Savy Leiser is an author, journalist, editor and creative writing teacher living in Chicago. She graduated from Northwestern University in 2015, where she spent four years playing saxophone in the Wildcat Marching Band and was a member of the music sorority Sigma Alpha Iota. In addition to writing for Yamaha SupportED and Halftime Magazine, she...

Savy Leiser is an author, journalist, editor and creative writing teacher living in Chicago. She graduated from Northwestern University in 2015, where she spent four years playing saxophone in the Wildcat Marching Band and was a member of the music sorority Sigma Alpha Iota. In addition to writing for Yamaha SupportED and Halftime Magazine, she writes children's and young adult books.

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Work with Music Dealers to Enhance Your Program

When working with Paige's Music in Indianapolis, Indiana, local band directors give the game "red light, green light" a new twist. Tim Dawson, director of school sales at Paige's, works with band directors to put together presentations about instrument inventory based on red, yellow and green traffic lights.

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Use Creativity to Make Rehearsals More Meaningful

A few times each semester, the band room at Hill Country Middle School in Austin, Texas, would fall completely silent. As students walked to rehearsal, they saw signs reminding them that their rehearsal would involve no talking from anyone — not even the teacher.

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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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Sean Jones' Advice to Educators: Encourage Professionalism with Students

In the blog post, How Trumpeter Sean Jones Gets Respect, Jones recounts how he started performing as a child through church. Today, he teaches his students more than just the fundamentals of performance; he also stresses that professionalism will help students secure gigs and succeed in their musical careers. Here are some ways that educators can encourage professionalism with their students.

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How Trumpeter Sean Jones Gets Respect

Some educators command attention with a booming voice and a larger-than-life presence. Sean Jones employs a completely different tactic that is equally — and probably more — effective. He teaches with a soft voice and an unassuming demeanor. But the acclaimed jazz trumpeter and music educator instantly gains his students' respect. How? "[I] lead by example," he says.

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Pablo Rieppi and the Art of Practicing

In the blog post, Pablo Rieppi's Passion for Percussion, we learned of Rieppi's nearly nonstop practicing regimen through his college days. To keep daily practice from becoming tedious, Rieppi recommends the following:

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Pablo Rieppi’s Passion for Percussion

World-renowned percussionist Pablo Rieppi decided to teach himself to play drums as a junior in high school. Little did he know that a year later, he would decide to pursue music professionally when the rock band he formed with his friends won a local battle-of-the-bands competition.  

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Violinist Christian Howes’ Three Pillars of Pedagogy

In the blog post, Christian Howes: Versatile Violin Virtuoso, renowned strings performer and educator Christian Howes explains why he started Creative Strings Academy. His pedagogy is comprised of what he calls "a trifecta of pillars" in order to expand students' understanding of music.

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Christian Howes: Versatile Violin Virtuoso

At 15 years old, violin virtuoso Christian Howes found himself envious of his school's last-chair second violinist. Howes recalls how that classmate was composing and recording his own original songs. 

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Clarinetist Julie DeRoche Molds Music into Art

In the early 1980s, Julie DeRoche — who had recently received her degree in clarinet performance from Northwestern University — was juggling four jobs to make ends meet as she worked toward a fulltime career in music.

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Clarinetist Julie DeRoche’s Keys to Teaching

In the blog post, Clarinetist Julie DeRoche Molds Music into Art, we outlined how DeRoche, professor and chair for the Department of Music Performance at DePaul University School of Music in Chicago, utilizes her extensive background in the music industry and teaching to help take her students to the next level of musicianship. 

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3 Tips to Start a Mariachi Program

In the blog post, Case Study: Celebrating Mariachi in Iowa, high school band director Ruben Newell and middle school director Patti Bekkerus from Denison (Iowa) Community Schools shared how they started a successful mariachi program. In addition to research, patience and understanding, they offer these three tips.

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Case Study: Celebrating Mariachi in Iowa

Every spring, Denison (Iowa) High School hosts a fiesta, including a taco truck, chips and salsa, and parents' homemade desserts. But the main attraction is the Denison High School Mariachi Band. 

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Music Education in Japan

As educators, we can always glean new insights from the teaching practices in other countries. Japanese schools, for example, strive to take excellence in music education to a new level. They emphasize an early appreciation of music, with mandatory classes in elementary school and junior high. 

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Tips from Trumpeter Allen Vizzutti

In the blog post, The Many Faces of Trumpeter Allen Vizzutti, involving family, band directors and other musicians has been key to Vizzutti's career and success. His experience has shown that making connections are crucial for musical success. Here are some of Vizzutti's top tips for educators:

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The Many Faces of Trumpeter Allen Vizzutti

As a teenager in Missoula, Montana, Allen Vizzutti received the rare opportunity to befriend one of his idols. Doc Severinsen, trumpet player and bandleader for NBC's "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson," gave a guest performance at Vizzutti's high school. With the encouragement of his band director, Vizzutti played a solo for Severinsen, who eventually became one of his most important mentors.

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Percussionist Julie Hill’s Unique Teaching Strategies

​In the blog post, Percussionist Julie Hill Brings the World Home, we outline how Hill inspires percussionists on many levels: as a university educator/scholar, world-class performer and past president of the Percussive Arts Society (PAS). 

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Percussionist Julie Hill Brings the World Home

As a child in the small town of Martin, Tennessee, Dr. Julie Hill dreamed of traveling the world. She befriended international and exchange students, listened to world music and took an interest in things that differed from her everyday life.

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Tips to Reinvent a Music Program

In the blog posting "Case Study: Reinvent a Music Program," we described the numerous innovations introduced by Dr. Melissa Gustafson-Hinds, director of bands for O'Fallon Township High School in Illinois. Here, she offers five keys for building a successful band program.

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Case Study: Reinventing a Music Program

At O'Fallon (Illinois) Township High School, when school ends, music can still be heard drifting through the halls as high school musicians guide middle schoolers in after-school private lessons. The program is just one of many opportunities created by Dr. Melissa Gustafson-Hinds — known as Dr. G — to connect band students of all ages together.

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