Perspective: Another Year Older, and a New One’s Just Begun

Mike Lawson • ChoralCommentary • January 7, 2016

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Mike LawsonA new year is always a promising time when we can think about all of the ways we do what we do. We have another chance to do things right, hopefully again, or to correct things we did wrong in previous years.


As a band director, you’re also soon marking the end of “marching season” and swiftly focusing on concert band, jazz band, or other ensemble performance opportunities. You’ve likely worked hard all year raising funds for a band trip to an amusement park, or a festival performance, or both. Perhaps you’re readying your band for a cross-country or even international trip of a lifetime for your band students. One thing for certain, the second half of the school year isn’t any slower than the first. It’s not any slower for me, either. In fact, I think the first quarter of each year is probably my busiest.

My year ends with attending the MidWest Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago, Illinois, the week before Christmas, and this year was no exception. I spent the week there meeting not only many of our readers, advertisers and scoping out new article ideas, but was also thrilled that several of our “50 Directors Who Make A Difference” inductees for 2015 were in attendance and came up to meet me, and of course, get five copies (of SBO) for their mothers.

As you look forward into the busy New Year, we’ll be doing the same here at SBO. As I get entrenched into the beginning of my second year as your editor, I’m again finding myself out there amongst you, pressing the flesh, shaking hands and running for mayor, so to speak, by attending a plethora of “MEA” shows. I will be at the Florida Music Educators Association conference in Tampa, Florida, followed by the Winter NAMM Show in Anaheim, California, followed by the Ohio Music Educators Association conference in Cincinnati, Ohio, all back-to-back in January. I get home for a week and then I’m off to the Texas Music Educators Association conference in San Antonio, Texas the second week of February, and all of this while making sure your February issue of SBO ships on time.

I attend these shows in no small part because I’m eager to meet SBO’s core audience. It’s a wonderful opportunity to not only meet today’s best and brightest music educators, but to also attend various sessions presented by these teachers, where I’m able to collect ideas for new articles that might interest you in future issues.

At the FMEA show, I’ll be easiest found at the TI:ME booth. At Winter NAMM I’ll be found at either the Timeless Communications booth, our publisher’s booth for all of our music magazines, or popping in and out of the TI:ME booth. At OMEA, I’ll be presenting music education technology sessions for TI:ME, so look for me around there, and at TMEA I’ll be in and out of the SBO/Choral Director/JazzEd booth or up at the TI:ME National Conference technology sessions. Please find me and say hello. If I’m not at the booth at the moment, leave a card, and I’ll get in touch.

I’d like to take this opportunity to also reach out and ask you to visit sbomagazine. com and submit your articles, submit nominations for our “50 Directors Who Make A Difference” issue, submit your “On the Road” stories or “Playing Tips,” and of course, send your letters to the editor to me, all for possible publication.

SBO is even more awesome when band directors like you share your knowledge and experience with your fellow directors, our readers. One of my goals this year is to make sure your voice is heard while we deliver great content you want to read about. Let’s hear from you!

Here’s to a happy, safe, and prosperous 2016.

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