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Music

  • MAC Corner: 100% Retention Rate? Go Team!

    Mike Lawson | May 19, 2015

    Shutterstock Music Student playing PianoStudents continue to participate in our music programs because they cannot imagine school without the meaningful engagement that our courses provide. For one reason or another however, we continue to lose some students along the way.

    One Iowa school district came to the realization that they could do something about it. Below is their story and some initial steps they are taking to work toward the vision of retaining 100 percent of their students.

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  • Juilliard to Host Joint Music Librarian-Musicological Congress

    Mike Lawson | April 24, 2015

    Juilliard will host a joint music librarian-musicological congress in June focusing on music research in the digital age.

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  • B&S Donates Trumpet at Band of Angels Heart Strings Gala

    Mike Lawson | April 20, 2015

    A new B&S 3137 Challenger I trumpet was presented to Morgan Cravens at the Band of Angels 4th Annual Heart Strings Gala.

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  • 2014 Grammy Signature Schools Announced

    Mike Lawson | March 18, 2014

    Grants awarded to 12 top U.S. public high schools for excellence in music education

    The Grammy Foundation® has announced that 12 schools nationwide have been selected as Grammy® Signature Schools for 2014 and have been awarded cash grants totaling $58,500. Created in 1998, the Grammy Signature Schools program recognizes the top U.S. public high schools that make an outstanding commitment to music education during an academic school year.

    Each of the 12 Grammy Signature Schools will receive a custom award and a monetary grant to benefit its music program. The top three schools are designated Gold recipients. The best of the Gold recipients is named the National Grammy Signature School and will receive $6,000. The two remaining Gold schools will each receive $5,000 and the two remaining Grammy Signature Schools recipients will each receive a grant of $2,000 to benefit their music programs. Seven schools will receive the Enterprise Award grant, which recognizes the efforts made by schools that are economically underserved. Each of the Enterprise Award schools will receive a grant in the amount of $5,500. The Grammy Signature Schools program is made possible in part through the generous support of the Ford Motor Company Fund.

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  • DIME Set to Open in ’14

    Mike Lawson | March 17, 2014

    Detroit Institute of Music Education to offer degree, diploma, and part-time performance courses 

    A new performance-based music education college is slated to open up in Detroit in the fall of 2014. Founded by three veterans of the British music industry – Kevin Nixon, Sarah Clayman, and Bruce Dickinson – DIME, the Detroit Institute of Music Education, school will offer advanced music students courses in guitar, bass, vocals, drums, songwriting and music entrepreneurship.

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  • UpClose: Marcus Tsutakawa

    Mike Lawson | January 21, 2014

    Great Works and Fun Gigs: Marcus Tsutakawa & The Garfield Orchestra

    As far as public school music programs go, Garfield High School has something pretty special going on. Building on a legacy that stretches from notable alumni like Quincy Jones and Jimi Hendrix (who was expelled his junior year) to current hip-hop artist Macklemore, this Seattle school music department has garnered more than its fair share of acclaim. In particular, its orchestra and jazz programs stand out, both of which are consistently among the best in their respective genres at top national festivals and competitions.  Marcus Tsutakawa (known as “Mr. Tsut” to his students) has been directing the Garfield Orchestras since 1985. While many might point to the numerous trophies, awards, and accolades that ensembles have garnered under his watch, when asked about his most significant achievements, Tsutakawa is quick to mention the array of fantastic literature he’s been able to share with his students. What it boils down to, for him, is pretty simple: “My goal is to perform often, learn as much new repertoire as possible, and play fun gigs.”

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  • MAC Corner: Festival

    Mike Lawson | January 21, 2014

    Teaching to the Test: Preparing school bands and orchestras for Festival

    From time to time, I read articles or hear news stories that focus on teacher evaluation and how “unfair” it really is to judge a teacher by the assessment of his or her students’ work. Each time, I am reminded how much we music educators have been doing just that all along! Hello, “Performance” Assessment – even that term is borrowed from our vernacular.

    Being more about assessment than many of our fellow educators from the other academic areas, our students learn by “performing”; not necessarily in the concert sense of the word, but more generally in the “learning by doing” concept that is implicit in our instrumental music courses.

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  • String Section: Diversity

    Mike Lawson | December 16, 2013

    Racial Diversity and the Symphony Orchestra

    I have long been intrigued by the lack of diversity in classical music, in part because I think there are a variety of reasons for it, some of which are not at all obvious. I recently had a conversation about this topic with Dr. Aaron Dworkin, the founder and president of the Detroit-based Sphinx Organization, which encourages black and Latino students to participate in classical music. I am a member of the advisory board at the Sphinx.

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  • UpFront Q&A: Marilyn Kesler, SAA

    Mike Lawson | November 19, 2013

    Today’s Suzuki Method: A Conversation with Marilyn Kesler of the Suzuki Association of the Americas

    Decades before El Sistema thrust the youth orchestra back into the international spotlight through its widely acclaimed achievements with underserved children in Venezuela, Japanese violinist and pedagogue Shin’ichi Suzuki revolutionized string education with his philosophy of early childhood music education. Emphasizing rote memorization and learning by ear with students as young as three years old, Suzuki’s method quickly gained a major following among music educators in the U.S. and around the world during the second half of the 20th century. While Suzuki success stories abound, the method has also faced its share of criticism, particularly in regards to its de-emphasis of the importance of reading music, limited repertoire, and a purported lack of creative development.

    After teaching orchestra in the public schools of Okemos, Michigan for more than 40 years, Marilyn Kesler now chairs the Board of Directors for the Suzuki Association of America. In this conversation with SBO, Kesler talks candidly about the strengths and limitations of the Suzuki method, while addressing some of the larger challenges that face music education today.

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