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  • Transforming Jazz Bands into Versatile Ensembles with Vocalists

    Jennifer Madsen | May 6, 2024As a professional vocal coach who has worked closely with jazz bands, I invite band directors to consider integrating vocalists into their ensembles. This decision can transform your band’s musical journey, enriching your student’s educational experience and enhancing your performances’ overall impact. Over a decade ago, I was approached to consult with a junior high […] Read More...
  • The Art of Jazz Programming

    Joseph L. Jefferson | May 6, 2024One of the most important and exciting aspects of cultivating a thriving jazz program begins with intentional programming. Whether you are directing a middle school, high school, or collegiate ensemble, the goal is to find repertoire to showcase the strengths of your group. Ultimately, you want to select tunes to spark curiosity and encourage musical […] Read More...
  • Punk Rock In(vades) the Classroom

    John Licari | May 6, 2024You’ve all heard of punk rock – The Ramones, The Clash, mohawks, attitudes, piercings, et cetera. But did you know there are certain traits from punk culture that can be beneficial to our students? But isn’t punk rock inappropriate? This belief might get you pushback from administrators or parents. The same was said about hip-hop, […] Read More...
  • Modern Band and Beyond: Building Community in Your Ensemble-Based Classroom

    Laura Del Rosso | May 6, 2024Take yourself back to grade school for a moment. You’re navigating changing social relationships, growing awareness of your identity, a changing body, and increased academic pressures. Everything feels chaotic and unknown. Where do you find your community? The music room, of course! Cultivating this community is imperative to making music with our students. But it […] Read More...
  • Starting a Conversation – Exploring Improvisation in the Modern Band Rehearsal

    Joseph Campbell | May 6, 2024As a teacher who came from a background in traditional music education and shifted to teaching modern band, I observed that musicians skilled in popular styles are adept at learning and playing both familiar and unfamiliar songs quickly. Whether they’re handling chords, bass lines, or diving into solos, their ability to adapt their playing to […] Read More...
  • Elevating Singers in the Modern Band Classroom

    Laura Ferguson | May 6, 2024“Fly” Nicki Minaj (feat. Rihanna)  I came to win, to fight To conquer, to thrive I came to win, to survive To prosper, to rise To fly, to fly Modern band teachers across the nation are helping their young musicians win, fight, conquer, and thrive. One of the challenges of the modern band classroom is […] Read More...
  • Everyday Advocacy

    Rebecca Sensor | May 6, 2024What have you done to advocate for your music program today? This question feels strange as I write it. I have been in my current position for 23 years. My program feels established and supported by both my school district and community. As I think about my school year beginning to wind down, advocacy is […] Read More...
  • Empowering School Choirs – Arranging Modern Pop Charts for Vocal Music Ensembles

    Rebecca Sensor | May 5, 2024In the dynamic landscape of music education, school choirs are continuously evolving to engage students and audiences alike. The fusion of contemporary repertoire with traditional choral practices breathes new life into performances and offers students valuable educational opportunities. Vocal Range and Accessibility Considerations must extend beyond melody and lyrics when arranging pop charts for vocal […] Read More...
  • 2024 Show Best Tools for Schools!

    Gillian Desmarais | April 8, 2024This year’s NAMM Show hosted over 62,000 attendees, welcoming 16,000 more visitors than last year. Alongside the rise of attendees came an increased presence in small businesses. Two steps in the showroom, and you’d see dozens more small booths filling up the empty spaces left over from nine months ago. The sound was immense too, […] Read More...
  • Five Reasons Why You Should Use Practice First with Your Ensembles

    SBO Staff | March 30, 2024PracticeFirst, powered by the amazing assessment algorithm created by MatchMySound, is a music learning application that gives teachers and students the tools they need to improve their performance skills. It is perfect for ANY performance ensemble: band, chorus, orchestra, modern band, jazz ensemble, Mariachi band, and more. PracticeFirst uses AI to provide immediate and intuitive […] Read More...
  • Is Carbon Fiber the Solution for Class Ukulele and Guitar?

    Richard McCready | March 30, 2024Many schools in the US offer music instruction in class ukulele and class guitar. Fretted string instruments allow students to start playing songs quite quickly after learning two or three chords. Children begin a journey of musical discovery together playing simple songs, and many continue to play ukulele and/or guitar their whole lives. When teachers […] Read More...
  • You’ll Not See Nothing Like The Mighty JamStik MIDI Guitar for the Classroom

    Richard McCready | March 30, 2024It’s safe to say the invention of MIDI changed the way we perform music. By sending signals down a cable connecting two instruments, you can use one instrument to produce sounds on the other. As the first MIDI instruments were keyboards, this meant a keyboardist on stage could use the keys on his digital piano, […] Read More...
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