FREEDOM TO PLAY (WHILE SITTING) Krista DeBolt
GRAPPLING WITH AUTONOMY Wesley D. Brewer
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STRESS AND THE VOICE Kelley Nassief
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
Volume LXXVI #1 Fall 2023
5 From The Executive Director...
22 You’ve Made a Great Choice
6 NAfME Hill Day and National Assembly
24 Learning Tunes By Ear and Arranging
Charts as a Team In Jazz Band Rehearsal
8 Seeking the Light Within: OMEA All State
28 Defying Expectations
Conference, January 12-14, 2024
29 Grappling with Autonomy: Reinvigorating
10 Elevate Your Music Education Journey:
Your Teaching Through Design
Get Involved with OMEA - Your Path to Professional Excellence
Wesley D. Brewer
31 Student Composition Contest Kathy Briggs
11 All-State Chair Update Kristi Stingle
32 Guitar Accompaniment that Combines Melody and Harmony for Elementary Student Singing
12 A Message From Your 2nd Vice President Kelly Moore
13 OMEA Award Nominations
36 Chamber Music Staples for Your
Pre-College String Program Hal Grossman & Jennifer John
14 NAfME Northwest Division President’s Message
40 My Classroom Looks Great…Now What?
16 Music In Our Schools Month
42 Addressing the Urban and Rural
Divide through Collaboration Dunja Marcum
17 Contemporary Vocal Ensemble Category Added to Contest
44 Hearing Loss Prevention for Pianists
18 Freedom to Play (while sitting)
46 Stress and the Voice
21 Choosing K-5 Curriculum - A Different Path To Take Val Locke
ADVERTISER INDEX IFC 2 4 7 8 9 9 12 15
Pacific University Portland Youth Philharmonic Pacific Lutheran University NAfME NAfME University of Puget Sound Peripole inc. Chamber Music Amici Cascade School of Music
15 16 16 17 20 20 21 23 27
Beacock Music Music In Our Schools Month Tri-M Music Music Workshop Metropolitan Youth Symphony Linfield University New England Dancing Masters Oregon Music Hall of Fame Northwest Band Camp
28 30 30 31 35 35 39 41 41
Mt. Hood Community College Choro In Schola OMEA Clackamas Community College Willamette University Mattress World Northwest NAfME George Fox university Tri-M Honor Society
43 43 45 48 49 BC
Western Oregon University University of Portland Portland State University NAfME Career Center University of Oregon Oregon State University
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MUSIC MAKERS EXECUTIVE BOARD OMEA President Ben Lawson Redmond High School ben.lawson@redmondschools. org 541-218-1188
Orchestra Chair Krista DeBolt Grants Pass High School firstname.lastname@example.org 541-474-5710 ex10230 Elementary Chair Val Locke Gilbert Park Elementary School email@example.com 503-706-9130
OSAA Choir Liaison Anna Rikli Southridge High School Anna.firstname.lastname@example.org 503-356-2890 Student Composition Chair Kathy Briggs Saint Mary’s Academy email@example.com 503-250-4259
OMEA President-Elect Erika Lockwood Rex Putnam High School firstname.lastname@example.org 503-358-8003
General Music Chair Steve Phillips Auburn Elementary email@example.com 971-599-7776
OMEA 2nd Vice President Kelly Moore Ridgeview High School firstname.lastname@example.org 541-419-4360
Jazz Chair Jessika Smith Parkrose Middle School email@example.com 509-216-5077
OMEA Past President Jeremy Zander Mountainside High School Jeremy_Zander@beaverton. k12.or.us 541-968-3037
Small Schools Chair Melissa Jmaeff Sutherlin School District firstname.lastname@example.org. or.us 541-874-2251
All-State Chair Kristi Stingle Lakeridge High School email@example.com 920-279-5057
SMTE/CNAfME Advisor Chair Wesley Brewer Oregon State University wesley.brewer@oregonstate. edu
District 04 Chair Cole Haole-Valenzuela West Salem High School haole-valenzuela_cole@salkeiz. k12.or.us
OMEA Conference Chair Elizabeth Soper Toledo Jr. and Sr. High School omeaconferencechair@gmail. com 503-949-4676
Membership Chair Andrew Burgh Tualatin High School firstname.lastname@example.org 503-758-5130
District 05 Chair Keith Chaiet Mountain View High School email@example.com
OMEA Treasurer Todd Zimbelman West Salem High School firstname.lastname@example.org 541-913-0037 OMEA Executive Director JJ Sutton Ft. Vannoy Elementary School oregonmusicdirector@gmail. com 541-291-1149
Conference Exhibitor and Sustaining Membership Chair Cameron Jerde Southridge High School cameron_jerde@beaverton. k12.or.us 503-758-5130
Chamber Ensemble Contest Associate Chair Gary Riler Cleveland High School email@example.com 503-847-1665
Advocacy Chair Laura Arthur Portland Public Schools firstname.lastname@example.org 541-513-7414
State Solo Contest Chair Stewart Schlazer Forest Grove High School sschlazer@email@example.com 945-547-4303
OSAA Band/Orchestra State Contest Director David Sime Retired firstname.lastname@example.org 541-460-3441
Cynthia Navarro Clear Creek Middle School email@example.com 562-713-4058
Amanda Sarles Siuslaw Elementary School firstname.lastname@example.org 901-654-9135 Band Chair Ben Lawson Redmond High School ben.lawson@redmondschools. org 541-218-1188 Choral Chair Kathy Briggs St. Mary’s Academy Kathy.email@example.com 503-250-4259
OSAA Choir State Contest Director Matthew Strauser Retired firstname.lastname@example.org 503-508-0516 OSAA Band Liaison Aliyah Jackson Aloha High School Aliyah.email@example.com. or.us 503-356-2760
DISTRICT CHAIRS District 01 Chair Chris McCurdy Grant High School firstname.lastname@example.org District 02 Chair Michael Lasfetto Butler Creek Elementary School email@example.com District 03 Chair Stewart Schlazer Forest Grove firstname.lastname@example.org 954-547-4303
District 06 Chair Levana James Grant Union Junior & HIgh Schools email@example.com District 07 Chair Amanda Sarles Siusilaw Elementary School firstname.lastname@example.org District 08 Co-Chair Trevor Lavery-Thompson Joseph Lane Middle School tlavery-thompson@roseburg. k12.or.us
District 12 Co-Chair Doug Doerfert Lane Community College email@example.com
Eugene Symphony 115 West 8th Avenue, Suite 115 Eugene, Oregon 97401 www.eugenesymphony.org
District 13 Chair Josh Weir Gladstone High School firstname.lastname@example.org 503-655-2544
Gonzaga University 502 East Boone Avenue Spokane, Washington 99258 www.gonzaga.edu/college-of-arts-sciences
District 14 Chair Myriam Gendron-Dupont Rosemont Ridge Middle School email@example.com
Greater Portland Flute Society 3528 SW Gale Avenue Portland, Oregon 97239 www.gpfs.org
District 15 Chair Jeremy Kane Conestoga Middle School Jeremy_Kane@beaverton.k12. or.us
SPECIAL BOARD REPS/LIAISONS OMEA Recording Secretary Danika Locey Salem Keizer firstname.lastname@example.org 541-224-4465 Historian Ben Lawson Redmond High School Ben.Lawson@redmondschools. org NW NAfME Regional President Dusty Molyneaux Great Falls Public Schools email@example.com. mt.us NW NAfME Regional Past President Tom Muller Retired firstname.lastname@example.org
PUBLISHING Journal Design Aren Vandenburgh www.arenv.com
District 08 Co-Chair Shayne Flock North Medford High School Shayne.email@example.com. or.us
OMEA SUSTAINING MEMBERS
District 09 Chair Ryan Egan Nyssa Middle and High School firstname.lastname@example.org
Bandworld 6736 Jacob Lane Springfield, Oregon 97478 www.bandworld.org
District 10 Chair Melissa Jmaeff Sutherlin School District Melissa.email@example.com. or.us 541-731-4727 District 11 Chair Robby Carr Newport Middle and High School firstname.lastname@example.org District 12 Co-Chair Jon Bridges Springfield High School jonathan.bridges@springfield. k12.or.us
Beacock’s Music 1420 SE 163rd Avenue Vancouver, Washington 98683 www.beacockmusic.com Britt Music & Arts Festival 216 West Main Street Medford, Oregon 97501 www.brittfest.org Chamber Music Northwest 1201 SW 12th Avenue, Suite 420 Portland, Oregon 97205 www.cmnw.org Conn-Selmer 600 Industrial Parkway Elkhart, Indiana 46515 www.connselmer.com
J.W. Pepper & Son, Inc. 191 Sheree Boulevard Exton, Pennsylvania 19341 www.jwpepper.com Metropolitan Youth Symphony 4800 South Macadam Avenue, Suite 105 Portland, Oregon 97239 www.playmys.org Modern Conducting Academy 370 South Euclid Avenue Upland, California 91786 www.modernconductingacademy.com Northwest Band Camps 1428 NW 13th Street Corvallis, Oregon 97339 www.nwbandcamps.com Oak Tree Fundraising PO Box 852 Silverton, Oregon 97381 www.oaktreefundraising.com Oregon Coast Youth Symphony Festival PO Box 2405 Newport, Oregon 97365 www.youthsymphonyfestival.org Peripole Music P.O. Box 12909 Salem, Oregon 97309 www.peripole.com Portland Youth Philharmonic 9320 SW Barbur Boulevard, Suite 140 Portland, Oregon 97219 www.portlandyouthphil.org University of Portland 5000 North Willamette Boulevard Portland, Oregon 97203 https://college.up.edu/pfa/music-program/ Willamette Valley Music Company 484 State Street Salem, Oregon 97301 www.wvmc.net Yamaha Corporation of America 6600 Orangethorpe Avenue Buena Park, California 90620 www.usa.yamaha.com Zellerwear 7865 SE Thiessen Road Milwaukie, Oregon 97267 www.zellerwear.com
FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR... JJ Sutton OMEA Executive Director
Welcome to the 2023 fall edition of the Oregon Music Educator. Our selection of journal entries are wide-ranging and informative, please take a moment out of your busy week to read through them. Additionally, the advertisers and Sustaining Members are a key component of funding OMEA’s mission. Without their support, OMEA operations would be unable to exist. Our advertising partners provide an excellent resource to you as educators, we encourage you to make use of their services. We are grateful for the businesses, universities, and professional ensembles who support OMEA and our members. Since the 2023 spring journal was released, OMEA’s Board of Control welcomed new members from around the state. Cynthia Navarro of Gresham and Amanda Sarles from Florence established themselves as OMEA’s first co-chairs of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. They have played an active role working with the planning team in preparation for our January conference in Eugene. Our journal editing team said farewell to Portland’s Debbie Glaze. After years of service in this capacity, in addition to her roles at Portland State University and in the community, she is now looking forward to enjoying her retirement. Current journal editors Danielle Davey of Mt. Hood Community College and Dianne Nelson of Talmadge Middle School are
now joined by Western Oregon University’s Kendra Taylor. In addition to her recent appointment at WOU we are grateful for her expertise on this team. The OMEA Executive Board looks forward to seeing everyone in January! President-Elect Erika Lockwood, Conference Chair Elizabeth Soper, and All-State Chair Kristi Stingle have worked tirelessly to bring you a jammed packed weekend. NAfME Northwest Division President Dusty Molyneaux will be in attendance in addition to NAfME’s Jazzmone Sutton who will be delivering the conference’s keynote address. Finally, I can report that the state of our association is quite strong. Under the leadership of the executive board and board of control, OMEA’s fiscal and organizational health is looking at another year of growth! Our association of teachers continue to grow as well with many first year teachers joining the ranks of music educators in Oregon. Personally, my admiration for you on the frontline knows no bounds. Your work and dedication throughout the school day, and long after the school day, impacts each and every one of your students. You are difference makers, not just in your classroom, but your craft shines through your school’s community. Thank you for making a difference and thank you for being an Oregon Music Educator!
OMEA Journal Editors
Oregon Music Educator • Volume LXXVI #1 • Fall 2023 • OMEA • 560 NE F Street Suite A PMB 732; Grants Pass, OR 97526 • 541.291.1149 • oregonmusic.org
NAfME HILL DAY AND NATIONAL ASSEMBLY Ben Lawson OMEA President
In June of this past summer, OMEA Executive Board members Ben Lawson, Erika Lockwood and Jeremy Sutton traveled to Washington D.C and joined with fellow music educators from across the nation to advocate for Music Education, as well as to learn about the upcoming priorities of NAfME. The Oregon delegation met with staffers for Senator Merkley, Senator Wyden, and Congressman Blumenauer, and had the pleasure to meet with Congresswoman Bonamici in person! All of Oregon’s representatives are in full support of Music Education and the Arts! Our biggest supporter in Congress is Susan Bonamicci. She is in the process of introducing her bill “Arts Education for All Act” which will expand arts education and programming to America’s youngest learners, K-12 students, and youths impacted by the juvenile justice system. It includes provisions to support the professional development of arts educators and to amend the ESEA to provide more oversight into the implementation of arts education programs, and requires research on the use of arts education in elementary and secondary schools. Our time on The Hill was truly inspiring. Being able to stand on the steps of the Capital, walking the same halls as our elected officials is an experience I will never forget. During our time in the Capitol we had some memorable interactions with staffers. The gentleman we met with in Senator Merkley’s office was a member of the band program in Burns, we had an escort that sang in Bill Campbell’s choir, one of the staffers in Congresswoman Bonamicci’s office was a former student of our Executive Director Jeremey Sutton, and finally the staffer in Senator Merklyes office was a drum major at her high school! It was so amazing to talk with these individuals about the impact music education had on their lives, how music was their favorite part of their public education, and how much they love and miss their music teachers. Even if our students don’t ever play their instrument or sing in a choir after they leave our rooms, it is important to know that we make a difference in their lives!
initiative as president-elect was to create the Music Teacher Profession Initiative: A Blueprint for the Future. This initiative isolates the many challenges we face in music education. The Blueprint focuses on the challenge for students entering a degree program, the challenges for students while they are earning their degree, and finally the challenges during the first five years of their professional life. Not only does it isolate the challenges, it provides ANSWERS! For each challenge that has been identified, there is a mitigation strategy that has been devised to solve and illuminate or reduce that challenge! During my time on the executive board, I’ve often asked myself, “What more can I do for the music educators in Oregon, and what can OMEA do that doesn’t involve running an event?” The Blueprint gives us direction, and it gives us solutions. For the rest of my time on the Executive Board, my motto will be “FOLLOW THE BLUEPRINT”, Please click on the link above and read through the Executive Summary of “The Blueprint”. I thank you all for the opportunity you have given me to serve, and I look forward to seeing you in Eugene!
