-year career, I have observed numerous and diverse marching bands. These bands are the products of many varying school situations that are often unique with regard to the size of the school, the size of the band program, the maturity and/or the abilities of the students participating, the associated resources that are available to the program, and a myriad of other characteristics and considerations. As well, the range of the overall quality of these programs can vary greatly. Many groups maximize the resources available to them, consistently presenting outstanding performances, while other groups seem to struggle or even flounder. In some cases, marching bands from smaller schools with limited but highly utilized resources consistently demonstrate the qualities of outstanding musical organizations. To the contrary, one can often observe bands with seemingly unlimited resources that never seem to approach their potential. The purpose of this article is to identify and address many of the dilemmas facing band directors tasked with developing and maintaining marching band programs. Within the exploration of these dilemmas, some specific means of approaching them will be discussed.

The overarching goal will be to present an applicable framework that the marching band director can utilize to maximize the potential of his or her marching band. Emphasis will additionally be placed upon the significant considerations dictated by the characteristics and conditions of each unique band program, existing within its individual school setting.

REFLECTIONS As a young band director thirty years ago, the idea of “actually teaching music” during marching band rehearsals seemed foreign to me. To plan and focus on the teaching-learning process was the last thing on my mind. My focus was to merely prepare halftime, festival, or competitive performances. Fear of failure was a driving motivation. My first band was weak in terms of talent levels and abilities. It was an adjustment for me to work with this ensemble after having written drills for the Troy State University (Troy University) Band when I was a student, and my work in writing drills and arranging music for two successful drum and bugle corps. In many ways, I was at a loss, although I would never have admitted it. My previous marching band experiences had been with band programs that were successful. Additionally, I was the product of a strong high school marching band program. Possessing inadequate experience, skills, and the knowledge to deal with this new situation, I was hit square in the face with, “marching band culture shock.” Consequently, I pushed a weak band to the bitter end to meet my somewhat unreasonable expectations. In spite of my inadequacies as a music educator, the band was successful. In hindsight, the underlying problem was that my expectations for that band were aligned to my previous experiences rather than my current reality.

DEVELOPMENT OF A TEACHING FRAMEWORK To this day, I remember a single statement that began to change my philosophy with regard to teaching marching band. I was researching Dr. William D. Revelli’s career. In the literature review, I read where he was asked if he enjoyed directing the marching band at the University of Michigan. His response: Of course I did. I would have never affected the lives of nearly as many young people if I had not directed the marching band. Further, a C is a C regardless of whether it is played on the marching band field or in the concert hall. It must be played with good tone and in tune. Initially, I just accepted his statement. It was later, as I began to ponder what Dr. Revelli had said, that I realized that the teaching of music should occur in any venue. A number of years later, I attended a clinic presented by Mr. Cecil Wilder and Dr. David Gregory at the Georgia Music Educators Association (GMEA) In-Service Conference. The focus of the clinic, as I recall, was preparing your band for Large Group Performance Evaluation (LGPE). I walked out of that session with the idea that the adjudication sheet should, in essence, establish a framework for teaching. I immediately went home and rethought my entire strategy (or lack of one) for planning and teaching. For me, it championed a new teaching philosophy occurring at the midpoint of my career. The following week, I literally dissected the LGPE Band Adjudication Sheet. I defined every word and shared those definitions with my students. I took note of the fact that, due to their importance in the teaching-learning process, the terms tone, intonation, technique, balance, and musicality, and the other words associated with each, were listed in that order. Tone is the prerequisite for intonation. Combined, tone and intonation affect technique. Simply stated, balance is affected by all three. Musicality is, then, to a great degree, the sum of all of the above when tempered with the affective qualities of musical performance. You simply can’t achieve a high degree of musicality without first demonstrating acceptable fundamentals of characteristic tone production, intonation, technique, and balance. Of course, each of the words associated with the key words (Tone, Intonation, Technique, Balance, and Musicality) on the adjudication sheet further refines the elements associated with it.

