The Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation recently donated $12,000 worth of musical instruments to Boise, Idaho’s Whitney Elementary School. The Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation recently donated $12,000 worth of musical instruments to Boise, Idaho’s Whitney Elementary School. The school received a total of 14 new instruments, including cellos, violins, saxophones, and trumpets. The Foundation, started in 1996 by Michael Kamen (the composer of the film Mr. Holland’s Opus), operates under a commitment to donate both new and refurbished instruments to school music programs that lack the resources to keep up with equipment loss due to attrition, depreciation and wear over time, and to accommodate students on waiting lists or who have to share instruments.

Full story at the Idaho Press Tribune.

A new paper from Germany published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology notes a connection between music and brainpower.A new paper from Germany published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology notes a connection between music and brainpower. The result of an 18-month study, which compared seven and eight-year-old boys around Germany who received specialized music training with those that didn’t, suggested “a positive transfer effect from musical expertise onto speech and language processing.” The research team was led by Ingo Roden of Carl von Ossietzky University in Oldenburg, Germany.

The music students participated in weekly 45-minute lessons on their instrument of choice (guitar, violin, cello, flute, trumpet, clarinet, or drums). Another 25 children were given “enhanced education in mathematics and general studies” over that same 18-month period. An additional 23 children received no additional instruction beyond the basic school curriculum.

“Across one and one-half years, children in the music group showed a greater increase on every measure of verbal memory than the natural science and control groups,” the researchers report. They went on to propose possible reasons. “Playing music requires continued monitoring of meaningful chunks of information,” they write. “Rather than individual notes, these chunks entail clusters of notes that are combined into meaningful melodic gestures and phrases.”

Read the full study here.

Longtime violin bowmaker Benoit Rolland, recipient of a 2012 MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Grant, was recently the subject of an in-depth profile in the Boston Globe that featured a close look at his life as a sought-after builder of this highly specialized tool. Longtime violin bowmaker Benoit Rolland, recipient of a 2012 MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Grant, was recently the subject of an in-depth profile in the Boston Globe that featured a close look at his life as a sought-after builder of this highly specialized tool.

“If a musician is not comfortable with the bow, the bow becomes an obstacle, and he or she cannot be free to play,” Rolland said in the article. “On the contrary, when the musician is very comfortable playing with the bow, he or she can forget it, and then give themselves freely to the music.”

Rolland has built approximately 1,800 bows throughout his career, which he now has plans to write a book describing. He meets with musicians personally before making customized bows for them, spending hours listening to them perform to get an intimate feel of their musical personalities. Rolland is the grandson of a famous pianist who taught him how to play while Rolland was growing up in Paris.

Read more here.

Video:

http://vimeo.com/50475049#

Last week, Chicago Symphony Orchestra cellist Katinka Kleijn premiered a one-of-a-kind piece that involved her wearing an EPOC Neuroheadset, a piece of equipment that uses 14 sensors that connect with the scalp and pick up brain waves.Last week, Chicago Symphony Orchestra cellist Katinka Kleijn premiered a one-of-a-kind piece that involved her wearing an EPOC Neuroheadset, a piece of equipment that uses 14 sensors that connect with the scalp and pick up brain waves. The piece, Intelligence in the Human-Machine, is a new duet for “cello and brain waves” composed by Daniel R. Dehaan in collaboration with Ryan Ingebritsen, commissioned by art duo Industry of the Ordinary. The headset can take processed recordings of brain waves and, through the performer’s own thoughts, can manipulate their pitch and speed.

Dehaan's score consists of 20 musical gestures such as long tones or pizzicato movement, for example, indicated by two- or three-bar snippets of conventional notation, together along with 100 verbal suggestions to Kleijn to "find" concepts like focus or balance or life, within each gesture.

Read more at the Chicago Reader

Hundreds of students traveled to Pasadena for the annual Tournament of Roses Parade on New Year’s Day this year. Hundreds of students traveled to Pasadena for the annual Tournament of Roses Parade on New Year’s Day this year. Bands included the Bands of America Honor Band, along with standout groups from Broken Arrow High School (Oklahoma), Davis High School (Utah), Lassiter High School (Georgia), Morgantown High School (West Virginia), Jackson Memorial High School (New Jersey), and more. The parade also included international bands like the All Izumo Honor Green Band from Japan, the Aguiuchos Marching Band from Mexico, and Banda El Salvador from El Salvador.

