Ignite a Passion for Practice

Rather than relying on external motivation, successful teachers inspire students to fuel their own flame to attain a higher level of mastery. To this end, Chris Gleason, instrumental music educator at Patrick Marsh Middle School in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, taps into "the deeply human need to direct [one's life] and to learn, create and do better."

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651 Hits

Mater Dei's Mentor Program

In Case Study: Private School Outreach, we learned about the Mater Dei Music Academy. The middle school students in the program join the Mater Dei High School band — a close-knit group of about 50 — for several performances throughout the year. To form a cohesive unit among students from a variety of schools and ages, Taylor Smith — director of the Music Academy and associate band director at Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, California — created a mentorship program.

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480 Hits

Teaching Musicality to Percussionists

As an educator, I have never understood why young percussionists are not taught more about musicality. My wife is a flute teacher, and she teaches musicality to kids in sixth grade. Why is it that percussionists get to college and still do not know the basics about shaping a line?

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  610 Hits
610 Hits

Improve Students’ Tone

In music, tone is distinct and identifiable, and when played correctly and in harmony within an ensemble, it sets the overall mood and quality of a performance. However, mastering tone does not come easily.

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814 Hits

Use Lunchtime to Work Together

In the blog post, Case Study: Music Program Teamwork in Tennessee, we learned how the band, orchestra and choir directors at Ravenwood High School in Brentwood, Tennessee, often plan, brainstorm and collaborate during the only time the three of them are free­ — their common lunch period. Chris Janowiak, Cassandra Brosvik and Lauren Ramey use this same creative planning with their students.

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  533 Hits
533 Hits

Teach Your Students the Best Way to Oil Valves

It's the night of the beginning band concert, and the curtain will go up soon. You're back stage shepherding all of your students, who are bubbling with nervous excitement, to their chairs. Then, from the rear of the ensemble one of your trumpets raises his hand and says, "My valves are sticky – can you help me oil them?"  

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  2719 Hits
2719 Hits

Conducting 101 for High School Students

Imagine a director asking, "Can you make your sound move the same way you moved your arms?" Earlier in the rehearsal, the director showed students how to indicate the dynamics of forte with wide, sweeping motions and piano with smaller, more nuanced wrist flicks.  

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845 Hits

High School Student Leaders Can Help Recruit Younger Music Students

The best recruiters for music programs are our current students. When re­taining music students from middle and elementary schools, look to high school students to help because they serve as the best public relations for the program. These student leaders are role models and can make an immediate and impactful impression on younger students.

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756 Hits

Make a Plan: 8 Ways to Maximize Rehearsal Time

Try to fit these eight recommendations into every rehearsal. If you keep things moving, it's amazing how much you can accomplish during a 45-minute class.

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  914 Hits
914 Hits

Build Teamwork with Drum Circles

On the first day of school, new students may come to band class and sit timidly, not making eye contact with others. If the teacher facilitates a drum circle, then by the end of class, everyone will be smiling, chatting and bubbling with excitement.

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1168 Hits

Chamber Ensembles Help Develop Student Leaders

Several students sit in a practice room, their chairs arranged in a small arc with their music sitting on stands among them. While they lack the physical presence of a band director, they take initiative and guide themselves through rehearsal. 

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  610 Hits
610 Hits

Festival Etiquette

Performing at a festival is so much more than "performing the music." You should have high expectations for appearance and demeanor for performers as well as the audience. Here are some tips for your next formal performance.

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695 Hits

Add These 3 Exercises to Your Percussion Practice Sessions

As a percussionist, there are three things that we should always work on — reading, rolls and ear/listening. I know it is naive to believe that these are the only things to work on, but if you can continue to improve in these areas, you will be more prepared for the future. 

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  939 Hits
939 Hits

8 Tips for Sight-Reading Success

The key to sight-reading success? Consistent daily practice, according to Dr. Charles R. Jackson, Jr., part-time assistant professor of music at Kennesaw (Georgia) State University, and Michael Burritt, professor of percussion and chair of the woodwinds, brass and percussion department at Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. 

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  935 Hits
935 Hits

DonorsChoose Helps Provide Quality Music Education

In my more than 30 years working in music education, I have observed a great deal of change. However, one constant is the overwhelming impact that music teachers have on the overall success of their students.

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  506 Hits
506 Hits

How to Choose the Right Mouthpiece

I worked in a music store for many years, and one of the most common requests we'd get from customers was help with picking a mouthpiece. The conversation would often include something like this: "I need a new mouthpiece. I want something that lets me play higher … and sound really good!"

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598 Hits

Explore Nontraditional Music Programs

Like most secondary music educators, your teaching credential probably allows you to teach K-12 music — anything from elementary classroom music to high school band. We each have our specialties, but many secondary instrumental educators have found success and great personal satisfaction by learning about and providing more comprehensive and inclusive music-making opportunities. 

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626 Hits

Develop Student Leaders

When I began teaching in 1994 at Tarpon Springs (Florida) High School, seven students attended rehearsal. The school had one performance ensemble, and the band room only opened for one period during the curriculum day. Since then, we have grown to nearly 300 students and have 10 separate performance ensembles.

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  898 Hits
898 Hits

Creative Assessment: Project-Based Learning

You can tell from their playing whether a student is progressing, but can you really get a read on whether or not what we have been teaching is really sinking in?

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  584 Hits
584 Hits

Metronome Exercises for Percussionists to Develop Timing Skills

Musicians are supposed to have good timing. But do you just practice with your metronome or do you interact with it during your practice sessions?

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  1891 Hits
1891 Hits

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