JULY 2010 $5.00
Roundtable: Words of Wisdom Guest Editorial: Survival Tips Survey: Pressing Concerns for Music Ed Commentary: The Real Crisis
Report: 2010 Essay Contest Winners
REPORT: ESSAY CONTEST WINNERS SBO unveils the winners of the 10th annual Essay Scholarship contest, along with the winning essays themselves.
GUEST EDITORIAL: SURVIVAL TIPS SBO contributor Dean Lamp offers a series of tips for surviving in a tough climate for music education.
ROUNDTABLE: WORDS OF WISDOM Seven expert educators discuss keys to sustaining a long and successful career teaching music.
SURVEY: PRESSING CONCERNS FOR MUSIC EDUCATORS This recent reader survey examines pressing concerns for the wellbeing of music programs across the nation, as well as some ideas for combating the imminent threats facing music and the arts.
COMMENTARY: THE REAL CRISIS Tracy Leenman details how the economic hardships being felt by schools is actually a real opportunity for music programs.
TECHNOLOGY: MULTIMEDIA INSTRUCTION John Kuzmich explores options for integrating multimedia into the school music curriculum.
Columns 4 6 38
Perspective Headlines New Products
43 44 44
Playing Tip Classifieds Ad Index
Cover design by Andrew Ross. SB&O School Band and Orchestra® (ISSN 1098-3694) is published monthly by Symphony Publishing, LLC, 21 Highland Circle, Suite 1, Needham, MA 02494 (781) 453-9310, publisher of Musical Merchandise Review, Choral Director, Music Parents America and JAZZed. All titles are federally registered trademarks and/or trademarks of Symphony Publishing, LLC. Subscription Rates: one year $24; two years $40. Rates outside U.S.A. available upon request. Single issues $5 each. February Resource Guide $15. Periodical-Rate Postage Paid at Boston, MA and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER/ SUBSCRIBERS: Send address change to School Band and Orchestra, P.O. Box 8548, Lowell, MA 01853. No portion of this issue may be reproduced without the written permission of the publisher. The publishers of this magazine do not accept responsibility for statements made by their advertisers in business competition. Copyright © 2010 by Symphony Publishing, LLC, all rights reserved. Printed in USA.
2 School Band and Orchestra, July 2010
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Surviving in Choppy Seas
his year’s SBO “Director’s Survival Guide” is possibly the most important that we have ever published, as there is a greater need than ever for practical ideas in these turbulent times. Last year, many state and local education budgets were in place from the prior year, which kept school finances on an even keel. Now, however, we’re really feeling the delayed impact, as state funding is somewhat of a lagging economic indicator. According to The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, “States’ fiscal problems will continue into the next fiscal year and likely beyond. Fiscal year 2011 gaps – both those still open and those already addressed – total $112 billion or 17 percent of budgets in 46 states. This total is likely to grow as revenues continue to deteriorate, and may well exceed $180 billion. States will also face large gaps that could total $120 billion the following year (FY2012).” “Selling” the critical need for maintaining a music program to administrators, school committee members, and parents is more important today than ever. In this issue, Tracy Leenman’s article, “The Real Crisis in this Budget Crisis,” provides a wealth of essential advocacy information that can be used to support the funding for music “Maintaining school in our schools, especially the documented research that shows significantly improved student performance from music parmusic is proven to ticipation. Dr. John Benham’s economic argument for mainkeep costs lower taining school music is also proven to keep costs lower than if than if a school cuts a school cuts a music program, as music teachers are often the a music program.” most cost-efficient teachers in a school due to their high teacher/student ratio. His financial calculations have been proven to save millions of dollars in certain school districts across the country. Dean Lamp, our guest editorial writer this month, talks about some practical survival tips that can be used in everyday settings, of which one of the most important is “burnout prevention.” Recent statistics indicate that nearly half of all music teachers leave the profession within the first five years, so Lamp provides some practical ideas on setting priorities that might help educators prevent burnout and guide them toward attainable goals. In the SBO Roundtable, orchestra director Rebecca Meis provides some words of wisdom for young music educators that are more essential than ever in today’s economic environment: “Learn how a program is financed; where the money comes from and how it is distributed. Learning to work effectively within the strictures of budgetary restraints can be an advantage to working successfully.” You’ll find many more practical survival tips and ideas in this issue from veteran directors who have dealt with many difficult situations during their tenures. I hope that you will find their insightful comments and thoughts helpful in navigating today’s choppy seas…
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HeadLines NAMM Foundation’s Program Grant
Students Rally & Sing for Music Education
he NAMM Foundation’s Phase I of its 2011 Program Grant initiative opened on June 15, 2010. The Foundation seeks to fund proposals for projects that further the music products industry’s mission of creating more active music makers of all ages and expanding access to music making. The Foundation Program Grants support non-profit, public service music learning programs that motivate and inspire people of all ages to play music. Supporting these types of musicmaking programs furthers the NAMM Foundation’s mission of creating more active music makers of all ages. To be considered for funding, a program representative must complete an initial Letter of Inquiry by the stated deadline, and meet all criteria and application requirements described in the guidelines. Programs implemented during the school day may supplement, but cannot replace core curriculum music education programs. Selected applicants will then be invited to complete a full proposal during Phase II. Phase I Letter of Inquiry submission deadline is September 30, 2010. To access Program Grant funding guidelines and details for submitting a Letter of Inquiry for consideration, interested parties should visit www.nammfoundation.org .
usic students from around the country sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” on Capitol Hill, on June 25 to raise awareness of the importance of music education and music programs in public schools. The rally featured two performing groups: The U.S. Navy Band with a program of patriotic songs and Washington, DC’s Power Pirate, a three-piece electronic rock band featuring teen musicians. Power Pirate was a finalist in last year’s NAMM SchoolJam USA, a national teen battle of the bands contest that promotes aspiring musicians while helping to build awareness about the benefits of a quality school music education, both for traditional band students and non-traditional school musicians. To find out more, visit www.menc.org.
Ableton Summer Music Challenge
usic software company Ableton has invited students from all over the world to take part in the Ableton Summer Music Challenge. The goal of the Challenge is to support technology-assisted musical learning by asking students to get creative with music over their summer vacations and perhaps help their school out in the process. To participate, students must upload their songs to SoundCloud to enter the competition. Then, they share their track with the world via their favorite social networks. The tracks with the most plays by August 31, 2010 will be presented to the official Ableton Summer Music Challenge jury. The jury will then select the grand prize winners. There will be two competition age groups in the Ableton Summer Music Challenge: under 15 and 15 to 18. Prizes for schools and students include: Ableton Live Intro audio production platform, Novation Launchpad midi controller, Novation NIO 2/4 audio interface, SoundCloud premium accounts, and Loopmasters sample collections. To take part in the Challenge, or for more information, please visit www.abletonsummermusicchallenge.com.
6 School Band and Orchestra, July 2010
Musician’s Friend Awards School Music Programs
usician’s Friend, a direct marketer of musical instruments, has awarded funds, musical instruments, and equipment to eight organizations as part of its 2010 charitable giving program in support of music education. Through the program, schools have received digital pianos, guitars, marching band instruments, amplifiers, drums, and other percussion instruments. Musician’s Friend accepts proposals for its charitable giving program throughout the year, inviting organizations from Oregon, Missouri, Indiana, and Utah (the states in which the company operates) to apply. For more information, visit www.musiciansfriend.com.
Online Survey Results How do you spend your summer? Vacation
Music-related PT job
There's no such thing as summer vacation for me!
New Dean for BU College of Fine Arts he Boston University College of Fine Arts is excited to announce that Mexican composer/producer/educator Benjamin E. Juarez has been named its new dean. Juarez will take over from dean ad interim Walt Meissner on August 1 to lead the College’s schools of Music, Theatre, and Visual Arts into their next phases. For more information, visit www.bu.edu.
Visit www.sbomagazine.com and let your voice be heard in the current online poll – results to be published in the next issue of SBO. Benjamin E. Juarez
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Please thank SBO for supporting a national contest like â€œI Believe Music Must Remain A Part Of The School Music Curriculum Becauseâ€Śâ€? This is a great way to involve everyone, (dealers, directors, students and parents) in our fight to support music education in our schools. I would also like to thank you for the honor of allowing us to present Jessica with her check. She was thrilled and it was nice to see the family support she had with the presence of her parents (Doug and Tracy Roederer) and her siblings (Wyatt and Diana). The event was made even more special when her mother presented her with flowers and the Hebron Middle School Band, (under the direction of Ms. Davidson) played â€œAmerica the Beautifulâ€? following the check presentation. Kevin Cranley, President of Willis Music, congratulated Jessica and gave a great talk about the importance of music in young peoples lives. Even though you could not be there the results, your contest has a student thinking about her new music education options. It has also made a father proud, touched a motherâ€™s heart and has a band director knowing even more that she is making a difference. Mornings like this is what being in the music business is all about. Sincerely, Cindy Hicks Director of Music Education Willis Music Florence, Ky.