Along with advocating for music education we spent 3 full days in NAfME workshops. I had the opportunity to attend sessions on Equity in Music Education, Implications of AI, Strengthening Small Schools, Navigating Divisive Concept Laws, Addressing the Diverse Needs of Students with Differing Abilities and Navigating LGBTQ+ Identities. I also had the opportunity to give a presentation on Small Schools in Oregon. Those three days were the best and most intense professional development I have ever been involved in. My biggest takeaway from the event was from NAfME’s President-Elect Deb Confredo. Her
Erika Lockwood, JJ Sutton, and Ben Lawson on Capitol Hill.
Oregon Music Educator • Volume LXXVI #1 • Fall 2023 • OMEA • 560 NE F Street Suite A PMB 732; Grants Pass, OR 97526 • 541.291.1149 • oregonmusic.org
NAfME President Scott Sheehan and President-Elect Deb Confredo kicking off Hill Day 2023 in Washington this past summer.
Ben Lawson addressing NAfME’s National Assembly on Oregon’s Small Schools Iniative.
Oregon Music Educator • Volume LXXVI #1 • Fall 2023 • OMEA • 560 NE F Street Suite A PMB 732; Grants Pass, OR 97526 • 541.291.1149 • oregonmusic.org
SEEKING THE LIGHT WITHIN:
OMEA All State Conference, January 12-14, 2024 Erika Lockwood OMEA President Elect Welcome to the start of a musical school year! Whether you are a collegiate member, elementary educator, or directing ensembles in any region of our beautiful state, I invite you to attend a wonderful All State Conference this January.
spanning from Milton-Freewater to Ashland, and featuring upand-coming directors as well as those who have decades of experience. Let’s celebrate the success and growth of these programs, and get inspired to hear some new music!
By now, you may have submitted auditions for students to attend one of our amazing honor ensembles, and are anxiously awaiting the acceptance lists, as well as the results of our student scholarship lottery! We look forward to helping a deserving student from every OMEA district attend an honor group this year in our commitment to reduce barriers for young musicians.
As far as conference sessions go, there is something for everyone. Our elementary team has curated another joyful three days of learning and connecting with colleagues. Our choir, band, jazz and orchestra area chairs selected an inspiring array of sessions tailored to directors from middle school and beyond. We are excited to feature several sessions geared toward small school directors, collegiate and preservice members, as well as some wonderful general sessions that will speak to all of us at this time, including much-needed advocacy for our students!
Attendees to the conference can look forward to a daytime, allconference keynote address from Jazzmone Sutton. Jazzmone is the State Advocacy Engagement Manager for NAfME and host of The Music Education Advocate Podcast. She is an engaging speaker who reminds us of the big and small actions that we can do every day to be strong advocates in our community! For our banquet entertainment, we are excited to welcome Sherry Alves and her band of professional jazz musicians and educators based in Portland. Sherry has a busy performance schedule in addition to leading the Vocal Jazz area at Portland State University. Concert hour highlights include our very first mariachi concert hour, featuring four of Oregon’s premiere mariachi ensembles: Hillsboro, Forest Grove, Woodburn and Silverton High Schools. Don’t miss their session on how to start a mariachi program at your school! Additional accepted performance ensembles include secondary and collegiate choirs, bands, orchestras, and jazz ensembles
Be sure to look into the entire schedule to plan your days, and check in with colleagues who can help collect content for those times when there are too many good sessions to attend. Last but not least, we are excited to announce our first OMEA “dine-around” lunch hours: opportunities to grab lunch at a nearby restaurant with folks from around the state who share a similar background or lived experience. Members will host groups such as: Female Conductors, Small School Directors, Early Career Educators, OMEA Leadership Panel, BIPOC Music Teachers, and more! Look for an e-blast coming soon with directions on how to register for these dine-arounds. Registration will be first-come, first-served, so don’t miss this opportunity for connection and networking. Have a great fall season, friends, and I will see you in Eugene!
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ELEVATE YOUR MUSIC EDUCATION JOURNEY:
Get Involved with OMEA - Your Path to Professional Excellence Elizabeth Soper OMEA Conference Chair In the realm of music education, the pursuit of excellence isn’t a solitary endeavor—it’s a harmonious symphony of collaboration, growth, and shared knowledge. The Oregon Music Educators Association (OMEA) stands as a beacon for music educators seeking to elevate their practice and make a resounding impact on their students, schools, and communities. If you’re passionate about nurturing musical talents and shaping future generations, here’s why becoming involved in OMEA is your next significant step.
1. A Tapestry of Expertise: OMEA unites music educators from diverse backgrounds, disciplines, and teaching levels. By collaborating with us, you gain access to a tapestry of expertise—a network of fellow educators, mentors, and specialists who share their insights, strategies, and experiences. Whether you’re a novice educator or a seasoned maestro, OMEA’s community fosters continuous learning and growth.
2. Professional Development Amplified: Stagnation has no place in the world of music education. OMEA propels your professional development to new heights by offering festivals, workshops, and conferences tailored to the dynamic needs of educators. Stay ahead of innovative teaching methods, curriculum designs, and technological advancements that keep your approach fresh and your students engaged.
3. Advocacy with Impact: OMEA is more than an organization—it’s a collective voice advocating for the importance of music education. By being a part of OMEA, you contribute to a larger movement that champions the arts in education, influencing policies and decisions that impact music programs at local, regional, and national levels. Your involvement amplifies the resonance of music education in society.
4. Collaborative Creativity: Education thrives in an environment of collaboration, and OMEA provides the stage for educators to collaborate, innovate, and co-create. Engage in discussions, share teaching strategies, and collaborate on projects with like-minded professionals. This collaborative spirit not only enhances your teaching prowess but also fosters the creation of meaningful musical experiences for your students.
5. Resources at Your Fingertips: NAfME and OMEA serve as a repository of invaluable resources for music educators. From lesson plans and repertoire suggestions to assessment tools and research papers, you’ll find a treasure trove of materials that enhance your teaching approach and enrich your students’ learning journey.
6. Lifelong Connections: The bonds forged within OMEA extend beyond professional networking—they’re lifelong connections with individuals who understand the joys and challenges of music education. These connections can lead to collaborations, friendships, and shared endeavors that enrich your personal and professional life.
7. Elevating Student Experiences: Ultimately, your involvement in OMEA circles back to your students. The knowledge, skills, and insights you gain through this organization directly impact the quality of education you provide. By striving for excellence in your teaching, you create an environment where your students can thrive, discover their musical passions, and cultivate a lifelong appreciation for the arts.
8. Navigating Change with Confidence: The field of education is ever-evolving, and OMEA equips you with the tools to navigate these changes with confidence. From addressing remote learning challenges to incorporating cuttingedge technology, OMEA empowers you to adapt, innovate, and ensure the continuity of music education in any landscape.
9. Your Personal Crescendo: OMEA offers more than just membership—it’s an opportunity to compose your personal crescendo of growth, impact, and fulfillment as a music educator. By embracing this professional organization, you contribute to a legacy of excellence, leaving an indelible mark on the world through the gift of music. In the heart of OMEA, music educators find not only a community of colleagues but a family united by a shared passion. This organization empowers you to transcend the ordinary, embrace the extraordinary, and lead the way in shaping the future of music education. Reach out to your local OMEA district or a member of the OMEA board today to find ways to collaborate with us. Together, let’s orchestrate a future where the transformative power of music resonates in every student’s heart.
ALL-STATE CHAIR UPDATE Kristi Stingle OMEA All-State Chair
I am honored to serve as the OMEA All-State Chair and am excited for this year’s experience in January! The Executive Board, All-State Managers, and Conference Planning Team members have been working hard to bring all the details together for this year’s experience. The All-State managers have put together a terrific line up of conductors to create music with the 1,200+ students that will be participating in January. Each of the conductors will be presenting at the conference, and we’d love to see you attend their sessions. You are also invited to attend rehearsals! That was one of my favorite parts of serving as an AS Manager - being able to watch the rehearsal process and see how the conductor connects with the students in such a short amount of time. Yes, these hours also count towards your Professional Development Units! Audience space may be limited in some venues, but you are welcome to observe. The ensemble managers may have suggestions on where to sit. Locations and rehearsal times will be posted in Guidebook during the conference.
Conductor Bios, repertoire, and more can be found on our OMEA website.
Updates for 2024 Symphonic Band and the Jazz Band have a new rehearsal venue: Lane Community College!
Hotel construction impact: The Valley River Inn’s construction is taking much longer than anticipated and will not be available for use in 2024. Alternate housing has been secured for impacted ensembles. Options were extremely limited due to a large volleyball tournament having already booked most of the surrounding areas hotels. We expect this to be the last year of having to “pivot”, as 2025 hotels are secured and contracted. Elementary Choir will be a one-day event in 2024 due to hotel constraints. We expect to return to a 2-day event in 2025.
New! All-State Scholarship Lottery
Thank you for taking the time to support your student in the audition process. We hope that, even if they were not selected, that value was found in the preparation and process.
The OMEA Executive Board is committed to finding new ways to reduce barriers for students and teachers across the state to participate in educational opportunities. To that end, for this year’s conference, we will hold a scholarship lottery. One deserving student from every OMEA District will be selected to receive a 50% scholarship toward their All-State registration fee.
The OMEA Board also appreciates the feedback that was given regarding All-State, from teacher, student, and parent perspectives. Some changes were able to be made for this year (venue change for Symphonic Band!) thanks to the efforts of JJ Sutton and the Executive Board.
Students must be accepted into an All-State ensemble, and will need to opt-in to the lottery, as well as demonstrate financial need by qualifying for free/reduced lunch.
2024 All-State Ensembles
If your student is selected, please connect with them and their family to confirm their participation. If they decide to relinquish their spot, an alternate will have the chance to attend. There is a very short window of time for this to all happen, and we appreciate the communication so every seat can be filled.
• Elementary Choir • Middle Level • Band • Treble Choir • Tenor-Bass Choir • Orchestra • High School • Symphonic Band (1A - 4A schools) • Wind Ensemble (5A-6A schools) • 9th & 10th Grade Choir • 11th & 12th Grade Choir • Symphony Orchestra
Teachers who have students selected to All-State must register for the conference per OMEA policy.
Please emphasize with your students and families that there are no refunds for audition fees and only limited refunds for participation fees based on how soon a student cancels. Once students have committed, that money is immediately earmarked for group expenses that cannot be changed or refunded. Details may be found on the website. If you have any questions or suggestions related to the student experience at All-State, please email me at allstatechair@ gmail.com. We are looking forward to seeing you and your students at the 2024 OMEA Conference!
• Jazz Band
A MESSAGE FROM YOUR 2ND VICE PRESIDENT Kelly Moore OMEA 2nd Vice President
Meraki [may-rah-kee] is a word that modern Greeks use to describe putting something of yourself into what you’re doing, whatever it may be. This may mean pouring your soul into cooking a meal, giving your ultimate attention to that fig tree you have been nurturing, or devoting yourself absolutely while you are dancing a west coast swing. The OMEA Executive Board is made entirely of people who do all things with meraki. My name is Kelly Moore, and I am the newly elected 2nd VP of our organization. During our Executive retreat this July, I was inspired not only by the work that all the members do, but the manner in which they work. This is not to say that we sacrifice our personal lives to the cause, it is to say that we are invested and passionate when we do the work, just like you. The devotion that I have seen to keep student costs down, create and foster inclusive and meaningful experiences, and be fiscally and logistically responsible was, there’s no other word for it, inspiring.
Every fall before school starts, I feel a type of intense drive that doesn’t compare to anything else. In December, I usually feel my motivation wane, but the conference wakes me up. Every spring when we have a stretch of school that feels unending, our member meeting re-engages my inspiration for our profession. I owe this positive influence to the OMEA executive board, the control board, and most importantly, to you, OMEA members and educators across our state. I am excited to announce that I have big plans for the 2025 OMEA Conference, and I work on that plan with meraki. I plan the conference as a person and an educator and pour my soul into the work we do. I am excited to serve as the 2nd VP because my students inspire me to be better, because I believe whole-heartedly in our organization and its educators, and because music educators like you do every single thing with meraki.
Viennese Three | October 8 & 9 Brahms 190 | December 10 & 11 One and Only | February 11 & 12 Mozart and Rossini | April 21 & 22
Wildish Community Theater $5 tickets for students and accompanying adults NEW Art Contest: ChamberMusicAmici.org
OMEA AWARD NOMINATIONS Jeremy Zander OMEA Past President
OMEA annually recognizes exemplary, influential, and inspiring educators at our annual banquet. I encourage you to take a moment to nominate an outstanding colleague or someone who has supported you or inspired you in your career. Nominations can be submitted through the OMEA website using a simplified web form. Please submit your nominations by November 1st! A list of past award winners can be found at oregonmusic.org/ award-nominations-winners.html. To submit a nomination, visit the link above, then click the nomination form link for the award in question and follow these instructions: 1.
Complete the online form, which includes a space for you to write a letter of support for the candidate.
Share the online form with others who will recommend the same candidate.
The award categories are as follows:
Excellence in Elementary Music Education Award This award recognizes commitment to elementary music education and remarkable achievement in focusing on teaching children through music. Criteria: •
Current member of OMEA
Currently teaching in Oregon
Demonstrates excellence in music education and teaching at the elementary level
Outstanding Music Educator In recognition of exemplary teaching in music education. Criteria: •
Current member of OMEA
Currently teaching in Oregon
Exemplify outstanding achievement in the field of music education
Outstanding Administrator Award In recognition of outstanding contributions to music education through administrative support. If possible, OMEA will recognize more than one administrator if their efforts were key toward saving music programs. Additional Criteria: •
Currently employed in Oregon education.
Promotes good relationships with music faculty.
Support for community cultural events.
John C. McManus Distinguished Teacher Award This award is to honor those with a lifetime of service to music education with a highly distinguished record of professional accomplishment. John C. McManus defined the standard of service for music educators through a life of selfless service to his students and colleagues. He inspired his students to achieve the highest of performance standards and a comprehensive music education teaching instrumental, vocal, and general music to students of all ages. He served OMEA in positions including President, Historian, Directory Editor, Retired Newsletter Editor, and Chairman of the Retired Oregon Music Educators, as well as providing leadership to MENC at the regional and national level. John was awarded the Oregon Teacher of the Year award in 1965, the Distinguished Music Educator Award by the Northwest Bandmasters Association in 1966, the Distinguished Service award by OBDA in 1986, the OMEA Outstanding Music Educator Award in 1989, the MENC Distinguished Service award in 1989 and the OMEA Distinguished Service Award in 1996. Criteria: •
A lifetime of exemplary service to Oregon music
education, characterized by the highest professional standards.
A distinguished record of leadership and teaching.
Record of significant and notable honors and influence.
Exemplary Service to the Profession Award In recognition of support and commitment to music education in Oregon. Criteria: •
Individual, business, or organization that has contributed to music education in an extraordinary manner through service, leadership, or advocacy.
The recipient does not need to be a current member of OMEA.
Outstanding Contributor Award In recognition of significant contributions to the Oregon Music Educators Association. Criteria: •
Individual, business, or organization that has contributed to music education in an extraordinary manner through service, leadership, or advocacy through music business, arts organizations, or advocacy.
The recipient does not need to be a member of OMEA or NAfME and is typically not a professional music educator.
