Perspective: “Summertime come and gone, my oh my…” or “Welcome Back.”

Mike Lawson • Commentary • September 8, 2016

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Its back-to-school season again.

Already. I mean, didn’t summer just start? How does this happen so quickly each year? And even worse, as I grow older, the time flies by leaving me to wonder if it was ever here at all. It seems like students get out later and start earlier every year, but this is likely an illusion based on my own memories of growing up in a tourist town on the beach that depended greatly on high school students for its work force, pretty much between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Maybe that just made summer feel longer. My youngest son just graduated from high school in May, and now has entered a college program here studying film and video production. I no longer have children, I now have adults. “My oh my,” indeed. This is the first year of my life as a parent I will no longer have a K-12 child enrolled in school.

But for you as an educator, there is a lot to look forward to this year. We’ve talked a lot about the “Every Student Succeeds Act” also known as the “ESSA” in SBO this year. Well, this new school year will mark the first full school year where it’s law, and where music and arts are finally, officially recognized at a federal level as being part of a “well rounded curriculum.” That’s kind of a big deal. The contributors to our magazine such as the Music Achievement Council, in particular Marcia Neel, and our In The Trenches contributor Bob Morrison have provided great advice on how to ramp up your program by taking advance of this new law. Feel free to be in contact with me, or them, if you need more information on how you can enhance your music program under the ESSA.

A quick note about October, we’ll be adding a standing column, “The String Section,” by popular demand of our orchestra teachers, written by Jennifer S Warren, an accomplished violinist and violist for the Jackson Symphony Orchestra, the Murfreesboro Symphony, and the Nashville Philharmonic Orchestra. After receiving a B.M in Violin Performance and a M.A (studying with Stefan Petrescu) from Middle Tennessee State University, she wished to be proficient as a violist. She went back to University to study viola with Mrs. Sara Cote. She will be writing “at large” on all things of interest to orchestra directors sharing her career path, insider looks at working with civic symphonies, and much more.

Speaking of contributors, SBO thrives on getting contributions from you, our readers, through and filling out our forms to submit articles, stories from your road trips, and most importantly, playing tips.

The biggest thing I want to call your attention to this month is our annual “50 Directors Who Make A Difference” issue, published in December each year. We start working on contacting and vetting the submissions for that issue the end of October, and as you can imagine, it’s a lot of work to make sure we get quality submissions from all fifty states. Please help us out by submitting nominations of your friends, colleagues, former directors, and others that you know who’ve made an outstanding difference to the world of music education in band and orchestra so that we can consider them for this honor in 2016. Our best submissions come from the co-workers, administrators, and even current or past students. We have two more months for submissions before we begin selecting the final ’50 Directors Who Make A Difference” honorees, and hope you’ll help us find them. Please submit your “50 Directors“ suggestions right away, also at

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