Within my new teaching philosophy, I took that framework one step further and applied it to the marching band. Regardless of the director’s decision to compete with his or her marching band, to be a festival band (for ratings only), or to elect to do neither, a set of good marching band adjudication sheets can define an effective framework for planning and teaching. A marching band should be an example of a quality musical organization enhanced by visual presentations. Nothing less is acceptable. It is unfair to students to provide them with anything less than a good musical experience when engaged in the marching band activity. With regard to the marching band, the musical considerations are the same. They may be listed differently and posted under different sub captions, but in reality, music is music. It must be performed utilizing good fundamental practices with a further emphasis on presenting a solid musical performance. By further dissecting the adjudication sheets for marching (visual), musical/visual effect, auxiliaries, percussion, drum major, etc., directors can equally plan for and address specific areas of instruction in the process of developing a strong marching band program. Like LGPE adjudication forms, the marching band judge’s sheets should identify and suggest a hierarchy of prerequisite skills necessary to the development of a strong marching band, assuming well-developed adjudication sheets are utilized. If a director chooses to enter into the competitive aspect of the activity, he or she should, without question, obtain copies of the adjudication sheets for the events in which his or her band will participate. By examining the multiple adjudication sheets for a given competition and determining the percentage values of each caption in the overall score, directors should be able to design and develop performances that bring focus to the strengths of their unique marching band programs.



I cannot count the times that I have observed or judged marching bands when my first thought was that the group had the potential to be outstanding. Why was the group less than stellar? Unfortunately, in almost every incidence, the director attempted a show that the students were incapable of performing confidently. The program was just too difficult. Either the inherent demands of the music, the visual design, or both, were beyond the abilities of the students to perform while exhibiting an acceptable degree of proficiency. When one looks closely, there are two “F” words buried in the LGPE adjudication sheets (and good marching band adjudication sheets) that should be utilized to guide planning for musical groups. The first one is “facility,” which is listed as an associated word under the “technique” caption. The second is “fluency.” It is one of the words linked to “musicality”.


I was fortunate to have a group of students who believed in me almost blindly. As I reflect upon those days, I wish I had known then what I have garnered in terms of knowledge and experience over the past 30 years of teaching and directing marching bands. I cannot help but believe that my first students would have had a better marching band experience had I developed and worked within a framework for planning and teaching. An effective framework could easily have been formulated as a result of realistically assessing the conditions and characteristics inherent within the program. Without question, all of the elements needed to do so were at my disposal. I overlooked them.

For all practical purposes, the GMEA LGPE adjudication sheet defines the framework that I utilize daily in planning and teaching. I have a clearly stated reason for every action I take. I have collected and developed warm-up exercises that focus upon the development of tone and intonation. The concepts of balance are applied to every note played. Technique exercises are specifically designed, selected, and/or created to develop specific skills addressing noted deficiencies. I continually select and develop activities and exercises that foster transfer of learning from the warm-up portions of rehearsals to the musical selections we are preparing for performances.

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As a young band director, I was blessed with competent mentors who never hesitated to offer their opinions and pass along sage advice. I did respect them and, therefore, listened to them as much as my bluster would allow. I matured quickly in the respect that my ego dissipated as my little failures mounted. I began to fully accept their advice and employ it in my teaching practices.

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The Jeff Davis High School Marching Band

Relating to music education, facility is correlated with the ability levels at which performers can demonstrate technical skills with reasonable degrees of mastery. These skills include range, rhythmic abilities, the abilities to perform scales/ passages in all ranges and registers (in tune), the ability to perform articulations, rudimental abilities for percussionist, etc. When considering facility for my students and groups, I take it a step beyond technique to include musical maturity. Simply stated, what are the students’ abilities to demonstrate musicianship? The marching band activity fosters a need to consider numerous other areas to include: fundamental marching skills, the range of tempos to be marched, facility as it relates to movement and equipment work for auxiliary members, and visual presentation capabilities, etc. Again, maturity as it relates to each becomes a consideration associated with non-musical facility or maturity. Fluency relates to the degree of ease and/or comfort with which a skill set can be demonstrated. It directly relates to a performer’s ability to communicate effectively with his or her audience. Outstanding presentations result when high levels of fluency are demonstrated during performances. As band directors, we possess the capability to manipulate many of the elements of performance that will either enhance or diminish fluency levels. An overarching goal for all marching band directors should be a performance outcome that demonstrates a high level of performance fluency. If an effective and highly performable marching band show is to be developed, it is crucial that a balance exists between facility and fluency. When selecting or arranging music, a percussion book, an auxiliary routine, and/or considering the design of a marching drill, etc., the words facility and fluency should guide the decision making processes. When pondering the balance between the two, it is important to consider the advancement of technical and musical abilities. Realistically address this question: Within the timeframe available, is there sufficient time for the students to develop the facility to perform the program fluently? This one compelling question should serve to inform many of your decisions with regard to planning a marching band show. It is important to challenge the students’ abilities, but it is a poor educational practice to frustrate them with tasks that are beyond the capabilities of their current skill sets. It is essential that band directors realistically assess the abilities of their students. Be brutally honest. If your trumpet players do not have the range and the endurance to play high Cs, you should not select music that forces them to higher pitches throughout the duration of a show. Challenge them, but do not present them with daunting tasks that will merely breed a multitude of failures. Do not make the mistake of allowing your ambition to challenge your students push them into failure and frustration. Find a balance in which they are challenged, and yet the desired outcomes are obtainable. Discovering this balance may be one of the more arduous tasks confronting marching band directors, especially those with developing programs.