I am excited to see you all at the upcoming conference and look forward to sharing the results of your nominations with you at our banquet!
NAfME NORTHWEST DIVISION PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE Dusty Molyneaux NAfME Northwest Division President Greetings to all of you in the Noble and Wholesome NW Region. It’s an inside joke at the National level in NAfME that the NW group is a little rambunctious in meetings and other events when all of the regions get together, so I have decided we need to continue to keep this tradition alive and have some fun with it throughout my time as your new President. We do like to have a good time in our neck of the woods, and there might be a real reason we are typically placed “in the corner” for many NAfME meetings when we get all of the regional representatives together. If you would have told 10 year old Dusty that borrowing the next-door neighbors trumpet in 5th grade would one day lead me to be writing a missal to my Music Education colleagues in a 6 state region as their representative to the National Association it would have not registered at all with my brain. I would have told you that might happen to characters in Narnia, but it was not going to happen to me. I just wanted to play an instrument, any instrument, and make music. I also thought doing it with my friends would be more fun than trying to learn on my own. My family had no money and we could not afford to purchase an instrument (I wanted to play cello or tenor sax) but the neighbor across the street would let us use his old trumpet for free if I promised to take really good care of it since his own kids did not want to play the horn (I think my Dad probably got him a few 6-packs of his favorite cold beverage in lieu of rent). What a fantastic voyage picking up that trumpet has taken me on. I know now that the seed that started to really sprout in 5th grade had been planted long before and nurtured by my General Music teachers that got me to sing, dance and play in their classes from my first days in Elementary school. I found a safe haven to explore feelings, express my emotions and also expand my thinking because of dedicated Music Educators just like you. I discovered so much over the years I was involved in school music—how to work hard, set goals, recover from failures and get along with others. I learned how to communicate with others on a much higher plane than written or spoken word, and I think at times I have been able to glimpse the divine through my musical pursuits. I’m still learning today—I think that is one of the things that attracts me to teaching. There is always so much more to immerse myself in our field of study. You just never know how much influence you are going to have on children as an educator, especially when you get to work in the Arts. We truly change and even save lives on a daily basis, and we don’t know we are doing it most of the time because we are so good at what we do that this sort of stuff is “normal”. But it is not normal—it is inspired and sequential learning that uses the entire brain when done at the highest levels of creating music. We literally take air and make it come alive—
we take complete silence and turn it into something cognitive and expressive. As Dumbledore tells Harry early on in the Harry Potter books, “Ah, music. A magic beyond all we do here.” J.K. Rowling was certainly correct in that insight. Thank you for being musical wizards everyday with your students, as being part of a state association that partners with a national group like NAfME that believes in the power of what we do for children in our communities. Together we are all stronger, and we have a voice for change, and an avenue for advocacy both local and broad scale. As we like to say—I am NAfME, you are NAfME, WE are NAfME”. The Executive Board and staff truly believe that statement, and work tirelessly to make our profession stronger and flexible to meet the constantly changing landscape of teaching in this great country of ours. A little more about me—I was born and raised in Billings, MT, and did my undergrad work in music education at the University of Montana in Missoula. My first teaching job was in the basement kitchen of Pioneer Elementary School outside of Billings, teaching students band lessons after school a few times a week. I then moved to Shepherd, MT and taught 5-12 Band for three years before getting an amazing opportunity to move to Great Falls High School and become the band director there. I did the summer Masters program in VanderCook College of Music to further my skills after a few years at GFHS. I spent 15 fantastic years in that school and then an opportunity in Arts Administration opened up and I was offered the Music and Art Supervisor position for our District. That meant heading back to school to get my supervisory credentials and eventually a k-12 principal endorsement. I will be starting my 12th year in that role this Fall. I honestly don’t know how 30 years in this career has happened so quickly, but I do know that when you are excited to get out of bed everyday to help students and teachers have awesome experiences it makes time pass quickly. I know you all have your own stories about getting started in music, and the escapades that music has taken you on in your lives. As I get started on my term as your NW President, I am humbled to take on the reins of this marvelous region. I know there are big roles to fill, and that I am standing on the shoulders of so many wonderful educators that have been our leaders in the past. Special thanks to Scott Barnes as he moves off the NW Board, and to Tom Muller for his guidance and advocacy for the NW in his term as President. Please let me know how I can best serve you and our states—I am here to work for all of us. I look forward to getting to travel around the region for upcoming conferences and to meet you all and hear your musical adventure tales. See you soon—now go make some magic happen!
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MUSIC IN OUR SCHOOLS MONTH Laura Arthur OMEA Advocacy Chair
What is Music In Our Schools Month®? For more than 30 years, March has been officially designated by the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) for the observance of Music In Our Schools Month® (MIOSM®), the time of year when music education becomes the focus of schools across the nation. The purpose of MIOSM is to raise awareness of the importance of music education for all children–and to remind citizens that school is where all children should have access to music. MIOSM is an opportunity for music teachers to bring their music programs to the attention of the school and the community, and to display the benefits that school music brings to students of all ages. You can read more about it here: Music In Our Schools Month® (MIOSM®) - NAfME
How will OMEA be involved in MIOSM®? In the past, MIOSM® has been largely celebrated at individual school sites across Oregon. This year, OMEA will be piloting a state-wide MIOSM® Action Committee coordinated by the Advocacy chairs.
Why should OMEA be involved in MIOSM®? MIOSM® is the largest nationally-coordinated music advocacy event. It is supported and championed by NAfME and their Advocacy Leadership Force. It is a chance for Oregon to be meaningfully involved in national-level advocacy and to harness the power of NAfME as we advocate for protecting and advancing music education.
What are the goals of the MIOSM® Action Committee? 1.
Designate at least one person per OMEA district as the MIOSM® Captain/Liaison
Meet once every 5 or 6 weeks (virtually) for one hour to coordinate state-wide activities
Create a month-by-month checklist to build up to March activities, including sharing lesson plans
Assign duties for committee members to spearhead activities during the month of March, including • Social Media Highlights • Creating shareable advocacy materials • Toolkit for teachers and parents to share with stakeholders, including: • School administrators • District administrators (superintendents) and school board members • Local political leaders (city councils, mayors, State representatives, members of Congress)
I want to be involved! How do I sign up? Fill out this quick GoogleForm, or reach out to Laura Arthur, Advocacy Chair, at firstname.lastname@example.org. You do not need to commit to coming to meetings to be part of the committee. Thanks for considering!
CONTEMPORARY VOCAL ENSEMBLE CATEGORY ADDED TO CONTEST Kathy Briggs OMEA Choral Chair
OMEA and ACDA are excited to announce that a proposal was passed this fall which adds a contemporary vocal category for ensembles. (Ensembles only, not solos.). This change was made to allow ensembles to perform music from contemporary a cappella, vocal jazz, and barbershop genres. This category will be all-inclusive of voicing (treble, T/B, SATB) and size (2 – 16 students). Teachers should be sure their ensembles are entered in the correct category(ies) for their selected repertoire, and students in ensembles may perform in more than one category. For example, a quartet of students may sing an accompanied piece by Mozart in the Small Mixed Vocal Ensemble category, and also sing a Deke Sharon contemporary a cappella arrangement in the Contemporary Vocal Ensemble category. Or an ensemble of 16 treble voices can sing pieces by Debussy and Morley in the Large Treble Vocal Ensemble, and then sing a treble barbershop arrangement in the Contemporary Vocal Ensemble category. For student ensembles performing vocal jazz, please note that there are no microphones allowed. We hope this new category allows for less confusion when choosing literature for ensembles and encourages more vocal ensembles to participate in their district Solo & Ensemble contest. All other policies and procedures for advancing to the OMEA State Chamber Contest apply. The full proposal that was passed is below. The State Chamber Ensemble contest rules shall now include the addition of a Contemporary Vocal category in Rule 1.4; the addition of 1.4.14 “Contemporary Vocal ensembles may perform a cappella and/or accompanied by piano or acoustic instruments. The use of vocal microphones is not allowed.”; and change Rule 3.4.1 to include “Students performing in the Contemporary Vocal Category may perform contemporary a cappella, vocal jazz, musical theatre, or barbershop genres.” The benefits and rationale for this rule change are as follows: •
There is ongoing and growing interest in contemporary vocal ensembles among our students.
We have had a number of vocal ensembles competing with technically challenging repertoire from the genres of contemporary a cappella, barbershop, and vocal jazz at the state level, having advanced with the same repertoire from their district contests.
Currently, student ensembles performing contemporary vocal literature have been deducted points for their use of this repertoire, as is the current rule to do so (Rule 3.4.4). This deduction, however, has been inconsistent among adjudicators and has resulted in confusion and complaints.
Opening the vocal ensemble repertoire to be more inclusive of musical genres and will encourage more participation from student ensembles.
The addition of this category will eliminate the comparison of musically valuable, yet technically different genres.
The same ensemble adjudicator(s) may be used in each vocal ensemble room, knowing they will be ranking ensembles in various categories, as is often the current practice.
Please refer to https://www.oregonmusic.org/chamberensembles.html regarding eligibility.
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FREEDOM TO PLAY (WHILE SITTING) Krista DeBolt OMEA Orchestra Chair
String players have a culture of expecting and accepting pain. We know it is coming as we watch our friends, colleagues, and students deal with carpal tunnel, tendonitis, shoulder/neck pain, rotator cuff tears, surgery…we wait and think, “I’m glad I’m not there yet”. Some of us even wear it as a kind of badge of honor. We start kids off very young with the idea that accepting pain is part of and a necessary sacrifice to playing well and being a part of the amazing world called orchestra. We are together in our shared love of the power of musical thought. We stand-alone when it comes to pain within ourselves. I am guilty; I have taught beginning strings classes at our elementary schools for the last 25 years. We start strings students in 4th grade with the violins/violas up on the shoulder with shoulder rests. Every year as soon as we get kids up there I have several complaining, “It hurts my neck, my shoulders hurt, my arm hurts…” I would respond with, “It’s ok, you will get used to it.” The message being: Play through the hurt–that is what we all do. I feel we have found a much better way to step back and tell kids that we will be training those muscles how to get stronger as well as teaching them to recover. There is a better way and a path to playing string instruments with freedom and the ability to move, and it can be taught. Something I learned after I started having problems is that you can do your thing perfectly with no stress or extra tension, relaxed with great technique, and beautiful position and still end up with issues. This is true with something as simple as sitting in an orchestra chair. I have been working with a longtime friend, orchestra dad, and chiropractor Dr. Kevin Teagle DC CCSP®. From Dr. Teagle, “Everything you do is a skill and no matter how seemingly simple, It can still be lost and replaced with something cheap, or changed to exhibit beautiful motion. You will become exactly what you do! Exactly how you do it! Your bones, ligaments, fascia, and vital organs, will wear the specific program stamped on it by every movement & decision you make with all that you think and do. Every small thing matters.” I play regularly with the Rogue Valley Symphony and have always had hip issues during long rehearsals. I have asked other musicians and my students who often say the same thing. My students do not think much about it as they are young; their bodies bounce back quickly and easily–that is not the case with me anymore. I wonder if I had paid more attention to how I was sitting early on as I was learning to play the instrument if it would make a difference now. I have to consciously pay attention to how I sit in rehearsals. What if I taught my kids right from the start to watch how they sit; teaching them recovery movements after rehearsing to help free up tired muscles? Sitting in a chair to play an instrument is harder than most of us think it is. Playing position should be consistent with how we play while standing. Watch that kids are not over extending their hips and lower back–they want to be seated comfortably and centered. Once we add instruments, stand partners, music, and stands it becomes more difficult and I think we often let kids twist
their torso to accommodate their bow arm and instrument, which is hard on your body and often uncomfortable. Eye dominance can also play a role in which side of the stand a student prefers. I never even thought of this until my daughter was learning to play viola. She is left eye dominant. Left eye dominant students often tilt their head to the side to be able to see. A different chin rest can help fix the problem but also letting kids choose which side of the stand they prefer when learning is beneficial. We all have to be able to sit on either side of the stand eventually–letting kids choose their most comfortable side makes the most sense when they are learning.
Thoughts from Dr. Teagle: Let’s talk about the quality of movement. You can use words to describe movement, such as stiff, quick or choppy, vs. smooth, fluid, and graceful. The quality of your movement directly affects everything; not only how you perform, but how much wear and tear happens to your body. We teach recovery first to help the body heal from the destructive effects of stiff, quick, and choppy; but the final mission is to teach graceful motion that unites the body with the instrument, with the music, and is in itself healing, well- balanced motion without destructive forces. Movement should have a floating quality to it. Every joint involved in the process of getting up from a seated position, and back again including the posture you are in–should float. Nothing should be rigid or tense especially at rest. When you begin movement, always check your jaw to be relaxed and your breathing to be gentle. NO HOLDING OF YOUR BREATH during the beginning, middle, or even end of a movement pattern. I am suggesting that you approach sitting, standing, or raising the instrument with the same expectation and attention that you put into playing your instrument. Smooth, fluid, graceful with a gentle breathing approach; not a held breath with stiff, quick, and choppy motion just getting it over with to sit. When we teach ourselves how to be fluid we are actually paying attention to not just the vertebra, but each body part, as it only takes one to put a “kink” in the flow. I get a mental picture of the snake in the jungle book when he gets knotted up from the man cub. The beginning of movement can have a lot of trouble as it sets the tone for the rest of motion. It takes a little practice to soften all motion. I used to use the example of how you feather the clutch when you drive a manual shift vehicle, but that does not quite resonate with most of today’s youth. I could talk about the approach of moving a puck on a hockey rink. Start gently and push the puck up to speed as opposed to explosively slapping it hard with an immediate beginning. As you follow the instructions, please start motion gently. Pay attention (be present) to the weight on your feet if you’re
standing or your weight on the chair in your pelvis and back. Check your jaw and your breath when you start motion. You can always slow down your movement and make it gentler.
2. Slump like a teenager. Roll tail bone under. Drop head and shoulders. Relax spine.
Continue breathing gently, moving smoothly without panic, do not slam down the accelerator or explosively move all at once. Finish the motion, no matter how badly you think you’ve done it and don’t stop in the middle to reclaim a better motion just come back and start over, get used to each motion and the language you learn in your body when you begin, continue, and end that motion. You can practice the little pieces one at a time, but as you slowly put them together, keep checking your jaw, and breath as you learn to smooth your transition. All the body, all the mind all the time. We become exactly good at what we exactly practice. We focus a lot on Recovery in my classes, which are movements to help open up your body during and after rehearsals. I have shared this before but it is always good to revisit. This will walk you through one of my favorite basic Recovery Movements. Dr. Teagle says that this movement has one of the highest impacts. We call this movement Slump and Arch. You are focusing on movement in your spine and core, while allowing tension to release throughout your body.
3. Arch like a gorilla. Roll tailbone forward. Bring shoulders back. Arch spine.
Some general guidelines and reminders before we jump in (provided by Dr. Teagle): •
Rate your pain on a 0-10 scale. Zero is no pain. Ten is pass out and puke. Operate at a three.
