• ’But it’s a theme park…’ – Justifying a performance trip to the Walt Disney World Resort

    Todd Rogers | September 15, 2015

    It doesn’t look like much on paper, and if you have never been there with a student group, explaining that a trip to a theme park is educational can be quite a challenge. We know that the terms “fun” and “educational” are not mutually exclusive, but you may encounter an administrator, parent or school board member who sees your endeavor as a waste of resources. This couldn’t be further from the truth, especially if your plans are taking you to the Walt Disney World® Resort. Here’s what you should know to help you justify a performance trip to The Most Magical Place on Earth:

    First, it’s important to remember that every performance trip has educational value. Whether you choose some of the world’s most beloved theme parks in Central Florida, a regional park closer to home, or a trip which doesn’t include theme parks at all, your students will come away with life experiences that can’t be delivered in the classroom. Performing in a new, unfamiliar venue shows your students how to adapt to changes and deliver results. The experience fosters a sense of teamwork and camaraderie within your members.

    Taking your students “out of the bubble” of their day-to-day lives expands their horizons beyond what is familiar to them, encourages them to build stronger bonds with peers (and with you, their educator), and exposes them to a performance audience beyond the doting families to which they are accustomed. The responsibility of showing up on time, remembering black socks, and managing one’s own souvenir or meal money is a significant step toward the independence your students will need in their adult life.

    While nearly every destination – across the country or around the world – provides these learning experiences, there are certainly destinations which deliver a top-quality educational travel experience consistently. Topping my list: the Walt Disney World® Resort.

  • Six Decades of School Music at Disney

    Mike Lawson | September 15, 2015

    The Magic of Disney is at the heart of the creation and ongoing growth and management of its Disney Performing Arts programs from coast to coast.

    If you have noticed a lot of attention being paid to Disney in SBO lately, well, it’s for good reason. This year, 2015, marks the 60th year that Disney has engaged an impossible-to-count number of school music programs in its parks to give students unprecedented performance opportunities in front of an equally impossible-to-count audience that must number in the hundreds of millions over six decades. Like so many millions before me, I too went to the parks with my high school music program, but this was unfortunately before so many exciting opportunities existed for students at the parks. It’s a great time to be a band student making a trip to a Disney park.

  • 2010 Director’s Resource Guide

    SBO Staff | May 20, 2010The 2010 CD Director’s Resource Guide provides instant access to the services and products choral directors need and use. The following organizations, companies, and institutions include award manufacturers, music camp organizations, music education software developers, tour and travel consultants, trade organizations, uniform designers and distributors, and much more. With listings conveniently arranged alphabetically by category, […] Read More...
  • SBOSurvey: Jazz Ensembles

    Mike Lawson | October 21, 2006

    As part of our March 2005 "Jazz Issue," we at SBO figured it might be instructive to try and find out how many of our readers are offering jazz instruction as part of their music program.

  • Up Close: Home School Bands

    Mike Lawson | October 21, 2005

    Home schooling is making a significant impact on education, with well over 1,000,000 American children engaged in formalized study at home.

    This population of students has been representing an ever-growing segment of academia since the inception of home schooling in the late 1970s and can no longer be ignored. States with the largest home schooling populations are: California, Texas, Michigan, Virginia, Ohio, Alabama, New York, South Carolina, Kansas, and Illinois. Whether public school music educators realize it or not, they can still have impact on home school education in several ways.

    But, first things first: what is home schooling? Home schooling is a method of education in which the parents take sole responsibility, overseeing the entire education of their children in a personal, direct manner. As the name suggests, home schooling is characterized by a one-on-one tutorial method of education, using the parents as teachers/tutors and most often takes place within the homes of the students. It is one of many educational options outside of the public school sector and, while the parents choose to educate their children at home, this does not mean that all education is confined to the home. There are many opportunities and resources outside of the home that can enrich home schooling experience.


    Mike Lawson | August 1, 2002Seventeen years ago, the University of Arlington, Texas, sent its football team packing. For some marching band programs, this decision would have meant certain defeat. Football game halftime shows are a college marching band’s bread and butter. But the UTA Marching Band rose to the challenge of keeping its program – without the support of […] Read More...
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