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

Concert bands and chamber groups drive Mountain Ridge High School’s comprehensive band program

 

If the performance opportunities offered to students are an indicator of a school music program’s vitality, George Hattendorf’s Mountain Ridge High School band program in Glendale, Arizona is positively thriving. Over the past decade, Hattendorf has overseen the development of an array of extracurricular, chamber-style ensembles that augment the Mountain Ridge concert and marching bands in what he describes as a “win-win” situation. “The kids are able to utilize a number of their skill sets from their concert band experience in the small groups,” he reasons, “and they’re also able to take skills that they learn in the chamber aspect and bring it back to the larger group.”

Read more: UpClose: George Hattendorf

Paradigm Shifts and Parents’ Roles

Every once in a while we need a good dose of mother nature to wake us up and make us realize what is truly important. I have had many such moments throughout my life. Each time I experience one, it forces me to get out of the rut of my daily existence. It drives me to take a good hard look at the things that matter – and I mean really matter.

It is so easy to get caught up in our work and our lives. Too often we end up obsessing over little things, things that we believe are important for us to do our jobs well, things that allow us to get through the day and to (supposedly) live our lives. But too often these things don’t really matter.

Read more: MAC Corner: Parents' Roles

Hardware & software kits for school music educators

The term “Digital Audio Workstation” (DAW) refers to an electronic setup for recording, editing, and producing audio files. You might think of it as a complete recording studio connected to a computer or tablet. These workstations often bundle hardware with software that may have a published curriculum including lesson plans designed to work right out of the box. Here’s what a basic DAW might include:

  • DAW Software (Magix Music Maker, Studio One, Pro Tools, Logic, and so on)
  • Notation Software (such as Notion, Sibelius, Finale, or Encore)
  • Audio Interface (AudioBox USB, M-Box, MicU Solo, Scarlett)

    Read more: Technology: DAW Bundles

Winners to receive free music from Alfred Music Publishing

This November, SBO is partnering with Alfred Music Publishing to give away new music from Alfred’s 2014-2015 catalog. During the week of November 17-21, 2014, music educators can visit www.facebook.com/alfredbandorchestra or www.alfred.com/pickyourpiece2014 to enter the sweepstakes.

Read more: Pick Your Piece Sweepstakes

Tony Woodcock to leave the New England Conservatory in 2015

In the following letter addressed to the New England Conservatory's Board of Trustees on October 2, 2014, NEC president Tony Woodcock explains his decision to move on following the 2014-2015 academic year: 

Dear NEC Trustees,

I hope you have all had an opportunity to read my recent Board Update containing some exciting news about the achievements of our amazing students. This is becoming routine for us at NEC, but their successes never cease to amaze me.

Read more: NEC President to Step Down

President Stanley Romanstein steps down amid labor dispute

The Board of Directors of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (ASO) has announced that Stanley Romanstein, Ph.D., has resigned as president and CEO of the orchestra.

Following Dr. Romanstein’s decision, the Executive Committee of the ASO Board appointed Terry Neal, a current ASO Board member and a retired executive of The Coca-Cola Company, to serve as president of the ASO on an interim basis. Mr. Neal will manage the day-to-day operations of the Orchestra until a permanent replacement can be found. Dr. Romanstein will be available to the organization through the end of October to assure a smooth transition.

“I believe that my continued leadership of the ASO would be an impediment to our reaching a new labor agreement with the ASO’s musicians,” Dr. Romanstein said. The previous collective bargaining agreement between the ASO and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Players Association expired September 6.

Read more: Atlanta Symphony President Resigns

Emil Khudyev, winner of the first Vandoren Emerging Artist Competition, will be joining the staff at the prestigious Interlochen Arts Academy as a full time instructor of clarinet. Since winning the Vandoren Emerging Artist Classical Clarinet category, he has made appearances with The Cleveland Orchestra, Opera Naples Orchestra, and Pacific Symphony, as well as receiving the Gino B. Cioffi Memorial Prize at the Tanglewood Music Festival, where he was principal clarinet.

Read more: Emil Khuydev Joins Faculty of Interlochen Arts Academy


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!

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Directors who make a Difference

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

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

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Event Calendar

Oct
26
NAfME All-National Honor Ensembles, Nashville, TN
Oct
29
College Music Society Conference, St. Louis, MO
Oct
29
Association for Technology in Music Instruction (ATMI) National Conference, St. Louis, MO
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