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Resources

  • Alfred Music’s JP’s Sousaphone and Music Symbol Parade

    Mike Lawson | August 29, 2016

    Alfred Music’s releases JP's Sousaphone and Music Symbol Parade. Each resource is constructed to teach music concepts and history with colorful animation and characters.

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  • Learning Music: In Praise of Print

    Mike Lawson | November 11, 2015

    (c) ShutterstockI grew up in a home with a grand piano. Although today a trim electric keyboard or other nifty digital instrument may be the musical centerpiece of a home, when I was a kid, growing up in a rural community, many homes had acoustic pianos – and even a few families had cherished home organs! My memory doesn’t offer accurate recall of my earliest piano training (I think my mom was my first teacher), but what is crystal clear to me is what my first piano method book looked like.

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  • MAC Corner: 100% Retention Rate? Go Team!

    Mike Lawson | May 19, 2015

    Shutterstock Music Student playing PianoStudents continue to participate in our music programs because they cannot imagine school without the meaningful engagement that our courses provide. For one reason or another however, we continue to lose some students along the way.

    One Iowa school district came to the realization that they could do something about it. Below is their story and some initial steps they are taking to work toward the vision of retaining 100 percent of their students.

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  • SBO Essay Deadline December 31

    Mike Lawson | December 9, 2014

    SBO’s 2015 Essay Scholarship Contest deadline is fast approaching. Music students in grades four through 12 can enter by answering in 250 words or less this question: How does your music class prepare you for life?

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  • Repair: Drum Maintenance

    Mike Lawson | November 23, 2014

    Considering the literal beating that drums and related equipment take on a regular basis, care and maintenance of snares and toms should be a regular part of the battery’s routine. Following is a list of tools and supplies, suggested maintenance activities, and some pointers that might be particularly handy for students and teachers who are not percussion specialists. This should provide all of the information needed to keep wood and metal drums in peak working condition.

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  • Repair: Brass Instruments

    Mike Lawson | August 14, 2014

     

    What technicians want you to know about caring for brass instruments

    For student musicians, an underperforming instrument can be the difference in whether they decide to continue with band or quit the program. With experienced players, subpar instrument condition can impact audition and job success. Repair technicians can and should be a partner with the director, parent, student, and professional in ensuring success: they are there to serve you, and most are passionate about music and its positive impact on people’s lives. Consulting on instrument care and maintenance and creating a repair schedule with a trusted technician helps prevent catastrophic events and unplanned bills. In our case, Yamaha generously donates complete instruments and parts to help us teach repair to the next generation of technicians, and they suggested that we help spread the word about proper instrument maintenance.

    With that, here are some things to keep in mind.

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  • UpFront Q&A: Scott Rush

    Mike Lawson | July 21, 2014

    A conversation with the author of Habits of a Successful Band Director

     

    In 2003, Scott Rush, then director of bands at Wando High School in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina, and Tim Lautzenheiser, noted motivational speaker and music advocate, had a long conversation on student teaching while Lautzenheiser was in town to do a workshop on student leadership. That conversation continued between the two over the next few years, until Rush decided to put his thoughts to paper, resulting in the highly successful band director how-to manual, Habits of a Successful Band Director: Pitfalls and Solutions, first published by Focus on Excellence and later by GIA.

    Under Rush’s leadership, the Wando Bands were state marching champs for nine consecutive years, from 2005 to 2013, performed at the Midwest Clinic in 2007, and were awarded the Sudler Flag for concert excellence.

    In this recent conversation with SBO, Scott Rush discusses some of the key elements of building a successful career in music education.

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  • Survey: Professional Development

    Mike Lawson | July 21, 2014

    Educators weigh in on the latest trends in professional development

     

    From keeping up with the latest pedagogical trends to becoming eligible for career advancement and increased salary, there are a host of reasons why it is critical to continually engage in activities that will further professional development. Perhaps chief among those, though, is simply to become a better teacher, as indicated by more than two-thirds of the respondents in this recent reader survey.

    Curious about where your peers are turning as they continue to build their careers? From training seminars and formal coursework to informal networking and blogging, read on to find out how your peers in music ed are approaching professional development, as well as some commentary on how to fit such endeavors into an already packed schedule.

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  • Roundtable: Summer Music Camps

    Mike Lawson | March 17, 2014

    Four directors discuss the evolution of Summer Music Camp offerings in their areas

    Once again, even as a harsh winter just barely starts showing signs of easing its grip, it’s well past time to begin thinking about summer plans for elementary, middle, and high school music students. Considering the great variety of summer music camp opportunities that exist around the country, SBO recently reached out to four experienced directors to discuss the summer camp opportunities in their respective areas, misconceptions about summer music camps in general, and what these organizations should do so that they might continue to flourish.

    Joining the conversation are Tony Luzzi of Searcy High School in Searcy, Arkansas, Michael Tiskowitz of LaGrange Middle School in Lagrangeville, New York, Dan Carlson of Lincoln High School in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and Richard Saunders, director of Music for the Somerville (Mass.) Public Schools.

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  • Survey: Instrument Rentals

    Mike Lawson | January 21, 2014

    Trends and Tips on Instrument Rental Programs

    Musical instruments can be expensive, and this financial burden may be a significant hurdle for young would-be musicians. Fortunately, many relatively inexpensive alternatives have developed over the years, including “starter” models, as well as rental programs offered by brick-and-mortar music stores, their traveling reps, and several other types of organizations. Depending on age groups, ensemble types, and several other factors, rather than cheap “off-brand” instruments, renting is often the best choice – as indicated by the fact that more than half of the respondents to this reader survey say that “most” or “almost all” of their students are renters. This is particularly true for those beginning students who aren’t sure which instrument they would like to play, or whether they will even be sticking with music for more than a semester or two.

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  • Vote Now for 2014 Best Tools for Schools

    Mike Lawson | January 8, 2014

    Help Select the Best Tools for Schools from the 2014 Winter NAMM Show

    Help select the 2014 Best Tools for Schools on display at the 2014 NAMM Show, the annual music products convention featuring the latest musical instruments, accessories, books, apps, tools, and inventions. 

    For the past five years, educators in attendance have perused the exhibition halls at the Anaheim Convention Center looking for the best music tools for classroom use. This year, mindful that not nearly as many educators are able to make it to NAMM as would like to, we're opening up the voting to educators everywhere. 

    In advance of the 2014 NAMM Show, exhibiting companies have sent us a list of the products that they are most interested in showing off to music teachers and the education community.  

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  • Best Tools for Schools at The 2013 NAMM Show

    Mike Lawson | January 31, 2013SBO conducted another great presentation at the 2013 NAMM Show in Anaheim, California, with educators perusing the convention floor, poring through the instruments, accessories, software, publications, and other products in search of the best tools for classroom use. The result was the Best Tools for Schools presentation session at the NAMM Idea Center, featuring great […] Read More...
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