JUNE 2008 $5.00
Hawaiiâ€™s Musical Paradise Roundtable: Travel Technology: Intro-Level Learning Tools
GUEST EDITORIAL: CHECKING IN WITH LEONARD SLATKIN Indiana University’s Patrick Casey and Jin Tanaka share wisdom they learned from recent conversations with American conductor Leonard Slatkin.
UPCLOSE: ELDEN SETA A recent interview with Elden Seta, the 2003 Milken National Educator Award recipient and band director of Hawaii’s Moanalua High School, sheds light on one thriving, well traveled music program.
SURVEY: TRAVEL & FESTIVALS SBO readers weigh in on the topic of travel and festivals, providing insights and uncovering the latest travel trends.
ROUNDTABLE: TRAVEL Six school band and orchestra directors give their thoughts on taking ensembles abroad.
REPORT: TOP MUSIC ED COMMUNITIES The NAMM Foundation releases the names of the top-100 communities for music education across the nation.
TECHNOLOGY: INTRO-LEVEL LEARNING TOOLS Dr. Kuzmich presents a few tools to get introductorylevel students hooked on music.
Columns 4 6 55 61
Perspective Headlines New Products
62 64 64
Classifieds Calendar Ad Index
Cover photo by Marco Garcia, Honolulu, Hawaii
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 © 2008 by Symphony Publishing, LLC, all rights reserved. Printed in USA.
2 School Band and Orchestra, June 2008
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Minimizing the Risk of Longterm Hearing Loss
f we were to walk down the sidewalk and encounter a construction worker using a jackhammer, most of us would either put our fingers in our ears or walk to the other side of the street to escape the noise. The volume of a circular saw ranges between 90-100 decibels, a backhoe, 85-95 decibels, and a lawnmower 90 decibels. Unfortunately, any musician who has had the bell of a trumpet near the back of their head may have been exposed to over 110 db (or up to 140 at five inches away) – a level similar to that of a jackhammer. This volume can be at the threshold of pain. The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders suggests that, “30 million Americans are regularly exposed “There are between to harmful sound levels, and over 28 million suffer from 1.5 and 2 million some level of hearing loss.” With music students being students in school exposed to high volume levels with their iPods or other mp3 players, as well as in the band room and on the field, band programs there could be a real danger of future hearing loss. across the USA When band members are practicing on the field or in the band room, there is no doubt that the sound preswhich could be at sure levels can become dangerously high. We estimate that risk of longterm there are between 1.5 and 2 million students in school hearing loss.” band programs across the USA who could be at risk of longterm hearing loss as part of cumulative exposure. According to the New York Times, April 20, 2008 edition, in London a piece of music called “State of Siege” by composer Dror Feiler was dropped from a scheduled performance due to the average noise level of the piece. Evidently, the “average noise level was 97.4 decibels, just below the level of a pneumatic drill and in violation of new European noise-at-work limits.” Due to the inordinate volume of the piece, the world premier with the Bavarian Symphony Orchestra was dropped. The difficult aspect of musicians wearing hearing protection is the ability of the player to hear all of the nuances of tone quality, intonation, balance, frequency distribution, and personal volume of their instrument. There are professional orchestras that utilize sound panels to minimize the impact of the louder instruments that are behind other musicians, but the cost would be prohibitive for most school music programs. Additionally, there are some high-tech, high-cost hearing protection products that some symphony musicians use to protect themselves from hearing damage. However, there are some more reasonably priced earplugs that are available from musical instrument dealers that do offer protection while maintaining some qualities that allow the musician to hear reasonably well. This is certainly a consideration for school music programs, especially for percussionists, brass players, and those who sit in front of them.
Rick Kessel email@example.com 4 School Band and Orchestra, June 2008
June 2008 Volume 11, Number 6
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HeadLines TSU Team Wins Shure Recording Competition
hure Incorporated has announced that a three-member team from the music department at Texas State University is this year’s Grand Prize Winner of the fourth annual “Fantastic Scholastic Recording Competition.” The three-student team of Joel Cowen, Adam Brisbin and Jordan Lott, with faculty advisor, Mark Erickson, won this year’s Shure contest with an original composition by Graham Wilkinson and the Underground Township entitled “Let It Go.”
The judges for the competition were Chuck Ainlay, Joe Barresi, Frank Filipetti, Mike Fraser, Chris Kimsey, Chuck Meyers, Elliot Scheiner and Al Schmitt, who evaluated the recordings on their overall fidelity, clarity, and sonic balance-as well as creativity in selection and placement of microphones. In addition to the Texas State University team, there were teams competing from Anderson University, Biola University, Butler University, California State University (Chico), Middle Tennessee State University, Ohio University, The Hartt School at the University of Hartford, the University of New Haven and the University of South Carolina School of Music. The runner-up in this year’s competition was the team from The Hartt School at the University of Hartford and the students from Biola University received an honorable mention. Each of the 10 student teams worked on a recording project that consisted of tracking and mixing a performance, exclusively using a “microphone locker” provided by Shure for the competition. Teams submitted a stereo mix for review by a panel of industry professionals who were selected by Shure to judge the competition. As the winning school, the Texas State takes ownership of the entire Shure Microphone Locker, which consists of: (1) Beta 52A, (1) Beta 91, (3) Beta 98D/ Ss, (2) KSM27s, (2) KSM32s, (2) KSM44s, (2) KSM141s, (4) SM57s, (1) SM7B, (1) VP88, and (1) A27M. The entire microphone package is valued at more than $12,000. In addition, a donation of $3,000 towards a scholarship fund will be awarded to the winning school, and each member of the winning team will receive a KSM27, valued at $575. For more information, visit www.shure.com.
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HeadLines National Concert Band Winners with Boston Brass The winners of the National Concert Band Competition, sponsored by Jupiter Band Instruments, Inc., performed a concert with the Boston Brass in early May. Directed by Mr. Greg Snyder, the Lakota West Symphonic Winds band of West Chester, Ohio received the prize of a two-day clinic with the Boston Brass and renown conductor Dr. Stan Michalski. The Boston Brass held a clinic for all the brass players in the six different Lakota West bands as well as a clinic exclusive to the school’s 300 freshman band students. As a memento of the experience, each student received a signed Boston Brass poster and a CD. In separate clinics, Dr. Michalski offered the students insight on technique, intonation, phrasing and performance. Director Greg Snyder noted that while the bands’ senior members have performed at the Midwest Clinic, marched in the Rose Bowl Parade and had a concert tour of the Hawaiian islands, the clinic with Dr. Michalski and Boston Brass stood out as the most exciting and notable event. At the May 8th concert, the Lakota West Symphonic Winds Band played five pieces, including two nubers with the Boston Brass and one under the direction of Dr. Michalski. The second half of the concert featured the Boston Brass. The Boston Brass has been Educational Ambassadors and artists for Jupiter Band Instruments, Inc. since 2006. Dr. Michalski is a clinician with the Jupiter Artist Program. For more information, please visit www.lakotawestbands.org or www.jupitermusic.com
Hot New Shows for 2008! º Connexus (Gary P. Gilroy/Shawn Glyde/Nate Bourg) º I Believe (Richard Goss/Steve Martin/Aaron Hines/Jon Brill) º Chess (Gary P. Gilroy/Kohei Mizushima/Nate Bourg)
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World’s First MI Museum to Open in Pheonix, Ariz. The first museum dedicated to musical instruments is set to open in early 2010, in Phoenix, Arizona. With the mission of “celebrating the similarities and differences of the world’s cultures as expressed through music,” the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) will display musical instruments from over 200 countries, along with photographs, performance video, and historical information about each exhibited item. The MIM will have rooms to play and experience instruments from around the world, along with an auditorium with 300-person capacity, a musical instrument conservation lab, special exhibition halls, a library, gift shop, and a restaurant. For more information, visit the museum online at: www.themim.org.
