• Perspective: The Black Roots of American Popular Music

    Mike Lawson | February 6, 2021The music that inspired and influenced SBO editor-in-chief Mike Lawson as a kid, that made him want to pick up an instrument, to sing, all had one significant thing in common: African Americans. Read More...
  • Happy New Year?

    Mike Lawson | January 8, 2021

    Well, 2020 is over. That pretty much sucked, didn’t it? I am so eager to say, “Happy New Year” and hope you all have glad tidings and wonderful months ahead, but I don’t want to jinx it. The year started out so good, so full of hope and promise with lots of exciting plans in front of me.

  • Good Riddance to 2020

    Mike Lawson | December 3, 2020

    Mercy, was the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade without marching bands just a big downer, or what? But I digress…

  • No Easy Answers

    Mike Lawson | October 28, 2020

    I don’t have any. This year sucks. It’s knocked the wind out of a lot of musicians, students, teachers, parents, and all things related. There is no national standard to follow, it’s a mess state by state times 50.

  • Take My Money…Or Not

    Mike Lawson | October 1, 2020

    The local marching band’s instruments are in bad shape. The small high school is, like so many music programs across the country, disadvantaged in many ways, with multiple inoperable and ancient instruments.

  • Tech Is Helping Keep Music Programs Alive

    Mike Lawson | September 2, 2020

    This month’s issue touches on several things that I hope will be helpful to our readers navigating the madness of reopening school music classes this year. First, I asked our associate editor Victoria Wasylak to interview an old friend of mine, Dr. Jim Frankel, who has been a pioneer in integrating technology into music instruction for well over two decades now.

  • Seeking Wise Counsel

    Mike Lawson | July 31, 2020

    Since 1996, my jobs have involved giving a voice to teachers, experts, and people who know far more about a subject than I do. Though I only wrote a couple, I published over 200 books and videos on music, audio production, music business, and technology. I seek out smart people and give them a vehicle.

  • Summertime, and the Living is Queasy

    Mike Lawson | July 15, 2020

    Well, remember when they were saying the summer heat would just about wipe this COVID-19 thing out because viruses don’t like heat? I guess none of the viruses in Florida and Texas got the message - or any of the other seasonally oppressively hot states, which is most of them. It’s a scorcher in Tennessee as I type, and we too are experiencing a surge in cases.

  • Fall Math, Science, English, History Classes Canceled

    Mike Lawson | June 15, 2020

    Now that I have your attention — I am appalled. Indeed, a tad ticked, frankly. Over the past five years or so that I have been editor of SBO, I have seen amazing music programs that inspire, from the smallest to the largest level of service to students in districts rich and poor. 

  • School’s Out Completely…

    Mike Lawson | April 30, 2020

    Out for summer

    Out till fall

    We might not come back at all

    School’s out forever

    School’s out for summer

    School’s out with fever

    School’s out completely

    When Alice Cooper sang the words that every school kid in the 1970’s rejoiced in as their own personal triumphant end-of-spring anthem, they had no way of knowing just how the lyrics would apply some 48 years later. Yet, here we are. All across the world, and certainly all across the U.S.A., school is out with fever. Completely.

  • Music Educators as First Responders

    Mike Lawson | March 27, 2020

    I can’t believe my luck, last month talking about the Type A Flu I got coming home from TMEA (in my Choral Director editorial) and segueing into the need to make your program infectious, um, so to speak. Who saw this coming this severely and happening here?

  • Is it Contagious?

    Mike Lawson | March 3, 2020

    I have a quick couple of weeks in-between the TMEA show in San Antonio and the upcoming American Bandmasters Association meetings, which I had the misfortune of spending fending off Type A influenza, even though I had my vaccine.

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