When considering the past 30 years, it is apparent that many aspects of the marching band activity have changed. Educational expectations for band directors have evolved. Thirty years ago, the idea of Student Learning Objective (SLO) Examinations would have been considered a ludicrous concept; however, today it is a staunch reality. Competitive marching band shows, in general, seem to have become more complex and sophisticated in terms of concept and design. In general, expectations are higher, collectively, with regard to every facet of the activity. Concurrent to this trend, it seems that the spectrum of quality has widened significantly. This is often evident when observing marching bands. There are numerous reasons for this trend. Many of them focus specifically upon the adverse effects that continual and constantly changing school reforms have had upon band (and music) programs in general. Unfortunately, undue pressure has been placed on educational leaders to meet mandates often prescribed by agencies that are completely out of touch with the reality of a given community. Although probably not intentional from an administrative perspective, scheduling, funding, and even general administrative attention to non-academic programs, have waned in many schools. Administrators have been faced with the overwhelming task of keeping their schools in good standing based upon criteria that often ties their hands from truly doing what is best for the students and the programs within their institutions. Thus, individual band programs are riddled with many unique and varying conditions and characteristics that need to be identified in an attempt to inform the teaching-learning process. It is these conditions and characteristics that spawn the many dilemmas marching band directors must address. Each band program exists within a unique school climate. Directors, therefore, must realistically identify the traits that dictate the conditions and characteristics inherent in their band programs and address the dilemmas these traits forge. Hence, directors incur a responsibility to make educationally sound and informed decisions when considering the desired outcomes for a given marching band program. In a perfect world, directors would not face scheduling problems, financial shortfalls, and other instructional issues. We also constantly deal with students who are overextended and/or overwhelmed to the point of experiencing emotional and other issues that often affect the climates of our band programs. It seems that these types of issues evolve endlessly.

At this point, it is necessary to examine a sampling of general questions that help to define a band program’s unique conditions and characteristics:


o What are the ages and grade levels of the students comprising the band program? o What are their maturity levels? o What are their current levels of musicianship? o What are the levels and the ranges of fundamental performance skills inherent within the majority of the ensemble? o What is each student’s reason for participating in the band program?


o How much time is available for rehearsing? o How much time will the students dedicate to rehearsing with the support of their parents and the school’s administration? o To what degrees will other teachers and organizational leaders in the school and community cooperate with regard to the utilization of students’ time?


o To what degree are the students committed to the program? o Is the students’ time for school activities shared between band and other school and community activities, or are they committed solely to the band program?


o What is the level of parental support for the program? o What is the level of administrative support for the program? o What is the level of community support for the program?


o What are the financial resources available to the program? o What are the instructional resources available to the program? o What additional resources exist within the community that will serve to support the goals of the band program? Obviously, these are not the only questions that should be contemplated, but they do comprise some of the more significant ones. Directors should further develop sets of questions tailored to the characteristics and conditions associated with their band programs. The answers to these questions serve to formulate an open ended set of dilemmas for directors to ponder. The competent director will then examine these characteristics and conditions, striving to develop answers and means that will utilize the strengths inherent within the students’ talents and abilities while further considering the resources that are available to him or her. There is no single or simple answer; thus, dilemmas.

The ability to present quality performances is always in the best interest of students and their success. Seldom does anyone remember how challenging a show was unless the difficulty is accompanied by a highly fluent performance. To the contrary, an audience will generally recognize a less than excellent performance presented by students who are obviously struggling to meet the inherent demands of the marching band show. It is necessary to acknowledge that you, as the director, must use the resources at your disposal while planning and teaching in a manner aligned to the ability levels of the students currently in your band program. Do not fall into the trap of having aspirations aligned to an obscure ideal residing in your mind and ego. Effectively teach your students. In doing so, and in time, you will be more likely to develop a marching band program that realizes its potential.