For more headlines and breaking news, sign up for the SBO e-newsletter on :9JA GJA?AF9D
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MADE IN THE USA 8 School Band and Orchestra, July 2010
SBOReport: Essay Contest
hree students from California, two from Texas,
and two from Alabama were among the 10 winners of the 2010 SBO Essay Contest. Each received a $1,000 scholarship, and their respective school
music programs received a matching award of musical products from co-sponsors Alfred Publishing and Yamaha Corporation of America. This year’s theme, “I Believe Music Must Remain A Part Of The School Curriculum,” had approximately 7,000 entries from all parts of the United States and several foreign countries. For the first time, one of the winning essays was submitted by a Canadian student. Looking at the numbers, 2010 marks the Essay contest’s 10th year and, to date, there has been over $200,000 in scholarships and music products awarded to 90 school music programs. The music students received their checks from local music dealers, members of NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) a major co-sponsor for the program. Several of the presentations were awarded during school assemblies. SBO would like to congratulate the following winning students and their music directors!
Winning essays can also be read online at www.sbomagazine.com. 10 School Band and Orchestra, July 2010
Age: 17 Grade: 12 Chelsea High School Chelsea, Ala. I believe music must remain a part of the school curriculum because music accomplishes everything schools try to do: prepare students to face tomorrow’s challenges. Students learn responsibility, accountability, leadership skills, social skills, and diversity in music organizations. Music also provides an outlet for students to learn how to better themselves in every aspect of their lives. We not only deserve to know this for ourselves, but also know it in order to make our communities better. I have been in band for seven years and have been given some amazing opportunities. This year I served as Drum Major where I gained valuable leadership skills and social skills. Being Drum Major also taught me how to work with people and how to put the best interest of the group before my own interests. I also had the opportunity this summer to perform in a concert tour in Europe with the Alabama Ambassadors of Music. It really surprised me that no matter if we were in London, Paris, or Switzerland, that our music affected the people. Music is able to reach beyond any cultural difference or language barrier; it connects all the people of the world into one big family. Music has influenced my life for the better. No other organization can impact communities, prepare students, change lives, and unite people all around the world like music can. Music is not a class that only lasts for a semester or two, its lessons last for a lifetime.
Age: 11 Grade: 6 McLean 6th Grade Center Fort Worth, Texas I believe that music must remain a part of the school curriculum because music is Karen Gonzalez of McClean Middle a fun and unique way for an School, Page Trotter, and Betsy individual to express them- Taylor of Brook Mays Music. selves and can be a strong part of a person. Music gives kids something to look forward to in the school day. If students are able to learn music, it may change their lives and their perspective of the world and what they decide to become of themselves when they get older. Whether it’s singing or playing a musical instrument, learning music is essential for a young mind because they can express their feelings and ideas of life
in song. They can also develop their own individual and unique style of music. Meanwhile they learn musical content such as “harmony” and “beat” and learning how to read and write musical notes which can be useful in the future. Music is important to include in a student’s learning. It can be fun and very informative. It also helps students interact in a different way. Expressing yourself is important. Do it in your own fun and special way. Music is the answer. Let us keep our music!
Age: 14 Grade: 8 Floyd Middle Magnet School Montgomery, Ala. I believe music must remain a part of the school Reshonda Brown (Jasmine’s curriculum because it is mother), Jasmine, Capitol Music beneficial. Student partici- owner James Houston Darby Jr., and Floyd Middle Magnet band director pation in music activities Coleman Woodson. has a positive effect on everything from academic achievement to self discipline. Music has the ability to facilitate language acquisition, reading readiness, and general intellectual development. Also, it fosters positive attitudes and lower truancy in middle and high schools. Music helps to enhance creativity, promote social development, adjust personality, and self worth. Through participation in school music programs, students gain a sense of discipline, self-esteem, and pride of accomplishment, and they learn to excel in teamwork, problem solving, leadership, and creative thinking. Music is very important and it should remain a part of the school curriculum.
Age: 13 Grade: 8 Daniel Webster Middle School Los Angeles, Calif. I believe music must remain a part of the school Oscar Naranjo, president of Intercurriculum because it helps national House Of Music; Neydi’s students accomplish things mother, Mrs. Mendez; Neydi Mendez; Neydi’s father, Mr. Mendez; and they never knew they William Barrett of Daniel Webster could. As a young woman Middle School. I have many dreams, many goals, many things I want to accomplish. However some inconveniences stood in my way; lack of money for lessons was one of them. I wanted to prove that I could do something special. I wanted to show my talent. I wanted to be known, be someone. As a little girl my dream was to play School Band and Orchestra, July 2010 11
an instrument. I loved the rich sound of the woodwinds, the way every note sounded so harshly elegant. I longed to play, but couldnâ€™t. When I started school, I enrolled. I chose the clarinet for its lovely sound. The first time I saw it, held it, played it, I fell in love. I stuck to it, and made my dream come true. Time went by and graduation approached. I thought that meant leaving my dream behind, but Webster Middle School saved my dream, and I had another chance to play. This time it was different. This time I saw something new, something beautiful to my eyes. I was shiny and big; soft and loud. It was it; the saxophone. My dream lives on playing for people to see, and the music programs in my schools have made it possible. They encouraged me to be me, and let me live my dreams.
Age: 17 Grade: 12 Marin School of the Arts Novato, Calif. Music embodies much of what we should value most in education: learning Mark Peabody, Marin School of stimulated by genuine curi- the Arts; Sam Hoffman; and Alan osity and wonder. There are Rosen, Bananas At Large. no limits for how much one can achieve, no pre-determined answers, and no simple bubble-filled assessments that define ability and competence. Excellence in music is multi-dimensional and complex. In the quantitative, test score-obsessed realm that characterizes much of school today, pursuing authentic education can be quite a challenge. But music allows pursuit of something with boundless possibilities for improvement, creativity and knowledge, requiring multidimensional, complex abilities. Music is a quintessential life-long learning experience. The benefits of technical mastery deepen with new experiences and perspectives; there are always new realms to explore. The qualities that support exemplary musicianship are the same qualities that support superior thinking. Talented musicians and gifted thinkers strive for technical mastery, developing good coordination and flexibility, cultivating and articulating thoughts, and amassing diverse information and a solid, well-rounded and expansive foundation of knowledge. Talented thinkers and musicians strive for creative integrity and conviction; neither tries to do or be things they are not. The goal of thinking and of music in not to reproduce what someone else has already done, but to create mediums in which people share unique perspectives and, also, to collaborate. Technical expertise gives life to great music, but that is not enough. Practice, diversity, emotion, life experience, improvisation, history, and collaboration combine to expand its impact and relevance; few things in school or life offer as much potential for deep and meaningful learning.
12 School Band and Orchestra, July 2010
Age: 17 Grade: 12 Watkins Overton High Memphis, Tenn. I believe music must remain a part of the school curriculum because it Pat Averwater, Amro Music Stores, reaches students in a way Inc.; Gabrielle Duran; and Dr. that grammar, textbooks, Reginald Houze, Watkins Overton reports, and numbers do High School. not. At the end of the day, expression through music is the relief that students need after their minds have grown tired of disengaging lectures, lessons, and written work. Not only can practicing an instrument build skill, but it also teaches patience. Students develop an appreciation for music and discover their own style of musical expression. There is no experience more rewarding than performing on stage and being moved by the music you make. It is even more rewarding when your audience is just also inspired. For example, in the spring of 2009, the Watkins Overton High Wind Ensemble, from a virtually unknown program travelled hundreds of miles from its hometown of Memphis, Tennessee to compete in the Bluebonnet Classic Musical Festival held in San Antonio, Texas. Overton was the underdog of the competition. However, thanks to long hours of rehearsal, individual practice, and a passion for music, Overton won first place in musical performance, first place in its class, and first place in show. Never could textbooks provoke such a feeling of accomplishment that my peers and I experienced in San Antonio, and we owe it all to music.
Age: 13 Grade: 8 Hebron Middle School Shepherdsville, Ky. I believe music must stay a part of school curriculum for several reasons. One is Hebron Middle School band director the connection you have Wendy Davidson, Jessica Roederer, with others around you. You and Kevin Cranley of Willis Music. can communicate with everyone in a simple way. My favorite teacher I ever had was my 6th and 7th grade music teacher. He improved our skills and gave us something to be proud of, which helped our relationships with each other and the community around us. Over the past few years as I become more involved in music, my self-confidence has increased because I feel like I have a place where I belong. Music is also important for grades. It has been proven that students that take part in a musical arts activity have higher test scores than those who donâ€™t. Sometimes music does what others cannot see. There are days when the academic stress of a school day can make you feel terrible. An hour of focusing on music can be like cool water in the desert. It leaves you refreshed and ready
to focus on the schoolwork ahead, which improves grades. I feel that music can help all students, and should definitely be kept in school curriculum.
