The Best Music Apps for Educators 

These are exciting times for music educators. Desktop computers and laptop notebooks have slowly changed our modes of creating, teaching, and assessing music. But tablets and smartphones have ramped up the music experience faster and farther than we could have imagined. The iPad and table computers are destined to change the way we teach and interact with students and technology. Today’s touchscreen sensitivity, which eliminates the need for a mouse, has also changed the way we work. This is important because it is gives us a more tactile surface which directly influences how we interface with data and music.

Read more: Technology: Music Ed Apps


Strategies for including students with special needs in standard ensembles

Because of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, it is becoming more and more prevalent that students with disabilities are participating in traditional music programs. Before, it may have been a situation where educators could say, “No, this student isn’t able to be a part of my class.” And now, legally, they can’t say that. That has created a thirst for information on how to work with these special needs students and incorporate them into ensembles and classes. A lot of people have a hard time with that because, for example, they might not be able to imagine how a student in a wheelchair could participate in the marching band. However, once it’s shown to them how it might be possible, the teachers tend to become much more willing to try to make it happen.

Read more: Working with Disabled Students


Exploring strategies for more inclusive music education

Many music educators speak about trying to engage as many students as possible in the act of music making. For children who have physical disabilities, participating in a typical instrumental ensemble can be a particularly challenging proposition. Fortunately, there are many adaptive tools in this day and age that have been designed to assist children who have unique physical skill sets. There are also many resources out there for educators who may be unfamiliar with how to best serve these children. And more importantly, even though a disability may be an obvious way in which some children stands apart from their peers, chances are that children with special needs – mental or physical – still have many more things in common with their classmates than they do differences.

Read more: UpClose: Adrian Anantawan


Addressing Behavioral Issues in the Classroom


When was the last time you had one of those days where you went home convinced you could set the world on fire if there was a way to make just a few key personnel changes in your band? 

When I have one of these days, sometimes I speculate as if I were on some sports TV show. I wonder how good we could be if band was like professional sports, where the team’s management could put a few underperforming individuals on waivers and bring in some new blood. More often than not, the situations that frustrate us to no end, the ones that have us considering new careers and result in our students being in the doghouse, have very little to do with making music. Instead, these situations encompass the behavior and character issues associated with boys and girls who are in the developmental stages of becoming men and women.

Read more: Guest Editorial: Fix the F#


It’s Time to Play Ball

With spring right around the corner, boys and girls from all across the country will soon be signing up for summer fun, like baseball and Little League. Were you also thinking about Little League? Wait a minute – this magazine and its articles are supposed to be about school band and orchestra programs! Well, read on.

We would all be well advised to borrow a page from our sporting friends when it comes to our beginning band and orchestra programs.

Read more: MAC Corner: April, 2014


Studying music can lead to many exciting career possibilities

By the time you read this, most of the high school seniors in your schools and districts will have received the much-anticipated piece of mail that will shape the course of their lives: college acceptance letters. Hopefully all of your students are on the way towards matriculating and making their academic dreams come true. Certainly, their resumes and applications have been strengthened by participation in your courses and ensembles, whether at the elementary, junior, or high school level.

Much is made of the lifelong benefits of musical study, and for good reason, but there are also plenty of tangible benefits to consider as well. By now, you have probably heard the story of Kwasi Enin,

Read more: Perspective: Opening Doors of Opportunity


Four directors discuss the evolution of Summer Music Camp offerings in their areas

Once again, even as a harsh winter just barely starts showing signs of easing its grip, it’s well past time to begin thinking about summer plans for elementary, middle, and high school music students. Considering the great variety of summer music camp opportunities that exist around the country, SBO recently reached out to four experienced directors to discuss the summer camp opportunities in their respective areas, misconceptions about summer music camps in general, and what these organizations should do so that they might continue to flourish.

Joining the conversation are Tony Luzzi of Searcy High School in Searcy, Arkansas, Michael Tiskowitz of LaGrange Middle School in Lagrangeville, New York, Dan Carlson of Lincoln High School in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and Richard Saunders, director of Music for the Somerville (Mass.) Public Schools.

Read more: Roundtable: Summer Music Camps


Using YouTube in the Music Classroom

YouTube is among the most popular and ubiquitous sites on the Internet. According to the site’s own statistics, more than one billion unique visitors use YouTube each month, and it reaches more adults than any single cable network. Almost half of the traffic on YouTube can be accounted for through mobile devices such as phones and tablets. It is a powerful tool for storing video, communicating, marketing and promoting music, and tracking social trends in media. YouTube use in the classroom has recently been shown to positively influence several types of educational engagement.

Read more: Technology: YouTube


The recruiting strategies that fuel the Vero Beach (Fla.) High School Band

Located several hours north of Miami on a stretch of Eastern Florida nicknamed “the Treasure Coast,” Vero Beach is a picturesque seaside town that is home to one of the original, founding music programs in the Florida Bandmasters Association. Headed for over three decades by Jim Sammons, who was inducted into the FBA hall of fame last November, and associate director Page Howell, who has been on board for the past eight years, the Vero Beach High School band program is a model for success in a community that faces similar hurdles to many other small town school music programs throughout the country. The “Spirit of Vero Beach” includes competitive marching and concert ensembles and strives to stay on the cutting edge of musical instruction and performance, while combating challenges like a limited budget, geographic isolation, and increasing competition for students’ time from a wide range of activities available in their school and community.

Read more: UpClose: Jim Sammons & Page Howell


Bringing Bach to the Future

A hundred years ago, you would be hard-pressed to find an orchestral concert program that did not include something by Johann Sebastian Bach. These days, I find the opposite to be true. You may hear some Bach at a student recital, but on the professional concert circuit, interest in programming Bach seems to be dissipating. More than a few classical music managers have even told me that soloists who play much Bach these days are essentially shooting themselves in the foot.

Read more: String Section: Bach

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