No holding of breath, or clenching of jaw. Let’s not program stress ever.
Move slow and gentle. Aim for an easy floating quality in your motion.
Be nice to yourself inside your head when you move, as it affects the quality of your motion
Recovery is more important than perfection.
Easy Motion is therapeutic; hard motion is trauma.
Follow along to practice the slump and arch on your own. 1. Sit down. Feet flat on the floor
When you are slumped, you should look like a slouched teenager about to have a long movie marathon
When you are arched, you should look like a Razor Back Gorilla with your chest and belly out and proud. You can extend this and move side to side, do circles, and figure 8’s to loosen up and relax the torso. My middle and high school orchestras have often been told at festivals by judges that we are too stiff, I was told the same thing with my conducting. I tried many different ways to “fix” the problem and got advice from others but did not make a lot of headway. We have been doing “recovery movements” daily in class. All of the sudden, we got comments from several judges about how well the kids are moving, their sounds is more full and rich, and my conducting is fluid and showing phrasing and musical ideas which I have never been able to accomplish. This is all due to unlocking our bodies and allowing them to move and have the freedom to play–the work we have done daily with recovery is showing up in performance. This is a shift in thinking, we can have freedom to move, we can help each other, and we can teach it!
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CHOOSING K-5 CURRICULUM - A DIFFERENT PATH TO TAKE Val Locke OMEA Elementary Music Chair
Hey hey! Welcome back to another school year! I was struggling trying to figure out what to write my article about, being your new Elementary Music Chair. Roughly 12 years ago, I held the position of General Music Chair, but that seems like a lifetime ago! It dawned on me that this might be the perfect time to tell you all about how our district music team got together last school year and lobbied for some new music curriculum! For various reasons, the state passed us over at least twice in what was supposed to be our turn for obtaining new resources every seven years. At the district level, ours is one of very high support for our music department- so they were, shall we say… as annoyed as we were. A little backstory: The last time we acquired a new elementary music curriculum was about 20 years ago, and that was before the use of the internet the way it is now. We got a “big box” curriculum- the hardcover books, the CDs, the projectables (remember overhead projectors?), piano accompaniments, all of it. As is the case when time moves forward, our elementary music team realized that much of the content was no longer culturally appropriate or representative of our students. As a result, everyone stopped using it. And, out of our nine elementary schools, a couple of newer folks realized they didn’t have those materials anywhere in their building! Instead, they were coming to work in a school with nothing to use but their own ideas. Our district is highly mobile, extremely culturally diverse, and low income; this gap in resources for music teachers just wasn’t good for our students.
but I can tell you a brief list of authors (not all inclusive) to give you an idea of what we picked out: Hampton, Madin, Corbiere, Jerz, Gagne, Schmid, Solomon, Almeda, Chapelle, Feierabend, Brumfield, Zeller, Schay, and a bunch of other tried and true creators. Each school received the same pile of resources over two feet high, officially owned by the district! Yay! In the NAfME article entitled, “Increasing Diversity and Equity in K-12 Ensemble Repertoire” (October 2019), by Mary Lynn Doherty, Ph.D. Northern Illinois University, they offer this little gem of advice: “[With the] foundation of our curriculum, how do we best serve our students through the choices we program and study? I would argue we teach a lot more than what is on the page when we put a piece of music in front of our students; we have a great opportunity to serve our students through our curriculum, teaching them to value diversity and equity by intentionally including more diverse composers. Representation is really important for students, and teachers need to provide mirrors and windows for students to reflect on their own perspectives as well as others’ (Style, 1988).” My final bit of advice as I start year 27 of teaching… Choose curriculum that reflects your students and their needs. Personally, I will be avoiding the “big box” curriculum packages and products for the rest of my career--I know my students better than any big box company could.
So! The nine of us got together and made a spreadsheet of all the stuff we use on a regular basis. We made notes as to whether we owned the materials ourselves, or if it belonged to the school. We were surprised to find out that almost all of us were using curriculum materials we purchased ourselves. Once we had that data, we had a meeting with our district’s curriculum director to see if there was any money out there that might assist us in being more equal across all schools. And she came through! The next step was, “Now what do we want to buy?.” Having already tried two or three current online curriculum programs the last couple years (thanks Covid)- we knew that doing that again would not give us all the cool stuff we needed for the variety of units we teach. Time for another spreadsheet! This time, we sorted it by units: Singing/Vocal, Movement, Marimba/Xylo, Ukulele, World Music, Recorder, Drumming/Perc, Keyboard, and “other.” Taking into account that most of us owned our favorite titles already, it was important to make every school equal, thus making sure each school had exactly the same titles as everyone else. We made sure that nothing that we personally owned was included in our new list in case a new music teacher came along after us. I am convinced that making our custom made curriculum was the best thing we could have done for our students. I don’t want to be a commercial for any particular product here in this article,
YOU’VE MADE A GREAT CHOICE Steve Phillips OMEA General Music Chair
Well my friends, a new school year is here!! Just when we get used to eating a meal at a normal pace, that school bell is beginning to ring in your head. As you frantically try to finish all those summer projects, your mind also begins to plan lessons to engage your students’ musical minds. You can’t hide anymore. The 2023-2024 adventure in musical madness has begun!! When that morning alarm goes off, in the next few days, remember these three words. You are BLESSED! The power of what we do makes a lasting impression in the lives of our students and school community. We are an incredibly special cog in the developmental wheel that will not just impact our students today, but through the rest of their lives. Is every day going to be perfect? No! But the value of what we do will go well beyond our classrooms. I was recently at the music festival, hearing an alumni band make wonderful music, when I saw a young man approach me with an enthusiastic smile. After remembering that this young man used to be in my classroom, and he was quite a bit of a behavioral problem, I was delighted to see the growth and maturity that had emerged in him. He thanked me for being a role model for him and apologized for his former behavior difficulties. The last words he said to me were, “Thank you for making a difference in my life.” The importance of music education allows us ALL to make differences in ALL the lives of our students. The cognitive benefits of music education show us how important our careers are in brain and academic developments. According to a November 2022 Lamar University article, research shows that music education increases math achievement, boosts English arts and reading skills, improves retention of verbal information and recall and increases SAT test scores. A 2017 University of Southern California study recently found that music instruction increases engagement of brain networks responsible for the development of critical thinking skills and the decision making process. As my students begin to learn multiplication skills, one of my favorite songs to teach them comes from the musical, “Schoolhouse Rock Jr”, titled “Three is a Magic Number”. I have had many of my fellow classroom teachers thank me for teaching that song, because when they perform a multiplication assessment, their students quietly sing that song as they are testing and it improves their scores. According to a 2016 article by Mo Costandi, published in the The Guardian, music training has been shown to facilitate rehabilitation of stroke victims while also boosting processing and learning in students with dyslexia. One of my favorite movie quotes, from “Mr. Holland’s Opus” is when Mr. Holland addresses the school board and says, “The big problem here is that you people are willing to create a generation who will NOT have the ability to think or create or listen.” Music education is vital to allow our students to develop their brains and increase their academic success.
Another important benefit of music education is in the area of mental health. Since coming out of a pandemic, the effects of music education become vitally essential. According to a 2022 Frontier article, a growing body of research indicates links between music instruction and greater well-being and emotional competence. In my school’s sensory room, one of the first calming tools to de-escalate an emotionally charged student is to play calming music or have students play calming wind chimes. This technique, besides calming the student, regulates the emotional capacity of the child and allows them to return to their classroom with the ability to focus and learn. In a 2015 Washington Post article, studies found that music training not only helps children develop fine motor skills, but aids emotional and behavioral maturity as well. When I begin an elementary choir rehearsal, I always start with some music to warm-up not only the voice, but the body as well. Students have been sitting all afternoon and need some movement to be ready for their whole body to be engaged in a choir rehearsal. This opening allows for just that preparation. Many of the songs taught can help in relaxing and healing the spirit. The power of music improves our mood and allows us to heal when the spirit is in need. My favorite aspect of the benefits of music education is the social skills that music provides. For instance, music provides for the growth of teamwork. A program for early parent support study in 2015 stated that “Making music together, children learn to work as a team while they contribute to a song or music in their own way”. This study also speaks to the social benefits of music education, including “the ability to learn cooperation, sharing, compromise, creativity and concentration.” With a performing group, students need to know that the team approach is more important than the individual. Music is also unique in that it promotes selfconfidence. For many students, performing in front of an audience can signal anxiety and fear. Music education allows students to overcome that fear by performing in a choir, band, orchestra and class assignment. As a reward for overcoming that fear, the appreciation and positive feedback can increase a child’s self-esteem. This boost of self-esteem can stay with the child and help them overcome more difficult tasks in their futures. In my own elementary choir, many students move on into leadership positions in middle and high school because of the self confidence that they achieved in their elementary music classroom. So, hit that alarm clock with pride. You’ve made a great choice. You have the ability to shape and mold future generations. One of my greatest sources of joy is to have alumni students return to my classroom to visit and say thank you. The rewards that you give children will last far longer than their time in your music room. Enjoy and embrace the power of music education!
LEARNING TUNES BY EAR AND ARRANGING CHARTS AS A TEAM IN JAZZ BAND REHEARSAL Jessika Smith OMEA Jazz Chair
I was lucky to have some amazing jazz mentors growing up, and I was given some excellent opportunities to teach kids pretty early on in my college experience. One of those opportunities was to work with the Spokane All-City Jazz Ensembles; more specifically, the middle school all-city small groups. Kids from all over the city would be nominated by their band teachers to join our program, and we spent a few hours every Wednesday afternoon and evening working with 3 or 4 combos, or small groups, of kids with jazz instruments.
arrangement, and how I get the kids involved with making the song sound like a “real song”, since it’s not written down on a page. I’ll also include a list of standard(ish) tunes that you might consider using if you want to try this with your program.
For many of these evenings I watched my mentor and teacher, Rob Tapper (who now teaches trombone and jazz studies at the University of Montana) work with the kids, and I absorbed as much of his teaching “fuel” as I possibly could. One thing that Rob is really good at is teaching tunes by ear, having kids learn chord changes, getting them to improvise, and putting together a great concert in a short amount of time.
Pick a song
During this same period of my life, I had the opportunity to teach the jazz band at a local middle school. As only a 19 or 20 year-old this was daunting, but I used a combination of written music and Rob’s technique to work with the 18 or so kids in that program. I remember distinctly signing our jazz band up for the Spokane Falls Community College Jazz Festival and performing for members of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, including Victor Goines and Elliot Mason. It was an incredible opportunity for our kids, and a high pressure one for me (to impress those guys… wow!). We had our kids play one or two middle school level jazz arrangements and we also performed Bag’s Groove by Milt Jackson, which we’d been working on learning by ear, and that we’d arranged as a team during class. I remember both Goines and Mason very briefly giving some feedback to us on the arrangements, but then they praised us highly for our memorized performance of Bag’s Groove, and asked more about how we knew the tune, asked if it was arranged, etc.. It was an excellent opportunity for guys like that to give the band some authentic feedback around improvisation, and to give their teachers a little validation on that “weird thing” we’d do every morning at the beginning of jazz band. It’s not easy to make time for such an endeavor. It’s not easy if you’re an experienced jazz performer and it’s not easy if jazz is not your specialty. It’s especially not easy because it’s time consuming, and I know we all have festivals and concerts to prepare for, but it’s a really great way to incorporate improvisation, vocabulary, music theory, ear training, history, listening, transcription, and all the other jazz education buzz words into your daily rehearsal. If you ever want your kids to be armed with the tools to participate in a jam session, audition for jazz in college, attend camps, or be a part of an honors group, this is the stuff they need to know. Plus, if you ever get adjudicated by Victor Goines and Elliot Mason, they think this stuff is legit. In the following section, I’ll give a brief overview of how I go about teaching a tune by ear, how I make it sound more like an
Some of you might remember attending my session at OMEA conference a few years ago on this topic. If you have any questions or need help getting started with something like this, please feel free to reach out to me. Good luck this year!
Obviously choosing an appropriate song for your group will need to come first. You can use the list I’m including at the end of this article for ideas, or I recommend the Real Easy Book (Sher Music Co.), or the Real Book (Hal Leonard). You’ll likely need a lead sheet to be able to teach this to your kids unless you’re a seasoned jazz pro. Please don’t make copies of that lead sheet for your students unless you really, really have to. The point of this exercise is to get the music off the page and directly into their brains.
Learning the melody I usually start the process with learning the melody. It might take 2 or 3 days (and please don’t spend the whole rehearsal on this!) to get it down, but it’s a challenge in memorization and can be your daily routine or warm up for a while. Rhythm section can learn the melody along with the horns. Drummers can either double on vibes or piano, or they can try to play the melody in an artful way on the drum kit. •
Call and Response • Teacher demonstrating or calling the melody on an instrument is the easiest way to do this. If you can’t do that, using a good recording and being ready to push pause often will suffice • Listen, sing, play. If you can’t sing it, it’s really hard to find a note by ear on your horn. • Chunk smaller segments, then put segments together.
Iconic Recordings (if you can’t be the demonstration, or if you think this is a more effective way to teach the melody) • Listen, sing, play • Transcription software/apps to slow it down and chunk it into smaller pieces.
Use Scales ONLY if it applies to the melody and will help kids learn it… for now.
Learning the Bass line Going from a unison melody to something that sounds more like music can be tricky, and learning how to create bass lines will not only help your bassists! All of the below patterns can (and should!) be practiced for improvisation vocabulary, and are immensely useful if you have anyone who is interested in composing or arranging. •
I like to teach major and minor pentatonic and sometimes harmonic minor depending on the tune you’re learning.
Choose melodies that are great, and that are appropriate for your ensemble (see end of article)
How to create bass lines: • Roots
Creating Backgrounds using the tools we have so far •
Each kid takes 2 improvised solo choruses, first time no backgrounds, second time choose a bass pattern/guide tones/riff to play as a solo background. This takes the attention off the soloist for a bit (if they’re nervous) and keeps the band engaged with the solo section and form even if they aren’t actively improvising.
Background types • Pads (long tones- works well with guide tones)
• Hits (short notes- also works well with guide tones)
• 321 • Root, b7
• Riffs (steal these from demo recordings, use a
bass line pattern, or have kids come up with one on their own)
• 5321 • 1656 • Leading Tones/Chromatic Tones/Half Step Approaches •
Apply these patterns to the form of the song • Avoid getting hung up on the theory- If the kids know WHAT to play but don’t exactly know WHY, that’s OK! Be diligent with major and minor 3rd and 7ths though! • Use Roman Numerals to identify chords - save the time of having to transpose EVERYTHING for them, EVERY TIME. • Make sure you’re choosing the song with the level of your group in mind
Learning the Piano/Guitar part •
Adding the “Book Ends”: Intro and Outro •
Rhythm Section/solo at the beginning of the song
Vamp at the beginning of the song
Orchestrate the melody in an interesting way/add harmony
Tag endings (with or without modulation)
Short endings (unison)
Long endings (harmony)
Adding the “Extra Toppings” •
Shouts • Shout sections can be a group-composed effort. As you’re working on improvisation/licks/ vocabulary, create a shout chorus as a group. Either memorize or write it down.