Age: 10 Grade: 5 St. Francis Cabrini Delhi, ON, Canada At my house we have a poster that says: “In music there is harmony and in harmony there is peace”. I am a musician and play percussion and guitar. I have played in a community band and competitive bands since I was five years old. I used to worry a lot and teachers were concerned about my anxiety. But being in a band helped me to feel included and gave me a sense of belonging. It helped my anxiety go away because I believed in myself. High school students became my mentors and helped me read music—they never treated me any different from the rest of the band members. I learned what it meant to be included. There are many school programs that have been cut and music programs need to be part of the curriculum because music teaches literacy, patterns, numeracy and helps students to organize, problem solve and set goals. There is only a small part of the curriculum in elementary school that supports music but students really love it and want to see it continue. I believe music has to remain a part of the curriculum because music builds confidence, motivates students to succeed and teaches respect. I have played in bands where people speak only a little English—yet we all play the same language and have created beautiful music. Music teaches respect and inclusion. Music appreciates differences in people because it respects personalities and builds self esteem. Music should remain in the curriculum because it speaks to the brain but also to the heart.
Age: 16 Grade: 12 St. Stephen’s Episcopal School Austin, Texas Music must remain a part of the school curriculum John Moon, St. Stephen’s Episcopal because it plays a critical School in Austin, Texas; Audrey Wozniak; and Blackerby Violin Shop role in uniting individuals, owner Al Marabella. communities and cultures. My school is known for its diversity; it is a boarding and day school whose students come from fifty countries from around the globe. Many of my classmates do not speak English as a first language. However, music brings my school’s community together through ensembles and performances. Students of many origins collaborate to create music, and often teachers attend performances to support their pu14 School Band and Orchestra, July 2010
pils. In middle school, I found my first friends in orchestra, and developed relationships with people I might not have approached otherwise. My school faculty selected me to represent the school as an exchange student in Tokyo in a Japanese high school for my sophomore year, despite the fact that I had no prior knowledge of Japanese. In my first few months overseas, I struggled to communicate with my classmates and host family. I took violin lessons with a Japanese teacher who spoke no English, and it seemed we had no way to understand each other. However, I soon realized music conveyed my teacher’s messages better than language could. After a lesson one day, I returned to my host family’s home and observed the depth of emotions that can be shared through music. I pulled out my violin, played for my host mother, and saw her start to cry. During my time abroad, I discovered that music permeates all boundaries; it truly is the “universal language.”
Age: 14 Grade: 9 Laguna Creek High School Elk Grove, Calif. I believe music must remain a part of the school curriculum because it con- Jeff Edon, Laguna Creek High tributes and intertwines with School; Pete Rose, Skip’s Music, Elk Grove; and Truc Pham. the rest of our lives. Music inspires us to come out of our shells and show everyone who we are. It is the gift of self expression, without physical means, that should be available to every student. Based on scientific studies, music students are more likely to be successful in high school and for the rest of their lives than regular students. Music is also physical because we are required to sustain long periods without breathing while marching to formations on a field or down a street for a community parade. As a freshman in high school, I began the year intimidated by the 16 and 17 year olds, avoiding any type of communication. Today, we band together as a family, going through all the ups and downs with each other. As a band, we have been taught lessons of teamwork, responsibility, perseverance, self discipline, communication, leadership, the positive results of hard work, and not just how to play an instrument. Without our music class, we would never meet so many accepting people and really learn and contribute to so much to our high school lives. Music lets us all see the world without using our eyes. It lets our community look at us and be proud of what we do. It gives students a feeling of pride and accomplishment. Most importantly, it brings everyone together. Music is a necessity to our school curriculum. The 2011 Essay Contest topic will be available on the SBO Web site, www.sbomagazine.com, on September 1 and a poster announcing the scholarship program, for school bulletin boards and band rooms, will be sent with copies of the September issue of SBO.
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For Instrumental Music Teachers
BY DEAN LAMP
ne of the best pieces of advice that any young band or orchestra director could receive is to find an experienced colleague who will serve as a mentor. Most veteran teachers are happy to share bits of wisdom
that have been gained during their years in the classroom, like these following tips.
16 School Band and Orchestra, July 2010
Take tools and advice from any source available
There are many schools of thought in music education. We all have methods that we favor and others that we choose to avoid. It is good to learn about each of them, regardless of your personal philosophy. While you may disagree with the overall approach, it may have elements that you can use. One example is to use Suzuki-style rhythm teaching to improve rhythmic competency in young students. Proponents of the Suzuki method find it to be an excellent way to build technical skills. Others try to avoid overuse of rote memorization in their teaching. Even if you disagree with the method, there are valuable lessons to learn from Suzuki, which uses common everyday words to teach basic rhythms to young students. The words used have the same syllabic rhythm as the musical sound they represent and are “chanted” rhythmically in the manner of a cheerleader or rapper. A distinct advantage to this approach is its simplicity. The same rhythm is represented by the same word regardless of the number of beats per measure or the beat upon which the rhythm falls. The words used can even be customized if desired. Picnic foods and pizza toppings are among the themes that have been used with great success. Examples: quarter note = pie; two eighth notes = hot dog; four sixteenth notes = watermelon; eighth and two sixteenths = marshmallow; two sixteenths and an eighth = lemonade; et cetera. Using this example of “picnic” words, the folk song “Big Rock Candy Mountain” would be chanted as “Cheese dog watermelon hot dog lemonade marshmallow, hot dog hot dog hot pie dog, hot dog marshmallow hot dog marshmallow, hot dog hot dog hot cheese. This works especially well with young students because its original form was designed to help children comprehend rhythm notation. The downside is that it is not realistic to create a word equivalent for every possible rhythm. But it gets the great majority in a manner that most students can master quickly. If desired, the skills can be transferred to a more traditional method once the student reaches a more advanced level.
Build student morale through music selection The choice of music that an ensemble plays has a profound effect on student morale. The perception that they sound good is very important to students. Whether the ensemble ever plays any of “their own” music can be equally important to helping students build a sense of value and belonging. It only takes one or two pieces per year to make a big difference.
each of the pieces thoroughly enough for the students to form an opinion. Then allow the students to vote for the ones that they would like to bring up to performance readiness. For example: perhaps you read two overtures, two marches, two ballads and two Broadway medleys. The students would then vote for one of each. The winners go on the concert program. There is another benefit woven into the “read and select” process. Some of the votes are likely to be close. Ev-
“You owe your students the best you can give. You don’t owe them your life!” Unfortunately, in order to be published while still reasonably current, arrangements of popular music are often written so quickly that the end result is unsatisfying. In addition, all but a few will quickly become outdated. A combination of three tactics can help to conquer this problem: movie music, folk music and “sight-reading and select.” Movie scores translate well to school bands and orchestras because they are often orchestral in their original form. Although it isn’t as influential as popular music, folk music offers the student a chance to play melodies with which they are already familiar. Increasing the students’ sight-reading ability introduces a whole new way of allowing students to play music that they have made their own. Anything that we do that allows the students to have an increased say in the music they perform builds ownership and morale. Combining that with increased sight-reading skill can create a real growth potential for your ensemble. It takes thorough planning, but is worth the effort. For at least one concert each year, plan in advance to read twice as many tunes as you want to put on the program. Select your own choices, as usual. Then select at least one alternative to each of those pieces. The alternatives might be more challenging or less, as you see fit for the needs of your ensemble. They might cover similar styles or musical concepts. Or you might select another piece by the same composer. In the first rehearsals, read through
ery student in every concert will have pieces that they like and pieces they find less enjoyable. Chances are that every song that on the ballot will be someone’s favorite and another’s least favorite. This creates a great “teachable moment” to talk about the give and take that goes with being a part of any group, whether it be a few friends, and orchestra, a company or a society.
Emergency repair tips The ends of flute and saxophone joints become sticky over time and students have difficulty assembling the instruments. A quick and effective way to clean these areas of bare metal is to rub both parts of the joint with a small amount of trombone slide cream. Then put the joint together, rotate it to distribute the cream, take it apart and wipe off the cream. All the tarnish and skin oils will be cleaned away and a protective layer of silicone will be left behind. The internal dimensions of saxophone mouthpieces vary considerably. If you find yourself forced to use a mouthpiece that is too big for the cork on the neck, take a post-it note and put it around the cork as a cover. This will help the mouthpiece fit tighter and get you by in a pinch. Your student has a problem: the second valve of a trumpet sticks even after being thoroughly cleaned and oiled. The valve seems to go down nicely but sticks or is slow on the way up. The usual cause is that the valve slide has been knocked slightly School Band and Orchestra, July 2010 17
out of line by an inadvertent bump. Place the end of the instrument’s bell against your chest. Reach forward and grasp the second valve slide. Gently but firmly tug it toward you. Try the valve again to see if it moves more freely. If so, repeat the process to see if it continues to improve. If it got worse, try gently pushing the slide away from you. If neither causes any improvement, it is best to send it to a competent repair shop.
