This installment of concert band repertoire reviews features music in a range of difficulty levels by John Kinyon, Larry Daehn, Steve Rouse, Aaron Copland, and Dana Wilson. “Frank Ticheli’s List” is a compilation of core repertoire for concert band selected by composer Frank Ticheli of USC. These pieces have been reviewed by Gregory Rudgers and John Darling.

Read more: Repertoire Review: August, 2014


Directors nationwide share fundraising strategies that work

Fundraising is one of those peripheral activities that can add a tremendous amount of strain to a director’s already full workload. On the other hand, it also serves to enable fantastic opportunities and resources for individual students and the ensemble as a whole. In an ideal world, the fundraising activity is one that students enjoy participating in, doesn’t take too heavy a toll on either the director or the students in terms of planning and execution, and, of course, brings in enough profit to make it worthwhile. As an added bonus, the right campaign can also be a great bonding experience, as well as a chance to build community awareness about your band.

SBO recently reached out to music educators around the country, asking directors to describe the campaigns that work best for their programs, how to keep students engaged, and any tips they might have for maximizing the profit-to-effort ratio.

Read more: Peer to Peer: Fundraising


Once again, a high-profile marching band is in the headlines for the wrong reasons.

Last fall, millions of people across the country were transfixed by The Ohio State University’s Marching Band. The Best Damn Band in the Land, as they call themselves, had a fantastic season, assembling outstanding show after outstanding show. YouTube videos of the group’s performances received tens of millions of hits, and the university band earned countless kudos and accolades for their creative, precise, and wildly entertaining halftime routines. On the heels of this eye-catching season, it came as quite a surprise to many when incoming president of the university, Dr. Michael Drake, announced on July 24 that he was firing Jonathan Waters, director of The Ohio State University Marching Band.

Read more: Perspective: A Haven for All


"Spreading the Love and Rocking Out"

While the term “college marching band” instantly conjures up the image of a uniformed, synchronized unit moving with military-like precision, the Leland Stanford Junior University Marching Band defies that convention. Driven by a fun-loving, hard-working rock and roll ethos, the famous “scatter band” may don their school’s cardinal red and white colors (along with some black), but their attire can also vary from sport coats and pants to pajamas to casual beach attire. Their mixture of new and classic popular music, spiritedly performed whether they are at a stadium game or part of a street corner flash mob, is enhanced by members scrambling into formation and dancing or hopping to the beat. And the beat rolls ever on – they play approximately 200 rallies per year.

The roots of the Stanford Band’s irreverence, which has included controversially humorous performance stunts over the years, can be traced back to the mid-’60s when beloved director

Read more: UpClose: Stanford University Marching Band



What technicians want you to know about caring for brass instruments

For student musicians, an underperforming instrument can be the difference in whether they decide to continue with band or quit the program. With experienced players, subpar instrument condition can impact audition and job success. Repair technicians can and should be a partner with the director, parent, student, and professional in ensuring success: they are there to serve you, and most are passionate about music and its positive impact on people’s lives. Consulting on instrument care and maintenance and creating a repair schedule with a trusted technician helps prevent catastrophic events and unplanned bills. In our case, Yamaha generously donates complete instruments and parts to help us teach repair to the next generation of technicians, and they suggested that we help spread the word about proper instrument maintenance.

With that, here are some things to keep in mind.

Read more: Repair: Brass Instruments


Six ear training programs for classroom and at-home use

"Garbage in, garbage out” is a guiding mantra for building computers and apps. It’s also true for our students’ brains. We are in the business of empowering young minds with healthy, useful information. Thanks to significant new developments, music educators can effectively combine music theory and aural training to empower students with ownership of their music creating experiences.

Ear training can cover a broad spectrum of useful music tools. These include pitch recognition, intonation, rhythmic drills, harmonic understanding of how music fits together vertically, better understanding of triads, complex chords, intervals, scale recognition, and how chord progressions are linked together.

Read more: Technology: Ear Training


Addressing Anxiety in Music Performance Using Visualization

As a music teacher, I regularly meet students who, despite their God-given talent, find themselves unable to fully address areas of weakness, oftentimes because of fear. They persist in staying in their areas of strength, while hoping for a quick fix to any problem areas or “eureka moment” for change to occur. They seem to be afraid of confronting the areas of their skillset that require the most work, and that is disappointing for me as a teacher because, despite their talent, they never realize the level of musicianship that they are capable of. I was just such a student, and when I finally dealt with one of my areas of weakness, it not only changed my music making, it changed my life.

Read more: Guest Editorial: Anxiety


We’ll never survive!” exclaims Buttercup in the light-hearted fairy tale classic, The Princess Bride, when she learns that she is about to enter the dreaded Fire Swamp. Unperturbed, Westley, her hero, glibly replies, “Nonsense! You’re only saying that because no one has.”

Although arts education may at times feel as perilous as William Golding’s Fire Swamp, where plumes of flame erupt with little warning and eviscerate anything in their path, every year countless daring teachers successfully navigate the seemingly endless array of pitfalls that can threaten to derail their curricular offerings. Still, funding, administrative and parental support, scheduling, and the many other logistical and bureaucratic details music educators face can be formidable challenges. When the outcome looks bleak or a particular problem persists, a bit of solid advice and know-how just might prove to be the difference between survival and, well, the less pleasant alternative.

Read more: Perspective: A Better Tomorrow


"This is the year that I’m going to…”

How many times have we said this to ourselves? At the beginning of each school year? At the beginning of each new year? Making these kinds of resolutions is part of what we do so that we can continue to grow as music educators, as well as to help our students grow not only as music-makers, but also as leaders. What is on deck for this new year? Here are a few items that you might consider for the 2014-15 school year.

Read more: MAC Corner: Goal Setting


Practice Software Roundup #1


"Practice makes perfect!" That’s what my fourth-grade band director said as I struggled to play a BH major scale on my trombone. Practicing was boring – and quite frankly, the only thing I wanted to do was play the glissando at the end of the song. Now that was fun! But practice I did. In between weekly lessons, I diligently went through the scales, exercises, and songs from the Rubank Method book each day, never really sure if I was doing anything correctly because I was too wrapped up in the process of playing; holding the horn, moving the slide, breathing, embouchure, and so on. This was way too much for a fourth grader to be thinking about, let alone evaluating what was coming out at the end of the bell.

Wouldn’t it have been great if there were somebody or something that could listen to me practice and at least tell me if what I was playing was correct? Well, today, with the ever-increasing power of computers, the patient “listener” can sit beside your students and let them know if they’ve played correctly – to a point. Let’s look at three software applications that purport to do just that.

Read more: Technology: Rehearsal Software

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