Schools and districts across the country are invited to participate in the NAMM Foundation’s 2015 Best Communities for Music Education (BCME) survey. The BCME program applauds community efforts to provide high-quality music education for all students. Teachers, parents, school administrators, and board members can complete the updated and refined 2015 BCME survey now through Friday, January 30, 2015.

Read more: 2015 Best Communities for Music Education Survey Now Open

Dear SBO Readers,


After eight wonderful years sharing inspiring and insightful stories of remarkable music educators in programs across the U.S. and seeking out the most relevant, practical, and useful editorial content I could possibly think of, I’m moving on. The next step in my career will take place at Longy School of Music of Bard College, a progressive conservatory in the Boston area that is actively rethinking how music education can be delivered on a global scale. I’ll be serving in a communications role there, so don’t hesitate to look me up and keep me informed about the wonderful activities that you and your programs are engaging in. Hopefully we’ll have an occasion to work together again soon.

Read more: Changing of the Guard

Berklee College of Music has teamed up with Avid® to utilize Pro Tools®music production software as the foundational digital audio workstation application for an accredited, non-profit, online music production bachelor degree program. Berklee Online is offering a 120-credit Bachelor of Professional Studies degree in two areas: music production and music business. A high level of collaboration between online music production students is central to this new degree program.

Read more: Berklee Online Partners with Avid for Bachelors Program

Longy School of Music launches innovative orchestra-based M.M. program in NYC

Longy School of Music of Bard College has announced the formation of a new training orchestra that provides a Master of Music degree, recently approved by the State of New York and designed to prepare students for the mounting challenges facing today’s orchestra players. The training orchestra, recruited from the finest postgraduate musicians, will offer advanced orchestral and leadership training and grant a Master of Music degree in Curatorial, Critical, and Performance Studies. All applicants accepted into the three-year degree program will receive a fellowship, which includes the full expense of tuition, as well as an annual stipend. Applications are now being accepted. The orchestra will begin performing during the 2015-16 academic year.

Read more: Introducing the NYC Training Orchestra

SBO's annual Essay Scholarship Contest is now open

School Band & Orchestra 15th annual scholarship competition for music students in grades four to 12 is now open. Since its inception, the SBO Essay Scholarship Contest has awarded more than $280,000 in scholarship funds and music products to 140 students and their school programs. To enter, students need to submit an essay of 250 words or less on the following subject:

Read more: SBO's 2015 Essay Scholarship Contest

With the college marching band season in full swing, student musicians are once again delivering some spectacularly creative and well-executed performances. Here are a few recent performances worth checking out.  


OSU's tribute to classic rock from October 18th:


Read more: College Marching Season 2014

The music educators' conference comes to the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee, October 26-29

The NAfME 2014 National In-Service Conference will be taking place this upcoming weekend at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee. The highlights of the conference will include performances by the Boston Brass and the U.S. Army Field Band and Chorus, and a keynote address delivered by musician and music advocate Ben Folds. 

The four-day event is also slated to include:

Read more: 2014 NAfME National In-Service Conference

In a recent blog post, the Oxford University Press asked a handful of notable college educators about the most important issues facing music education today. This question is also a common feature in the conversations that form this publication’s cover stories: after all, how better to explore critical survival strategies than to examine a program’s greatest challenges? As educators discuss the evolutions of their programs and the impediments they face, it helps to both present a mosaic of the broader state of music education, as well as illuminate particular and often unique challenges confronting school music programs and their directors.

The answers, like the programs themselves and the personalities of the people that run them, are widely varied.

Read more: Perspective: The Biggest Challenges Facing Music Ed

Making a Case for the Bass… Saxophone

The bass saxophone, one of the most unique, multipurpose low woodwinds available, has been off of the radar for most music educators for the last half-century. However, the instrument is making a comeback. It’s time for everyone to learn a bit about the history – and future – of this great instrument.

Read more: Commentary: Bass Saxophone

First steps for beginning students


Teaching students to play the clarinet is often both rewarding and challenging. A student’s natural enthusiasm when beginning a musical instrument is hard to match. During the first few weeks, students are introduced to embouchure, breath support, and playing their first notes on the clarinet. Some students pick up each new fundamental easily, while others require additional help. Young students are especially flexible in the beginning, allowing instruction that is not grasped to be set aside and replaced with methods that produce better results. If possible, consider meeting a beginning class during the summer band program, as this allows for working with separate instruments and individuals.

Read more: Performance: Clarinet Class

On the Road

Do you have a story to tell about taking your school music groups on the road? SBO wants to hear about it!

Click Here to Submit Your Story

Directors who make a Difference

Do you know a fantastic K-12 instrumental music educator who is deserving of recognition in SBO?

Click here to nominate a director 

and tell us why he or she should be featured in SBO’s annual "Directors Who Make a Difference" report.

SBO Web Poll

Have you had professional musicians visit your band/orchestra room in the past year?

Yes - 59.1%
Not yet, but they'll be coming by soon - 3.2%
No - 35.5%

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