Burnout prevention We all want to do a good job. We all want our students to succeed. We all want our ensembles to grow. Those goals are what called many of us to our profession. They also potentially lead to director burnout, but a little time thinking about our lives and our programs can keep that from happening. Trying to live up to our own expectations is often harder on us than we real-
Been in Your
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ize. One event runs into the next. Band directors finish the marching season knowing that holiday concerts and jazz band performances are just around the corner. Instead of remembering our real goals – doing a good job, helping our students and growing our ensembles – we find ourselves simply hoping that we can get it all done in time. Quality and education take a back seat to acceptability and completion. The stress caused by knowing that time constraints are keeping us from doing our best can lead to burnout, depression or worse. Our instincts and professional training urge us to try to do more. But the real need is to focus on those things that are most important within our jobs and our lives. You owe your students the best you can give. You don’t owe them your life! Decide what is important to you and your students. Look at the list of activities and events on your band’s calendar. Which events or activities would cause the most concern if someone told you that it had to be cut back? In those areas, concentrate your efforts. Then take another look at your list. Is there anything on that list that you do only because “it has always been done”? You might find that it can be reduced or even eliminated without much fuss. Struggling just to get things done on time is neither fun nor educational. Our students deserve to have us at our best. Set priorities. Select the events that are most important to you and your students. Pursue those events with an attitude of excellence. In the process, you will create better performances, happier students, and a better life for yourself.
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Dean Lamp has 32 years experience teaching instrumental music grades 5-12. His current assignment is 5-12 at GliddenRalston and 7-12 at Coon RapidsBayard in West Central Iowa. He is also founder of the Vangard Summer Music Academy. Dean can be reached by e-mailing tootertutor1372@ gmail.com.
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Words of Wisdom
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Words of Wisdom
f you’re reading this article, chances are you already know how difficult it is to have a successful, life-long career as a music educator. The learning curve in this profession is tremendous, as evidenced by reported attrition rates of almost
50 percent for band directors over their first five years – meaning that half of the young directors who embark on a career in music education never make it to year six. Whether the causes for defections are financial, stress-related, organizational, or just not being up to the task, simply put, band directors who are early in their careers cannot have too much help. With that in mind, SBO recently reached out seven people who are in the midst of long and extremely successful careers teaching music. Read on as these accomplished educators share their keys to success, the biggest challenges they’ve faced (and subsequently overcome), and the advice they have for the next generation of band and orchestra directors.
20 School Band and Orchestra, July 2010
What is the most important key to a long-lasting, successful career in music education? Earl McConnell: You must pace yourself and balance your home life with your life’s work. If you are fortunate enough to share the highs and lows with your spouse and family, take time for them; they are your refuge when times are tough. Pace the growth of your group: don’t hype large, outlandish trips just to create more interest. Start small and build. And don’t push your group into major endeavors until you have learned to understand your school leaders and your community. Rebecca Meis: Being accountable and dependable is vital to developing an enduring relationship with students and their families. A teacher’s word must count for something in the life of a student. “This is what is going to happen and this is how we are going to do it” must be understood at every rehearsal, note to parents, and class session. And it must happen. There must also be a constant awareness
that all participants are making progress. Students and most parents “know” when they are wasting time or when they are playing poorly. Lastly, being an effective educator takes planning. Paul Parets: The key to a successful career is remembering that you teach kids, not music. If you love music more than you love working with kids, your unhappiness will be steady or grow, because your students will never give you perfection. D.L. Johnson: Keep your passion to the importance of music edu-
cation in the lives of your students. Passion to music sells with both your students and their parents. Parents who are happy with what you are doing in band, orchestra, and choir will be your biggest advocates to the school board. Having a passion for what you are doing will give you the strength to get you through all the trials. Greg MacGill: Maintaining balance and perspective on many levels, including: establishing appropriate balance and boundaries between your professional and personal life; creating a vision “If you love music more for your music program that’s a “good fit” for your school comthan you love working munity; adapting this vision when with kids, your unhapthe inevitable changes occur; and piness will be steady advocating for your program, or grow, because your while realizing that, in some situations, “winning the battle will students will never give only result in losing the war.” you perfection.” Mark Colozzi: As generations of students change with the times, so must we as teachers. We often hear the phrase, “the kids I have now are not like they used to be.” This may be true but it does not necessarily indicate that the current generation is not “as good” as those of the past. Without question, today’s student musicians certainly present unprecedented challenges. Refreshing some of our teaching methods and modifying our approach is imperative to staying hip as we get on in years. Don Moultrop: The most important key is C major – just kidding! Believe in what you are teaching. Believe in your curriculum. Keep your curriculum updated with the standards of your school, district, region, and state. Keep it fresh through all of the changing pressures of curriculum by being flexible, don’t be afraid to try new things and discard the old. More importantly, work hard with your students, parents and staff; this will eventually create a successful music program through caring. When you bring your passion, knowledge, and love of music to a school, it eventually rubs off on those around you. What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your career as a music educator, and what have you done to overcome that challenge? Earl McConnell: Our biggest challenge as music educators is to
realize that the majority of our students are not going to be great musicians; they are in your group because they and their friends share the passion of performing music, yet they still want to participate in other school activities. Our program “works around” other school activities so as to foster good rapport between faculty and other disciplines and/or extracurricular activities. By al-
Earl McConnell Director of Bands East Fairmont High School Fairmont, W.V. Years at school: 34 Total years teaching: 37
D.L. Johnson Director of Bands North Monterey County High School Castroville, Calif. Years at school: 25 Total years teaching: 35
Rebecca Meis Orchestra Director Olathe North High School Olathe, Kan. Years at school: 28 Total years teaching: 35
Paul L. Parets Director of Bands Alexis I. duPont High School Greenville, Del. Years at school: 34 Total years teaching: 34
Greg MacGill Director of Bands Liberty High School Bethlehem, Pa. Years in school: 35 Total years teaching: 35
Mark Colozzi Director of Bands Cranston High School East Cranston, R.I. Years in school: 24 Total years teaching: 30
Don Moultrop Band Director Hale Middle School Stow, Mass. Years in school: 29 Total years teaching: 29
School Band and Orchestra, July 2010 21
lowing my students to participate in these other programs, they appreciate not having to deal with the “choose us or else!” syndrome. Too many programs lose students because of the lack of flexibility by the director. In my case, I have students everyday for 45 minutes – and that is “our time” – so my planning must be precise and goals must be set to achieve what we must, in the time frame that we have. For proof of this system’s success, 24 percent of our school’s student body (180 students) are members of our high school band. Rebecca Meis: Three times in my career, Olathe has opened new high schools, decimating the student population, and three times I have had to rebuild the high school program and bring the orchestra back to a credible level of numbers. This has been the singular challenge in my teaching career. I have learned that it is imperative that my program maintain a strong sense of identity and not be the “weak sister.” Making the program more visible to the entire community is a big step in keeping the rebuilding program in the forefront of the community. Over the years, Olathe North acquired the nickname “Olathe’s Orchestra.” Paul Parets: The biggest challenge in my career was balancing my professional goals with my family commitments: If you have a spouse and children, you must make them a co-equal priority, if not your first priority. D.L. Johnson: Make sure your music program is not taken lightly by faculty and the administration. School music teachers are often loners, even though many of our classes are much larger than any other on campus. Make sure everyone understands that the music programs are often the community relations source for most schools.
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Greg MacGill: The “biggest challenge” has been ongoing for the past several years: testing cutting into rehearsal/performance time, an extremely fragile economy, threats of
reduced budgets and staffing, students and their families shying away from fundraising and travel... I can’t recall it being worse. I don’t know that I’ve “overcome” anything; perhaps “riding out the storm” and “holding onto what we already have” is a better way to say it. We did reduce travel plans this past school year, and ordered fewer uniforms two years ago. To keep students in the program, we’ve had to compromise by sharing band and orchestra students with other academic classes during what used to be unimpeded rehearsal time. However, just recently, there are renewed signs of life: Our students/families are demonstrating a renewed interest in fundraising and travel, our enrollment is increasing, and we continue to be funded by our district.
but the ones who do will be your leaders and the rest will follow and learn from them. But most importantly, the life you lead must mirror the finer ethics of life and of our profession. If you think your private life can be different than your professional life, you’ll make a grave error. Once students realize you are two different people, the respect for you and your program will be lost. Live and teach as a model citizen for
there are few of us left in this world, and your students and their parents will follow you and your dreams because they will know you are worthy. Rebecca Meis: The best advice I could share with a new music educator is to learn how a program is financed; where the money comes from and how it is distributed to programs, schools and educators. Learning to work effectively within the strictures of budget-
Mark Colozzi: The current economic crisis has been supremely challenging as programs in our district have been severely reduced. However, this adversity has inspired our instructors and parent support groups to reinvent their roles as advocates and fundraisers in order to keep our programs afloat. We have experienced a good deal of success in spite of these difficult times. In some ways, it has made us stronger. Don Moultrop: My biggest challenge has been adjusting to the attitude and values of music today. To overcome those challenges you need to work together with your parents groups. Showcase the children within your town and school district. Always remember that the children are the focal point of any music program and that they – along with the parents – will advertise your program, good or bad. The parents and children are your greatest supporters. Do you have any advice for young music educators out there? Earl McConnell: Take your time and build your program carefully. Remember, you’re the one that lives for music, and those whom you are privileged to teach are just starting down that road. Few students will have the passion and hunger that you had when you first started your musical career, School Band and Orchestra, July 2010 23
ary restraints can be an advantage to working successfully. My second piece of advice is to plan minutely for each rehearsal or class session. Mapping out how concepts are presented, how many strategies can be used, and how much time is allotted makes for an efficient rehearsal. This is particularly important when the existing performance level is below area expectations and standards. Then, after each rehearsal, review and critique what worked and how to make the next rehearsal even better. With a well-planned rehearsal you often get the response, “Is class over already?” I have heard countless new and experienced teachers say “I do not have that kind of time to plan for class.” They fly by the seat of the pants but their program stalls. Students know they are wasting their time. They know they are playing poorly. They join their teacher in “flying by the seat of the pants” and the performance level declines.
