Commentary

  • Teaching by Ear, Learning by Heart Creative Musical Arts at New England Conservatory – Part III

    NEC | April 8, 2024SBO+: This is part 3 in a series of articles by faculty members of the NEC who share their tips on teaching deeper listening. Jerry Leake, world percussion: Harmonic Time – Your Body as the Instrument Over the years I have developed a body and language-based rhythm method called “Harmonic Time” that educates musicians of […] Read More...
  • Patriotic Music Binds Us to the Idea of America

    Harvey Rachlin | April 8, 2024SBO+: Well-known author and frequent SBO+ contributor Harvey Rachlin provides this article on the important role music plays in developing and sustaining our national identity. In conversations with Harvey about this article, I suggested the traditional “American musical canon” needs to be expanded to include songs relevant to the diverse nation we have become, to […] Read More...
  • Getting to the Point! Comparative Articulation for Woodwinds – Part 2

    Andrew J. Allen, Elise Naber Allen | March 30, 2024Before we delve into this in part 2 (see the February issue for part 1), a word of caution: All students are different. Every human being has a diverse morphology, and we all perceive instructions differently. While the below syllables tend to work well for most young musicians, be prepared to alter these instructions, depending […] Read More...
  • Teachers Need Self-Care, Too: Customized Routines to Combat School Stress

    Adrian Gordon | March 30, 2024Self-care is the most important guiding principle to have at the forefront of any music education position. Whether you are starting from scratch, rebuilding, or maintaining an already great music program, it is important to set boundaries for yourself, so the work doesn’t become overwhelming. There will always be documents to sign, names and faces […] Read More...
  • Inspiring the Next Generation of Music Educators

    Bob Morrison | February 19, 2024It is no secret schools in the United States face the most significant educator workforce shortage in our Nation’s history. The combination of the extensive number of educators leaving the field as the world emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic, the increasing encroachment of political issues into the schools, and a significant decrease in the number […] Read More...
  • Getting to the Point! Comparative Articulation for Woodwinds – Part 1

    Andrew J. Allen, Elise Naber Allen | February 19, 2024A director addresses their students:  “Brass, let’s articulate some eighth notes: Ta ta Ta ta Ta ta Ta ta! 1! 2! 3! 4!”  Perhaps there is a stray misfire here or there, but the results are quite pleasing!  The director then draws their attention to the woodwinds:  “Y’all are next!  Ta ta Ta ta Ta […] Read More...
  • Strategies for Improving the Sound of Your Wind Section

    Don Nathan | February 19, 2024Achieving a cohesive and balanced sound within the wind section of your orchestra or band can present many challenges. Here are a few strategies to maximize the beauty of sound in your ensemble.  Listening to develop a tonal concept Perhaps the most effective way for young musicians to begin developing their sound is to have […] Read More...
  • Red-Headed Stepchild: Beyond the Beatings – Going Beyond the Classroom

    Dr. Jason Powell | January 8, 2024As music educators, we know better than anyone that our professions do not start or end in the classroom. We are the people who actively search through every moment in our personal lives for examples, stories, and easier modalities to teach and explain random concepts to our students. We actively search for translatable inspiration throughout […] Read More...
  • It Takes a Village: The Role of Community in a Music Program

    Adrian Gordon | January 8, 2024As you begin establishing yourself in your new position, be sure community building is at the top of your list of priorities. A cohesive social fabric between the students in the program will create a deeper sense of investment and accountability toward each other. This will also help create a strong layer of trust in […] Read More...
  • Teaching by Ear, Learning by Heart Creative Musical Arts at New England Conservatory, Part 2

    Mark Zaleski | January 8, 2024SBO+: This is part 2 in a series of articles by faculty members of the New England Conservatory who share their tips on teaching deeper listening. Mark Zaleski, woodwinds/bass/songwriting/arranging: Memory Bank Exercise A great way to get students of any age or experience level excited about developing their ears is to have them create their own music […] Read More...
  • The Sin of Failure to Consider the Role of Proportion

    Mike Lawson | January 8, 2024The renowned author Ken Follet proclaimed, “Proportion is the heart of all beauty.”  If that assessment rings true there perhaps is no sin more daunting to address than the role of proportion in music making. The artistry of making music ultimately evolves into the creation of some kind of relationship intended to achieve both contrast […] Read More...
  • Join the Team That is Your School: Be a Teacher-Leader

    Cory Swanson | November 1, 2023Imagine you have a loaf of bread. This loaf is finite, it has borders. There’s only so much bread. You can tear off a piece and use it. Sometimes you get something back for your bread, sometimes you waste it.   Now, shift this analogy to your political capital: in your school, in your district, […] Read More...
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