Meanwhile, during the Rose Bowl game itself, Stanford’s marching band raised controversy with its “Ode to Cheese” (A.K.A. “Homage to Fromage”) halftime show, aimed squarely at opponents’ Wisconsin’s culinary standard. The band formed a map of Wisconsin and declared Madison home of “the best Cheez Whiz in the world.”  Stanford went on to win the game, 20-14.

www.tournamentofroses.com

City officials in the embattled Ciudad Juarez, just south of the Mexican border from El Paso, recently turned over a large cache of confiscated weapon parts to artist Pedro Reyes in order to provide the raw materials for his latest project – Imagine.City officials in the embattled Ciudad Juarez, just south of the Mexican border from El Paso, recently turned over a large cache of confiscated weapon parts to artist Pedro Reyes in order to provide the raw materials for his latest project – Imagine. The project resulted in a one-of-a-kind collection of instruments built from the skeletal frames of handguns, shotgun barrels, and magazines of ammunition.  Reyes calls for an end to ongoing violence in Mexico and the industry that supports the sales of illegal guns.

http://vimeo.com/51739769

If there’s any reminder that new avenues for music appreciation continue to grow through the wide world of classical music, it’s the many year-end lists of best music releases like that of the New York Times[caption id="attachment_431216" align="alignright" width="175" caption="Eighth Blackbird"][/caption]

If there’s any reminder that new avenues for music appreciation continue to grow through the wide world of classical music, it’s the many year-end lists of best music releases like that of the New York Times.  Stars young and old pop up here here in fresh interpretations of timeless classics like Shostakovich’s 7th and more recent offerings like Luigi Nono’s “La Lontanan Nostalgica Utopica Futura.” Of particular note is contemporary ensemble Eighth Blackbird, whose album Meanwhiletreks through the works of Philippe Hurel, Philip Glass, and more. Great fodder for to inspire young musical careers…

Find the complete NYT Best-of list here: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/21/arts/music/the-best-classical-music-recordings-of-2012.html?_r=1&adxnnl=1&pagewanted=all&adxnnlx=1356555790-Ku1tB9yR6+RDmGfz0XF7mw&

In a testament to a neighborhood dedication and generations’ of hard work, the Brooklyn Music School celebrated its 100th anniversary this past December. The school’s mission throughout: to grant access to the performing arts to anyone.In a testament to a neighborhood dedication and generations’ of hard work, the Brooklyn Music School celebrated its 100th anniversary this past December. The school’s mission throughout: to grant access to the performing arts to anyone.

The Brooklyn Music School has maintained a policy of open enrollment, meaning anyone can register at any time during class sessions.  The school says that more than 200 students every year enroll at the school for music and dance classes. It was founded in 1912 with the explicit goal of helping “the poor, the blind . . . the handicapped.” By 2009, the school faced mounting difficulties with debt, which it responded to by expanding after-school classes and developing a summer institute that included morning classes and afternoon educational trips. The school’s executive director, Frank Alvarado, also instituted a new program called “Arts Reaching Youth,” designed to instruct children in singing and dance at low tuitions. He says the program has helped the school’s enrollment grow from 100 students per year to over 250 per year, as he’s seen over the last three years.

The music school also rents its 1924 playhouse to theater schools like the Brooklyn Children’s Theater in efforts to raise funds for a projected building restoration.

www.brooklynmusicschool.org

Rhode Island’s Olivia Culpo, a cellist and self described "band nerd," bested 88 other contestants in the finals of the Miss Universe competition on Dec 19, 2012. Rhode Island’s Olivia Culpo, a cellist and self described "band nerd," bested 88 other contestants in the finals of the Miss Universe competition on Dec 19, 2012. Culpo, a sophomore at Boston University, grew up in Cranston, Rhode Island with two professional musicians for parents and has played the cello alongside world-renowned classical musician Yo-Yo Ma and onstage at Carnegie Hall.  On the Miss Universe page, she said she hopes to pursue a career in film or television and that her role model is Audrey Hepburn  The Miss Universe pageant was streamed live to more than 100 countries.

Boston.com checked in with Culpo’s family here: http://www.boston.com/names/2012/12/21/olivia-culpo-parents-proud-their-miss-universe/SCIOlHE92jDgnkjVD0qtdM/story.html.

The 66th Annual Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago wrapped up last week...The 66th Annual Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago wrapped up last week, featuring an array of exciting performances by ensembles from around the world, along with a full schedule of clinics on a wide range of topics pertaining to music education and performance. In addition, the exhibit area saw excellent traffic throughout the entire weekend.  This year’s recipient of the Music Industry Award was Rick Young of the Yamaha Music Corporation,  honored for his support of music education.  The Medal of Honor recipients were David C. McCormick, H. Owen Reed, conductor Leonard Slatkin, and John Whitwell.  The international award recipient was Guido Six.   The 23rd College Night featured representatives from over 70 college music programs who helped students learn about their institutions and gather first-hand information on choosing the right music school.

www.midwestclinic.org

 


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This year, our primary major band travel is for:

Festival Competitions - 42.5%
Public Performances - 30%
Educational Workshops - 5%
Some of All of the Above - 20%

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