Paul Parets: A successful teacher in any field trusts his or her students and sees them as co-equal partners in learning and achievement. My band is literally student-led. They pick the music, set policy and decide on performance venues. As a result, they feel a keen ownership in the band. Our participation level has never been lower than 200 members (grades 10-12) and the attrition rate over 4 years is less than .02 percent! D.L. Johnson: Love what you do. You have value. Your attitude and positivity are what your kids want. Kids are looking for direction in their lives. The discipline offered in a good wellrounded music class gives them that direction. Greg MacGill: Reach out to others and draw upon available resources to enhance your program. Connect with your school, administration, and community via your student performing groups. In addition to being the right thing to do, establishing your music
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program as an integral part of the community is the best defense during budget shortfalls. Each year, create a reasonable and appropriate rehearsal/performance calendar for your group, thus allowing students (and you) to have a life “outside of the band room”; enrollment will increase, your students will be able to participate in other school activities and/or hold down a job, and, as a result, your ensembles will be rightfully viewed as being a more inclusive, vital component of your school. Place credit where credit is due. Publicly acknowledge students, staff, administration, parents, and community partners for their contributions to your program. Let them know that they are valued by not only you, but by all around them. Simply put, hang in there! The job can be very cyclical with its ups and downs. Just about the time you’re ready to throw up your hands in frustration, the pendulum swings the other way to some amazing rewards. Don’t give up – there’s always a better day (or year); have fun with your students! Mark Colozzi: Do not become discouraged with all of the negativity surrounding financial support of school music programs. Stay the course; do not let negative forces deter you from pursuing the profession that you have long aspired to. Also, always remember that it’s about the kids you teach, not you. Don Moultrop: The greatest thing young music educators can do is encourage children to be dedicated musicians through hard work. Music is supposed to be fun, and at the same time you can develop discipline in work habits that are life long. Work hard, be flexible and enjoy what you are doing.
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www.sbomagazine.com! 24 School Band and Orchestra, July 2010
SBOSurvey: Survival Guide
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The Skinny on
Pressing Concerns for Music Education
n the world of education, the summer months are often a time for reflection. Having completed the final spring classes, and with the upcoming year still approaching the horizon, it can be helpful to sit back and take a general assessment of the external factors that affect a program, including the climate for music and the arts, administrative
support, and other potential impediments to the ongoing development of a successful music curriculum.
26 School Band and Orchestra, July 2010
Continuing the theme of “Survival Guide,” this recent reader survey seeks to present a broad view of how music educators are getting by these days, along with some helpful tips for coping with the non-musical obstacles that, unfortunately, seem to be cropping up with alarming, and increasing, frequency.
How would you rate your program? Okay
“With the pressure of high-stakes testing, some students are being denied the opportunity to participate in music. This creates a general impression among the students and the community that music is less valuable than other subjects. This perception is one that we have been fighting for years.” Stephen Mitchell Windsor Middle School Windsor, Calif.
“I’ve been informed my budget (like most academic budgets) is being cut over 70 percent. However, I’m told that extracurricular sports are only being cut 40 percent. Once I pay for drill, a few repairs, and office supplies, I’ll have money to buy only four songs – for the three groups I teach.” Dave Smith Delmar High School Delmar, Del.
“The administration continues to take more and more time away from the program, all in the name of ‘I know they do very well in your class, but the children still can’t read, write, or do math.’ Perhaps the way I teach them is the way they should learn to read, write, and do math.” Dorothea Jones Carmen Arace School Bloomfield, Conn.
“Due to budget cuts, our district had to eliminate our 5th, 6th, and middle school beginning instrumental music programs last year. In order to bring music to as many children as possible and perpetuate the program for the future, I need to allow beginners to learn along with my advanced musicians, as well as allow beginners into the high school band. This makes it rough for the beginning instrumentalists, and ‘drags down’ the advanced players as well.” George Edwin Smith Gustine High School Gustine, Calif.
How do you anticipate the climate will be for music education in your area next year?
Is your program at risk of losing funding?
Not Sure Successful
Do you feel that your music department is supported by your administration?
“Our school and administration are very athletically oriented. The arts have always been lower on the list. One favorable thing about this: since our administration does not know that much about the arts, we can usually run things the way we need them to without being questioned.” Paul Ulrich Madison Memorial High School Madison, Wis. “Our administrators actively seek students with scheduling problems that conflict with our music programs to come to them for assistance. We are blessed at our high school for such a strong commitment by our administration.” Earl W. McConnell East Fairmont High School Fairmont, W.V.
What is the biggest threat to your program? Lack of interest
None of these
8% Staff cuts
Funding for instruments/ supplies School Band and Orchestra, July 2010 27
“For our district, the key seems to be numbers. If students will enroll in band, orchestra and choir and continue in the program then they will fund a position. The other key is to never retire. Especially in choir and drama, if someone retires, they just do not hire anyone and dismantle the program. This has happened in five of the schools in our district.” Kirk Vogel Heath Middle School Greeley, Colo.
“Teaching in a somewhat rural location, getting and maintaining the students’ interest in something as time consuming and work intensive as a band program can prove to be a challenge, and our program is no different. The students we have in our program are top notch; however, I always strive to get as many students involved in the program as possible.” David Ratliff Madison Southern High School Berea, Ky.
as requested by you.
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What are the most pressing concerns for music educators in your area? “The school that I teach in is over 65 percent low income and many of my perspective students cannot afford to get an instrument. We have a limited supply of school owned instruments to lend out.” Charles Morgan Harding Middle School Steubenville, Ohio “We have budgeting and fundraising challenges, but state unfunded mandates, non-beneficial superficial testing, and over-emphasis on cosmetic graduation requirements challenge staffing and realistic outcomes for all areas that are sometimes considered ‘elective.’” Walt Lovell Elko High School Elko, Nev. “The district that feeds my program directly cut their music program eight years ago, and my school dropped from about 75 band members down to 25.” Kurt Stalmann Santana High School Santee, Calif. “It is a scary time in N.Y. at this point, as no one seems to know what the effects of the ineptitude of our state government will be for the upcoming school year. This means further uncertainty for the arts programs of the state, even though we are mandated by NCLB and the state.” James L. Iacketta Stillwater Central School District Stillwater, N.Y. “I feel the most pressing concern is the perception that music is not very important and the general acceptance of that perception.” Jim Stanley Jr. Phoebus High School Hampton, Va.
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MOUTHPIECES FOR CLARINETS AND SAXOPHONES
28 School Band and Orchestra, July 2010
Do you have any general tips for helping band and orchestra directors keep their heads up and their programs strong in what are trying times for many educators?
“Maximize your recruiting efforts among the students in the program. Find student leaders who can talk to their peers to help convince them to stick with the program. Additionally, you need to communicate with the parents. If they understand the plan and the consequences of the challenges facing the program, then you have a chance.” Dr. Kirk Weller Paso Robles High School Paso Robles, Calif.
to have a balanced program than to overextend yourself or overspend on any one area (marching band) and short change the other parts of the curriculum.” William Bryant A. C. Reynolds High School Asheville, N.C. “Keep a long term focus. Don’t take things personally and don’t get emotional – that will just drain your ability to inter-
act with your students, peers, administration, community, and most importantly, your family! If you have a healthy outlook for your program, your program will survive. Just keep the long-term focus. It may seem like it is a sprint, but in reality it is a marathon; the people who finish the race will all be winners.” Brad Thew Viroqua High School Viroqua, Wis.
“State budget concerns have made staff reductions in schools an annual event. This effects music staff and also place additional burden on students’ schedules as fewer sections are available for core classes. The trickle down effect is that students have a harder time fitting band into their schedule, especially as they are juniors and seniors.” Wade Presley Nevada High School Nevada, Iowa “You need a plan of action, no matter what your situation may be. Always have a short-, medium-, and long-range plan. Never settle for status quo; push for the program you want. Make sure you have attainable goals, no matter how small. Success will help give you hope and keep you and the students motivated to keep on keeping on. Keep a to do list so nothing sneaks up on you. When you check items off, you will get a feeling of accomplishment.” Daryl Jessen Dakota Valley High School North Sioux City, S.D. “Teach smarter. Do more with less. There are a lot of good free educational sites on the Web, with hundreds of music lessons already created (by other music educators), such as ‘Smart Exchange.’” Sharon Posey Thomas Harrison Middle School Harrisonburg, Va. “Try and stay within your means, both monetarily and philosophically. Teach what you can and do it well! It is better
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The Real “Crisis” in This Budget Crisis BY TRACY LEENMAN
here is no doubt that our schools are facing a budget crisis; virtually 100 percent of the nation’s schools are currently up against the same problem. But any crisis is also a potential opportunity. In this case, the opportunity is for
school boards and administrators to take a fresh look at our educational goals, educational policies, and educational practices, and to re-evaluate what is truly important and what is not, to decide what truly works and what does not. And then, it’s an opportunity to find new and creative ways to ensure the best possible education for our children. In some cases, it’s even an opportunity to reassess and re-define what comprises “the best possible education for our children.”
