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Features

  • Fall Classes During COVID-19

    Mike Lawson | October 28, 2020

    It all started with a viral photo. Anger, fear, confusion, and hopelessness swirled when Georgia high school sophomore Hannah Watters posted a picture of a crammed school hallway in early August, demonstrating just how hard it is to social distance in an in-person school environment.

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  • JackTrip Foundation’s Push for Realtime Online Performance

    Mike Lawson | October 28, 2020

    The past couple of issues I have printed stories about companies rushing to fill a need that sprung forth last spring -- the opportunity for musicians to perform or rehearse together remotely. The topic is fraught with barriers preventing real-time collaboration. Audio latency issues aside, there are computer needs, audio interfaces, Internet connections, microphones, webcams —a lot of things needed in order to run a remote live session using audio and video.

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  • Jim Stephenson: Composing His Future

    Mike Lawson | July 15, 2020

    Last fall, Hal Leonard and composer Jim Stephenson made a deal that would have shocked him decades ago: Stephenson agreed for Hal Leonard to be the exclusive print distributor for Stephenson’s original compositions.

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  • TI:ME Teacher of the Year: Anne Fennell

    Mike Lawson | July 15, 2020

    Anne Fennell’s music education got off to a rocky start. “I wanted to play the flute, but the band director at my elementary school told me no,” she recalls. “She handed me some drumsticks, but I was so bad at the drums and I wasn’t motivated. My mother still has the dresser that I threw my drumsticks against because I hated it so much.”

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  • Finding Resources In Urban Denver: Priscilla Rahn Earns Mr. Holland’s Opus Grant for Middle Schoolers

    Mike Lawson | July 15, 2020

    Middle school music teacher Priscilla Rahn has practical tips for educators seeking resources for their students. Just a few ideas include approaching craigslist sellers and suggesting they donate instruments in exchange for a tax deduction, borrowing and loaning instruments between schools, and “applying for everything.”

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  • Openers and Closers for Beginner Band

    Mike Lawson | June 15, 2020

    Administrators who evaluate performance-based music classes may not be musicians, but they often expect us to conform to the flow of more academic subjects, like LAL or math.

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  • Our New Reality

    Mike Lawson | June 15, 2020

    Most of us have been locked down now for more than two months. Many of you have been working diligently trying to find ways to engage your students in meaningful ways with music.

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  • She’s Got The Power! Courtney Powers and her mission to keep music-making alive in quarantine

    Mike Lawson | June 15, 2020

    Around mid-March, South Philadelphia High School music director Courtney Powers had a vehicle so stuffed with instruments, you would have thought that she was going on tour.

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  • What’s NOT Happening This Summer

    Mike Lawson | June 15, 2020

    Summer usually brings many fun learning opportunities for student musicians that might include day camps, resident summer camps, and travel with new friends and instructors.

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  • Not Since World War II…

    Mike Lawson | April 30, 2020

    “Before this year’s district conventions, we had not cancelled an in-person event of this size since World War II! We started these district conventions 40 years ago and have had snowstorms, hurricanes and historic figures passing, but never this level of disruption.” These comments by Kappa Kappa Psi (KKPsi) national president Marco A. Krcatovich II to SBO set the scene for what this national honorary band fraternity faced with its Spring schedule of six, back-to-back, District Conventions scheduled across the country in March and April.

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  • Ready When You Are! How to Plan and Organize Your Performance Trip When the Coast is Clear

    Mike Lawson | April 30, 2020

    As you sit in your home, sheltering in place while your kids and students practice with their instruments in a half-hearted attempt to keep up their musical skills, there is a lot that you can do as a director to keep your eye – and your students’ eyes – on the prize of the long-awaited performance trip. One terrible fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic is that thousands of kids have been deeply disappointed by the cancellation of their spring trips.

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  • Helping Music Educators Teach Online in the Age of Covid-19: The Music Industry Steps Up to Support Music Teachers

    Mike Lawson | March 27, 2020

    Whether we like it or not, we are now in the Covid-19 era – a global pandemic that will likely have widespread repercussions on every aspect of our lives. One of first disruptions was the preemptive closing of schools across the country with a shift to teaching students remotely using technology. For many teachers, especially music teachers, they have been thrust into the unknown. Few, if any, have had experience teaching performance ensembles and classroom music remotely.

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