Deconstructing Mallets: Find the Best Mallets for Your Percussion Section

Once upon a time, mallet choices were limited. The hardness of a mallet was the most dramatic way to change the sound of an instrument. Today, a variety of percussion implements are available, which has complicated the selection process.

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684 Hits

4 Tips to a Stronger Low Saxophone Section

When a saxophone section "clicks," it's an awesome musical moment. These musicians are technically proficient, well-balanced, in tune and great communicators across the ensemble. In any band, an outstanding saxophone section can bring an irreplaceable timbre and depth to the entire group.  

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  2258 Hits
2258 Hits

Emily Threinen: Music's North Star

As part of her True North approach to in­structing, Dr. Emily Threinen sees oppor­tunities to abandon the stick. Specifically, the director of bands and associate professor of music at the University of Minnesota recognizes when the baton is going to be helpful and when she needs to leave the podium to address an issue — especially with developing ensembles.


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651 Hits

Manage Year-End Commitments

December is hectic for Jason Robb, director of bands at Rouse High School in Leander, Texas. He runs two high school holiday concerts, six middle school con­certs and a pancake dinner fundraiser for his booster organization.

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  480 Hits
480 Hits

Letter to Myself: Richard Floyd

Yamaha Master Educator Richard Floyd is state director of music emeritus at the University of Texas at Austin and the musical director and conductor of the Austin Symphonic Band. A recognized authority on conducting and music advocacy. 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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  444 Hits
444 Hits

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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434 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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878 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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  615 Hits
615 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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  462 Hits
462 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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421 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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556 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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327 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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  391 Hits
391 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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888 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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486 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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1626 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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1791 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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573 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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1082 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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751 Hits

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