30 School Band and Orchestra, July 2010
What is it we want our children to learn in school? We see many straightA students unable to correlate their knowledge to real-life experiences, unable to adapt to our changing – and sometimes scary – world. So, we look for ways to make our children’s education “relevant.” Technology is “relevant,” math and science are “relevant,” we say. But then, the nation’s top companies say that the characteristics they desire most in future employees, the skills they consider most relevant to real-world success, are well-developed communication and interpersonal skills, a willingness to work to achieve excellence, and the ability to solve problems in creative and flexible ways – in other words, a totally different skill set. Interestingly enough, these characteristics so sought after by top corporations are all things that are fostered and developed in the music classroom, which is also one of the first places administrators look to make cuts in times of “crisis.” A common kneejerk reaction to budget cuts is to look first at eliminating programs like the arts, which are often deemed “extracurricular” by uninformed administrators, educators, and parents alike. According to the ESEA (Elementary & Secondary Education Act), the arts are defined as a “core academic sub-
ject.” According to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, they play a significant role in children’s development and their learning process. Yet music programs are constantly under threat of elimination, in part to help balance the educational budgets, and also in part to put more money into increasing test scores in reading, math and science. Ironically, music participation is a very key component in raising test scores, and in preparing our students to thrive in the 21st-century workplace. The studies that prove this are ubiquitous, and the research is irrefutable. Our almost panic-level concern for raising test scores in math and science, along with a concern for technology awareness has caused us to discount countless studies that show that music participation in school has an effect on children’s education that no other subject has. Here are just a few examples: • The College Entrance Examination Board found that students in music classes scored, on average, 50 to 100 points higher than students with no arts coursework (CEEB, 2004). The difference in scores becomes more dramatic as the years of music participation increases. • Students in top-quality music programs scored 22 percent higher in English and 20 percent better in math than students in deficient music programs, and these academic differences were consistent across geographic areas (Journal of Research in Music Education, 2007). • U.S. Department of Education data shows that students with consistently high levels of involvement in instrumental music during the middle and high school years show significantly higher levels of math proficiency by grade 12 (Catterall, Chapleau and Iwanaga, UCLA, 1997). For children of lower socioeconomic status, the impact of instrumental music involvement was even greater, showing that instrumental music involvement has the ability to help “close the gap” for high-risk students. • A ten-year study tracking more
than 25,000 students shows that music making improves test scores. Regardless of socioeconomic background, music-making students get higher marks in standardized tests than those who had no music involvement. The test scores studied were not only standardized tests, such as the SAT, but also in reading proficiency exams (Dr. James Catterall, UCLA, 1997). • Students with one year of music participation show an 11-percent increase in academic performance, students with two years show an increase of 14 percent, students with three years show an increase of 17 percent, and students with four years of music participation show an increase of 23 percent (Dr. Tim Lautzenheiser, 2010). • In California, where cuts in public school instrumental music programs caused a 57 percent statewide reduction in student participation, a downward trend of test scores resulted (Dr. John Benham, 2010).
scheduled lunch or planning periods, teach classes far greater in size than the average classroom teacher, and put in countless after school hours, are not a financial liability; in fact, quite the opposite! More important than the financial justifications for sustaining school music programs are the effects cutting band and string programs will have on the children who currently benefit from these programs. How will we continue to ensure equal access for those children whose parents cannot provide music instruction after school, who cannot afford to purchase an instrument or pay for private lessons? These are the very same children whom research proves benefit greatly from their involvement in school music (see “Music, At-Risk Students and the Missing Piece,” S. Shuler, Music Educators Journal, Nov. 1991). Music participation has been shown not only to help students develop important skills, but also to help them avoid the problems of frustration, alienation, and self-doubt that often place students at
“Music participation is a very key component in preparing our students to thrive in the 21st-century workplace.” Detractors of school music programs, focused on the assumed “cost” of retaining a music teacher, are ignoring a very simple fact: It costs more to cut a music teacher than to keep one. Dr. John Benham, of Music in World Cultures, has proven this unequivocally by looking at FTEs, class size, and other relevant factors. As a result of the aforementioned music program cuts in California, the state cut 355 teaching positions, predicting an annual savings of $17.75 million. In reality, providing for those same students in a regular classroom would require 473 teachers, costing the district approximately $23.65 million – an annual loss of nearly $6 million. As middle school program cuts resulted in declining music enrollment in the high schools, the financial loss to the district became even more significant. Our band and string teachers, many of whom teach at more than one school, have no
risk of failure. Music participation has been shown to develop motivation, a sense of connection with school, and a sense of self-competence in at-risk students. It has proven successful in raising the level of task-engagement and productivity in at-risk students. Taking school music away from these chil-
School Band and Orchestra, July 2010 31
dren will exponentially increase the distance between the “haves” and the “have-nots” just as music participation had previously played a major part in “closing the gap.” Can that possibly be “the best possible education for our children”? In many ways, a school music ensemble is a microcosm of society. Children in performing music classes learn to communicate, analyze, synthesize, evaluate, adapt, and co-operate. They learn to be unselfish, flexible; to accept the direction of a leader, as they come to realize the essential part they play in the group as they strive for excellence both as individuals and as a whole. All characteristics deemed necessary for success in the future. They learn to be creative, and feel the joy of shared aesthetic experiences. On top of all that, they learn, through music, about history, culture, literature, language, physics, and mathematics in ways that cannot be experienced in other classrooms. Yes, we are facing a crisis. But let’s not allow it to throw us into a panic so
severe that we lose track of our educational goals, of what is truly important and what is not. We have poured countless dollars and hours into creating new programs, new tests, and new ways to improve test scores. And while some have been successful, a large number have not. Now, we are talking about eliminating the very programs that have been unequivocally proven to help us reach our goals, to teach our children what is important for success, and to prepare them for success in the future. The majority of today’s college freshmen will interview four years from now for jobs in fields that do not even exist yet. What skills will they need? What will they take with them as the most important and relevant learning experiences of their school careers? Let’s step back for a minute and take a fresh look at our educational goals, educational policies and educational practices. Let’s reassess and re-define what comprises “the best possible education for our children.” And let’s re-define it to acknowledge
the proper role of music study in our children’s education.
Tracy Leenman has nearly 40 years of experience in music education, and 15 years in the music industry. Presently, she is the owner of Musical Innovations, a school music retailer in Greenville, S.C., and is active in music advocacy efforts around the U.S. In 2006, Tracy was named the Phi Beta Mu (Theta Chapter) Outstanding Contributor; in 2009 she won the SCMEA “Friend of Music” Business award, and also the KEYS “Keeping the Beat” Music Advocacy. She currently serves as president of the Foothills Philharmonic Orchestra in Greenville, S.C., and performs with the Palmetto Concert Band in Columbia, S.C. Tracy can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
That Your School and Students Can Afford
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32 School Band and Orchestra, July 2010
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Dynamic Multimedia Instruction BY JOHN KUZMICH, JR.
new dawn is awaiting with multimedia instruction that can be tailored for specific curriculum needs. Videos, graphics, photos, and recordings can enhance instruction both in the classroom and over the Internet for 24/7
learning. Multimedia software can have a positive impact on a music program – and it’ll do it without a steep learning curve and without putting a dent on the budget.
Dr. John Kuzmich Jr. is a veteran music educator, jazz educator and music technologist with more than 41 years of public school teaching experience. He is a TI:ME-certified training instructor and has a Ph.D. in comprehensive musicianship. As a freelance author, Dr. Kuzmich has more than 400 articles and five textbooks published. As a clinician, Dr. Kuzmich frequently participates in workshops throughout the U.S., Europe, Australia, and South America. For more information, visit www.kuzmich.com.
To begin my exploration of software programs that facilitate integrating multimedia into instruction, I contacted Erin Contrady of Kingston, New York and Steven Chetcuti of Somers, New York, who designed prototype instructional models using four software applications. Their easy-to-use Web projects can be found on this article’s supplemental Web site, www.kuzmich.com/SBO072010.html. The four selected pieces of software used to design these projects are: 1. Mixcraft 5.0 creates podcasts for Internet postings from the PC platform. It is the equivalent of GarageBand for Mac podcasting and can handle all multimedia documents inside its sequencer (including MP4) and automatically converts to an RSS feed. 2. Tumblr.Com is a Web-application for creating blogs. Multimedia projects can be easily uploaded and linked to other instructional Web sites. Wordpress, a prominent blogging Web site, tends to be more sopisticated than Tumblr.Com. However, Tumblr.Com seems to be easier because audio files can be uploaded in an incredibly clean interface. 3. Camtasia Studio 7.0 can create Web-based video instructional materials quickly, easily and without extensive programming skills. Users can add and edit narration to PowerPoint presentations, Web pages, text documents, and videos, plus record and mix up to three audio tracks without using complex digital audio software. 4. YouTube.com can be used to post free video instruction materials in popular file formats such as MP4, Quicktime and WMV, within an eight-minute time limit. For music educators, I found the Tumblr.Com blogging Web site desirable because it is a free service that can store 10 MBs of audio files for podcasting per day. This allows users to post a daily podcast with audio.
