International Virtual Honor Ensembles Provide Unique Opportunity for Band and Orchestra Students

Mike Lawson • News • March 11, 2019

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This year, the International Music Education Summit, in partnership with SmartMusic is striving to help more worthy students participate in honor ensembles, regardless of costs.   

“We are trying to create something that any student in any location, regardless of income level or parental support,” said Elisa Janson-Jones, founder and director of the International Music Education Summit. “Not only will they be able to learn their music and create a sample that is part of the larger performance, they’ll be offered a place to virtually meet the other students involved, and to watch live workshops from clinicians around the world. It’s really an opportunity for them to showcase and grow their skills in a way that hasn’t been offered before.”

Students who are interested receive instructions on how to submit their digital audition. When accepted into the ensemble, they are then given access to the repertoire, which they learn, record, and submit online through SmartMusic. Once all of the recordings are in, they are meshed together to create one single piece of music, which is then premiered in video form at the 2019 International Music Education Summit in June.

The ensemble members are also invited into a private Facebook group where workshops by clinicians will be live streamed for their exclusive access. Each ensemble, band and orchestra, also have a dedicated musical director to help support their learning. This year’s directors are Bradley Hartman and Courtney Powers.

The 2019 Summit also features more than 40 live-streamed clinics from professional music educators around the world and made accessible to attendees through their internet-connected devices. Unlike traditional conferences, all of the sessions are recorded and made available to attendees so they can continue to watch and learn even after the event has ended.

Because networking is one of the most vital pieces of live conferences, the International Music Education Summit also offers a private Facebook group, “The Teacher’s Lounge,” exclusively for attendees and presenters. 2018 Summit attendees truly felt that they were able to connect with their fellow music educators in attendance, and continue to learn from their favorite presenters.

Each session is streamed live, the presenters trained in online conferencing skills, so that attendees can still interact, collaborate, and ask questions, making the learning environment more effective. Presenters offer complimentary downloads and support materials making the overall value of the Summit far greater than the financial investment of registration.

“We saw the need and made it happen. There’s no membership required, no travel expenses, just a small registration fee to help us cover the expenses of putting the Summit together,” said Janson-Jones. “Sponsors are also an important part of the equation; they get one-to-one access to their target market while supporting the music education community. It’s a really great strategy all around, and helps keep the registration fees low.”

The 2nd Annual International Music Education Summit will be live June 13-15, 2019. To learn more about the Virtual Honor Ensembles and the Summit visit



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