Grants awarded to 12 top U.S. public high schools for excellence in music education

The Grammy Foundation® has announced that 12 schools nationwide have been selected as Grammy® Signature Schools for 2014 and have been awarded cash grants totaling $58,500. Created in 1998, the Grammy Signature Schools program recognizes the top U.S. public high schools that make an outstanding commitment to music education during an academic school year.

Each of the 12 Grammy Signature Schools will receive a custom award and a monetary grant to benefit its music program. The top three schools are designated Gold recipients. The best of the Gold recipients is named the National Grammy Signature School and will receive $6,000. The two remaining Gold schools will each receive $5,000 and the two remaining Grammy Signature Schools recipients will each receive a grant of $2,000 to benefit their music programs. Seven schools will receive the Enterprise Award grant, which recognizes the efforts made by schools that are economically underserved. Each of the Enterprise Award schools will receive a grant in the amount of $5,500. The Grammy Signature Schools program is made possible in part through the generous support of the Ford Motor Company Fund.

Read more: 2014 Grammy Signature Schools Announced

Detroit Institute of Music Education to offer degree, diploma, and part-time performance courses 

A new performance-based music education college is slated to open up in Detroit in the fall of 2014. Founded by three veterans of the British music industry – Kevin Nixon, Sarah Clayman, and Bruce Dickinson – DIME, the Detroit Institute of Music Education, school will offer advanced music students courses in guitar, bass, vocals, drums, songwriting and music entrepreneurship.

Read more: DIME Set to Open in '14

NJSO and Hilary Hahn Perform for #OrchestraYou

The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra teamed up on March 15 with the renowned violinist Hilary Hahn in honor of the state's music educators to perform along with the organization's first “pro-am” orchestra, dubbed “#OrchestraYou.” The new orchestra consisted of students, teachers, administrators, subscribers, music lovers, and NJSO musicians collaborating on a Jeff Grogan-led "Toreadors Song" from Bizet's “Carmen.”

Read more: NJSO's Music Education Night

National Conference Exceeds Expectations in Louisville

More than 2,000 string teachers, students, and performers attended the 2014 American String Teachers Association National Conference, which took place from March 5-8 in Louisville, Kentucky. The clinics, presentations, concerts and other activities were held in conjunction with ASTA’s National Orchestra Festival and the National High School Honors Orchestra.

Under the direction of Colin Catoe and Elyse Catoe, Atascocita High School Chamber Strings from Humble, Texas was named the winner of the high school division of the 2014 ASTA National Orchestra Festival. The winner of the String Youth Orchestra division was Stringendo’s Vivace, from Poughkeepsie, N.Y., and directed by Jonathan Handman.

Read more: ASTA 2014

The Lady in Number 6 named "Best Documentary Short"

The acclaimed documentary The Lady In Number 6: Music Saved My Life, which outlines the incredible life of holocaust survivor Alice Herz-Somme, brought home the Oscar for “Best Documentary Short” at this year's Academy Awards. Somme, who was the world's oldest known holocaust survivor, died this year on February 23 in London.

Read more: Holocaust Piano Documentary Wins Oscar

Artists Oscar Palou and Alexander Müller-Rakow have introduced a clever new instrument called the Theometrica that adapts dozens of tiny acupuncture pins to create music.  The instrument is described as a "sound interface" that includes a spinning platter on which users stick pins, which in turn trigger samples when sensed by a motion sensor mounted on the side of the instrument. It's sort of a real-time, modern player piano.

Video below: 

How can conventional theory mesh with modern pop music styles like hip-hop?An unexpectedly forward-thinking answer recently appeared on the online forum Quora when posed with the simple question, "What are some new topics in the field of music theory?"  Ethan Hein, master's candidate in music technology at NYU, took time to eloquently explore a number of ways in which conventional means of teaching music has become irrelevant to modern day musicians. Excerpts follow:

"Rather than trying to identify a canonical body of works and a bounded set of rules defined by that canon, we should take an ethnomusicological approach," he writes. "We should be asking: What is it that musicians are doing that sounds good? What patterns can we detect in the broad mass of music being made and enjoyed out there in the world?

Read more: How to Mesh Traditional Music Theory with Modern Pop Music?

The Asheville Symphony Orchestra was recently awarded a $610,000 gift from a local family (Tom and Juilie Leever) and their organization, the Leever Foundation.  The gift was given for the purpose of developing a program called "MusicWorks!" at the city's Hall Fletcher Elementary, which will be designed as an after-school music-teaching program aimed at instilling life skills in students, similar to the famous "El Sistema" program in Venezuela. 

The Asheville Citizen-Times reports that 50 kindergarten students will make up the program's initial participation, but that organizers plan to spread the program throughout the public school's education system, a system in which 79 percent of the students are reported to qualify for a free or reduced-cost lunch.  

Read more: Asheville Symphony Given $610k for Music Ed Program

Jane ChuPresident Obama recently made official his nomination for chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, a position that has been vacant since November 2012.

The White House nominates Dr. Jane Chu, Chief Executive Officer for the Kauffman Center of Kansas City, MO.  President Obama issued a statement on the nomination, saying, “Jane’s lifelong passion for the arts and her background in philanthropy have made her a powerful advocate for artists and arts education in Kansas City. She knows firsthand how art can open minds, transform lives and revitalize communities, and believes deeply in the importance of the arts to our national culture. I’m proud to nominate her as Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts.”

Read more: Obama Nominates Chair for National Endowment for the Arts

The National Association for Music Education (NAfME) and the Society for Research in Music Education recently announced a request for proposals for a research project to investigate delivery mechanisms for in-service professional development for music educators. Results will be used to inform NAfME policy regarding provision of professional development activities for NAfME members. The grant will be up to $10,000 for a project to be completed between May 2014 and March 2016.

For those hoping to apply, NAfME asks that you send the proposal as an email attachment in doc, .docx or .pdf format to Janice Killian, Chair, Executive Committee of the Society for Research in Music Education (SRME), at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by March 1, 2014.Only electronic submissions will be accepted. Please review the required proposal format.

Read more: Deadline Nears for 2014 NAfME-SRME Grant Proposals

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!

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