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HeadLines NAMM Foundation Awards Over $1.1m in Grants
Iraqi Orchestra Stages Rare Concert
AMM has announced the 26 recipients of the NAMM Foundation’s 2008-2009 grants program, allocating more than $1.1million in funding to support community music-making programs, scientific research on the effects of making music, and music programs for seniors and school-aged children. The new grants, while only a small portion of NAMM’s overall annual multi-million dollar reinvestment back into the music products industry, serve an important function by enabling worthy organizations to run programs designed to increase interest and participation in making music, as well as helping leading universities better understand the outcomes of making music for people of all ages. This important music-brain research continues to help the industry strengthen its marketing messages for why more people should play music. During the recent NAMM Board of Directors meeting, the following programs received approval: • American String Teachers Association (www.astaweb. com); • Blue Bear School of Music (www.bluebearmusic.org); • Bread and Roses (www.breadandroses.org); • Coalition for Music Education in Canada (www.weallneedmusic.ca); • Guitar and Accessories Marketing Association (www.discoverguitar.com); • Guitars in the Classroom (www.guitarsintheclassroom.com); • Levine School of Music (www.levineschool.org); • Little Kids Rock, Inc. (www.littlekidsrock.org); • Merit School of Music (www.meritmusic.org); • Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation (www.mhopus.org); • Music For All (UK) (www.mia.org.uk); • National Guild of Community Schools of the Arts (www. nationalguild.org): • National Piano Foundation (www.pianonet.com); • National String Project Consortium (www.stringprojects. org); • New Horizons International Music Association (www. newhorizonsmusic.org); • North Shore Boys & Girls Club (www.nsbgc.org); • Percussion Marketing Council (www.rootsofrhythm.net or www.playdrums.com); Rock’n’Roll Camp for Girls (www.girlsrockcamp.org); • Technology Institute for Music Educators (www.time.org); • VSA Arts (www.vsarts.org); • and the Walla Walla Symphony (www.wwsymphony.org). For more information about the NAMM Foundation's Program Grants, please e-mail email@example.com or visit www.nammfoundation.org.
raq’s national symphony orchestra staged a rare concert in Baghdad on Wednesday, May 21, in what organizers said was an effort to preserve the nation’s cultural heritage despite years of warfare. A repertoire of Arabic, Kurdish and classical Western compositions was played on Wednesday to an audience of 400 people including UN ofﬁcials, diplomats, military officers and Iraqi lawmakers, according to the UN organizers. The UN Assistance Mission for Iraq said the concert, held to mark the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development, was intended to “remind the world of what Iraqis can offer and to preserve the country’s cultural heritage. British guest conductor Oliver Gilmour shared in leading the performance with the orchestra’s own director, Iraq cellist Karim Wasﬁ. Gilmour paid tribute to the orchestra, whose members represent different ethnic and religious groups. “In many ways what they do is inspirational and it illustrates, I think, their indomitable spirit and the power of music,” he said.
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Online Survey Results 1) Do you think there is educational value to music-based video games, such as ''Guitar Hero'' and ''Rock Band''??
57% 14% 29% Yes The jury No
is still out
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.
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Checking In with Leonard Slatkin BY
PATRICK CASEY AND JIN TANAKA
ow migrating from a 12-year tenure with the National Symphony Orchestra to his appointment as music director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, nine-
time Grammy winning artist and conductor Leonard Slatkin maintains a vigorous, international performing schedule, as well as an ambitious slate of educational outreach, consulting and advocacy. Having recently enjoyed several days of his inspirational teaching, we offer the following windows into Mr. Slatkin’s ongoing legacy as one of the world’s most prolific conductors and notable advocates for the musical arts.
Passion for Music Education During his March 2008 residency as a new faculty artist in the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, Mr. Slatkin spoke to us about his career-long passion for music education and arts advocacy: “Pretty much all of my conducting life has been divided between conducting professional orchestras and working with young musicians. I’ve played in youth orchestras, and in fact my first actual time stepping on the podium was with a youth orchestra. In my first job, when I went to St. Louis as an assistant, I formed a youth orchestra because there wasn’t one there. I went into schools, talked to classes, worked with the music programs in the schools. I’ve always done it regardless of where I am in the profession… “Sometimes I do it in an effort to amplify what already exists, sometimes I do it to create something that doesn’t exist. I will never in my lifetime see what I hope would happen—the creation of a true national curriculum for the arts. But, with enough individual effort I think there are places and programs that can move an arts agenda ahead in education. It’s one of the 14 School Band and Orchestra, June 2008
“The most I ever learned was when I conducted in countries where I don’t speak the native language.” - Leonard Slatkin reasons I took the Detroit Symphony position, because there are wonderful education initiatives in that community which you would normally not associate with the classical arts. And yet, it’s there: there’s an art school with 500 students right next to the hall. There’s also an incredible youth orchestra program in Detroit. We’re going to be engaging all the young people in many different ways, really focusing on the orchestra’s commitment to education, tying in the artistic institutions so we are not segregated from large population segments of the community.”
Community Connections One new initiative Mr. Slatkin has introduced in Detroit involves restructuring a Saturday young people’s concert series. This series had been offered in past seasons during “pops” concert weekends. With the upcoming season, Saturday family concerts will happen on “classical” weekends, many times featuring the guest soloists who are performing with the orchestra on their heftier evening concerts. Ticket sales for this young people’s series are already up, with headliners such as Evelyn Glennie (percussion), Bela Fleck (banjo), Zakia Hussein (tabla), and Edgar Meyer (double bass) joining in as drawing cards.
Mr. Slatkin shared with us these conclusions: “You’re not selling tickets to the kids, you’re selling them to the adults. So, if you can make it attractive for the adults, they will bring their families… What you need, of course, are people who can communicate well with a young audience, people who are educating, entertaining and engaging—and who will spark the imagination of the people coming to those concert. I’m a little surprised that none of us have thought of this [including the classical series soloists] before....”
The National Conducting Institute Sharing insights on how orchestras can increase community connections is just one facet of Leonard Slatkin’s continuing interest in working with aspiring conductors. He has long been recognized for these efforts. In 1999, he established the National Conducting Institute at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. Along with the National Symphony Orchestra and in cooperation with the American Symphony Orchestra League’s Orchestra Leadership Academy, he has administered this three-week training program since its beginning. Again speaking to us at IU this spring, Mr. Slatkin explained: “This is a program that has its basis in moving to the next step. For most conductors, when they have the opportunity to stand in front of a first-rate professional orchestra for the first time, they really don’t know what to do. Here, as opposed to a student or community orchestra, you are in front of musicians who actually know the pieces better than you do. So, of course there is a fear factor there. What are you going to tell them? I remember when I went to Philadelphia for the first time in my life—I was conducting the Rachmaninoff Second Symphony—what could I possibly tell them about that? “… So, the Institute was devised primarily to bridge that gap — preparing musicians before they stand in front of the orchestra: observing me, questioning me, talking to members of the orchestra so that by the time the conductors within the Institute stand in front of the ensemble, they know what the orchestra
expects of the conductor…. That was the impetus for the Institute, and then it grew rather quickly to include a week of nonconducting activities where we teach the full administrative network that goes into leading an American orchestra… “In essence, it’s a practical guide to what life will be like when you first enter the professional ranks. The institute is unique in that respect. I’m very proud of it. It has produced a number of very fine conductors who are doing well. And mostly, every place these participants go, people comment about how prepared they are in terms of their administrative capacities, because they know the system now.” Beginning in 2009, the Institute will invite applicants from all across the world, and will migrate to a new home with the Pittsburgh Symphony, where Mr. Slatkin has recently been named principal guest conductor designate.