34 School Band and Orchestra, July 2010
Erin Contrady: Multimedia Odyssey Erin Contrady is a middle school teacher who jumped on the multimedia posting train two years ago. She was happy to share some of her multimedia experiences and insights with SBO readers. My first foray into multimedia was a PowerPoint presentation. To end a concert, I wanted the audience to sing along on “Rockin’ Robin,” so I borrowed an LCD projector and projected the words onto a screen behind the chorus. A student advanced the slides in time to the music. The parents were so impressed, especially when the words to the refrain flashed! The next fall someone mentioned that Microsoft Office had some useful templates online. I was very excited to find a Back-to-School PowerPoint template. It took me about 10 minutes to customize the presentation, and once again the parents were thrilled. After that I was hooked. PowerPoint is a great bread-andbutter program for creating multimedia presentations. It is versatile, easyto-use, and it is fully compatible with so many other programs. Because of its simplicity, PowerPoint is great to use when you want students to do the creating. If you are trying to incorporate 21st-century learning, have students create a PowerPoint that compares and contrasts two favorite artists. The students research and synthesize information from “live” sources and they exercise creativity to find the best design format. The presentation can be “peer-reviewed” in class for suggestions to improve it and easily shared by posting on www.slideshare.net. Other students can then post questions about the presentation. Lately I have been using Smart Notebook more than anything else. The interface is very similar to PowerPoint, but you just can’t beat the interactive templates in the downloadable Smart toolkit. You can set up matching or sorting activities and interactive games in moments. You can also import PowerPoint slides and make them interactive. One of my favorite projects is a presentation on Renaissance instruments. Clicking on a picture of an instrument plays a sound clip. There is a row of modern counterparts on the side, and students come up to the Smartboard (or teacher computer if you don’t have a Smartboard handy) to drag the modern instrument to its ancestor. When I know that I will not have access to the SmartNotebook software, I record the entire presentation with Camtasia Studio. Camtasia has been a pretty recent addition to my repertoire. Before I made any school projects, I experimented by editing videos of my kids, a virtual ride down a local sledding hill, and a ride through town to view the Christmas lights. I imported many different types of media, crafted
them together, and added a soundtrack and a title slide. Then I mixed it all down to .MP4 and posted it on Facebook to share with my friends and relatives. Mixcraft is my favorite program for creating quick and easy soundtracks. It is a PC-based looping sequencer that includes handy, customizable “music beds.” The new version, Mixcraft 5, has its own video editing component. Mixcraft is especially handy for creating professional-sounding podcasts with background music. One of my favorite multimedia moments came in Music Technology class. The students were learning PowerPoint by creating a presentation about a favorite artist. One student was really having a difficult time choosing a subject. He told me that he didn’t know any musical artists because he mostly played video games. I asked him if he liked the music in any of his games. He thought a moment, and decided that he liked the music from “Halo.” After a bit of research, we found out that the composer of the music in “Halo” is Marty O’Donnell. He has won several awards, and he has been involved in other high-visibility pursuits, including popular TV commercials. The student was thrilled, and he applied himself to the project with gusto, gathering screenshots from games, photos of the composer and his studio, hyperlinking to a video interview, and sampling bits of the music. This led to a class discussion of careers in music, composing tools, marketing, and copyright. Oh, did I fail to mention that this was a self-contained special education class? Take that, NCLB! My worst technology disaster happened when I was giving a school-wide in-service presentation on the ease of using the Smartboard, only I hadn’t left myself enough time to actually hook up the Smartboard. The presentation wound up with me describing how easy the Smartboard would have been if it were operational. The moral of the story? Always make sure you leave enough time for setup, and always have a backup plan in case your equipment doesn’t work properly. And then there was the time my laptop exploded in a puff of smoke when I had someone from our BOCES observing my voice class… Using multimedia benefits students in so many ways. For one thing, it makes their learning more relevant. In the real world, sight and sound are married. It’s no wonder that kids have a difficult time sitting with their hands folded, listening
School Band and Orchestra, July 2010 35
to great works or vintage performances. That’s only engaging one sense. A string quartet, for example, is more meaningful when students see the physicality of playing the instruments, watch the interaction between the performers, and see how the audience reacts. Music is, after all, a human expression in a social context. Live performance is, of course, the best; but when you use multimedia, your students can experience the joy and grace of a vintage performance by Ella Fitzgerald, the restraint and dignity of an accomplished koto player, the miracle of Thomas Edison’s phonograph, the passion of New Zealand soccer players performing Maori Haka before a game, even homely Paul Potts reducing people to tears with his rendition of “Nessun Dorma” on Britain’s Got Talent. With a few clicks of the mouse, you can share these rich experiences with your students and also your colleagues. YouTube has become a staple in my classroom over the past few years. The breadth of its content is truly awe-inspiring. Here are a couple of tips for using YouTube in the classroom: • Always preview the whole video before showing it to students. Because it is unregulated, user-created content, you never know when something really embarrassing could pop up! • Start the video before you need it, and let it run all the way through one time. Then it won’t skip while streaming. You can mute the audio and keep your projector cover closed while you give introductory instruction. • If you embed the video in a Web page instead of just inserting a hyperlink, your students won’t see potentially inappropriate advertising, comments, and suggestive videos. I embed videos to my district’s Moodle site or my Tumblr.Com blog. To embed a YouTube video on Tumblr, copy the embed code (not the URL in the browser bar) from the video’s YouTube page. Then go to www.Tumblr.com. It’s easy and free to create your own blog by following the prompts. On your blog “dashboard,” click the video icon. Paste in the embed code, add a description, then publish. 36 School Band and Orchestra, July 2010
Erin’s multimedia instruction is well received by her administration. Joe Previll, Kingston School District administrator, comments, “As an educator, it is inspiring to work with teachers who possess the motivation and passion to create the highest quality learning environment in our district. Using Mixcraft 5.0 this kind of cutting-edge technology provides a model and support for peers. All students benefit from the enriched information and application of newly-learned teaching strategies.”
Steven Chetcuti’s Multimedia Web Sites Steven Chetcuti is presently working on his doctorate in E-Learning at the University of Northern Arizona and, consequently, is very familiar with the possibilities presented by multimedia. Steven counsels, “The issue of technology in the classroom is no longer a debate of whether or not there is a purpose for its use, but how it should be used. Another misconception is that one application can do it all. We are not preparing taxes or balancing a checkbook, we are teaching children. The reason one program cannot do it all is because not all teachers conduct their classes the same way and students don’t learn in the same way. Teachers need to be familiar with a variety of software applications and how they can be applied to a variety of educational settings. Teachers need to design teaching modules that create a seamless integration of learning technology. The objective of an integrated lesson is to see the goal of the lesson, with the technology aiding the student in achieving his or her goal. If you can ‘see the technology’ in your lesson, it is not an effective design.” As the author and designer of www.theradiohour.net, Steven has attempted to follow this Sibelius
strategy in his latest curriculum, called “The Radio Hour: Guitar – Fretting Over Music History.” His goal was to instill life-long learning in his 8th-grade music classes, and he hoped to do it by combining three software applications. He uses Sibelius 6 by Avid Technology, Mixcraft 5 by Acoustica, and Camtasia 6 by Techsmith. With good planning, instructional design, and technology, Chetcuti has created a course that has students learning on the Web long after they leave his class. Steven uses Sibelius 6 because “the live fretboard playback feature provides my students with a visual perspective with my instructional design.” His creative process includes a series of basic guitar lessons, which provide the non-performance learner with a musical foundation on which to build a productive learning experience. Lessons focus on the five music styles outlined in his curriculum, including classical, country, blues, jazz, and rock. He uses Mixcraft 5 to create playa-long tracks that encourages learners to “take risks” in the lesson. Chetcuti explains, “Mixcraft has been an inspirational addition to the lesson because I am able to create background tracks
that my students can relate to. As a student plays the lesson material, they are building skills similar to learning long division, meaning that the student can follow a formula to produce a product.” Steven goes even further and challenges his students to take the lesson material and apply newly learned skills through improvisation. The last application Steven applies to his instruction design is Camtasia Studio 6. This program allows the instruction design to be narrated, graphically enhanced, and produced to a variety of presentation formats. For example, a basic lesson for a major scale is designed using Sibelius 6; then Mixcraft creates an mp3 audio file for jamming at the end of a lesson. However, it is Camtasia Studio that allows the lesson to be produced so that the lesson can be: saved and uploaded to screencast. com (Camtasia’s free storage and presentation site); saved as a Quicktime MP4 file to a classroom computer to be played back in iTunes; or uploaded directly to YouTube, where Chetcuti creates links within his Web site to access his learning modules.
