Professional Development

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.
Cheryl Floyd has been the director of bands at Hill Country Middle School in Austin, Texas, for over 25 years. She was one of the first females and the first middle school band director to be elected to the American Bandmasters Association. Floyd has served as co-principal flute with the Austin Symphonic Band since 1985. She is a Yamaha Master Educator.    
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.  
Daniel Berard is director of bands at Grain Valley High School in Missouri. Prior to this, he served as the director of bands at Fossil Ridge High School in Colorado and was part of the team that opened the school in 2004 and oversaw the explosive growth of the award-winning concert and marching band programs there. 
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. 
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.
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.
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.
Douglas Droste is director of orchestras and associate professor of music at Ball State University in Indiana. As a dedicated advocate of music education, Droste regularly conducts youth and all-state orchestras and serves as a clinician and adjudicator for school orchestras and festivals. 
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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