A New Teaching Investment Last year, Maestro Slatkin accepted a faculty appointment as the Arthur R. Metz Foundation Conductor in the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. As part of this position, Mr. Slatkin visits the Bloomington campus regularly, working directly with the orchestral conducting students in daily master classes and seminars, in addition to preparing the IU Philharmonic for a performance at the end of each visit. Observing him rehearse the top student orchestra, tutor conducting students in rehearsal, and discuss related topics are indeed powerful learning opportunities. Here are a few conducting insights Leonard Slatkin offered during his March 2008 IU residency: “If you read a book and you know the language well, chances are you aren’t really going to misread a word. You might, but rarely. Conducting is the same way: you have to know a score well enough that you don’t misread it. It’s a matter of investing the study time.” “Another problem in any conducting situation or learning situation is that it is very hard to put into words much of what we do. Choosing your words is so important. And simplicity is always best. For me, the most I ever learned was when I conducted in countries where I don’t
10 Thoughts for Music Directors BY LEONARD SLATKIN Musical Preparation • Study not only from scores, but also from literature. It will enrich your music making. • Have practical knowledge about all instruments—this is a key to effective rehearsals. Rehearsal • Choose words very carefully during rehearsals: be clear and concise. • Rehearse to what you hear from the musicians: do not assume too much beforehand. • Let the musicians make some of the musical decisions: you can learn a lot from them. • Have clear reasons for interpretations, especially when deviating from explicit score markings. • Simpler is better, both in gesture and word. Programming • Be creative and pursue diverse audiences through your concert programming. Strive to connect the orchestra to the community. • Emphasize educational programs—these are the root of developing a community’s own musical culture. Administration • Get to know all administrative personnel and structures within your organization. Your artistic vision will require excellent communication skill
speak the native language at all, and I was forced to find non-verbal tools with my hands and face, and just a very few words to make it work. I would encourage every conductor to put him- or herself in that situation. Remember, when you do use words, every one of them should have a universal meaning for the School Band and Orchestra, June 2008 15
group. More importantly than all that is your ability to use your body and your hands to convey what you want. The best conductors are the ones that don’t speak very much, yet they get excellent results [through gesture].” Also vital to his work at the Jacobs School of Music are rehearsals and performances conducting the IU Philharmonic, the first of five performing orchestras at Indiana. Each concert thus
far has involved rich collaborations with the student musicians and internationally renowned soloists. This fall’s residency will continue that approach, with fellow alumnus Joshua Bell joining in to perform a work he famously premiered in 2003, John Corigliano’s Concerto for Violin and Orchestra (“The Red Violin”). Mr. Slatkin’s most recent performance with the IU Philharmonic underscored his combined interests in promoting new compositional voices, challenging the
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16 School Band and Orchestra, June 2008
student musicians in new directions, and appealing to a broader audience. Beyond two staples in the orchestral repertoire— Respighi’s “The Pines of Rome” and Alberto Ginastera’s “Malambo” from Estancia—the performance included diverse contemporary expressions through P.Q. Phan’s “When the Worlds Mixed and Times Merged,” and Michel Camilo’s “Concerto for Piano and Orchestra.” The Camilo work was commissioned by Mr. Slatkin, and written specifically to feature the composer as soloist. It represents a fusion of Latin jazz and symphonic genres, with exhilarating virtuosity and rhythmic vitality. Speaking about his choice to bring Michel Camilo in for the performance, Mr. Slatkin explained, “The type of piece he’s written demands a very different kind of playing from the orchestra. Most likely, when students graduate from here, they will not be playing Mahler and Strauss every week, but rather, will be encountering all kinds of cultural perspectives in their music.”
Ever Onward! Leonard Slatkin’s passion for music education extends broadly, and is inseparably linked to his celebrated, 40-year professional conducting career thus far. Enriched by community engagement, conducting mentorship, and creative collaborations with contemporary composers and performers, his artistic contributions remain a tour de force for concert music. Patrick F. Casey, Ph.D. has been a visiting associate director of bands at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music since the fall of 2007. Previously, he was the director of bands at Central Missouri University from 1996-2004 and was on faculty at Virginia Tech from 2004-2007. Jin Tanaka is a graduate student in conducting at the Jacobs School of Music. His primary instrument is trombone.
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UpClose: Elden Seta
“Number one is always whatever’s best for the kids.”
18 School Band and Orchestra, June 2008
BY ELIAHU SUSSMAN
he most successful school music programs share a few common ingredients: support from the community and administration; strong and well-established feeder schools; and perhaps most importantly, a cre-
ative director, tireless in his or her devotion to providing the best possible experience for the programâ€™s students.
School Band and Orchestra, June 2008 19
ndeed, when speaking with Moanalua High School band director Elden Seta, it becomes apparent that as awesome as the idyllic natural splendor of Hawaii’s volcanoes, rain forests, and beaches is to nature enthusiasts, the school’s music program is similarly magnificent in its own milieu. Seta, the 2003 Milken National Educator Award recipient, insists his program — with its more than 18 consecutive Division I “Superior” ratings in Wind Ensemble and Orchestra — isn’t perfect, yet the elements that have come together in the MHS music department have fostered some fantastic opportunities for the students. In this recent SBO interview, Seta provides some insight into the development of a program that has taken ensembles from Hawaii to Europe, Japan, Australia, California, and New York.
School Band & Orchestra: Tell me about your own introduction to music? Elden Seta: I started out playing music in middle school. My grandfather played faith music, but my parents weren’t musically inclined. I guess when they were in high school most students didn’t participate in music programs. My two older brothers played saxophone, so I picked up the clarinet. I worked my way through middle school and high school, where I became really involved with music and participated in a lot of activities in the program. I had really great teachers there. Eventually, I went to college as a music education major. SBO: At what point did you know that you were going to be making a career in music education? ES: Like any other child, I wasn’t sure if I was going in the right direction or not, and I came to the typical crossroads as a junior in high school. I found out that no matter which direction I turned, I couldn’t find anything that I liked any better or had more interest in than music. That’s when it solidified that I really knew that I was in the right place. I went forward from there and I’ve never looked back since. SBO: Tell me a little bit about the school band programs in your area of Hawaii?
Moanalua High School Music Department at a Glance Address: 2825 Ala Ilima Street, Honolulu, Hawaii On the Web: www.mohsmusic.com Ensembles (No. of Students) Symphonic Wind Ensemble (92) Symphonic Band (155) 9th-Grade Concert Band (93) Symphony Orchestra (90) Concert Orchestra (130) Concert Strings (75) Concert Choir (14) Chorus (24) Jazz Band (14) Marching Band (220) Travel 2006 - Osaka Midosuji Parade, Japan 2005 - Carnegie Hall, New York City, N.Y. 2004 - All Japan Invitational Band Festival, Hamamatsu, Japan 2002 - New Year’s Day Parade, London, England 2000 - Osaka Midosuji Parade, Japan 1998 - Carnegie Hall New York City, N.Y. 1997 - Orange Bowl Parade, Miami Fla. 1995 - Tournament of Roses Parade, Pasadena Calif. 1992 - West Coast Performance Tour 1991 - Osaka Midosuji Parade, Japan 1991- Osaka Midosuji Festival, Japan 1990 - Tournament of Roses Parade, Pasadena Calif. 1988 - World Expo, Brisbane Australia Annual Parade/Festivals Aloha Week Parade OIA Band Festival Rainbow Invitational Menehune Classic Mililani Bandfest Kamehameha Tournament of Bands Oahu Band Director’s Association State Parade of Bands Central Oahu District Band Festival HASTA State Parade of Orchestras Awards Symphonic Wind Ensemble: Division I “Superior” rating for the past 20 years Symphony Orchestra: Division I “Superior” rating for the past 18 years Marching Band: Numerous 1st-Place state championships; selected to perform at the 2005 Presidential Inauguration.
20 School Band and Orchestra, June 2008
ES: I think the band programs here are strong. Student interest is quite high. Generally, band programs here are pretty similar to most of the mainland United States. Here, music education starts around seventh grade. We don’t have too many — or barely any — elementary school music programs. That’s something we haven’t been too successful with, but the secondary programs are very developed. SBO: Are there many marching competitions and festivals? ES: Oh, yes. We have marching band, concert band, and jazz band competitions, and we host our own marching band festival, the Menehune Classic. We also have vocal ensembles — all those great things are all here, and they’re all going really well. SBO: How did you end up at your current position? ES: Right after college, I was lucky. My first job was at Moanalua High School, where I still teach today. As I was graduating from the University
MHS horns at the 2007 Homecoming.
of Hawaii, the current band director got a job at a private school and decided to move, so it just so happened that I was at the right place at the right time. I started calling for the position, interviewed for it, and I was fortunate enough to get it. Also, my college professors and past high school band directors got involved in the process. The recommendations they gave me were really important.
SBO: What was the band program like when you arrived? ES: There were two concert bands — one a ninth-grade band, the other a sophomore-to-senior-level band — with about 120 students total. There was a string program starting up with about 35 string players. Also, there was a small music theory class with about 5 students, and a marching band with about 100 students.
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School Band and Orchestra, June 2008 21
ES: Yes, in fact, the music student enrollment right now is a little over 600. SBO: That’s great!
Carnegie Hall, 2005
ES: Yeah, it is great. The kids have worked really hard. They have a terrific attitude and it shows. SBO: What’s been the spark behind the growth in your program? ES: I think it’s a mix-
ture of many things. We have a really good working staff. The administration has been amazingly London, 2001 supportive. The community has been great SBO: And where are you at now? — they’ve been behind us all the way. ES: Now we have three concert And we have a terrific parent group. bands, three orchestras, two choirs, Our parent-boosters organization does we also offer two piano classes, and everything they have to do to make our marching band is around 240 stuwhat our dreams possible. In my 20 dents now. years here, they’ve never said, “No, that’s not possible.” SBO: That’s considerable growth.