Guide Tones 3rds and 7ths like to move to each otherfind the closest motion from chord to chord • Learn this either THEORY-BASED, or EAR-BASED. Again, if they know what to play but not exactly why- that’s OK for the most part.
Color Tones Add chord arpeggios/extensions like 9, 11, 13 to the bass line/pattern exercise. Address any half diminished chords or dominant chords with alterations like flat 9, sharp 9, sharp 11, flat 13, sharp 5.
• Unison, or make it a goal to learn block voicing/4 and 5-part voicings/chord substitutions (a great lesson and challenge for your kids who need something more advanced or who are interested in composition) •
Apply the above to the form of the song
• Pads • Hits
Improvising with the tools we have so far •
Everyone solos, every time. This is too important to skip or run away from!
No excuses for WHAT to play, we have a full “toolbox” at this point
Brave is better than perfect
Celebrate every victory
This is an opportunity to add additional improvisation tools like scales, but sometimes scales can be daunting.
Background types- mix up the 3 types depending on where you’re at in the tune
Putting it all together •
By memory, or written down
Will it be the same every time you perform it? • Visual cues from director • Musical cues from the band • Turn it into a game?
Example performance of Bag’s Groove: •
Introduction = 12 bars of vibraphone solo with rhythm section accompanying
Melody played by vibes
Melody played again, but a trio of horns double with the vibes in harmony and the rest of the horns are playing background hits
Open solo section, with horn backgrounds on the second chorus of each solo.
Melody played again, with the trio of horns doubling the vibes melody in harmony and the rest of the horns are playing background hits
Melody played by vibes
Short ending with just the rhythm section
Recommended tunes for learning by ear Blues Bag’s Groove, Milt Jackson easy Blues in the Closet, Oscar Pettiford easy Blues By Five, Miles Davis easy Blue Train, John Coltrane easy Blue Trombone, JJ Johnson easy Centerpiece, Harry Edison/Jon Hendricks easy Chitlins Con Carne, Kenny Burrell (Bossa) easy C Jam Blues/Duke’s Place, Duke Ellington easy Equinox, John Coltrane easy Five Spot After Dark, Curtis Fuller (minor blues) easy Freddie Freeloader, Miles Davis easy Mr. PC, John Coltrane (Minor Blues) easy Night Train/Happy Go Lucky Local, Duke Ellington/Jimmy Forrest easy/med One For Daddy-O (minor blues) easy One O’ Clock Jump, Count Basie easy Sonnymoon for Two, Sonny Rollins easy Splanky, Neal Hefti easy (medium if you learn the shout/ harmony) Tenor Madness, Sonny Rollins easy Blue Monk, Thelonious Monk medium easy Blues In a Jiff, Jackie McLean medium easy Bluesette, Curtis Fuller medium easy Easin’ It, Frank Foster/Basie Band medium easy Joe Avery’s Blues (Second Line) medium easy Pound Cake, Basie Band medium easy Straight No Chaser, Thelonious Monk medium easy Work Song, Nat Adderley medium easy Basin Street Blues, Spencer Williams- popularized by Louis Armstrong medium Birk’s Works, Dizzy Gillespie (minor blues) medium The Blues Walk, Clifford Brown medium Now’s the Time, Charlie Parker medium The Sidewinder, Lee Morgan (long-form blues) medium
Rhythm Changes Lester Leaps In, Lester Young medium Oleo, Sonny Rollins medium Rhythm-a-ning, Thelonious Monk medium Salt Peanuts, Dizzy Gillespie medium Minor St. James Infirmary, popularized by Louis Armstrong easy Footprints, Wayne Shorter medium easy Moanin’, Benny Golson medium easy Song For My Father, Horace Silver (Bossa) medium easy Blue Bossa, Kenny Dorham (Bossa) medium Impressions, John Coltrane medium FORM Sugar, Stanley Turrentine medium Moanin’, Charles Mingus medium difficult- bridge, otherwise easy and riff-based Rock/Funk/Other Cissy Strut, The Meters (Funk/Street Beat) easy Cold Duck Time, Eddie Harris (rock) easy Do Whatcha Wanna, Rebirth Brass Band (street beat, or whatever style you want) easy Watermelon Man, Herbie Hancock easy Chameleon, Herbie Hancock (Rock) medium easy- range Birdland, Joe Zawinul medium The Chicken, Pee Wee Ellis/popularized by Jaco Pastorius (Funk) medium Mercy Mercy Mercy, Joe Zawinul (swing or rock) mediumbridge is tricky Straight Eighths/Bossa Limbo Jazz, Duke Ellington medium easy Song For My Father, Horace Silver medium easy Blue Bossa, Kenny Dorham medium My Little Suede Shoes, Charlie Parker medium One Note Samba, Antonio Carlos Jobim medium Road Song, Wes Montgomery medium St Thomas, Sonny Rollins medium Standard/Swing When the Saints Go Marching In, Traditional- popularized by Louis Armstrong easy Green Chimneys, Thelonius Monk medium-easy FORM Doxy, Sonny Rollins medium Jumpin’ At The Woodside, Eddie Durham/Basie Band (AABA fast swing) medium Killer Joe, Benny Golson medium- bridge Mercy Mercy Mercy, Joe Zawinul (swing or rock) mediumbridge Satin Doll, Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn medium Summertime, George Gershwin medium Moten Swing, Benny Moten, recorded by MANY including Basie Band medium hard- bridge Shiny Stockings, Frank Foster medium hard
Billie’s Bounce, Charlie Parker medium difficult Blues Walk, Lou Donaldson medium difficult
DEFYING EXPECTATIONS Melissa Jmaeff OMEA Small Schools Chair
And we’re back: Back to our classrooms, back to our students, back to our roles as music educators. Back to school means so much to so many. For some educators, it’s not “back to school”, it’s starting school for the first time as a teacher or from a long break from teaching. For others, back to school means another year in the trenches, one step closer to retirement. Wherever any of us fall along that continuum, from scrappy newb to grizzled vet, back to school comes with it a myriad of expectations–whether self-imposed or otherwise. Often rural and small school music programs are rife with tradition. And sometimes we arrive at a new school that, for one reason or another, has no established traditions or expectations other than those that we bring with us. Both of these scenarios are perfect opportunities for reflection. I often ask myself, especially at the beginning of the year: How much of what I’m doing is to serve a pre-established expectation and how much of what I’m doing is to serve my students to the best of my ability? Where these two things intersect is where some of the greatest magic lies. It is how long-lasting and meaningful traditions begin and are maintained. The silver lining of the Covid years for me is that I had the opportunity to “reset” my approach to teaching music. I had the time and the space to really examine what I was doing as an educator and to make some decisions about what was no longer serving me and my students. What I had once believed were the traditions and therefore the values of the school music program that I had inherited, upon close examination, found that they were not, in fact, valuable to anyone. Eliminating some of those “we do it this way because that’s the way it’s always been done” types of philosophies and subsequent actions freed up some of my time and energy and allowed me the opportunity to take a different approach to aspects of my program. This approach was one that I felt better served my students, and one that I was much more comfortable with implementing for this reason. This year, I encourage you to take some time to look at the expectations–both those you bring with you, and those that have been imposed upon you–and work to determine for yourself what truly matters, what best serves your students. A few years ago, I took a leap of faith when I decided to move away from a notation-heavy beginning band approach and move toward the increased use of solfège and rote learning. Rather than waiting to hand out instruments, I put instruments in hands almost immediately and give kids the chance to, dare I say, PLAY; to explore, to try, to fail, to discover, to learn. Through this shift away from a “tried and true” method and towards the unknown I’ve seen students connect with the content sooner and with more heart. There is more joy and less obligation in their practice habits and
classroom presence. While I have a long way to go in terms of my comfort level and expertise in implementing this new approach, the shift and its consequences have been truly refreshing. For you, perhaps a shift will mean doing one less event. Perhaps it will mean doing one more event. Perhaps it will mean teaching songwriting instead of group singing to the four students enrolled in your choir class, despite the expectation that they sing as an ensemble at the winter concert. Perhaps it will mean using what little budget you have to purchase a new piece of music that provides for your students a greater diversity of composers to learn from rather than purchasing another arrangement of that one song your pep band always plays at the game. Perhaps it will mean reworking your audition process or eliminating it altogether. Perhaps it will mean combining classes to be multi-level rather than grade-level. Whatever the expectation, if it is no longer serving your students well, I challenge you to defy it in the best possible way. Sometimes the expectations that we bring with us or imposed upon us are a direct result of our training and often our training was never designed to be implemented in a small school setting. Thinking outside of the box is not always easy, especially as it applies to our own training and our own teaching. However, it is something at which small schools music educators excel. So, as we settle into a new year, I encourage all of us to choose one thing about our practice to examine closely. Take that thing and look at it from all sides and angles. Flip it upside down. Shake it. If it holds up to that sort of scrutiny, keep it. If it doesn’t, replace it with something that will. You and your students are worth it. Have a great year!
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GRAPPLING WITH AUTONOMY:
Reinvigorating Your Teaching Through Design Wesley D. Brewer OMEA SMTE Chair “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there.” – “Any Road,” George Harrison It is obvious to anyone paying attention that schools place value on accountability. One needs just a small spoonful of acronym soup (SEL, ESL, IEP, PBIS, PLC, LMS, etc.) to glimpse the many aspects of modern teaching we have attempted to systematize and monitor. There are always new initiatives and standards that teachers are asked to comply with. A large part of oversight and funding at the upper levels of administration are aimed at designing, implementing, and ensuring compliance with these initiatives. At the same time, we expect educational systems to foster characteristics like critical thinking, flexibility, creativity, and innovation. We often point to the arts as a subject that can elicit these desirable qualities from students. These tensions between autonomy and oversight, planning and spontaneity, and freedom and control are all part of what make schools a vibrant place to work. Compared with other subjects, arts teachers typically have a greater degree of autonomy in a mostly compliance-oriented landscape. When it comes to curricular decisions, we tend to have high levels of input and typically take great pride in this aspect of our work. Some of this freedom has resulted from being a traditionally “non-tested” subject. The pressures to raise and maintain test scores, in a subject like mathematics for example, are simply not shouldered by arts teachers in the same manner. Within reason, most music teachers are granted permission to select method books, songs, activities, and performance repertoire as they see fit. This autonomy provides opportunities for choice and freedom that teachers in other subjects simply do not have. One of the great joys of music teaching is the ability to select music that meets the needs and interests of students (and teachers, and audiences)–music that we will collectively find interesting, motivating, and worthwhile. In essence, this autonomy means that music teachers are the designers of their own curriculum. At first glance, the freedom to design in this manner probably feels liberating, and it is. But, it can also be intimidating and overwhelming. Suddenly, you are faced with endless choices and must make hard decisions. How do you know which choices are best? Do you stick to well known repertoire or branch out and take risks? Each time you select a piece you are also choosing to ignore 1,000 other pieces. Why this one and not that one? One way to strengthen our confidence at these difficult decision points is to consider how broader design principles might inform our work. The Oxford English Dictionary defines the verb “design” as “to have purposes and intentions; to plan and execute.” This begs the question, “what in fact are our purposes and intentions in relation to the music we have chosen?”
Much of my thinking on this topic has resulted from spending a great deal of time with the book Understanding by Design by Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe. I simply cannot recommend the book highly enough to any teacher who is interested in deepening their teaching practice. While it is not a book that is directed at music teachers specifically, the principles of curricular design contained within are applicable to all subjects, including music. They are challenging and exciting. The basic premise of the book is based on the concept of “backward design” which takes place in three stages. The stages are summarized below with some text from the original source and some musical additions by me: Stage 1: Identify Desired Results – what should students know, understand, and be able to do at the end of this unit, concert cycle, activity, etc.? What enduring understandings are desired? Stage 2: Determine Acceptable Evidence – how will we know if students have achieved the desired results identified in Stage 1? What evidence do we need to validate that the desired learning has been achieved? How can we balance the need for individual assessment opportunities with group performance demands? Stage 3: Plan Learning Experiences and Instruction – what will need to be taught and coached? How should it best be taught, in light of performance goals and time constraints? What materials and resources are best suited to accomplish these goals? If this is your first time reading about backward design, the stages may feel out of sequence from your natural teaching practice. From a chronological standpoint, assessment typically comes at the end of a unit not the beginning or middle. Designing assessment is much easier to delay or ignore than designing your daily lessons and weekly unit plans. However, crucial to this approach is the process of gaining clarity at the outset. Focusing on the design of assessment forces us to consider how we will prepare students for it through our teaching. This relates to the George Harrison lyric at the top of the article, “if you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there.” Our minds tend to gravitate toward Stage 3 thinking, as this is typically where the creative juices for activities and pieces get flowing. There is no doubt that we will “go,” the days will pass, and we will spend time with students making music. It will hopefully be enjoyable, even fun, and surely we will all get somewhere. But where? Why? Where else could we have gone by pausing to invoke more intention, more purpose, more clarity about our goals and expectations, not only in our own minds, but also in our students’ minds? Will enduring learning occur? Wiggins and McTighe note that there are primarily two kinds of purposelessness that permeate curricular design. They call these the “twin sins” of traditional design. The first sin is “coverage… an approach in which the students march through a textbook, page by page in a valiant attempt to traverse all the material within a prescribed time” (p. 16). The second sin
is “hands-on without being minds-on.” This is identified by “engaging experiences that lead only accidentally, if at all, to insight or achievement. . . . (the learners) are led to think the learning is the activity instead of seeing that the learning comes from being asked to consider the meaning of the activity” (p. 16) On the whole, I find that music educators are typically guilty of the second activity-oriented sin more often. We are top notch educators when it comes to engagement, active learning, and authentic assessment. It is not always clear, however, that our students have any awareness or meta-cognition about what they are supposed to be learning and why. This lack of awareness in the students’ minds prevents real opportunities for enduring learning and transfer.
students should be able to do as a result of our teaching (and how we will show evidence of that learning), how can we know if we are truly effective? How can we improve our practices and thereby the growth of our students if we are not taking time to outline and make public our curricular goals and objectives? Making those decisions and principles overt and explicit rather than covert and implicit can improve the process and results for both teachers and students. And finally, when the need to appease the school gods of control and accountability arises, you will already have ample evidence of compliance to make them smile upon you and leave you in peace.
Autonomy can breed innovation, but it can also breed complacency. Invoking the principles of design laid out above can create a measure of self-accountability that is often missing from our practice. If we cannot state with clarity what the
Wiggins, G. P., & McTighe, J. (2005). Understanding by design. Ascd.
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STUDENT COMPOSITION CONTEST DEADLINE IS NOV 1 Kathy Briggs OMEA Composition Contest Chair
Encourage your students to submit their original music to the 2024 Annual OMEA Student Composition Contest. The purpose of the OMEA State Composition Contest is to promote music literacy, music theory, and music composition for students at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. Compositions may be written in any style or genre and for any solo or combination of instruments or voices (instrumental, choral/vocal, or electronic).
