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Commentary

  • 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...
  • Five Tips to Master Your New Music Director Role

    Adrian Gordon | November 1, 2023You got the music director gig—congratulations! You are about to step into a great new working environment that promises to be a step up from what you were doing before. But now what? Here are some helpful tips for gaining mastery over your new music director role. Communicate Your Vision Communicating your vision to your […] Read More...
  • The Sin of Ignoring the Role of Silence

    Richard Floyd | October 15, 2023What is the big deal about silence? Our hands go up, our hands come down, and the music starts. Then one of our goals, among many, is to make sure no one plays in a rest, and we all achieve unified silence at the end of the final measure. As the music unfolds, we navigate […] Read More...
  • Silent Practice

    Thomas Palmatier | July 16, 2023At this year’s NAMM show, many vendors had instruments or accessories that would enable musicians to practice without bothering neighbors (or family members). When I was growing up practicing a sousaphone that probably sounded like whales dying, our home was in the country with the nearest neighbor a mile away. That’s certainly not the reality […] Read More...
  • Saxophone Tone Quality, Part Two

    Dr. Richard A. Schwartz | July 16, 2023In the first installment of this article, I discussed the importance of the reed and mouthpiece to produce a mature classical saxophone tone. In this installment, I will discuss additional factors. Ligatures A good ligature is necessary to hold the reed against the table of the mouthpiece. It is believed by several saxophonists the ligature […] Read More...
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