22 School Band and Orchestra, June 2008
Anything that we have, any idea that we want to pursue for the good of the students, they always say, “What can we do to make it work?” I think that mixture of everything together is what makes this music program really special and what has allowed it to grow so much. We also have a terrific feeder school program, which is really key for us. The band and orchestra program down at the middle school is truly amazing. All that put together is what makes our program so special. SBO: It sounds like the perfect set of circumstances for building a program, with support of administration, parents, and enthusiastic students — ES: It’s been great. I can’t go to the point of saying it’s perfect, though. We have problems just like anybody else — money problems, scheduling problems, and so on — it’s just that with the right support, we get through those issues. I don’t think there’s anybody in our system that will allow our program to take a step backwards for the sake of change. We’ve been very fortunate.
SBO: And this festival you host, how did that come about? ES: For about five or six years, we’ve hosted an event called the Menehune Classic. It’s a band festival, not a competition, and we do it towards the early part of our season. The timing allows bands an opportunity to be evaluated, so that when the big competitions hit later in the season, in November, the level of bands has already
“In my 20 years here, they’ve never said, ‘No, that’s not possible.’” improved because they’ve received the professional advice on improving the ensemble. Our festival helps bands prepare for competitions. SBO: Can you talk for a minute about the process of establishing a festival at your school? ES: The most important thing is having the right work crew. For us it comes down to our amazing parent group. The people in the music booster organization are the ones who actually put the show on. They organize the manpower, the fundraising part of it, the food, the trophies, the advertising — the music boosters man all of that. Of course, they operate with my approval and advice, but the music booster organization is the key backbone to that festival. The event is actually something we had talked about for 12 or 13 years, wondering if it was a possibility. It finally became reality when we said, “Let’s go ahead and do it.” Having the school behind us is really important, too, because they have to allow us to use school resources and facilities. They make it very affordable. We have a lot of volunteers in the administration who come out and work with us. It’s been really terrific.
2008 Winter concert
SBO: How do you select the panel of adjudicators? ES: Generally we use instructors School Band and Orchestra, June 2008 23
and performed at the World Expo in Brisbane.
MHS students in Japan, 2006
SBO: How did that opportunity present itself? ES: The band director who was here before me had applied to perform there, and we carried through the application and were accepted. We didn’t want to interrupt the process because the students and some administrators
“If you compare the culture of New York City to that of Hawaii, it can be pretty shocking.” from the University of Hawaii. We also have retired band directors and instructors that help around the island who come out and do the adjudication. For our festival, we try to keep it local.
SBO: I see. Yet, in contrast to that, your ensembles have also traveled significant distances. ES: Yes, that’s true. In fact, our first trip was my very first year of teaching. It was kind of scary, but I learned a lot, real fast. We went to Australia
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24 School Band and Orchestra, June 2008
were already working towards going. But for a first-year teacher, the experience was eye opening, to say the least. SBO: How many students went? ES: We took about 100 students, if I remember correctly. It was a great trip
and the kids learned so much — and not just musically: culturally, things that you don’t experience in a classroom or see on television. The kids had an amazing learning experience, as they always do when we travel. Since then, we’ve been to the Tournament of Roses parade in Pasadena, Calif., twice, we’ve been to Japan several times, and we also have taken our Wind Ensemble to an international wind festival in Hamamatsu, Japan. That performance was with the top bands in the country, ensembles selected through their national finals. It is an amazing event. Our students there got to hear some of the best bands in the world, and they got to know other students and play with them. It has been a priceless learning experience. The Symphony Orchestra has also been to Carnegie Hall twice.
The next item we look at is the location and time — is it possible? Do we have enough time to fundraise and prepare? Is it during a time of year when it’s possible for the students to go if they have to miss some classes? That is heavy in the consideration. After that, we look at the location as far as what other value there is for the students. For example, when we went
to Paris and London, we looked at the educational value outside of the parade itself. We ask ourselves, “What can the students bring home with them outside of what they can learn in a textbook, or read about on the Internet, or see on television or video? That is all taken into account, but it is mostly based on the performance — what we are being asked to do.
SBO: Is it further for you to go to New York or Japan? ES: [laughs] I’m not sure in terms of distance. However, it’s very far to go to Japan, culturally speaking. On the other hand, if you compare the culture of New York City to that of Hawaii, that can be pretty shocking, too. I don’t mean to say anything bad about New York, it’s just very different. SBO: Do these travel opportunities come through invitation or application or some other method? ES: Both. Usually, my philosophy has been to apply once we’ve been invited. I don’t usually pursue travel opportunities unless I get the feeling that the festival or parade really wants our band to come and play. I only take the time to do an application when I know that the people on the other end have interest in us. That way, the trip becomes something that the students have already earned. SBO: So what are the kinds of things that you look for when researching performance opportunities? ES: I’m not looking for necessarily the highest level, so much as the best learning opportunity for the students. We always look at the performance first — what it is, what the students are going to be doing.
SBO: What about as far as preparSchool Band and Orchestra, June 2008 25
ing your students? Is there anything special that you do to get them ready for these occasions in terms of the music, the cultural and travel aspects, and even the emotional element of playing on a prolific stage, on national TV, in front of a large audience, or alongside nationally or internationally acclaimed ensembles? ES: I don’t know if I have any tricks, we just take it one step at a time. As soon as we know that we’ve
Ala Moana Concerrt 2007, Honolulu, Hawaii
been accepted to an event and we have school and district approval, the process begins. We form a committee with parents and supportive volunteers who work on all of the aspects of putting the trip together, from fundraising opportunities to planning the itinerary, all of those fine details. Finding the right travel agent, to me, is key. Finding someone who always has the group’s wellbeing in mind is so important. We are lucky to have
someone great who we work with. Having a great parent group who can arrange chaperones, write handbooks, organize uniforms — really arrange every little detail — is so important to making a trip happen. SBO: As far as working with tour groups or travel agents, how much responsibility do you give to them and how much are you a part of the process of making all the decisions relating to the details of the arrangements? ES: I am really lucky because I have a really good parent group and also a really good travel agent. Their attitude and philosophy is always that I’m the band director — I take care of the music and they will take care of the travel. That doesn’t take anything out of my hands in terms of input — there’s not one aspect of the tour from transportation to equipment handling that doesn’t go past without my approval first. But once the trip has started, I just concentrate on the kids and on the music. Everything that has to do with the hotel, getting to the show, getting on the bus, et cetera, is handled by the travel agent. In my 20 years of experience, I’ve never had a parent or travel agent step over me. We always confer, if, say, a breakfast needs to be moved back or a lunch needs to be moved back. It’s not just the time, but, for example if the kids eat breakfast at 6:00am, they can’t eat lunch at 2:00 in the afternoon. So all that stuff goes through the discussion process. We work as a team and we take everyone’s ideas into account. Number one is always whatever’s best for the kids. And that works great. The past 10 years have been just great. Having the right people doing the right things makes all the difference in the world. SBO: What has been your favorite travel experience personally? ES: They’ve all been amazing, but perhaps the most memorable was the Tournament of Roses. The sheer magnitude of performing in that parade is impressive. You just get swept off your feet. It’s New Year’s Day, everyone is celebrating, and it feels like you have the world behind you. It’s a five-and-a-
26 School Band and Orchestra, June 2008
half-mile parade and the emotion just lifts you right through it. The kids are on cloud nine. Everyone supporting them and just pushing them along the parade route is amazing. There’s also the fact that we worked so hard just to be part of it. For the orchestra, the most intense was Carnegie Hall. We’ve played there twice, and the kids earned full-Hall standing ovations both times. The kids are all in tears — they’re on stage and they’re bawling, being appreciated for their hard work in that amazing hall. Two times, that happened. In Hamamatsu, performing with all of those world-class bands and being the featured band at the end of the show was a lot of pressure. The kids worked so hard. The Japanese crowd is a really reserved audience. Still, when the kids finished their final number, they got bravos and a huge applause. Other band directors, speaking in Japanese, told us how amazing our performance was, how different it was from what they were used to, how beautiful music can be. All of these things have just created great experiences.
and see them grow up — that’s why I’m here. The paperwork, bureaucracy, planning the day’s classes, and concerts and everything — sometimes that can all be pretty tiring. The program here is so busy that by the time one thing is over, three other things are starting. Sometimes you run through frustration like everyone else, but when go through the process and everything goes well, you don’t focus on what it took to get there,
you just think, “It worked.” That’s what matters. The driving incentive is always to make sure that everything is perfect for the students. It goes back to what we were talking about earlier, about what makes our program successful — all the different parts, the staff, community, everyone doing their job, and everyone contributing for the sake of the students — that’s the driving force.