By employing frameworks informed by adjudication sheets, as discussed above, carefully balancing existing performance facility with developing facility in the context of fluency, and effectively utilizing available resources, every director should be able to develop a marching band program that will maximize the talents and abilities of his or her students.

spring 2015 / georgia music news

Directors have a couple of choices. A failure to react is not one of them. As professional educators, we should diligently and positively advocate at the local and state levels with regard to the many policies and practices that affect our band programs. Second, in an attempt to provide the best opportunities and experiences for our students, we should constantly adapt to our given situations in manners that continually advance the quality of our programs- we must adapt and overcome the obstacles we face. Third, we must foster excellence in every facet of our programs. It is paramount that our marching bands, generally the most visible aspect of band within our communities, exhibit qualities of excellence if we desire to maintain band programs in our schools.

John Hillsman is a native of Tifton, GA, where he attended Tift County High School. Upon graduation, he attended Troy State University (Troy University), initially earning a B.S. and a M.S. in Music Education, and later the Educational Specialist Degree. He is currently pursuing an Ed.D. in teacher leadership at Georgia Southern University. He served as the drum major of the Troy State University “Sound of the South” Marching Band for two years and as the drum major and a marching instructor for the McDonald’s All-American High School Band for four years. He was on the staff of Sun Coast Sound and South Wind Drum and Bugle Corps. He is currently completing his 30th year as a music educator in the state of Georgia, where he has taught exclusively in the rural areas of Hawkinsville, Albany, Sandersville, and Hazlehurst. He regularly adjudicates and serves as a clinician throughout the southeastern United States. He is the co-owner and co-founder of the Georgia Marching Band Series. He is married to Marcia Hillsman.

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Janice Folsom

Wally Shaw

Janice Folsom earned her undergraduate degree from Samford University in Birmingham, AL, and attended graduate school at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, LA. She taught in Douglas Co. for five years, three years in elementary school and two in middle school and taught choral music at Fayette County High School for 29 years. She is presently Artistic Director and Conductor of the Southern Crescent Chorale and is also a head adjudicator for GMEA.

Wally Shaw grew up in South Georgia in a very small town. He had great uncles on both sides of the family who were professional musicians, so the genetic map was there. He went to college as an average musician – basically because of his inexperience as a small town kid - graduated, and went home to teach at his old high school. He was a complete failure because he did not realize that his college degree only GAVE him permission to teach. It did not mean he KNEW how to teach. He found a mentor after about 6 years of floundering and discovered what has to be done, both musically and administratively, to have a successful program. He never looked back after that – well, actually, he did. He gained an appreciation for the importance of mentorship. He is retiring this year and is really going to miss it.

1. What first drew you to music education? JANICE: I grew up in a very musical family who constantly sang or played the piano. I was the youngest of five children and my nearest sibling was ten years old when I was born. Consequently, I was exposed to music from the cradle and had lots of “teachers” in the home. My family was also full of preachers and teachers. Having studied piano from the age of six and being involved in choir at church and at school and surrounded by teachers, I was bound to have become a music teacher. I vividly remember writing a paper for 8th grade general music class. It was entitled “The Teaching of Music”. So I know for sure that I wanted to be a music teacher by the time I was thirteen.

WALLY: I loved the band atmosphere and could not see myself doing anything else.

2. Who has been the biggest influence on your teaching career? What lessons did that person teach you? JANICE: My piano teacher at Samford University, Witold Turkiewicz, had a profound influence on me. He taught me discipline like no one ever had. He also taught me to strive for perfection, to be a sensitive musician, to be dependable, and most importantly, to be genuinely interested in my students.

WALLY: Joe David from Cairo, GA, Kenneth Beard from Fayetteville, GA, and Dr. Alan Clark – who was Commander of the Band of the Air Force Reserve in Warner Robins- and is now the band director at Middle GA State University have been my greatest influences. The biggest thing I learned was, “It is not about you”.

3. What have been the biggest changes to music education in the course of your career? JANICE: Wow! There has been so much change. The amazing capabilities of technology comes to mind as the biggest. I remember writing sight reading exercises by hand on staff paper and mimeographing it for my students. I also had to spend hours at J.W. Pepper perusing music. To hear a particular piece, you had three choices: hear it performed at a concert, buy a recording, or play it on the piano. Now I go to Youtube all the time to hear renditions of pieces I’m interested in performing with my choir. What a breeze!!

