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In fall of 1953, my high school band director, Al G. Wright, began a lifelong impact and created a set of memories for me. His style was direct but the results spoke of excellence.

Read more: Up Close: Al G. Wright - Purdue University Band Director Emeritus Turns 100!


I hope you are reading this in the throes of summertime renewal. Summer NAMM in Nashville wrapped on June 25th, and it was once again a great gathering of professionals in the music products industry. Attendees at Summer NAMM express that they value both the pace and scale of a show that allows them to spend more time with each other, to engage in product demos, to review business models, and make time for professional development. A slightly slower pace seems to be one of the essential elements of renewal.

Read more: The Good Fight: Summer NAMM, Music Making, Politics, and Hammocks


Editor’s Note: As I travel the country participating in dozens of state “MEA” shows where training sessions are offered on using live sound mixers in the school, the most common problems that I’ve observed teachers facing is a lack of basic knowledge of the audio signal path, from microphone to speakers. This typically makes for a lot of guesswork by the director, and less-than-optimal sound operation, be it from a major field event, or just running your PA system to power the school talent show. Live sound is both art and science. The art is what you’ll use your ears for, but understanding the science is what gives your ears what they will want to hear. That starts with understanding the mixer, and the all-important signal path. - ML

Read more: Understanding Mixers and the Signal Path


Upbeats are one of the most important parts of rhythm yet time and again they create havoc in our performances. The concept is so simple that most teachers think that the upbeats will fix themselves with time and/or they don’t want to take the time to deal with such a simple concept that seems to have very few solutions.

Read more: Rhythm: Overthought and Under-Taught Part 2


The American society has a fascination with winning. We are taught from a young age that winning is everything, and losing is nothing short of an embarrassing defeat. From sports teams to American Idol, the relentless focus on first place often overshadows any enjoyment of the activity. It is the “winning,” according to Ian Robertson, “that is probably the single most important thing in shaping people’s lives.”

Read more: Competition in the School Ensemble


The German (and Dutch) name for the bassoon is faggott, which literally means bundle of twigs. And for many band directors, teaching beginning bassoonists – taming that bundle of twigs – is one of the most challenging, if not intimidating, parts of their jobs. Add to that the fact that good pedagogical information about bassoon is hard to find, and much of what little exists is vague and/or contradictory.

Read more: Instrumental: Starting Your Bassoon Program: Taming the “Bundle of Twigs”


Earlier this year I wrote about the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) with some general ideas of how this could impact music education. Today we are going to get a bit more specific and focus on what is in it for YOU.

Read more: In The Trenches: The Every Student Succeeds Act and What’s in it for YOU! (But Only if You Act!)


At a recent caption-style marching band competition, I had the pleasure of judging the music performance caption. Even though it was a southern destination in very early October, temperatures were extra cool, especially as the sun went down. This of course lead to the many intonation challenges with which we’re all familiar: rising pitch in the mallet instruments and plummeting pitch in the winds. So, as we get deeper into the Fall contest season, and as temperatures continue to drop, keep in mind these strategies that can help fight cold weather intonation challenges!

Read more: Five Minute Read:Take on Cool-Weather Tuning!


It was the one thing I remember from my first meeting with my college engineering counselor. “You don’t have time for band.”

Read more: Festivals: Not Just for Music Majors Encouraging Lifelong Musicianship


Getting Your Students Ready for College and University Band Programs When the Last Note is Played, Does the Music End?

Read more: College Programs


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?

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and tell us why he or she should be featured in SBO’s annual "Directors Who Make a Difference" report.

SBO Web Poll

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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