Minimum length of composition: •
Elementary composers (grades K-5): 1 minute
Middle School composers (grades 6-8): 2 minutes
High School composers (grades 9-12): 3 minutes
Student compositions must be submitted electronically by an OMEA member teacher on behalf of the student. Teachers must have a google account to complete the form and upload the compositions. The link is on the OMEA page: oregonmusic. org/student-composition-contest-conference.html
Composition Contest Finalists will be selected to participate in the Composer’s Symposium sponsored by the Oregon Coast Youth Symphony Festival at Newport in April. Selected students will receive individual instruction (in-person & via Skype/Zoom) from December through April from a professional composer at OSU. Each student participating in the Symposium will receive a $250 scholarship from the festival and have all expenses paid (motel, food, etc.) during the Symposium. More information about the OCYS Festival and Composers’ Symposium is available by contacting Dr. Michael Dalton at email@example.com youthsymphonyfestival.org/ Questions about the OMEA Student Composition Contest? Contact contest chair, Kathy Briggs at kathy.briggs@smapdx. org.
Compositions must be in the following formats: •
[REQUIRED] A pdf file of the music written in traditional music notation. • Music may be neatly handwritten on staff paper, then photocopied /scanned/photographed and converted to a pdf. • Music may be written using a computer music writing program (Sibelius, Finale, etc.) and converted to a pdf.
[Optional, but highly encouraged] A live recording (mp3 file) or an electronic/midi/computer generated performance (mp3 file).
Application fee – none. Deadline for submissions November 1, 2023. Winners in each grade category will be notified mid-December. Compositions will be assessed and ranked based on the rubric found on the OMEA website. Winners and their teachers will be recognized online (OMEA website) and in person at the OMEA State conference in January. Winners will receive a trophy in recognition of their achievement.
2024 Composers’ Symposium Opportunity (High School Only) OMEA is happy to partner once again with the Oregon Coast Youth Symphony to provide further opportunity for our top high school composer. Up to ten (10) high school OMEA
GUITAR ACCOMPANIMENT THAT COMBINES MELODY AND HARMONY FOR ELEMENTARY STUDENT SINGING Andrew Arriaga Music Specialist, All Saints School This manuscript is based on the following capstone project:
elementary student singing without any source as a guide.
Arriaga, A. (2023). Guitar Accompaniment that combines melody and harmony for elementary student singing (Capstone project). Western Governors University. https:// w e s t e r n g o v e r n o r s u n i v e r s i t y. s h a r e p o i n t . c o m /s i t e s / capstonearchives/excellence/Pages/Andrew-Arriaga.aspx
It is possible that the lack of readily available elementary music guitar accompaniment that combines melody and harmony deters musicians whose primary instrument is guitar from pursuing careers as elementary music teachers. I initially avoided a career as an elementary music teacher due to a fear that my piano accompaniment skills would not be adequate to succeed in the field. As a musician whose primary instrument is guitar, had I known of published music resources with guitar accompaniment that combine melody and harmony for elementary student singing, I might have sooner pursued a career as an elementary music teacher. I believe it is unlikely that I am the only person to have been impacted in this way.
Problem Statement I recently completed a graduate degree capstone project seeking to address the issue of the lack of published resources regarding guitar accompaniment that combines melody and harmony for elementary student singing. The lack of published resources regarding guitar accompaniment that combines melody and harmony for elementary student singing is a problem that negatively impacts elementary music teachers’ options for providing support to student singing. My motivation for this topic stemmed from two yearlong occasions where my school district required me to travel from student homeroom to student homeroom without access to pianos to teach elementary music with the expectation that I would use guitar to accompany elementary student singing. Prior to being assigned to travel from student homeroom to student homeroom, I had always used professionality published piano accompaniments that overwhelmingly combined melody and harmony. To no avail, I searched for published resources for guitar accompaniment that combines melody and harmony for elementary student singing. My capstone goal was to create an instructional manual to help music teachers utilize guitar accompaniment that combines melody and harmony for elementary student singing and in doing so address the problem of the lack of published resources regarding guitar accompaniment for elementary student singing.
Problem Impact and Root Causes It was a problem that despite research indicating that elementary music students more efficiently learn to sing when supported by melodic and harmonic piano accompaniment, as opposed to purely harmonic autoharp or piano accompaniment (Hale, 1977); and that when piano is not available, guitar is a logical accompaniment substitute (Copeland, 2010) I had never encountered a published music resource that includes guitar accompaniment that combines melody and harmony for elementary student singing. This phenomenon negatively impacts elementary music teachers’ ability to accompany their students when either keyboard is unavailable, or the music teacher’s keyboard accompaniment abilities are not adequate for classroom use. These teachers can find themselves forced to make do without accompaniment that combines melody and harmony or devote time and energy to creating their own guitar accompaniment that combines melody and harmony for
A possible cause for the problematic lack of published resources regarding guitar accompaniment that combines melody and harmony for elementary student singing is the lack of research regarding guitar accompaniment in elementary music. There have been numerous studies examining the effect of piano accompaniment on elementary student singing (Atterbury & Silcox, 1993; Hale, 1977; Nichols, 2021; Petzold, 1969; Moore, 1994; Stauffer, 1985). Yet, I have only encountered one study examining the effect of guitar accompaniment on elementary student singing (Kuhn & Sims, 1983) and that study only examined harmonic guitar accompaniment rather than guitar accompaniment that combines melody and harmony.
Research Methodology My capstone project asked how an instructional manual might be created to address the problem of the lack of published resources regarding guitar accompaniment that combines melody and harmony for elementary student singing. To answer this question, I used a qualitative data collection method, a qualitative data literature matrix as my data collection instrument, and thematic analysis to analyze the qualitative data collected in the data matrix. My qualitative data was collected from 25 books including: 16 professionally published piano accompaniments for elementary student singing, seven professionally published guitar accompaniment books that contained at least one sound found in the professionally published piano accompaniment books, a textbook on using guitar as an accompaniment instrument for liturgical services, and a critical edition of the lute songs (with guitar transcriptions) of John Dowland.
Summary of Findings According to Ridge & Purtill, guitarists cannot turn pages while playing (1997). The study results demonstrated some efforts to avoid page turns. Most of the songs contained within the piano and guitar accompaniment books did not include introductions, and most were written using as few staves as possible. In the piano books, a single grand staff was predominately used, with
an additional melody staff appearing only when the piano part did not double the vocal melody. Of the guitar books, most of the professionally published guitar accompaniments of songs that were also found in professionally published piano accompaniments for elementary student singing appeared in Block (1961) and were written on a single staff, while the other more modern accompaniments from Mel Bay and Hal Leonard included staves for melody, notated guitar, and tablature (Hal Leonard Corporation, 2005, 2007a, 2007b; Phillips, 2016; Silverman, 2001; Robinson, 2001). All the piano accompaniments were keyed such that the vocal melody landed in the vocal range of elementary students. The professionally published guitar accompaniments of songs that were also found in professionally published piano accompaniments for elementary student singing were not keyed such that the vocal melody landed in the range of elementary students. The guitar accompaniments were predominately keyed such that the vocal melody landed between G3 and G4 and in the first-position of the three thinnest strings of the guitar. According to Nadal, a capo could be used to transpose the guitar accompaniment to the preferred vocal range of the singer (Dowland & Nadal, 1997). With the exceptions of Block (1961), Dowland & Nadal (1997), and OCP (2009) the textures were often minimal, and many times consisted of only two voices. With the exceptions of Block (1961) and Silverman (2001), when the vocal melody appeared in the piano or guitar part, the melody was always the highest voice. Except for Block (1961), the guitar accompaniments could only be played using fingerstyle plucking technique. The Block (1961) guitar accompaniments could be executed with fingerstyle plucking or with a plectrum. How might an instructional manual be created to address the problem of the lack of published resources regarding guitar accompaniment that combines melody and harmony for elementary student singing? Avoid page turns • • •
No intros Single grand staff Single staff
Melodic range • • •
Within first-position Within elementary student vocal range Use capo
Texture • •
Melody in upper voice Two voices
Righthand technique •
Use fingerstyle plucking technique
Overview of Conclusions In researching professionally published piano accompaniments for elementary student singing, professionally published guitar accompaniments of songs that were also found in professionally
published piano accompaniments for elementary student singing, literature regarding guitar accompaniment practices for which there has been more scholarly research, such as art songs and liturgical music, I determined that an instructional manual to address the problem of the lack of published resources regarding guitar accompaniment that combines melody and harmony for elementary student singing would address page turns, melodic range, texture, and fingerstyle plucking technique. I determined that guitar accompaniment for elementary student singing should be formatted in such a way as to avoid page turns. I discovered that omitting introductions, interludes, and postludes helped to avoid page turns for guitar accompaniments, as was consistent with professionally published keyboard accompaniment for elementary student singing. I determined that Block’s (1961) score presentation of no tablature and a single staff for vocal melody and guitar notation should be employed for published resources regarding guitar accompaniment that combines melody and harmony for elementary student singing. I determined that to address the problem of the lack of published resources regarding guitar accompaniment that combines melody and harmony for elementary student singing that the guitar accompaniments should maintain the established tradition of playing within the first-position of the guitar, as was repeatedly evidenced in the books I researched, and make use of a capo to ensure that that the vocal melody falls in an appropriate range for elementary student singing. I determined that the vocal melody should appear in the upper voice of guitar accompaniments when creating published resources regarding guitar accompaniment that combines melody and harmony for elementary student singing. I determined that published resources regarding guitar accompaniment that combines melody and harmony for elementary student singing should consist predominantly of minimal textured accompaniment, but where appropriate, in terms of grade level and musical style, should also demonstrate examples of denser accompaniment I determined that when creating published resources regarding guitar accompaniment that combines melody and harmony for elementary student singing a fingerstyle plucking technique should be employed to facilitate doubling the vocal melody in the upper voice.
The Instructional Manual My capstone project concluded with an instructional manual that was designed following a research study of 16 books of professionally published piano accompaniments for elementary student singing, seven books of professionally published guitar accompaniments containing at least one song that was also contained in at least one of the professionally published piano accompaniments for elementary student singing, a textbook on using guitar as an accompaniment instrument for liturgical services, and a critical edition of the lute songs (with guitar transcriptions) of John Dowland used to answer the question of how an instructional manual might be created to address the problem of the lack of published
resources regarding guitar accompaniment that combines melody and harmony for elementary student singing. This manual consisted of 26 newly arranged and fully notated guitar accompaniments that combine melody and harmony of public domain songs that appear in professionally published piano accompaniments for elementary student singing that were arranged in accordance with the findings of the research towards answering how an instructional manual might be created to address the problem of the lack of published resources regarding guitar accompaniments that combine melody and harmony for elementary student singing. The 26 arrangements can be purchased from guitaraccompaniment. com, while two examples are included here:
Five Fat Turkeys
If You’re Happy
References Atterbury, B. W., & Silcox, L. (1993). The effect of piano accompaniment on kindergartners’ developmental singing ability. Journal of Research in Music Education, 41(1), 40–47. https://doi.org/10.2307/3345478 Block, L. (1961). Folksongs and other famous melodies: Arranged for guitar. G. Schirmer, Inc. Copeland, K. A. (2010). The guitar as a teaching tool in the elementary general music classroom (Master’s thesis). California State University Sacramento.
Dowland, J., & Nadal, D. (1997). Lute songs of John Dowland: The original first and second books including Dowland’s original lute tablature. Dover Publications, INC. Gould, A. O. (1968). Finding and learning to use the singing voice: A manual for teachers. United States Office of Education. Hal Leonard Corporation. (2005). Fingerpicking hymns. Hal Leonard Corporation. (2007a). The Christmas guitar collection: 20 songs arranged for solo fingerstyle guitar. Hal Leonard Corporation. (2007b). Fingerpicking campfire; 15 songs arranged for solo guitar in standard notation & tablature. Hale, M. R. (1977). An Experimental Study of the Comparative Effectiveness of Harmonic and Melodic Accompaniment in Singing as It Relates to the Development of a Sense of Tonality. Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education, 53, 23–30. http://www.jstor.org/stable/40317479 Kraft, E. (1980). Accompanying. American Music Teacher, 29(5), 18–20. http://www.jstor.org/stable/43535459 Kuhn, T. L., & Sims, W. L. (1983). The effect of simultaneous melodic and harmonic accompaniment, pitch level, and song tones on first-grade students’ ability to sing correct pitches. In Contributions to Symposium/83: The Bowling Green State University Symposium on Music Teaching and Research (Vol. 2, pp. 153–167). Moore, R. S. (1994). Effects of age, sex, and melodic/harmonic patterns on vocal pitch-matching skills of talented 8–11-year-olds. Journal of Research in Music Education, 42(1), 5–13. https://doi.org/10.2307/3345332 Nye, R. E., & Nye, V. T. (1985). Music in the elementary school (5th ed.). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall. Nichols, B. E. (2021). Effect of vocal versus piano doubling on children’s singing accuracy. Psychology of Music, 49(5), 1415–1423. https://doi. org/10.1177/0305735620936757 OCP. (2009). Rise up & sing: Children’s music resource (3rd ed.). Petzold, R. G. (1969). Auditory perception by children. Journal of Research in Music Education, 17(1), 82–87. https://doi.org/10.2307/3344191 Phillips, M. (2016). 30 easy folk guitar solos. Hal Leonard Corporation. Ridge, M., & Purtill, M. (1997). Good guitar stuff: A practical handbook for pastoral guitarists and music directors. OCP Publications. Robinson, M. (2001). Favorite hymns for solo guitar. Hal Leonard Corporation. Silverman, J. (2001). Mel Bay presents guitar tabsongs: Beloved ballads. Mel Bay Publications, Inc. Sims, W. L., Moore, R. S., & Kuhn, T. L. (1982). Effects of female and male vocal stimuli, tonal pattern length, and age on vocal pitch-matching abilities of young children from England and the United States [Special Issue]. Psychology of Music, 104–108. Stauffer, S. L. (1985). An investigation of the effects of melodic and harmonic context on the development of singing ability in primary grade children [Doctoral dissertation, The University of Michigan]. Dissertation Abstracts International, 46, 1862A.
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CHAMBER MUSIC STAPLES FOR YOUR PRE-COLLEGE STRING PROGRAM Hal Grossman Associate Professor of Violin, University of Oregon Jennifer John Fine Arts Center, Greenville, SC String players of all ages love to play chamber music! Chamber music collaborations with friends, new and old, bring us joy and feed our musical spirit. It can be overwhelming to select works from the deep chamber music pool. We often revert to the warhorses; Shostakovich String Quartet, #8, Dvořák’s “American” String Quartet, and the Brahms piano trios, but these advanced pieces can sometimes leave students feeling frustrated and unsatisfied as they struggle with the technical and musical challenges contained within. Just as we scale the solo repertoire, we can also outline chamber music works into appropriate technical and musical levels. We invite you to investigate some of the lesser known works in our list below and add them to your teaching and playing repertoire. This list is just a sample of the options available but we do hope it will serve as a launchpad for you to explore the string chamber music repertoire more deeply.