SBO: That sounds pretty amazing. On the flip side, what’s the most difficult thing you’ve had to deal with when traveling with your students? ES: The worst thing is when the kids get sick to the point where we have to send them home and they don’t get to perform. We’ve had little disciplinary problems here and there, and not everything is going to go perfectly — sometimes the bus doesn’t show up, or things like that. But that’s all small stuff. When a kid isn’t able to perform, that’s the worst. They work so hard to get there, they’re there, their family is all there, and they don’t get to perform. It’s just so sad. SBO: What motivates you as a band director? ES: Being with the students. I don’t think there is anything else. It’s definitely not the money! [laughs] Having students that really care, and getting to know them and work with them, spend time with them, School Band and Orchestra, June 2008 27
SBOSurvey: Travel & Festivals
Learning Beyond the Classroom Walls
hat’s the secret to a successful school music travel or festival experience? Simply put, planning, planning, and more planning — though that can hardly be called a secret. The preparations
required vary in accordance with the magnitude of the endeavor, but most involve some degree of fundraising and the garnering of administrative and parental support, in addition to the obvious logistical details of transportation and possibly accommodations. And let’s not forget that minor detail of preparing the students to perform the music!
30 School Band and Orchestra, June 2008
However, in spite of the headache travel or festival planning can be, the potential benefits are vast. From professional adjudication to eye-opening intercultural exchanges, these events often provide the most memorable and rewarding experiences a school music program has to offer — for students and teachers alike. This latest SBO survey on travel and festivals includes responses from directors who have taken ensembles as far as China and Russia, as well as comments from many others, who, for a variety of reasons, have kept their musical groups much closer to home.
Have any of your student music groups traveled this school year?
35% 65% No
don’t want to or cannot make the trip, so it limits the music we can perform. Costs are also a big factor.” Richard F. Wong American High School Fremont, Calif. “Chaperones can often be a major headache. These people need to be selected carefully so that they do not add to the director’s already long list of responsibilities.” Craig Kepner Orange High School Pepper Pike, Ohio
Have you ever taken an ensemble abroad (outside of the U.S.A.)?
Do you take your students on out-of-state trips? What are the biggest downsides or challenges of taking students on trips to perform or compete?
Stress/planning Time conficts
31% 69% Yes
If yes, how often?
Twice a year
Parent/admin support “Because our ensemble includes grades 9-12 and has a wide range of abilities/interest/dedication, getting everyone to prepare themselves for adjudication to make the entire ‘team’ ready to perform is quite a challenge. The trip is not just for the rides at 6 Flags!” James L. Iacketta Stillwater MS/HS Stillwater, N.Y. “Instrumentation/voicing is a big challenge, as some students either
4% 10% Every four years
Every three years
Every other year
During a travel or festival experience, which of the following is most important?
Going somewhere fun or interesting Hearing other bands Meeting new people Receiving professional critique Results or awards Playing well Other:
23% 14% 4% 24% 2% 26% 7%
“While the students may answer going somewhere fun or interesting, the performance we give is the only justification for the cost of the trip and the time missed from classes.” David Rosenthal Hahnville High School Boutte, La. “For local events (four hours drive or less), the priority is to receive a critique while being exposed to a university or college setting that the students might want to see for their future. Longer distance events need a major landmark or event, for example, performing in the Boston Symphony Hall or hearing the L.A. Philharmonic perform ‘the Planets’ — something more than just a quick festival and then go to a park.” Joey Fortino Gilroy High School Gilroy, Calif. School Band and Orchestra, June 2008 31
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“Depending upon the complexity of the travel arrangements, I sometimes make all arrangements myself and sometimes rely upon a tour company to arrange them for me.” David Bean Morrison High School Morrison, Ill. “We used one last time and I don’t think I will ever go back to doing it on my own. It was great!” Tom Meyer Nevada High School Nevada, Mo. “Having a tour company that has experience with the festival you are going to is very important. References from other directors are always good, too.” Kristi Jasin Franklin High School Livonia, Mich.
Do you have any tips for making group trip/festival experience a success? “Plan ahead. Ask for what you need from different people on the trip. You will find that if you need things, people will try to accommodate you to the best of their ability. Also, don’t forget to ask for discounts from places where you are taking a large number of kids. I did, and one of our dinner 32 School Band and Orchestra, June 2008
buffets went from $16.50 a student to $12.00. That is huge when you are on a budget and have 150 students with you!” Jay A. Durner Delaware Valley Regional High School Frenchtown, N.J. “Careful pre-trip preparation is necessary. Develop a checklist or timeline of specific required items of your district — including trip forms, insurance forms, emergency contact numbers, approval of chaperones, et cetera — along with a checklist of necessary items for the ensembles that are traveling.” John Zimmerman Bellefonte Area Middle School Bellefonte, Penn. “We have ‘Chaperone groups.’ To signal group time, a teacher calls out, ‘Chaperone moment!’ The students have to the count of five to get in their groups. We practice this before even going on the trip. Our groups are between 4 and 8 students per chaperone. The students go through the airport and do any transitioning during the trip in chaperone groups. It is far easier to travel in smaller groups to a common destination than to move a group of 150 through security and hope everyone gets through.” Diane Rener Lake Forest District 67 Lake Forest, Ill. “Make sure your chaperones know what is expected of them. Like the students, they also have responsibilities.” Nicholas Basham Northwest High School McDermott, Ohio
Any other thoughts on travel or festivals to share with your music ed peers? “There are boundless educational opportunities that can only be discovered outside the walls of your classroom. Plan, prepare, put on a smile,
pack a pillow and some Advil, and enjoy the ride!” Kenneth M. Aune Jamestown Middle School Jamestown, N.D. “Remember the educational content factor. It’s fun to go places and just relax, but that doesn’t always benefit the students in the end. Even when we go to Europe, we plan performances. It would be easier to go without the instruments and music, but we feel it’s an important part of the experience for the kids to perform in the Alps, or on a culturally historic street. Those experiences are ingrained in their memories forever.” George Dragoo Stevens High School Rapid City, S.D. “As much stress as travel can be to plan and organize, the benefits of outside evaluation, as well as the opportunity of enrichment for the students, makes it all worthwhile. My one belief is preparing for a festival should never be the main event in band, but it is a nice chance to gauge where we are and where we should go.” Windy Fullagar Lake Norman Charter School Huntersville, N.C. “The trips should not be a reason for students to study music. Music education should be about music learning in the classroom and through performance. As in all disciplines, if a trip can supplement instruction, then it has a place in the education of a student.” Rick L. Catherman Chelsea High School Chelsea, Mich. “Do it! Events keep you from dealing with the ‘burn-out’ syndrome. A veteran band director gave me this advice and it has worked.” Richard J. Stichler Lakeview-Ft. Oglethorpe High School Ft. Oglethorpe, Ga. “Traveling is an important bonding experience for any ensemble. Also, it allows us to broaden our students’
experience with the world, sometimes even more so than what the students’ parents can do.” Amanda Shelly Saugus High School Saugus, Mass.
“We still have students from previous trips come back and talk about what an incredible experience it was for them to travel with the band.” Bret Lee Marshalltown High School Marshalltown, Iowa
If you are interested in participating in upcoming SBO music education surveys, please contact Editor Christian Wissmuller at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Traveling Band BY JOAO OCHEFE
chool band travel can be overwhelming. Making travel arrangements and supervising large groups of teenagers, transporting instruments, making time for extra practice, and undertaking major fundraising efforts are all challenges band directors face. But the rewards are immense. Our band directorsâ€™ panel talks about how they approach trips, be it participating in a
regional festival, attending the Rose Parade, or traveling to Europe as part of an exchange program.
What are the main challenges of embarking on a trip with a school music group? Harry McAfee: The first challenge is to find an event that best suits the needs of our program. Sometimes we do trips that involve a parade and/or a field show. Other times we do only indoor events with the concert bands, jazz bands, and percussion ensembles. We want to find an event that is fun for the students, educational, and gives us a true evaluation of our progress. It is also important to find events that best suit the school calendar and ones which you can get most of your students to attend. Of course, price is always a big consideration. John Burns: Getting a commitment from the students and parents to either pay or raise the money needed to cover the costs of the trip. Breyer Teague: I think this has changed for me over the past 18 years of planning tours. Early in my career I
36 School Band and Orchestra, June 2008
would have said the biggest challenge was the process of piecing together all of the logistical details associated with a trip. In recent years I have found that one of the main challenges is making sure that whatever tour we plan provides appropriately significant musical learning opportunities for our students.
