Electric String Ensemble Checklist

Electric string ensembles in school music programs are not the far-fetched idea they once were. Hundreds of high school and middle school programs have added electric quartets, quintets and more to their existing orchestra programs. In this article, we’ll take a look at the things you’ll need to get started.

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464 Hits

Cellist Mike Block's Musical Quest

“The quest to explore different traditions from around the world outside of classical music has really felt like a quest to discover more about myself,” says Mike Block, an associate professor at Berklee College of Music and the New England Conservatory

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644 Hits

Tips to Get the Most Out of a Conference

 

Tradeshows can be powerful ways for music educators to hone new skills, network and find inspiration. But as attendees go to sessions and roam exhibit halls, the experience can be overwhelming. 

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524 Hits

Assessments: Focus on Goals, not Grades

Music educators are no strangers to evaluation. Often, these evaluations happen when a cul­minating activity — like a festival, concert or recital — presents a finished product for consideration.

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544 Hits

Create A Chamber Program

Chamber ensembles allow students to practice and perform with like-minded musicians while providing camaraderie. Being in smaller groups builds perform­ance and technical skills, boosts confidence and con­nects musicians, says Dr. Matthew Geiger, director of percussion studies at East Tennessee State University in Johnson City.

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532 Hits

Q&A with Actor Erich Bergen

Every year I attend the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Advocacy Fly-In in Washington, D.C. For the last two years, I have had the pleasure of spending time with Erich Bergen, an actor and singer best known for playing Bob Gaudio in “Jersey Boys.” He recently ended his role as Blake Moran, policy advisor and executive assistant to the president on CBS’ “Madam Secretary.”

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603 Hits

Letter to Myself: Marcia Neel

Marcia Neel is senior director of education for Yamaha Corporation of America. She is president of Music Education Consultants Inc., and serves as the education advisor to the Music Achievement Council. In this capacity, she presents sessions with practical success strategies for music educators at state music conferences, district in-service days and dealer workshops. Neel is also a Yamaha Master Educator. Below, she writes a letter to her younger self about the joys of music education. 

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598 Hits

Resources for Online Teaching

Updated 5/18/2020 at 9:04 p.m. PDT

We want to do our part to help music educators as you explore options and search for resources to facilitate online teaching.

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16855 Hits

The ABCs of Classroom Management

As a veteran teacher, I'm often asked about my concept of classroom management by prospective and new teachers. My short answer is this: Managing your classroom isn't about any one thing but rather about your philosophy of how you deal with everything. 

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1127 Hits

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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1736 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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3121 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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1338 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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1026 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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779 Hits

Q&A with Rapper J. Dash

I am interviewing prominent people, some in the music industry, others not. For this Q&A, I talked to rapper, songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist Jameyel Johnson, better known as J. Dash

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348 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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976 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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1533 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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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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1864 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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602 Hits

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