WALLY: We are still trying to find the perfect way to measure what we do. Not everything needs a number attached to it.

JANICE: From the beginning, I always loved music and my students.

JANICE: Always have a plan for each class. “Flying by the seat of

With those two aspects in place, any teacher is on the way to success. I believe music teachers have a special bond with their students since so many hours are spent together outside of the classroom. With that in mind, I would say being more real with the students has been my biggest change. New teachers must establish a sense of authority in the classroom in order to create a good learning environment. I did that but seemed to maintain that strict atmosphere well into my career. But as the years passed, I found that you can be a teacher who creates a disciplined classroom and still be supportive, empathetic, and fun! I also learned that every child can learn to sing. You just need to spend the time with them to help them “find” their voice.

your pants” may work sometimes but students catch on pretty quickly and will lose respect if they realize the teacher is not prepared. If teaching a performing group, choose your repertoire carefully being sure that it is suitable for your students’ ability level and maturity. Many beginning teachers think their ensemble should be able to perform pieces the teacher performed in college. It is much better to teach an easier piece and perform it musically and precisely than it is to “muddle” through a piece beyond your students’ skill level. “Say what you mean and mean what you say”. Always follow through on all promises and/or discipline. Students will respect you and your life in the classroom will be so very much easier.

WALLY: Process – not Product.

WALLY: I would advise them to find a mentor – preferably not one of their college buddies.

5. What has been the proudest moment of your teaching career?

9. What still inspires you about teaching?

JANICE: I’ve had so many proud moments that it is hard to pinpoint a

JANICE: Seeing the “light bulb” of understanding in a student’s eyes.

single one. I am extraordinarily proud of my students. Many of those special people have gone on to be outstanding musicians and music educators. As a head adjudicator for GMEA, I have the opportunity to hear their choirs and always beam with pride. One of my students who is now the principal keyboardist for a large symphony wrote me recently thanking me for the experiences she had as a result of my teaching. I’m also proud of those “non” musicians who have become responsible and contributing citizens in whatever profession. It thrills me when they say, “Miss Folsom, you taught me more than music. You taught me about life.” That is a proud moment for me!

WALLY: Watching my oldest daughter become a band director, my 2nd daughter marry a band director, and my son going to Auburn next year to study music have been my proudest moments. I guess they share the same love.

6. What wisdom/experience/skills do you hope students gain from their time in your program? JANICE: As a music teacher, it was important to make sure I gave my students the opportunity to learn to read music and be sensitive musicians. I also strove to teach students to be responsible, dependable, caring, committed, and conscientious and to strive for excellence in everything they did. Each year I took the students on a retreat where we did music activities but also participated in team building activities. Those activities not only helped the group to meld into a close cohesive unit for that year, but also for other areas of their life.

Or looking into the eyes of my ensemble while a moment of bliss occurs in a performance. There is nothing to compare to such occurrences!

WALLY: Watching things grow.

10. Why are you passionate about teaching? What is your most important job? JANICE: I am passionate about teaching because no other profession gives you the opportunity to make such an impact on young lives. Whether in elementary, middle school, high school, or college, students will learn things from you that will make a difference in their lives. That’s why it is so important to set a good example and show kindness in all that you do both inside and outside the classroom. As the song from “Into the Woods” says: “Careful the things you say, children will listen. Careful the things you do, children will see and learn.”

WALLY: Music describes things that words cannot – it brings out every emotion. My most important job is taking attendance – at least that is what I am told. Actually, taking all the ugly ducklings of the band world and making swans out of each and every one of them.

WALLY: I hope students learn how to reach a goal, how to be their best, how to work with others and to follow their passion – whatever it may be.

7. Is there a particular musical work or composer to which you feel all students should be exposed? JANICE: Mozart is a must. His music can be very accessible and has many opportunities for teaching embedded in the music.

WALLY: Yes, any of Alfred Reed’s works – sure, there may be some more popular but none any better.

Know an experienced teacher that should be featured in a future article of The Veteran 10? Send an email to the GMN Editor, Victoria Enloe:


8. What advice would you offer teachers beginning careers in music education?

spring 2015 / georgia music news

4. How has your teaching philosophy evolved throughout your career?

38 georgia music news / summer 2015

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