Robert Arsenault: The greatest challenge is to communicate to the student and parent that all students should participate in the trip regardless of current financial status. What are the upsides and downsides of school band travel? McAfee: Upsides: I think a good
Peter Guenther: All of the details that go into taking a group on the road; assurances of safety to parents. You are in charge of all of their children, and they are putting an enormous amount of trust in you and your staff. William Kingsland: Money/fundraising, scheduling a time to go, and parent/student commitment. Tim Linley: The main challenge with taking my band on any kind of extended trip is balancing the aspects of fun and safety. In order to accomplish this balance, every aspect of the trip must be carefully planned out from the day’s schedule to how chaperones are expected to interact with the students. Student expectations are made perfectly clear before leaving as to minimize any potential behavioral problems.
excursion draws the band together as we prepare for and make the trip. Travel is also a good reward for the commitment and many extra hours that a student has given the band. I enjoy working with the parents during our fundraising efforts and during the trip. It is a good incentive for recruiting your upcoming students. The biggest advantage is the improvement we make as a band while preparing for the performances. Downsides: the extra time and effort you must put into properly preparing for a trip. It also sometimes takes a great deal of work to raise the money and help ensure that everyone can travel. Burns: It’s a lot of fun for the kids. Trips sometimes encourage students to stick with the band. However, they cost a lot of money, and in small bands like Fluvanna, if even one student is
Harry L. McAfee Hoover High School Band Director Hoover, Ala. McAfee is serving a two-year term as president of the Alabama Bandmaster’s Association. In his seventh year at Hoover High School, McAfee has had 35 years experience as a band director in the Birmingham area. John G. Burns Fluvanna County High School Bands Palmyra, Va. Burns is the director bands at Fluvanna County High School in Palmyra, Va. In addition, Burns serves as creative director for the Impact Independent Winter Guard, also in Palmyra. He has taught numerous bands and color guards in Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.
unable to attend it affects the entire team in a way that can negate the educational value of the entire experience. This is extremely demoralizing for all of the hard working booster parents who make the trips possible. Teague: The best tours involve the opportunity for students to make personal cultural connections with other musicians. This is very important in the context of our exchange with the Musikschule in Germany. We have the exchange program set up on a rotation by which our students host German band members in the Chicago area in the fall, and then travel to Germany the following summer. Most of our students end up staying with the student they hosted earlier, and the bonds that are forged last – literally – a lifetime. So far the only downside is that the tour does add stress and pressure to an already busy music teacher schedule, and – if not monitored carefully – can create unhealthy competition with time that should be protected for family. Guenther: Again, details. There are so many details to a band trip – chaperones, health issues, schedules, times,
Breyer Teague Downers Grove North High School Bands Fine Arts Dept. Chairperson Downers Grove, Ill. Teague serves as the Fine Arts Department Chairperson at Downers Grove North High School in suburban Chicago. Teague has served as a staff arranger for the Northwestern University “Wildcat” Marching Band. He has also published educational resource materials for Microsoft Inc. Peter Guenther Owatonna High School Marching Band Owatonna, Minn. Guenther is in his seventh year of teaching in the Owatonna Public Schools. At Owatonna High School, Guenther conducts three concert bands: jazz ensemble, pep band and marching band. Guenther
School Band and Orchestra, June 2008 37
is currently the conductor of the Owatonna Community Band and formerly conducted the Owatonna Community Orchestra. William Kingsland Dartmouth High School Dartmouth, Mass. Kingsland has been a member of the Dartmouth High School music department for many years. He now serves as director of music for the schools. Kingsland is also active as a musician in the community.
Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble and the CHS Titan Marching Band, in addition to collaborating at all CHS Cluster Middle Schools. Since Centennial’s opening in 2003, Linley’s bands have been consistent UIL sweepstakes and “Best in Class” winners.
Tim Linley Centennial High School Director of Bands Frisco, Texas. Linley is Director of Bands at Centennial High School in Frisco, Tex. He conducts the Wind
meals, everything… and I wouldn’t change it or trade it… ever. It’s so worth it. Kingsland: Upsides: Travel, sightseeing, education. Downsides: Money; excused time from school; comparisons of your program to others; students who can’t go. Linley: Upsides include: visiting highly educational and historical places that supplement what the students are learning in their core classes; allowing the students to perform for a different set of ears and expectations
38 School Band and Orchestra, June 2008
than they may be accustomed to at home; morale building for the program; great recruitment tool. I have found that the downsides can often be alleviated through preparation. Students can prepare for the classes they will miss by attending extra tutorials. Behavior problems and safety issues can be largely avoided by a clear discussion of consistently stated expectations. Arsenault: Upsides of band travel include: provides motivation to practice more, remain focused and strive for excellence; students need to be in a group when sightseeing or in the parks, which forces some of our shy students to link up with other students. These students always grow socially; upperclassmen are responsible for “chaperoning freshmen” (when approved by parents) and they are
Robert Arsenault Mount Hope High School Band Director Bristol, R.I. Arsenault has been the band director at Mount Hope, which serves the Bristol/Warren school district, for almost 20 years, and has been the chair of the Performing Arts Department since 1994. He has also directed the East Bay Wind Ensemble.
responsible that all of the kids they are in charge of feel part of the group. How are school band trips funded? McAfee: Depending on the cost of the trip, the students are usually given 8-12 months to finance their travel. We then approach fundraising in two different ways. First, we designate a number of fundraising projects that the students can use to offset the cost of the trip. Secondly, we have other events like dinners, concerts, or auctions and seek donations from community leaders. The remainder is “out of pocket.” Burns: Entirely by the students. The boosters merely provide the fundraisers that assist them in meeting their individual costs. Teague: Our Music Booster organization provides five fundraising programs for students throughout the course of each school year. Students may participate in these programs. Money earned is held in a Booster-coordinated student account, and may be debited by families as they make payments for the tour.
Guenther: By the students themselves. We have fundraising to assist, but for the most part, it comes from the performers themselves. Kingsland: Band trips are funded by fundraising through our parent group, Dartmouth School Music Association, and student assessments. No money for trips comes from the normal school budget. Linley: Our district places a cap of $300 on what the parents can pay toward band trips. Every four years, parents may pay $600 for a larger trip. As a result, our booster club raises money throughout the year to offset the rest of the cost. For instance, our booster club provided roughly $65,000 in order for us to travel to Washington, D.C. These funds are raised through various fundraising efforts in which the entire band family participates. Arsenault: We have band accounts set up, with students earning 90 percent of all fundraising amounts, being deposited in their individual account. The remaining 10 percent is used for scholarships for students who fall short of their goal and whose parents are unable to contribute to the trip. If you were talking to a novice band director, what advice would you give about participation in trips/festivals? McAfee: My advice to a novice director would be to first decide exactly what type of event and location will best serve your needs. Then prepare a spreadsheet that lists all the things that you want included. One of the most important aspects of preparing and making a trip is to ensure the students are safe and properly supervised. You should prepare a very detailed itinerary that has all the information a parent would need in order to quickly communicate with you or their child. Devise a behavior code that covers the specific aspects of travel and being away from home and school, and have the students sign it as a contract that they will abide by the rules. Divide the band School Band and Orchestra, June 2008 39
into small groups and assign experienced chaperones to supervise those groups throughout the trip. Burns: Start by hyping up the trip to parents and current students! Then, go to the middle school and start preparing the rising ninth-grade students. Get everyone excited about it! Then, draw up a well-thought-out commitment form to be signed by the students and parents. The form should
break down the final cost into installments and provide specific due dates. This way you will know who is going, and your boosters will have a real-time picture of who is keeping up with their costs. Teague: Sponsored music festivals can provide a great target and goal as you prepare literature for tours. However, for our school, the most memorable tours have actually been
to destinations where the focus was on educational clinics with university professors, and exchange concerts with other schools. Don’t underestimate how important those kinds of “noncompetitive” experiences can be for learners. Finally, consider setting up a “Blogging Team” before departure, and allow your students to write about their tour experiences while it’s actually going on. It is a wonderful way to keep parents and administrators interested in your tour while it’s happening, and it becomes an electronic scrapbook of your tour that everyone can enjoy when you return home. Guenther: Be prepared, stay informed, be unafraid to ask for lots of help, and know that you are giving students a very valuable experience and memories that they could cherish for the rest of their lives. Kingsland: Identify student/parent interest; seek school department permission; pick a performance opportunity and location; identify funds; develop a detailed itinerary; develop a funding/payment timeline. Linley: First – make sure that there are no questions regarding behavior expectations. Put all of the rules in writing. Have parents and students sign stating that they understand the rules. Do not bend on these rules. Second – be sure you are clear on what your district’s policy is on student medication. Third – plan, plan, plan, and then create a backup plan. Fourth – think about travel with planning your festival repertoire. If you are flying across the country, consider any expanded percussion or amplification equipment that you may have to bring. Fifth – have some fun, yourself! Arsenault: Start with a short oneor two-night stay at a festival or parade where your band will be able to travel by bus. Find your favorite trips and set up a trip schedule. Ours is: year one, New York City; year two, Washington, D.C.; year three, no trip (raise money for the following year); and year four, Orlando, Fla.
