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Commentary

  • Take a Deep Breath and Blow, Part 2

    John Almeida | January 8, 2021

    Reinforcement, Reinforcement, Reinforcement!

    Wouldn’t it be easier if we had signs that we could hold up in front of our students each time we needed to repeat ourselves? Just think of all the vocal rest our vocal cords would get.

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  • Navigating Copyright During COVID-19

    Chrissy Swearingen | January 8, 2021

    Besides everything else, 2020 has brought us a rich new vocabulary of words and phrases we use daily, like “social distancing,” “asymptomatic” and “flatten the curve.” For music educators, the list might also include “virtual choir,” “bell cover,” and “choir mask!”

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  • Trumpet No Limits: Take a Deep Breath and Blow!, Part 1

    John Almeida | December 3, 2020

    All of us who are involved in teaching the trumpet to players of all ages speak so often about using air as a means to producing the desired sound. In my teaching, I have a statement that I use consistently, and I refer to it as The Six No’s. No air, no vibration; no vibration, no sound; no sound, no music.

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  • #TeachersAreEssential: Music Educators are #CriticallyVital

    Margaret Campbelle-Holman | December 3, 2020

    The superhero description “faster than a speeding bullet” belongs to Superman. Let’s consider that phrase as we figuratively turn our heads from one side to the other: looking back to March 2020’s abrupt end of schools nationwide - to now, the end of 2020.

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  • Performance Based Assessments: Enhancing Effectiveness

    Lisa Martin | October 28, 2020

    In the current era of testing and accountability, instrumental music educators must document evidence of individual student growth. The majority of this data is often derived from individual performance-based assessments.

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  • I Have You: A Strong Foundation, A Lifetime of Good Habits

    Tim Crowley | October 1, 2020

    Music can be one of the most powerful ways to bring people together. For many musicians, this realization often comes with their experiences in school band and from their educators. Here’s how Grammy-nominated producer, singer, composer and woodwind player extraordinaire Scott Mayo got his start, and how the lessons he learned in his early days not only helped shape his career but also led to an unshakeable belief in the power of music.

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  • The Empathy Project: Accentuating the Inherent SEL Component of Music Education

    David Schumacher | October 1, 2020

    “We already do that in music education.” How many times have you uttered that phrase under your breath as your district unveiled its latest pedagogical initiative? From high impact outcomes to greater personal meaning, student choice to Bloom’s Taxonomy, from critical thinking to project-based learning, the response is often the same. In a sense, we are the lucky ones, the chosen few who don’t lose sleep over how to incorporate the latest educational trend into our curricula.

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  • We Better Think: A Band Director of Color’s Perspective on Current Practices, Customs, and Ideologies on Teaching Band in the 2020s

    Eriq Vazquez | October 1, 2020

    Balancing life and work gets so overwhelming that few band directors take time to critically analyze the macro- and micro-effects of how their program and teaching practices can impact disadvantaged people.

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  • The Importance of Teaching Beginners

    Ike Nail | October 1, 2020

    Every band director recognizes the importance of giving students a good start, but few turn the concept around to consider the essential role that teaching beginners has in focusing and refining their own abilities as a teacher and director.

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  • The Post-Covid-19 Band Room

    Robert J. Grogan III | July 31, 2020

    Once the shock of school closings and canceled performances subside, many band directors may begin wondering if there would be a new normal in the fall. Many of our former practices could potentially seem unimaginable after the pandemic calms.

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  • On Returning to Band Class

    Robert W. Smith | July 31, 2020

    We’ve had a failure of leadership on multiple levels. This crisis should be precedented, and it’s not. I should have known more about the pandemic in 1917-1920. We know we recovered in the roaring ‘20s, but we didn’t spend much time in American History class understanding that life changed drastically. We study history to learn from it, not repeat mistakes of the past, and help us plan for the future. We had public schools a hundred years ago. How and what did they do? Unfortunately, our public schools have become politicized.

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  • Developing a Musical Voice: Four Levels for Artistic Expression

    Michael Alsop and Bill Waterman | July 31, 2020

    Music-making is much more than reproducing notes and rhythms from a page. Music organizations across the nation recognize this on solo and ensemble judging sheets with categories and terminology such as musicality, artistry, expression, and interpretation. Teachers acknowledge this by prioritizing musicianship in their instruction, including ensemble directors who spend considerable amounts of rehearsal time working on phrase shaping, appropriate attacks and releases, and expressive use of dynamics.

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