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 (http://www.cso.org/soundsandstories), 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

And does it matter?

A recent study by researchers at Harvard University calls into question the general assumption that music study helps students perform better in other academic areas. While many studies on this subject continue to be in their infancy and there are countless correlations between achievement and intensive musical training, according to an article in The Boston Globe from 12/11/2013, it's not so clear cut, and it turns out that this might not be a bad thing. 

Contrary to popular belief, a study — led by a Harvard graduate student who plays the saxophone, flute, bassoon, oboe, and clarinet — found no cognitive benefits to music lessons.

The finding, published Wednesday in the journal PLOS ONE, is bound to make arts advocates cringe, as it overturns an argument that is often used to bolster the case for music education: it’ll make kids better at math.

Read more: Does Music Make You Smarter?

Inaugural Award to be Presented at Special Ceremony & Reception during Grammy Week 2014

A total of 10 music teachers from ten cities across eight states have been announced as finalists for the first annual Music Educator Award presented by The Recording Academy and the Grammy Foundation. In total, more than 30,000 initial nominations were submitted from all 50 states.

The Music Educator Award was established to recognize current educators (kindergarten through college, public and private schools) who have made a significant and lasting contribution to the field of music education and who demonstrate a commitment to the broader cause of maintaining music education in the schools. A joint partnership and presentation of The Recording Academy and the Grammy Foundation, this special award will have its inaugural presentation at the Special Merit Awards Ceremony & Nominees Reception honoring recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award, Trustees Award and Technical Grammy Award during Grammy Week 2014.

Read more: Music Ed Grammy Finalists Announced

Pioneering music educator and author Bennett Reimer passed away on November 18 at the age of 81. Reimer's A Philosophy of Music Education was the first if its kind in the world-wide field of music education, often cited as one of the most influential books of its kind.

Reimer authored some two dozen other books and over 150 published articles and chapters. He was also a frequent guest lecturer, advisor, workshopper, and project director all over the United States and Canada, and in many countries around the globe. In 1985 he established the Center for the Study of Education and the Musical Experience at Northwestern University, a weekly research forum for music education doctoral students and faculty, which continues to this day. 

Read more: Bennett Reimer, 1932-2013

A Polish concert pianist and instrument maker, Slawomir Zubrzycki, has constructed what may be the first known version of the viola organista, a hybrid instrument designed by the great Italian artist Leonardo Da Vinci. Based on Da Vinci's original manuscript and sketches, Slawomir built the unique bowed keyboard instrument over three years, unveiling it for the first time on October 18, 2013. See the viola organista in action here:

Read more: Pianist Constructs Da Vinci's Viola Organista

U.S. High Schools in the Running for Grants for Music Excellence

The Grammy Foundation has announced that 123 schools nationwide have been selected as Grammy Signature Schools semifinalists for 2014. Created in 1998, the Grammy Signature Schools program recognizes top U.S. public high schools that are making an outstanding commitment to music education during an academic school year.

Each of the Signature Schools finalists will receive a custom award and a monetary grant to benefit its music program. The top programs are designated Gold recipients. The best of the Gold recipients is designated the National Grammy Signature School. The remaining schools are designated Grammy Signature Schools. For schools that are economically underserved, the Grammy Foundation established the Enterprise Award category to recognize the efforts in music education made by these schools. Grammy Signature Schools are made possible in part through the generous support of Converse, the Ford Motor Company Fund, the Hot Topic Foundation, and Journeys.

Read more: 2014 Grammy Signature School Semifinalists

Thousands of percussionists have converged in Indianapolis for the 2013 Percussive Arts Society's International Convention, which features a lively exhibition hall, as well as discussions, roundtables, clinics, performances, and competitions covering the full range of percussive activities – from marching and drumset to jazz, world music, and symphonic percussion.

Read more: PASIC 2013

Students of all ages are invited to compete for prizes by submitting original compositions using the cloud-based tools offered by MusicFirst.

MusicFirst™, the digital education division of Music Sales Group™, is excited to announce the ComposeFirst Music Competition. 

MusicFirst provides schools across the U.S. with easy-to-use and affordable cloud-based solutions that enable music learning, creation, sharing and exploration on any device at anytime, anywhere. Launching November 1st, 2013, the ComposeFirst competition encourages students to tap into their creativity while gaining insight into MusicFirst’s suite of groundbreaking software tools.

The competition is open to all music students in the U.S. from the elementary to high school level. Submitted compositions must be original works and be no longer than five minutes long. Entries may contain vocals and lyrics or other acoustic instruments as long as they are created using MusicFirst software tools Noteflight and Soundation. There is no purchase is necessary, as free trial versions of the software are available. 

Read more: MusicFirst Announces ComposeFirst Music Competition

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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