40 School Band and Orchestra, June 2008
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SBOReport: Top Music Ed Communities
NAMM Foundation Names the
“Best Communities for Music Education”
he NAMM Foundation has announced the results of the ninth annual “Best Communities for Music Education” survey, which includes 110 school districts
across the U.S. The designated programs exemplify community commitment to include music education as part of a quality education for all children. The NAMM Foundation and its music education advocacy efforts work to ensure that all children have access to quality music education programs that encourage lifelong participation in music making.
42 School Band and Orchestra, June 2008
This year’s roster of musical schools represents 29 states with New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia representing the most districts. Hundreds of teachers, school and district administrators, school board members, parents and community leaders, representing communities in all 50 states, participated in the Web-based survey. The districts were measured across a variety of program support, curricular and programmatic criteria. Furthermore, the results were measured proportionally, so that communities of different sizes were compared equally. Participants in the survey answered detailed questions about funding, enrollment, student/teacher ratios, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, support for the music program, private music lesson participation, and other relevant factors in their communities’ music education programs. The responses were verified with district officials, and the sponsoring organizations reviewed the data. Research reveals strong correlations between quality music education in school and academic achievement. Students
actively involved with music programs develop skills needed by the 21st-century workforce, including critical thinking, creative problem solving, effective communication and teamwork. In conducting the annual survey, the NAMM Foundation is joined by advisory organizations in the fields of music and education: Americans for the Arts (www.americansforthearts.org), League of American Orchestras (www.americanorchestras.org), The Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation (www.mhopus.org), The Metropolitan Opera Guild (www.operaed.org), Music for All (www.musicforall.org), Music Teachers National Association (www.mtna.org), National Guild of Community Schools of the Arts (www.nationalguild.org), National PTA (www.pta.org), Yamaha Corporation of America (www.yamaha.com) and VH1 Save The Music Foundation (www.vh1savethemusic.com). The survey was conducted by Enterprise Feedback Management company, Vovici, (www.vovici.com). The complete “Best Communities for Music Education in America” roster is listed alphabetically below.
Abington School District Academy District 20 Albion Central School District Allendale Public Schools Ann Arbor Public Schools Arlington Independent School District Baltimore County Public Schools Bay Shore UFSD Bay Village City School District Beachwood City Schools Belmont Public Schools Benjamin Franklin Classical charter Public School Berea City School District Big Horn County School District #2 Black River Public School Bolivar R-1 Schools Brevard Public Schools Bristol Virginia City Schools Carmel Clay Schools Carrollton/Farmers Branch ISD Central York School District Cheshire Public Schools Chesterfield County Public Schools Clarence Central Schools, NY Clark County School District Cleveland School District Clovis Municipal Schools Commack Public Schools Community Unit School District 300 Coppell Independent School District
Abington Colorado Springs Albion Allendale Ann Arbor Arlington Towson Bay Shore Bay Village Beachwood Belmont Franklin Berea Lovell Holland Bolivar Viera Bristol Carmel Carrollton York Cheshire Chesterfield Clarence Las Vegas Cleveland Clovis East Northport Carpentersville Coppell
State Pennsylvania Colorado New York New Jersey Michigan Texas Maryland New York Ohio Ohio Massachusetts Massachusetts Ohio Wyoming Michigan Missouri Florida Virginia Indiana Texas Pennsylvania Connecticut Virginia New York Nevada Mississippi New Mexico New York Illinois Texas
School Band and Orchestra, June 2008 43
Cuyahoga Heights School District David Douglas School District DeKalb Schools Denton Independent School District Dubuque Community Schools Ephrata Area School District Fairfax County Public Schools Fargo Public Schools Flemington-Raritan Regional School District Folsom Cordova Unified School District Fulton County Schools Garnet Valley School District Great Neck Union Free School District Greenwich Public Schools Guilderland Central School District Half Hollow Hills Central School District Henrico County Public Schools Hidalgo Independent School District Hillsborough County Public Schools Hilton Central Schools Hortonville Area School District Hudson School District Hurst-Euless-Bedford Independent School District Island Trees School District Jericho Union Free School District Joliet Public Schools District 7 Jordan Utah School District Klein Independent School District Lakeshore Public Schools Lawrence Township School District Lebanon City Schools LeRoy Central School Letcher County Schools Lewisville Independent School District Littleton Public Schools Liverpool Central School District Longwood Central School District Loudoun County Public Schools Lynn Public Schools Malta School District Metuchen School District Montgomery County Public Schools Monticello Central School District MSD Lawrence Township Nanuet Union Free School District Niagara Wheatfield Central North Allegheny School District North Babylon Union Free Schools North Rockland Central School District Nutley School District Olmsted Falls City Schools Oppenheim-Ephratah Central School Ossining Union Free School District Paramus Public School District 44 School Band and Orchestra, June 2008
Cleveland Portland Decatur Denton Dubuque Ephrata Falls Church Fargo Flemington Folsom Atlanta Glen Mills Great Neck Greenwich Guilderland Dix Hills Richmond Hidalgo Tampa Hilton Hortonville Hudson Bedford Levittown Jericho Joliet Sandy Klein Stevensville Lawrenceville Lebanon Le Roy Whitesburg Flower Mound Littleton Liverpool Yaphank Ashburn Lynn Malta Metuchen Christiansburg Monticello Indianapolis Nanuet Niagara Falls Pittsburgh North Babylon North Garnerville Nutley Olmsted Falls St. Johnsville Ossining Paramus
Ohio Oregon Georgia Texas Iowa Pennsylvania Virginia North Dakota New Jersey California Georgia Pennsylvania New York Connecticut New York New York Virginia Texas Florida New York Wisconsin Wisconsin Texas New York New York Montana Utah Texas Michigan New Jersey Ohio New York Kentucky Texas Colorado New York New York Virginia Massachusetts Montana New Jersey Virginia New York Indiana New York New York Pennsylvania New York New York New Jersey Ohio New York New York New Jersey
Pasadena Independent School District Pasadena, Texas Pequannock Township School District Pompton Plains, New Jersey Perrysburg Exempted Village School District Perrysburg,Ohio Plano Independent School District Plano, Texas Polk County Schools Lakeland, Florida Port Jefferson School District Port Jefferson, New York Pulaski Community Schools Pulaski, Wisconsin Putnam Valley Central School District Putnam Valley, New York Quaker Valley School District Sewickley, Pennsylvania Randolph Township Schools Randolph, New Jersey Roanoke County public school Roanoke, Virginia Rush-Henrietta CSD Henrietta, New York Santa Monica-Malibu USD Santa Monica, California South Amboy School District South Amboy, New Jersey South Huntington Union Free School District Huntington Station, New York Springville Griffith Institute and Central School Springville,New York St. John School District St. John, Washington State College Area School District State College, Pennsylvania Sycamore Community Unit School District #427 Sycamore, Illinois Syosset Central School District Syosset, New York Torrington Public Schools Torrington, Connecticut Township of Union School Districts Union, New Jersey Valier Public Schools District #18 Valier, Montana Washoe County School district Reno, Nevada
Webster Central School District Webster, New York West Des Moines Community School District West Des Moines, Iowa
About The NAMM Foundation The NAMM Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to advancing active participation in music making across the lifespan by supporting scientific research, philanthropic giving and public service programs from the international music products industry. For more information, visit www.nammfoundation.org.
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SBOTechnology: Learning Tools
Music Gaming and other
Intro-Level Learning Tools BY JOHN KUZMICH, JR.
e music educators would be well served to keep abreast of music developments in the popular gaming world. Beyond better understanding our studentsâ€™ extracurricular preferences, we might
see that music-based games can be useful educational tools. Popular music video games involving karaoke, guitars, rhythm and drumming, music sequencing, and dancing are all growing in popularity. Letâ€™s look at several types of popular music video games and tools, and explore bridging them into the
Dr. Kuzmich is a nationally-known music educator with more than 30 years of teaching experience. He has certification from TI:ME (Technology Institute for Music Educators) to serve as a training instructor throughout the country. His academic background also includes a Ph.D. in comprehensive musicianship. As a freelance author, he has more than 250 articles and five textbooks published. As a clinician, Dr. Kuzmich frequently participates in workshops throughout the U.S. and several foreign countries. For more information, visit his Web site: www.kuzmich.com.