Trios • • •
Musette from Anna Magdalena Bach Notebook, J. S. Bach/Ronald Dishinger (For three violins) Compatible Trios for Strings, Larry Clark, arr. Doris Gazda (for all string combinations) Ensemble Method for the Violin for Class Instruction, Oscar J. Lehrer (for three violins)
Larger Ensemble • • •
Album of Easy String Quartets, Kalmus Classic Edition Primo Performance, Robert Frost New Tunes for Strings, Stanley Fletcher
EX. Larboard Watch, F. Williams, arr. Oscar J. Lehrer Teaching points: Ensemble intonation; matching bow strokes; rhythmic unity
We have broken down our list into five levels of ability, with teaching points for each category. The teaching points in each stage build upon each other as players advance through the various levels.
Level I Teaching Points: Rhythmic alignment, tuning, bowing unification Repertoire: Duos •
• • •
Beautiful Music for Two String Instruments, Vol. I-IV, Samuel Applebaum (Two violins, two violas, two cellos, two basses) Delightful Duets for Young Violinists, William and Constance Starr (Duets with piano accompaniment and words for singing) Adventures in Music Reading, William Starr (A comprehensive music reading series for two violins) Galop for Two Violins and Piano, Michael McLean The Sassmannshaus Tradition - Early Start on the Violin, Bks.3&4, Egon Sassmannshaus
Teaching Points: Rhythmic independence, melody vs. harmony, cuing and breathing
Teaching Points: Ensemble balance; developing a group sound; independent parts
• • Trios • • •
14 Leichte Stucke for Two Violins, Paul Hindemith 44 Duos for Two Violins, Sz.98, Bela Bartok (Adaptations for viola and cello) Trios Faciles for 3 violins, Op.34, Joseph Bloch Serenade String Trio, Franz Schubert, arr.Sherry Lewis (Two violins and cello; violin/viola/cello) Collected String Trios, Vol.I-II, Arranged by Carole Rabinowitz
Larger Ensemble • • •
Compatible Duos, Trios, and Quartets for Strings, Larry Clark/ Doris Gasda (21 works that can be played by any combination of string instruments) Introduction to String Quartets, Vol. I&II, Erma Clarke Album of Easy String Quartets, Vol. I-III, Kalmus Classic Edition
EX. Trios faciles, op.34, Joseph Bloch Teaching Points: Cuing/breathing; Recovery Bow Stroke©️; voicing
• • •
Twelve Little Duets op.38, Jacques Féréol Mazas (Two violins) Selected Duets for Violin, Vol. II, Harvey S. Whistler and Herman A. Hummel Beautiful Music for Two String Instruments, Vol. 3&4, Samuel Applebaum
Trios • •
3 Scholastico Trios, Franz Hoffmeister (Violin, viola, cello or two violins and cello) Compatible Duos, Trios, and Quartets for Strings, Clark/ Gasda (Can be played by any combination of string instruments)
Larger Ensemble • • •
String Quartets, op.1 #1-#6, Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges Six String Quartets, Charles Wesley Selected String Quartet Movements, Bks. I-III, Arranged Sally O’Reilly
EEX. String Quartet #1, op.1, Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de SaintGeorges Teaching Points: Ensemble articulation, matching bow strokes, phrase structure
Teaching Points: Matching vibrato, advanced bow strokes, shaping the phrase
Teaching Points: Ensemble intonation, harmonic rhythm/pulse, extended techniques
• • • • •
12 Duos for Two Violins, op.70, Wolfgang Amedeus Mozart (Two violins or two violas) Four for Two, Thomas Fredrickson (Cello and bass) Duos for Two Violins, op.8, Ignaz Pleyel 20 Duos for Two Violins, op.55, Robert Fuchs Stylistic Duets, Jeremy Cohen (Violin and cello; two violins)
3 String Trios, op.32, Joseph Haydn 6 String Trios, op.9, François Joseph Gossec (Two violins and cello) Miniatures for Three Cellos, Antonín Dvořák arr. Blaise Déjardin
Trios • • •
Larger Ensemble • • •
Fandango, Michael McLean String Quartets, W.A. Mozart/arr.Forest Etling Tango Passionato for Four Celli, Eduard Putz
EEX. Duo #9, op.55, Robert Fuchs Teaching Points: Sicilienne Bow Stroke©, ensemble intonation, shaping the phrase
• • •
• • •
Six Sonatas for Two Violins, op.3, Jean-Marie LeClair Banjo and Fiddle, William Kroll (Arranged for two violins and piano) Duos for Cello and Bass, Gioacchino Rossini Appalachian Duets, Maria Newman (Two violins) Twelve Duets, op.87, Charles Auguste de Bériot (Two violins)
Trios for all, Albert Stoutamire/ Kenneth Henderson (Various combinations) String Trio #1, D.471, Franz Schubert (Violin, viola, and cello) Serenade for Two Violins and Viola, op.12, Zoltán Kodály
Larger Ensemble • • • • •
Dances of Panama, William Grant Still (String quartet or string orchestra) Phantasy Quintet, Ralph Vaughan Williams (String quartet with second viola) String Quintet in D major, G.276, “Bird Sanctuary”, Luigi Boccherini (Two violins, viola, two celli) String Quintet #1-7, Adolph Blanc (String Quartet with bass) Danzon #2, Arturo Marquez, arr. Sebastian Walnier (For eight celli)
EX. Danzon #2, Arturo Marquez, arr. Sebastian Walnier Teaching Points: Rhythmic complexity, extended techniques, voicing
If you care to explore additional resource on chamber music, please check out the following resources: Films At the Heart of Chamber Music: Gillian Rogel Making Music with the Emerson String Quartet Books
Dusinberre, Edward. Beethoven for a Later Age, Living with the String Quartets. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2016. Griffiths, Paul. The String Quartet, A History. London: Thame and Hudson, 1986. Blum, David. The Art of Quartet Playing, The Guarneri Quartet in conversation with David Blum. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1987.
Steinhardt, Arnold. Indivisible by Four, A String Quartet in Pursuit of Harmony. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1998.
MY CLASSROOM LOOKS GREAT…NOW WHAT? Bill Humbert Director of Bands, Glendale Community College
The bulletin boards are ready, the chairs are straight, the technology works. You have gone over the class roster multiple times for proper name pronunciation and seating arrangements. The room is tidy, and the floor is clean…you can even see a portion of your desk. You are ready. The school bell rings, and the happy pitter patter of feet begin to scurry towards your classroom. The students hurry to their seats and are ready to begin class. After a few announcements, you stand in front of your ensemble, raise your arms, give the preparatory beat, the downbeat…and…beautiful sounds fill your classroom. WAIT…beautiful? Maybe not so beautiful? It might be time for us to figure that part out. If we can focus on proper concepts and drive our ears to listen for the “right stuff” those beautiful sounds will be happening soon. Let’s take a look at what we should be listening for.
The Building Blocks of Sound Tone Quality/Concept of Sound: Proper and characteristic concepts of sound are represented from each member of the ensemble. Each ensemble member is striving to match their individual tonal concept with others in the ensemble. Blend: Each ensemble member is realizing proper tonal colors, and they are evenly presented across the entire ensemble. Individual dynamics and sectional dynamics may need to be manipulated in order to achieve a quality ensemble blend. Remember a few simple sayings that may assist connecting this concept with your students: “Blend is your friend.” “Play softer than those around you.” “Fit your sound into the sound of others.” “Listen in trios of sound.” Balance: All voices within the ensemble are being realized. Individual dynamics and sectional dynamics may need to be manipulated in order to achieve a quality ensemble balance. Printed dynamics are for publishers to put on the page and for conductors to interpret. These dynamics may need to be manipulated by the ensemble in order for a proper balance pyramid to be achieved. Tuning and Intonation: These terms are related but do address different areas of sound. Tuning can be connected to the individual performer and their ability to play the desired note at the correct pitch level. Terms such as sharp, flat, or in tune for each note we play can be related to tuning. Intonation refers to the ability of the players to adjust the pitch of a given note so that proper pitch content can be realized with sections and across the ensemble. To achieve these concepts, address these areas: Individual choirs within the ensemble are playing in tune, and that individual performers understand the intonation tendencies of their instrument and the necessary adjustments needed in order to create the proper pitch level. Encourage performers to adjust pitch to self…and adjust pitch to others in the ensemble.
Clarity of Ensemble Individual and Ensemble Technique: Are we being consistent with the following: Correct Notes, Correct Articulation, Rhythmic Clarity and Accuracy, All Performed with Consistency Attack and Release Timing and Uniformity (Articulation): Focus on consistency. Consistency of timing across the ensemble, consistency of style across the ensemble that allows the style and mood of the music being performed to be realized (legato, marcato, etc.) Many ensembles spend large amounts of time focused on the beginning of the note… when and how the note begins. This is good. However, true ensemble clarity places another layer of focus on the end of note. When and how a note ends helps to define a consistent release of sound. Finally, are these concepts being performed rhythmically together. Tempo and Pulse: Are the choices being made allowing the technique and musicianship of the selection or exercise available to the performer? Consider the following: Is it accurate? Is it consistent? The technique of the ensemble should not be compromised due to the velocity of the pulse. A good rule to live by is just this: Make it correct before making it quick.
Music Making Process Phrasing: Musical lines are being realized and completed. Individual performers understand where, when, and how to breathe within the framework of the notation. Is the ensemble starting the phrase, shaping the phrase and ending the phrase in a uniform and musical manner. Dynamics: The full range of dynamics are being realized across the ensemble. Performers understand the individual and ensemble limitations of Fortissimo and Pianissimo. Dynamics are appropriately regulated to allow ensemble balance and blend to be realized at all times. Characteristic Tone, Balance, and Blend are never compromised. Melodic Transparency: Principal melodies are able to be heard over accompanying voices. Dynamics may need to be adjusted to allow melodic lines to be well defined. Secondary melodies and melodic counterpoint must also be realized. Here is a good “Post-It-Note” moment for you: Motion in music is always more important than stationary music
Final Thoughts for Success: Select literature that the ensemble can perform at a high level. Sometimes, the level of a performance may be lacking some of the above elements due to the choice of literature being performed. I was once told by a mentor teacher; “Don’t
leave your success in the music library” A great reminder to be mindful of the literature choice we make for our ensembles that allows them to be challenged, to grow, and be successful in creating their best musical moments. Audio record the ensemble often to provide honest evaluation to your ears. Listen to your recordings and evaluate your performance level. A great challenge would be to send those recordings to one of your mentors, someone you trust to be honest with you, and allow them to evaluate your ensemble. Or…allow
your students to evaluate themselves by listening to their recordings. Progress is a process and the journey to excellence takes patience and time. With the proper investment of time, proper training, and proper fundamental studies to build these concepts into habits, the ensemble will begin to utilize the skill sets needed to create those desired beautiful sounds. It is time to give the downbeat…enjoy the ride.
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ADDRESSING THE URBAN AND RURAL DIVIDE THROUGH COLLABORATION Dunja Marcum Instructor of Clarinet, Lewis & Clark University Even though I put foremost on my resume “music educator,” in reality I wear many hats and have an appendage in at least four different worlds: college music instructor, private music instructor, program director of a non-profit that offers both music and visual art education, and assisting with the music education programs of public schools through clinics, substitute teaching and sectional work. It has been incredibly rewarding to be a part of so many aspects of music education in the state and to see how hard everyone works to ensure our students succeed. I believe that private teachers and sectionalists have since the pandemic recognized the incredible inequality between schools located in urban areas or close to urban centers with resources and schools far away and spread out. In my capacity as a Wallowa Winds faculty member, I witnessed engaging conversations where highly skilled professionals recognize some students have incredible privilege and others do not simply based on where in the state they are, and are eager to address the disparity. In conversation with music education students there and at East Winds Band Camp, I heard their unmistakable passion for serving the historically underserved and under-resourced. It’s no secret that the pandemic exposed the inequities and lack of resources that many school districts face and that many of us have known about but waited for the tide to turn, and it hasn’t. Having adjudicated a solo and ensemble festival in a rural district this last year, I had to make the difficult decision to not recommend the category winner for advancement to state. The reason wasn’t that they didn’t play well, they did. However, I knew that their performance would not stand up well compared to those performances by soloists who have access to highly qualified private teachers such as myself, sectionalists specific to their instrument, and even access to live music performances of the highest quality and at an affordable price. After imagining the likely point differential the student would see, I realized that it could very well be demoralizing and counterproductive. This upcoming year I have committed to serving some of the most rural areas in Oregon by visiting them with my colleague Ling Hang from Western Oregon University. We plan to bring clarinet instruction, supplies, basic repair skills and equipment. Our plan is to make repeat visits and reinforce our visits through virtual lessons and sectionals, utilizing one of the tools we learned during the pandemic that addressed the disparity between rural and urban areas. My position as program director of an established non-profit
allows me to apply for grant funding to support our work, an absolute privilege. However, even with the hopeful grant funding, we will still do this on our own dimes, covering much of our transportation costs, lodging, and supplies/equipment ourselves. I am hopeful that we will receive some of our requested funding and we will be able to start planning for future years of traveling to some of the far corners of this wonderful state, adding more instruments and instructors along the way. It is definitely time to collaborate more with all of the entities who work together with the same goal: providing access to excellence in our school-based music education programs in Oregon. There are many instructors who are willing to travel, give time and energy to help outside of the I-5 corridor to address the inequity in access to resources. There are foundations throughout the state who welcome outside-thebox ideas and specifically fund rural projects- even if the asking entity is urban-based. We have music instructors in Oregon who have years of experience with grant writing, are absolute experts in virtual teaching, or are on boards of organizations who seek ways to support communities near and far. While not a simple or easy process, I call on my colleagues who share my privilege of being on the west side of the state near the big cities to work together and partner with our colleagues who dare to dream of a low brass or flute specialist coming in and offering free instruction, or an hour of instrument repair. I also call on my band director colleagues to answer the email of someone who is willing to come to you and help, even if at first it sounds like too much work. The pandemic changed us all, and for many musicians and music educators, we saw first hand the lifeline music provided during those dark days. We couldn’t wait to get back to our kids in person and make music, even as we recognized there were real challenges we didn’t quite have the skills for yet. My colleagues who are private teachers and performers have a renewed passion for sharing music through instruction and performances because they know how much we ALL need music and deserve access to it. I hope that in the next few years we can see even more collaboration, more sharing of resources and more acknowledgment that while many miles may separate us, by working together with our colleagues who teach privately and who are ready to step in we can really start to see some of our most underserved districts throughout the state rise up and be on a more level playing field.
