Navigating Moral and Legal Obligations

Peter Warshaw, fine arts director for the Leander (Texas) Independent School District, gives presentations about suicide awareness to music educators. Warshaw has lost two students as well as his wife to suicide, so he knows firsthand about the warning signs and the grief.

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  239 Hits
239 Hits

Denis DiBlasio: Jazz Saxophonist, Music Educator and Storyteller

Denis DiBlasio is a natural improviser. He was about 10 years old when his music teacher wrote down a blues scale in F. "He said, 'Just make up stuff and use these notes,'" DiBlasio says. "I must have played that thing for two years. I just beat that thing to death."

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  358 Hits
358 Hits

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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  313 Hits
313 Hits

Setting Up Jazz Figures on the Drum Set

How do you treat figures on the drum chart in big band and small group jazz?

I want to provide some clarity for those of you who are jazz band educators who do not play the drum set. I also want to help folks who are interested in applying their drum set skills to big band or small group jazz playing.

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  281 Hits
281 Hits

Letter to Myself: Kevin Ford

Yamaha Master Educator Kevin Ford is the director of bands at Tarpon Springs (Florida) High School and the founder and director of the Tarpon Springs Leadership Conservatory for the Arts. Below, he pens a letter to his younger self, sharing advice, anecdotes and inspiration for a fulfilling career in music education.  

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  228 Hits
228 Hits

3 Improvisation Impediments and How to Fix Them

In Denis DiBlasio: Jazz Saxophonist, Music Educator and Storyteller, we learned about Denis DiBlasio's background as a jazz saxophonist and music educator.

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  273 Hits
273 Hits

Using Food to Teach Rhythm to Special Needs Students

United Sound is a nonprofit that provides musical performance experiences for students with special needs through peer mentorship.  

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  191 Hits
191 Hits

How to Start a United Sound Chapter

In Case Study: Peers Support Peers at a United Sound Chapter in Missouri, we looked at how Parkway Central Middle School's band members have embraced being peer mentors to special-needs students through United Sound, a nonprofit that provides musical performance experiences for special-needs children.

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  179 Hits
179 Hits

Take Note: Dorico is a Must-Have for Music Classrooms

Dorico music notation software is right at home in the music classroom. Dorico supports teaching music theory and composition through its algorithms, ensuring that music is always expressed according to the established practice, with rhythmic groupings and enharmonic spellings automatically calculated. 

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  616 Hits
616 Hits

Timpani Maintenance: Three Common Problems and How to Fix Them

The percussion family consists of vast number of instruments. In a standard music room, there will be timpani, marimbas, xylophones, bells, snare drum, bass drum, cymbals, tambourines, triangles and much more. All require regular care and maintenance. In this blog post, we'll talk about one of the most difficult percussion instruments to maintain: Timpani.

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  195 Hits
195 Hits

Letter to Myself: Douglas Droste

Yamaha Master Educator Douglas Droste is the director of orchestras and associate professor of music at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. Below, he pens a letter to his younger self, sharing advice, anecdotes and inspiration for a fulfilling career in music education. 

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  980 Hits
980 Hits

7 Ways to Help Band Directors Tackle Strings Education

Even the most accomplished band directors can feel a bit out of their league when teaching strings for the first time.  

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  1503 Hits
1503 Hits

Find a Mentor

A small act of kindness can spark a decades-long mentor relationship. Dr. Reginald McDonald still remembers when Herb Cox, a former band director in Atlanta, graciously stepped up to help him tune his middle school concert band during his second year of teaching. McDonald says that several of his students were not sitting correctly, making tuning stressful and labored.

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  398 Hits
398 Hits

How to Change Timpani Drum Heads

Timpani heads do not need to be changed very often – we recommend every 1 to 2 years – but it's still important for band directors to know how to change them. Unfortunately, many directors don't know how or think it's too difficult. Yes, changing drum heads on timpani is more involved than it is for tom or snare drums, but anyone can do it. Here's how.

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  768 Hits
768 Hits

The Importance of Saxophone Mouthpieces

Music educators should not overlook selecting a proper saxophone mouthpiece for students in saxophone method classes and for beginners. Students and parents might assume that because mouthpieces typically come with the purchase of new saxophones (and in many cases, resale saxophones), the mouthpiece that is included is the best choice. This is not necessarily true!

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  524 Hits
524 Hits

How to Choose the Right Mallet

Imagine that it's a new school year, a new band/ensemble season, and the percussionist arrives to rehearsal to see what music is in store for the first concert. Alongside the percussionist is a mallet bag, and inside are his or her tools. When opened, the bag looks like a beautiful and colorful bouquet worthy of a centerpiece!

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  3547 Hits
3547 Hits

Avoid Burnout

You became an instrumental educator because you love music and have a passion for sharing your talent with students. When your job inspires you, teaching may not even feel like work.

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  575 Hits
575 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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  572 Hits
572 Hits

Aaron Tindall’s “10 Rules of Play”

In the blog post, The Drive of Top Tubist Aaron Tindall, Tindall describes how he has high expectations for his students. Tindall, associate professor of tuba and euphonium at the University of Miami Frost School of Music and principal tubist for the Sarasota Orchestra, builds his pedagogy around his "10 Rules of Play."

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  641 Hits
641 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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  403 Hits
403 Hits

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