School Band and Orchestra, June 2008 47
Mixcraft for the Classroom In a time when much of the music we hear on a daily basis is produced in studios using all kinds of computer technology, it’s a shame that so little formal musical education has
anything to do with computer-based music production. Sequencing is one particular venue in which students can create music without formal music prerequisites. The biggest obstacle for educators is the lack of lesson plans that allow instant implementation of somewhat sophisticated software applications into the classroom.
Now there are curriculum guides for three awesome sequencing programs that music educators might consider. These guides offer superb lesson plans for a semester or an entire school year. Looking for sequencing-oriented courseware? Mixcraft for the Classroom by Zig Wajler and Steve Riddle, distributed by Acoustica, integrates the software with student-driven activities for one or two semesters of instruction at middle or high school levels. It contains step-by-step, field-tested lessons integrating the sequencing application Mixcraft into the classroom by fusing music, technology, and interdisciplinary subjects. This serves to expand student thinking, learning, creativity, and communication. For those not familiar with Mixcraft, it is basically the GarageBand for the PC: very user-friendly — to the point that is easier to use than most sequencers with built-in loops — and very affordable at $49.95. Mixcraft has many of the features of GarageBand, along with a simple interface, built-in loops, easy editor, variable tempo, and loop auditions. Mixcraft for the Classroom covers a wide range of topics ranging from software basics to the piano roll editor, recording with MIDI, new project documentation, listening and discovering with loops, listening and discovering with virtual instruments, orchestration, song composition, classroom play-along activities, producing a radio jingle/podcast, social studies Native American themes, math and music, and making the scene with dramatic arts and beat box poetry. The courseware is available as a downloadable e-book for $19.95 or a spiral bound hard copy for $39.95 plus shipping.
Teaching Music with Reason Teaching Music with Reason by Propellerhead Software has been a landmark publication since it’s initial release in 2004, and although it was recently discontinued, it can no be downloaded for free at: www.kellysmusicandcomputers.com/education. 48 School Band and Orchestra, June 2008
patterns and relating these to musical bars and beats; using different textures, instrument types, and sounds; file editing, copying, and pasting; creating musical passages; sound-shaping with controls for synthesizers, samplers, and other devices contained in Reason; and working with loops. The course also teaches the practical application of dozens of processes associated with digital recording, like panning, balance, EQ, advanced mixing, automating mixer and device parameters, and the application of all types of effects.
Based on a specially adapted version of Reason, Teaching Music with Reason was designed for middle and high school in-class music lessons and can also be used for college-level introductory modules in music or music technology. The curriculum provides educators with 21 complete lessons, teacher’s lesson preparation material, teaching plans, student worksheets, student “How-to...” guides, song files of contemporary styles, a full featured educator’s version of Reason, and 10 Reason-adapted student-workstation versions. It is designed for integration into existing national, state, and school curricula standards covering fundamental skills such as listening, understanding basic musical elements, and applying technical knowledge to a creative context. The courseware covers the basics of building bass, harmony, and melody tracks; programming
Classroom Resource Pack An even more comprehensive and powerful sequencing instruction is Steinberg’s Classroom Resource Pack (CRP), distributed by Yamaha. The CRP provides teachers with even more comprehensive resources for teaching music to 11to 18-year-olds. It contains all the necessary elements for teachers to deliver a wide range of innovative, modern music lessons, and uses Cubase Studio 4 or Cubase 4 for its technology platform. The 370-page teacher’s manual has detailed lesson plans and activities and is supported by two easy-to-navigate DVDs that provide printable PDF worksheets and assessment materials, in addition to video tutorials and other support materials. Of note, one DVD provides original music as multi-track Cubase projects, audio files, audio loops, MIDI
School Band and Orchestra, June 2008 49
files and video files intended for projects in the classroom. There are 21 CRP projects with 74 learning activities, and more than 190 worksheets representing more than 100 hours of fully prepared music lessons along with royalty free audio files, audio loops, MIDI files, video sequences and originally recorded multitrack songs. The learning activities are arranged into collective themes or topics called “Projects.” These focus on
the elementary to intermediate levels, allowing the teacher to draw upon the widest range of resources to satisfy the majority of students. Also included is the Project Learning Record for student self-assessment with each CRP Project. What makes all of this so spectacular is that CRP allows the teacher to spend more time teaching than preparing for class. Ultimately, CRP combines the best of traditional music teaching
with the latest audio technology. Its comprehensive approaches to composition and performance, recording, and production are easy to appreciate. The custom-made interface guides users through each step, and provides access to all the files, worksheets, and Cubase projects. The flexible “Pick and Mix” approach allows teachers to select learning activities from any of the CRP Projects to tailor their own curriculum.
Kaossilator Komposition To supplement your music technology instruction, there are great
“toys” you can adapt for hands-on music learning experiences. The Kaossilator Komposition from Korg is a dynamic phrase synthesizer that allows users to make music by simply dragging a finger across a touch-pad. There are 100 built-in sounds along with filter, delay, 10 drum loops, tempo control, a great loop feature, and more. You can even set the key and the scale type. Its 50 types of gate arpeggiation help perform complex rhythmic patterns. Loop recording allows multiple phrase-overdubbing to create complete grooves. It can be hooked up to a sequencer and record a composition and then edited in the sequencer. This dynamic, simple, battery-operated, palm-held apparatus can bring new elements to a performance, allowing beginning music students to enjoy an entirely new level of hands-on musical involvement and expression.
50 School Band and Orchestra, June 2008
Gaming for Music Ed
There are music video games waiting for you discover that are oriented almost entirely around the player’s ability to follow a musical beat and stay with the rhythm of the game’s soundtrack. Rhythm/music games are distinct from purely audio games in that they feature visual feedback, that lead the player through the game’s soundtrack. Innovative band director Wiley Cruse, featured in last month’s tech article (Volume 11, No. 5) uses Dance Dance Revolution, produced by Konami. Wiley uses the game with two dance pads, each with four arrow panels: left, right, up and down. These panels are pressed using the player’s feet, in response to arrows that appear on the T.V. screen in front of the player. The arrows are synchronized to the general rhythm or beat of a chosen song, and success depends on the player’s ability to time and position his or her steps according. On Fridays as a reward for doing well all week, Mr. Cruse has his students compete against each other as they dance rhythm patterns. Students can’t get enough of it and it’s a great reward incentive for good work and progress. Rock Band (from Harmonix, MTV Games, and /Electronic Arts) lets players jam with hit rock songs using guitar-, bass-, and drum-shaped controllers or singing into a microphone to match pitch and rhythm. The game lets up
to four bandmates play together in front of a TV or over the Internet. Guitar Hero III is a music video game developed by Aspyr Media for computer versions and published by Activision and RedOctane. The player uses a guitarshaped controller and “performs” a variety of 60 rock songs by playing notes as they scroll in time with the music. For a free clone, download Frets on Fire. You have to play a specific note at the correct time in order to rack up points. Frets on Fire is a fun rhythm game with multiple levels of difficulty, downloadable tracks and the option to create your own songs, and it’s free. For maximum enjoyment, invest in a wireless keyboard and a good set of PC speakers. Would-be Leonard Bernsteins who wave the remote control correctly as they try out UBS Virtual Maestro can experience a small part of what it’s like to be a conductor. A similar game, You’re the Conductor, lets players use simplified versions of instruments to play popular songs for points. These games are intended to mimic the feel of conducting a real orchestra. A good URL for game ratings can be found at: www. esrb.org. To take full advantage of the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) rating system, it’s important to check both the rating symbol on the front of the box and the content descriptors on the back.
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Finishing Touches To guarantee the best sound to match your studentsâ€™ enthusiasm, con-
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sider purchasing a slick but not expensive sound system for playing games and software applications in your classes. Wiley Cruse uses a Logitech Z5300e Doby Digital Surround Sound system with 280 watts of playback power. This system has a sub-woofer with a control channel speaker, and left and right front and rear speakers. Students canâ€™t wait to get to class to hear the full spectrum of high definition amplified digital sounds play back their sequencing projects.