The PBS Newhour recently produced a segment looking at the Harmony Project, a music education program based in Southern California. The Harmony Project seeks to fill the void in the arts left by school budget cuts, providing music education to improvished youths who would not otherwise have access to it. In addition to engaging many youngsters in music, the program has also enlisted neurobiologist Nina Kraus, of Northwestern University, to assist in identifying specifically how music education can enhance the development of children's cognitive abilities.

Check out the video here

Check out this lovely rendition of "O Holy Night" by students from Berklee College of Music from a pop-up performance in the courtyard of Boston's Museum of Fine Arts on December 14th, 2013. 

Happy holidays!

North Carolina's Panther Creek High School Band receives gift from noted soft jazz star

The Panther Creek High Band will benefit from a band booster’s decision to attend the N.C. Symphony concert that featured Kenny G, the smooth jazz saxophone player

At the concert in March, Kenneth Gorelick, known as Kenny G, talked about his love of his high school band days, noted some of his friends from those days are in his current band and gave away a student saxophone to a person in the audience.

Panther Creek High band parent Joy Wilkes was in the audience and was inspired by what she heard. It gave her the courage to join the line for autographs after the show. Instead of asking for his signature, she asked that he consider donating a saxophone to Panther Creek High.

Read more: Kenny G Donates Sax to School Band

Midwest Clinic Reports Successful Show

“Our expectations for the conference were exceeded in all manners,” declared Denny Senseney, treasurer of the Midwest Clinic. “The exhibit hall was nearly sold-out with approximately 50 new exhibiting companies. But best of all, the concerts and clinics met our primary objective of serving the music education profession.” More than 80 professional development clinics were mixed in with multiple concerts. “As a result, music educators benefited, and, as we hope, so will their students, schools, communities, and our culture.”

While final numbers are still being tabulated, based on a significant increase in registration, it’s expected that this show will be a record-breaker, he adds. In spite of the bitter cold and dreary weather, spirits were high among those who came from all over the country to Chicago the week before Christmas for the 63rd Midwest Clinic.

Read more: Report: 2013 Midwest Clinic

20 scientifically proven health benefits of music, per USA Today

A recent article in USA Today provides a concise list of 20 health benefits to music, with summarizing facts and links to the research behind these findings. The benefits include: 

 

1. Ease pain. 

2. Motivate people to bike harder. 

3. Improve running motivation and performance. 

Read more: 20 Health Benefits of Music

First Brand Journalism Site by a Major American Orchestra

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra has launched CSO Sounds & Stories (http://www.cso.org/soundsandstories), an online multimedia magazine designed to enhance the concert-going experience and to bring the CSO closer to music lovers worldwide. Integrating audio and video recordings with original, high-quality content created by professional writers, the site previews coming programs, features articles and audio/video clips about music director Riccardo Muti, CSO musicians and visiting artists and includes program notes about the season’s concerts, festivals, and themes.

Read more: CSO Launches Online Magazine

Yamaha and Quincy Jones’ Playground Sessions Team Up to Increase Access to Piano Education

Yamaha recently announced a new partnership with Playground Sessions, the award-winning interactive keyboard software co-created by music legend Quincy JonesThe companies’ partnership demonstrates a shared desire to increase access to high-quality and engaging music education for aspiring pianists in the U.S.

Read more: Partnership Formed to Increase Piano Education

And does it matter?

A recent study by researchers at Harvard University calls into question the general assumption that music study helps students perform better in other academic areas. While many studies on this subject continue to be in their infancy and there are countless correlations between achievement and intensive musical training, according to an article in The Boston Globe from 12/11/2013, it's not so clear cut, and it turns out that this might not be a bad thing. 

Contrary to popular belief, a study — led by a Harvard graduate student who plays the saxophone, flute, bassoon, oboe, and clarinet — found no cognitive benefits to music lessons.

The finding, published Wednesday in the journal PLOS ONE, is bound to make arts advocates cringe, as it overturns an argument that is often used to bolster the case for music education: it’ll make kids better at math.

Read more: Does Music Make You Smarter?

Inaugural Award to be Presented at Special Ceremony & Reception during Grammy Week 2014

A total of 10 music teachers from ten cities across eight states have been announced as finalists for the first annual Music Educator Award presented by The Recording Academy and the Grammy Foundation. In total, more than 30,000 initial nominations were submitted from all 50 states.

The Music Educator Award was established to recognize current educators (kindergarten through college, public and private schools) who have made a significant and lasting contribution to the field of music education and who demonstrate a commitment to the broader cause of maintaining music education in the schools. A joint partnership and presentation of The Recording Academy and the Grammy Foundation, this special award will have its inaugural presentation at the Special Merit Awards Ceremony & Nominees Reception honoring recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award, Trustees Award and Technical Grammy Award during Grammy Week 2014.

Read more: Music Ed Grammy Finalists Announced

Pioneering music educator and author Bennett Reimer passed away on November 18 at the age of 81. Reimer's A Philosophy of Music Education was the first if its kind in the world-wide field of music education, often cited as one of the most influential books of its kind.

Reimer authored some two dozen other books and over 150 published articles and chapters. He was also a frequent guest lecturer, advisor, workshopper, and project director all over the United States and Canada, and in many countries around the globe. In 1985 he established the Center for the Study of Education and the Musical Experience at Northwestern University, a weekly research forum for music education doctoral students and faculty, which continues to this day. 

Read more: Bennett Reimer, 1932-2013

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?

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.

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