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Commentary

  • 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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  • Advice for First-Year Teachers: Beyond the Podium—Non-Musical Keys to Career Success

    Dr. Clifton Taylor | July 15, 2020

    Collegiate training of music educators is almost exclusively devoted to the comprehensive study of music and its instruction, but veteran ensemble directors know that a large percentage of their success is dependent upon extra-musical skills and dispositions. As a newly appointed band or orchestra director, you may be a gifted musician and an effective teacher from bell to bell, but you will have a difficult time being successful if you struggle with the off-podium aspects of your job.

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  • COVID-19: The Day the Music Died….Again

    D.L. Johnson | July 15, 2020

    In March of 2020, not only did the entire world stop, but so did the way we educate students, from pre-school through university level. Nothing will be the same, and again, music is pointed out for possible cuts in education.

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  • The Creative Repertoire Initiative: Creating Adaptable Music for Unprecedented Times

    Frank Ticheli | July 15, 2020

    This past March, and seemingly overnight, the COVID-19 pandemic swept through our world, leaving us isolated at home and plagued with fear and uncertainty about the future. Jobs lost, businesses shuttered, classrooms moved to online formats — our entire way of life changed in ways that shocked us to our core. And for music lovers, an unthinkable thing happened — live music stopped.

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  • Your New Daily Music Routine

    Victoria Wasylak and Rachel Clakley | March 27, 2020

    A suggested teaching and exercise schedule for navigating at-home lessons If there’s a word that’s been floating around every teaching Facebook group while educators band together to navigate the current COVID-19 crisis, it’s order.

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  • Impact of Coronavirus on Music Programs and Events: Cancellations Cause Confusion and Disappointment

    Marty Steiner | March 27, 2020

    The role of the music director and staff at times is a combination of parent, mentor, counselor, priest, and best friend. Many of your tools didn’t come with your college degree(s). It is a combination of active listening, leadership, and compassion. This current health situation is a “pop quiz” on your capabilities.

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