Nicholas McCarthy is a professional pianist who graduated from the Royal College of Music in London in 2012. That might not be so remarkable, until you take into account that he was born with only one hand. He is the first one-handed pianist to graduate from the esteemed music school, and one of very few one-handed professional pianists in the world. Enjoy this beautiful rendition of Prelude and Nocturne OP9 by Alexander Scriabin.

In its inaugural year, The Recording Academy and the Grammy Foundation will present the Music Educator Award to Kent Knappenberger, a music teacher form Chautauqua County, N.Y. Knappenberger, who works at Westfield Academy and Central School, was one of 25 finalists selected from more than 30,000 nominated educators.

A former student of his, Laura Lee Anderson, posted this statement that she made in support of “Mr. K” on her blog,

Read more: Kent Knappenberger Wins Inaugural Music Ed Grammy Award

The National Coalition for Core Arts Standards (NCCAS) has scheduled the final public review of its draft Pre-K-12 arts standards in dance, media arts, music, theatre, and visual arts to run February 14, 2014 through February 28. A draft reading copy of will be available on January 30 at

This review is part of the NCCAS’s process designed to allow time for each arts discipline time to incorporate changes suggested by those reviewing the drafts.  The project’s timeline was recently revised, with this February review coming as the first in a series of new benchmarks that will lead to the web-based release of the standards in June, 2014.

Read more: Final Public Review of Core Standards Set for February

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 (, 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

Directors who make a Difference

For over 20 years, School Band & Orchestra Magazine has been honoring amazing music educators from all 50 states. That's more than 1000 educators recognized for their outstanding contributions to music education programs!

Do you know a fantastic K-12 instrumental music educator who is deserving of recognition in SBO? Tell us why he or she should be featured in SBO’s annual "Directors Who Make a Difference" report.

Click here to nominate a director 

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

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