Customizing Beyond the Bundles

While the idea of buying a new digital audio workstation (DAW) bundle may be appealing, for many educators it might be more feasible to incorporate existing pieces of hardware and software into a customized solution. Fortunately, there are many different ways to accomplish this, as well as numerous resources available to help educators choose how to customize these workstations for their specific needs.

Read more: Technology: DAW Workstations


SBO Presents the 17th Annual 50 Directors Who Make a Difference

SBO’s 17th annual “50 Directors Who Make a Difference” highlights some of the best music educators across all fifty states. These outstanding band and orchestra directors were nominated by our readers, including current and former students, colleagues and peers, parents, and others who’ve had a wonderful experience with the music programs put on by these amazing teachers. SBO asked each teacher the same three questions, including their proudest teaching moments, how they hope to make a difference in students’ lives, and to tell us what the most important lesson they try to teach each of their students is. Their answers are as varied as the geographic locations of these music programs. We found the responses to be inspiring, thought-provoking, and insightful, and think you will, too. And now, SBO proudly salutes the 2014 class of 50 Directors Who Make a Difference!

Read more: Report: 50 Directors


The Cleveland Orchestra  - Bridging the gap from the concert hall to the community

Given the widely publicized financial hardship in recent years at renowned classical music institutions across the U.S. — including orchestras and opera houses in Philadelphia,New York, San Francisco, Detroit, St. Louis, Nashville, San Diego, and a host of other locations — there is a clear imperative that these organizations must adapt in order to survive. Faced with shrinking audiences and an aging fanbase, the institutions that have remained successful are the ones that have put a renewed emphasis on their social mission: their dedication to reach out to schools, to young people, and to the communities in which they reside.

Read more: UpClose: Franz Welser-Möst


In the Plaza de Armas in Old Havana, Cuba, student musicians perspired in the tropical humidity combined with the heat of performance. 120 members of the band, which consists of three concert bands and two jazz ensembles, along with twenty parents and teachers, departed for Havana via Miami on April 10th, 2014 and returned on April 16th. What we saw, heard, and learned on our trip gave us a remarkable perspective on a corner of the world that is controversially regarded by the international community.On our first full day in Havana, we visited an elementary/middle school designed for students who want to pursue music. Applicants to the school go through a rigorous musical aptitude audition process. The students take music classes for half the day and academic classes for half the day, heavily focusing on music beginning at a very young age.

Read more: On the Road: Destination Cuba


SBO’s 2015 Essay Scholarship Contest deadline is fast approaching. Music students in grades four through 12 can enter by answering in 250 words or less this question: How does your music class prepare you for life?

Read more: SBO Essay Deadline December 31


Directors Really Do Make a Difference

The year was 1982 and I was a high school sophomore. I had been playing guitar since I was nine years old, almost entirely self-taught. I didn’t really read notation. I understood rests, repeats, basic things like time signatures, and the difference between a treble and bass clef, but the ebony notes dancing along the staff were a mystery to me. I could, however, read guitar chord charts, and if I could hear a song played while looking at a chord chart, I could generally tackle it within one or two passes.

The one thing that made me eager to start my sophomore year was the opportunity to audition for the jazz band. Jazz band was typically reserved for juniors and seniors. I knew the band director wanted a guitarist, but the odds of a sophomore passing the audition were dreadfully slim. I’d asked around and learned that there were no other guitarists in the high school who were interested in playing in jazz band, let alone capable of passing the audition. I contacted the band director and arranged for an audition before school started, and to my delight, I passed it.

Read more: All Jazzed Up with Nowhere to Go


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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