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HEARING LOSS PREVENTION FOR PIANISTS Lisa Marsh Director, Coordinate Movement Program, Portland State University Many pianists listen to music in practice, performances, rehearsals, and lessons up to eight hours a day. Our auditory sense is vital to our well-being as musicians, and it should be understood and protected. Most classical musicians feel immune to the dangers of hearing loss from their profession, yet studies show that up to 52 percent of classical musicians and only about 30 percent of rock musicians suffer from hearing loss (as reported by Marshall Chasin in his very helpful book Hear the Music). By learning about the anatomy of the ear and the principles of sound conduction, we can incorporate this knowledge with measures to reduce the risk of hearing loss. The human ear is divided into three sections: the outer, middle, and inner ear. The pinna on the outside and the eardrum on the inside define the outer ear. It includes the auditory canal. One of the functions of the outer ear is to amplify high frequencies (or pitches). It also creates resonance in the 3000 Hz range. Hertz (Hz) are defined as units of frequency or pitch. Middle C is 262 Hz, while the top note on the piano keyboard is just over 4000 Hz. The middle ear consists of the eardrum and three tiny bones named the malleus (hammer), incus (anvil), and stapes (stirrup) for their respective shapes. These tiny bones transmit the sound waves from the eardrum (tympanic membrane) to the inner ear. One of the special qualities of the middle ear is impedance matching. This term refers to the matching of characteristics of the air in the ear canal to the fluid in the inner ear. Ninety-nine percent of energy is lost when sounds pass through an air fluid barrier. Thus, the middle ear compensates for possible loss of sound. Another important characteristic of the middle ear is pressure release through the Eustachian tube that connects the back of the throat to the bottom of the middle ear. The middle ear also contains a muscular reflex that protects our hearing. The stapedius muscle, which is connected to the stapes bone, contracts in response to high intensity sound. It lessens the intensity of our voices, especially in the mid- and low-frequency sounds.
book can help us make decisions about our environment that will reduce the risk of hearing loss. Decibels (dB) are defined as units of measurement pertaining to intensity or loudness of sound. If we can reduce the sound level by 3 dB, we can double our time exposure. Thus, music exposure for twenty hours per week at 88 dB would equal 85 dB for forty hours per week. This is good news for pianists who play and teach at least forty hours per week. By implementing measures to reduce the sound by a small amount, we can protect our ears. Pianists can practice with the lid down or on the small stick, except just before a concert when a fuller sound may be desired. Teachers can keep the lid down in their studios and sit away from the piano when it is being played. Creating distance between the sound source and the human ear reduces the decibel level. Lastly, you might consider investing in earplugs designed to reduce the decibel level across the frequency or pitch range. This full spectrum sound reduction assures that the sound is not muted or distorted. The ER20XS is an earplug that serves this purpose and is available online for a reasonable price. A reduction of 20 dB across the pitch spectrum is provided by the ER20XS. If you attend concerts where the sound is louder than is comfortable for your ears, bring along these earplugs. Indoor venues often create decibel levels that are harmful. Whether it is a rock or symphonic venue, potential for hearing damage exists. Be sure to educate your young students about the hazards of attending concerts where the sound is unnecessarily loud. Unfortunately, this problem exists in most venues for popular music, and many bands pride themselves on their ear-splitting sound systems. It is important that we take the protection of hearing into account when we perform. Some concert halls are small, and a very large piano played at full volume with the lid on the long stick may be too much for the audience. Be proactive in your choices for your studio and concerts to promote awareness of the need to protect the auditory sense.
The inner ear, or cochlea, is a fluid-filled, snail-shaped structure about the size of the small fingernail. The basilar membrane, which covers the length of the spiral shaped interior, contains tiny hair cells that transmit sound frequencies. The majority of these hair cells are connected to nerve fibers that send sensory signals to the brain or receive electrical impulses from the brain. This delicate and complicated structure called the human ear is often taken for granted by musicians. We don’t think about hearing loss until our ears are ringing— an early sign of hearing damage. If this occurs, remove any unnecessary sound from your environment for a period of twenty-four hours and the ringing will usually go away. It is best to avoid situations that might cause ringing in the ears by reducing the amount and intensity of sound exposure. A special relationship between intensity, or decibel level, and time exposure described by Dr. Chasin in his Oregon Music Educator • Volume LXXVI #1 • Fall 2023 • OMEA • 560 NE F Street Suite A PMB 732; Grants Pass, OR 97526 • 541.291.1149 • oregonmusic.org
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STRESS AND THE VOICE
Kelley Nassief Assistant Professor, Director of Opera and Opera Studios, Portland State University Almost everyone at one time or another has experienced the classic “lump in the throat” during times of extreme emotional stress or anxiety. This is usually a brief episode, but what happens when that feeling becomes chronic? According to a recent study published by the National Institute of Mental Health, anxiety affected 31.9% of adolescents, with over half presenting in the moderate to severe category1. Anxiety can severely affect muscular tension throughout the body, and singing requires the coordination of hundreds of muscles to breathe, phonate, support, suspend, articulate, and resonate. When these muscles become chronically tense, cramped, or locked, a singer can lose the ability to phonate freely to the point of dysphonia.
MTD Symptoms •
Visible tension in the neck, jaw, shoulders, and throat
Reduced pitch range (can be anywhere in the vocal range)
Reduced amplitude (can be anywhere in the vocal range)
Reduced vocal flexibility.
Periodic pain and cramping in the larynx, neck or surrounding areas.
Higher than normal pitch
Raised laryngeal position
Sensation of a lump or ball in the throat
Muscle Tension Dysphonia (MTD)
Excessive throat clearing
Many vocal teachers are unfamiliar with the diagnosis of MTD, yet a study published in 2023 states, “Approximately 40% of patients referred for assessment of hoarseness will be diagnosed with primary muscle tension dysphonia (MTD).”2 MTD is a condition that exhibits marked voice disruption in the absence of laryngeal pathology. The larynx is particularly vulnerable to tension and emotional stress which can cause the vocal folds to hyperadduct or even to hypoadduct. In addition, breath becomes higher and shallower, and the support mechanism can feel locked.
There are two types of MTD: Primary MTD is associated with a psychogenic component which can be linked to emotional stress, moderate to severe anxiety, or ‘A’ type personalities. Secondary MTD has an origin in pathology, such as polyps or nodules, wherein the singer increases subglottic pressure in order to phonate. Once the pathology has resolved, however, the compensatory function of constriction or forced adduction remains. This article will explore Primary MTD (type 1), its etiology, symptoms, diagnosis, and remediation.
Causes of Primary MTD •
Emotional stress which causes tension in the neck, jaw, shoulders, and throat
Compression and constriction of larynx and vocal folds.
Any Anxiety Disorder” National Institute of Mental Health, https://www. nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/anyanxiety-disorder 1
Diagnosis Since MTD is marked vocal disruption in the absence of pathology, it can only be diagnosed by an ENT or Otolaryngologist. At the time of the visit, the doctor will ask questions and investigate through visualization in the following ways: Rigid Laryngoscope - The doctor will manually pull the tongue forward and place the laryngoscope in the posterior of the throat. The instrument allows the doctor to look down the larynx through an arrangement of mirrors, similar to a periscope. The doctor will ask the patient to perform a series of exercises using a variety of vowels throughout the vocal range to visualize the vibratory pattern and check for excessive constriction. Flexible Laryngoscope - The doctor will spray a numbing solution in the nose and insert a flexible scope through the nasal passages, past the nasopharynx. Once in the oropharynx, the scope will remain pointed down to allow visualization of the vocal folds in a natural position. The doctor will instruct the patient to sing normally using a variety of pitches and vowels throughout the range. A wonderful example of this can be seen on the following YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BipS88vaFfI3 Since the vocal folds oscillate at such high speed, stroboscopy is often employed with both types of scopes. Rapid flashes of light are emitted to visually “slow down” the vibratory pattern to allow a better assessment of pathology and function of the
Jennifer Katzenstein, “Anxiety and Stress in Teens”, (2023), https:// www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/ conditions-and-diseases/anxietydisorders/anxiety-and-stress-in-teens 2
“Cords: Vocal Cords Up Close While Singing” (2013) https://www.youtube. com/watch?v=BipS88vaFfI 3
vocal folds. In addition, both rigid and flexible laryngoscopes are equipped with a camera to record and a microphone to estimate the fundamental frequency of the voice. Observations of a high laryngeal position, constriction, and tension in the larynx with an absence of pathology will often be diagnosed as MTD. The doctor will likely discuss the functional disorder with the patient and recommend a Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) to begin therapy. In addition, the patient may also be referred to a Singing Voice Specialist (SVS), a trained singer and teacher with knowledge of vocal disorders and singing techniques. An SVS works closely with the doctor and SLP in a team approach to apply recommended therapeutic exercises to the singing voice. The doctor may also recommend a psychotherapist to remediate the root causes of tension and anxiety.
through the onset of phonation. Hypofunctional support will often result in a breathy onset, while hyperfunctional support results in a glottal onset or a big /h/ as air is forced out. This is often accompanied by an aggressive inward pull of the epigastrium. All these onsets can cause constriction in the throat and must be addressed. Semi-Occluded Vocal Tract Exercises (SOVT) are very effective in delivering balanced air to the vocal folds by encouraging the suspension phase of singing. SOVT assist in positioning and shaping the vocal folds for optimum phonation, balanced onsets, prevent vocal fold hyperadduction, create a neutral laryngeal position, create a resonant vocal tone, open the throat, and help with register shifts.4 SOVT exercises include: •
Straw phonation with and without water
Lip and tongue trills
SLP Therapeutic Approach
There are two approaches a therapist will use with the primary MTD patient; functional and relaxative.
Exercises beginning with fricative consonants such as /v/ and /z/
Exercises beginning with nasal consonants such as /n/, /m/, and /ŋ/
Vocalizing with a hand over the mouth
Emotional tension can activate the body’s sympathetic nervous system, resulting in the “fight or flight” response. While the laryngeal muscles are particularly susceptible to the ensuing physiological changes, singing involves a number of other areas and systems within the body that are also affected. Muscles governing posture, breathing, support, and articulation may join the laryngeal muscles in the experience of dysfunctional tension (along with changes to respiration and circulation). For this reason, the basics of technique must be emphasized. Posture is greatly affected by stress. Poor posture affects breathing, support, phonation, articulation, resonance, and causes overall tension in the neck, shoulders and back. Points of emphasis on posture include: •
Shoulder position (lowered, back, and relaxed)
Head balanced on the atlanto-occipital joint at the top of the spine
Proper hip alignment
Emotional tension can also cause the rectus abdominis (abdominal wall) to become locked resulting in a high shallow breath. The abdominal wall should be released to allow for a low breath. The following techniques can encourage a low breath and open back. •
Yoga position “child’s pose”
Leaning over a chair
When the abdominal muscles are locked, it typically results in hypofunctional or hyperfunctional support. This can be heard
Other exercises that prevent laryngeal constriction are: •
Lyric speech (elongating vowels)
MTD is often accompanied with the jaw and the base of the tongue which can elevate the laryngeal position. Exercises to loosen the jaw include: •
Massage at the hinge of the jaw
The base of the tongue is connected to the hyoid bone through the hyoglossus muscle. This muscle works in a cyclic movement to facilitate the mastication of food. When the hyoglossus muscle tightens, it can elevate the larynx and cause tension. For this reason, a series of stretches and chewing exercises can help alleviate this tension. In addition, a very light digital massage under the chin can also be beneficial. A neutral positioning of the throat is optimal for singing. Emotional stress will elevate the laryngeal position not only from the tongue but through the thyrohyoid muscle which connects from the thyroid cartilage to the hyoid bone. This muscle is a laryngeal elevator which assists in swallowing, but has negative consequences when contracted in singing. Tension of the thyrohyoid muscle can cause a sensation of cramping and fatigue. In 1985, Dr. Arnold Aronson was the first to use Digital Manipulation or Circumlaryngeal Massage to reduce musculoskeletal tension in this area. In this therapy,
Kari Ragan, A Systematic Approach to Voice: The Art of Studio Application, San Diego: Plural Publishing, Inc., (2020) 74-86.
the clinician will identify the tips of the hyoid bone and use light pressure in a circular motion. The clinician will then move to the thyroid notch area and massage in a circular motion from front to back. The massage moves to the posterior portions of the thyroid cartilage and gently exerts pressure downward to increase the space in the thyrohyoid. This is all done while the patient is phonating vowels until voice quality improves.5 Methods used for overall relaxation of the body can include biofeedback, craniosacral therapy, myofascial release, progressive relaxation, massage therapy, acupressure, and acupuncture.
Psychotherapy and Medications Primary MTD is caused by emotional stress and anxiety. This is the root of the problem and while the above therapies can encourage a healthier technique and temporarily relieve tension, resolving the psychogenic component of MTD must be part of the overall therapy. Psychotherapeutic approaches such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Prolonged Exposure Therapy (PE), Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT), and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR) can be very effective in healing trauma, anxiety, and depression that can lead to MTD. A serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) may be prescribed in combination with psychotherapy to help with physical symptoms. In cases of severe cramping, a serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) may be prescribed for the added benefit of minimizing chronic pain.
Conclusion MTD is a voice disorder with which every voice teacher and choral conductor should be familiar. Today’s student is under a great deal of stress academically, socially, and societally. Anxiety from social media, a pandemic, an uncertain future, and a volatile world are all very real. It’s no wonder so many are suffering with MTD as a symptom of unrelenting stress. Singing is an incredible gift of expression. It can provide healing and catharsis for the singer and audience alike, something for which our world has a deep and abiding need. Losing the ability to vocalize freely is frustrating and tragic, and it is crucial that vocal educators assume their role as stewards of the student’s voice with any appearance of dysphonia. We must lead injured students to healing and relief by recommending consultation with a laryngologist. MTD is difficult to treat; it requires a multidisciplinary approach involving doctors and therapists to heal mind, body, and voice. It can, however, be treated, and the rewards for pursuing proper treatment cannot be overstated. Kelley Nassief is the Director of Opera at Portland State University. She received her Bachelors of Music from Portland State University, and her Masters in Vocal Pedagogy from Westminster Choir College under Dr. Scott McCoy with additional studies in Vocal Disorders with Dr. Christopher Arneson. She was a National Winner in the 1995 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, a Laureate Winner in the 1992 Bernstein International Oratorio and Song Competition, and has enjoyed an international singing career, performing with many of the greatest opera companies and symphonies in the world. Full bio kelleynassief.com
5 Raymond H. Colton, Janina K. Casper, and Ph.D. Rebecca Leonard, Understanding Voice Problems. 3rd Edition, Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, (2005) 234-354. Arnold E. Aronson and Diane M. Bless, Clinical Voice Disorders, 4th Edition, New York: Thieme Medical Publishers, Inc. (2009) 170171, 244-245. Scott McCoy, Your Voice: An Inside View, 3rd Edition, San Diego: Plural Publishing, Inc., (2019) 118-120. Scott McCoy, The Basics of Voice Science and Pedagogy: San Diego: Plural Publishing, Inc. (2020) 94-95. Joseph C. Stemple, Leslie Glaze, and Bernice Klaben, Clinical Voice Pathology: Theory and Management, 4th Edition, San Diego: Plural Publishing, (2009) 105, 230-231.
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