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Closing Comments Successful teaching takes imagination, dedication, and faith that ones efforts will pay dividends for the students. Multimedia Web-postings can generate positive feedback and response from students, administrators, parents and the community. Tools like blogging, Mixcraft 5, Camtasia Studio 7, and YouTube are all winners by themselves; but combined together, they represent a dynamic coalition of multimedia power that can be used to create, edit, and produce original lessons for classroom use.
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School Band and Orchestra, July 2010 37
NewProducts Rhythm Reading For Drums-Book 1
Rhythm Reading for Drums-Book 1, by Garwood Whaley, provides an organized, systematic approach to read-
ing and understanding rhythm for the beginning drummer/percussionist. Basic rhythm patterns including counting system and foot taping indications are introduced on each page in eight-measure studies followed by a short solo. Each solo serves as a page summary and a motivational tool for students. Rhythm Reading for Drums-Book 1 offers a comprehensive approach to rhythm reading and musical drumming for both educators and private instructors.
Musicmaide Stand Clip & Holder
Musicmaide Stand Clips are designed to help to keep sheet music in place. The transparent clip attaches onto the shelf of any music stand to secure sheet music and books, while still allowing for the pages to be turned. The Musicmaide Playlist Holder is a device that attaches to the shelf of a music stand and helps keep play lists visible at all times.
38 School Band and Orchestra, July 2010
LA Sax Bad Aax Saxophone Models
LA Sax Bad Aax Black Alto saxophone features ribbed constructed and double pad cup arms. This saxophone is built from a cupronickel brass alloy and is keyed all the way up to high F# and has a front harmonic F key. The La Sax Bad Aax Black Tenor saxophone is ribbed constructed and has double pad cup arms on the low C, B and Bb. The saxophone features detailed engraving on the body tube, bow, bell, and bell flare and is keyed all the way up to high F# and has a front harmonic F key. LA Sax Soprano saxophone features a rose brush satin finish with gold engraved keys. This one-piece straight soprano saxophone has Italian pads and metal tone boosters for resonance. This saxophone also features a high F# key and a front F key, along with semi-precious stones on all the finger buttons.
Akoostik Koozees for Amps & Speakers
Koozee Armor Products line of Akoostik Koozees are adjustable padded wraps that will secure tightly
speakers and amps. Retail prices start at $59.
Tycoon’s Tables, Racks, and Drumset Hardware
Tycoon Percussion now offers a complete line of hardware that allows drummers and percussionists to position instruments within easy reach of their sticks and hands. Tycoon’s 2010 catalog features a variety of clamps and arms for mounting percussion effects on existing stands, a bracket that connects percussion instruments to any standard bass drum pedal and accessory percussion racks, including a mountable model with a universal clamp that accommodates four accessories and a free-standing version that can hold a combination of up to a dozen mountable percussion instruments. Tycoon’s new percussion tables are available in large (TPT-L) and small (TPT-S) sizes and are recommended for all types of drummers and drumming situations. The trays are attached to height-adjustable, heavy-duty, double-braced stands, and feature padded surfaces that can accommodate multiple accessory percussion instruments, sticks, and mallets as well as electronic multi-pads and laptop computers.
The Zoom H1 Handy Recorder
around most OEM’s sound reinforcement gear. The Akoostik Koozee’s wrapping and cinching design allows a single speaker or amp wrap to secure tightly around multiple models of
Weighing in at about two ounces, Zoom’s H1 recorder delivers clear 24-bit/96 kHz stereo recordings suitable for music, interviews, lectures, recitals, band practice, and more. The H1’s two onboard microphones are configured in an X/Y pattern. The H1 also features a newly designed user interface that places all its functions at the touch of a button. Zoom included access to the track marker, auto record, low cut
NewProducts filter, level, and volume controls with onboard buttons and no menus. The H1 can accommodate up to 32GB microSDHC memory cards, providing over 50 hours of recording time. The recorder is powered by a single AA size battery, which provides up to 10 hours of continuous operation. H1 users can purchase an H1 accessory kit that includes a windscreen, AC adapter (USB type), USB cable, adjustable tripod stand, soft carrying pouch, and mic clip adapter. The Zoom H1 retails for $99.
String Orchestra Works from Latham Music
“Jazz Inn” was composed by Shirl Atwell for grade three students. The tune is in B minor, and upper strings stay in their lower ranges for most of the work, using extensions and some
“Butterflies on the Breeze” was composed by R. Anne Svendsen for grade one. This piece depicts the magic of butterfly migration with only open strings and first finger (using all strings). The butterflies disappear into the sky with a soft pizzicato ending. Bowing skills include two-note slurs, staccato on the string, and hooked bowings. While rhythmically simple, this piece incorporates a great mix of note values, making counting accuracy important.
www.lorenz.com chromatic fingering. The notes are not the challenge here; it’s all about the rhythm. “High Plains March,” composed by David Hinds, is suitable for grade one students. The song is in D major, with opportunities for percussive effects, hooked bowings, and pizzicato. There are no dotted rhythms in this piece, but the main theme is syncopated.
2010 Carl Fischer Concert Band Series
Carl Fischer’s latest additions to their Concert Band series feature brand-new works from Larry Clark, Sean O’Loughlin, Joseph Compello, Bill Calhoun, and Kevin Mixon, as well as newcomers Brant Karrick and
Your students won’t just experience the 18th century. They’ll be part of it. Students always leave here with memories and stories about the past that last long into the future. Join us for unforgettable, interactive experiences that are both fun and educational, including guided tours, special programs, and hands~on activities. Fife and drum groups perform daily, along with demonstrations of 18th~century instruments.Visits can be tailored to any group’s needs, including lodging, dining, 18th~century tavern meals, and entertainment.
© 2o1o The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation
Group packages are available for 15 students or more. Be sure to ask about performance opportunities for music or choral groups of 25~75 students. To plan a trip or make reservations, call 1~800~4oo~2862 or visit colonialwilliamsburg.com/grouptours.
Be part of the story.
School Band and Orchestra, July 2010 39
Gene Milford. Ranging from grades one to four, the 2010 Carl Fischer Music Concert Band series contains works appropriate for contest, festival, holiday concerts, and more. Directors can view free non-printable PDF scores and download/listen to free full-length recordings performed by professionals on the Carl Fischer Web site.
Trophy Music’s Maestro-Lite Baton
Designed to make it easier for musicians to see in dark situations and to create a visual effect on stage, Trophy Music’s Maestro-Lite features a sturdy
40 School Band and Orchestra, July 2010
Lexan polycarbonate shaft and a textured easy grip handle. The entire shaft is illuminated by LED’s that will last 100,000+ hours. The light concentrates at the tip, further allowing musicians to better follow the tempo and includes extra batteries.
An Injury Prevention Guide for Musicians
In her book, Playing (Less) Hurt - An Injury Prevention Guide for Musicians, Janet Horvath addresses subjects that are pertinent to musicians on any instrument. The
book’s first chapters address how injuries can arise in the course of musical life. The second section goes into considerable medical depth to explain various injuries common to instrumental musicians, the third section of the book offers a wide-ranging compendium of preventative and restorative approaches, and finally the fourth section contains a comprehensive multipage resource guide.
Keep Music Education Strong Learning to play music is so much more than memorizing notes and scales. It helps a child develop creativity and instills self-discipline, commitment and conﬁdence. Your leadership in the community assures that music is a part of quality education for every child. Keep music education strong—go to supportmusic.com.
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Make Your Reed Smile! “When I teach beginning reed players about instrument assembly, I teach the names of the basic parts of the reed as well as the parts of the instrument. To allow students to self-check for correct placement of the ligature on the mouthpiece, I instruct them to look for the reed’s smile. The bottom of the cut of the reed should show in its’ entirety above the top of a ligature that has been loosened enough to slip onto the mouthpiece easily. The curve of the reed’s cut looks like a smile!” Laura Verdone Park Avenue Elementary School Nashville, Tenn. Submit your PLAYING TIP online at www.sbomagazine.com or e-mail it to editor Eliahu Sussman: email@example.com. Win a special prize from EPN Travel, Inc. Winning Playing Tips will be published in School Band and Orchestra magazine.
College Search & Career Guide An Essential Resource for College Bound Music Students!
Students will use this essential on-line
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This dynamic 2010 edition can be found at: www.sbomagazine.com
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42 School Band and Orchestra, July 2010
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SAVE THE DATE! The Jazz Education Network Annual Conference is moving to January!
2nd Annual JEN Conference January 6-8, 2011 New Orleans, LA Historic Roosevelt Hotel – Famed Blue Room Details on line soon! • Exciting Headliners • Enlightening Clinics/Panels • Exhilarating School Ensemble Performances • 20,000 sq. ft of Enticing Exhibits! All under one roof, two blocks from the French Quarter! Details following soon. Submission guidelines and applications available online May 1-June 15.
Check the website often for updates as they materialize! www.JazzEdNet.org your portal to the global jazz community!