Professional Development

In the blog "Case Study: How to Grow a High School Orchestra Program," we described the steps taken by Kenny Baker, orchestra director for Robert McQueen High School in Reno, Nevada to greatly expand his school's orchestral program. Here are his five tips for success.
On a seemingly normal mid-April day, a group of jazz students at Columbia College Chicago are fixated on the man who's talking, world-class jazz trombonist Wycliffe Gordon. Their excitement is palpable. The lights shine down from above while the Artist-in-Residence's master class takes place. Gordon is so close that the students can see their reflection in his trombone.
Young percussion students who have a private instructor usually study solo on marimba, snare drum, drum set or timpani. Ensemble playing techniques are usually something that are acquired later in high school, and unfortunately, the percussion section doesn't usually get as much attention as it should. 
United Sound is a school-based instrumental music club for students with intellectual or developmental disabilities and their peers. Dedicated to promoting social involvement through shared ensemble performance experience, the organization enables music students with and without disabilities to learn and perform in band or orchestra together. 
When Dr. Kenneth Tse joined band for the first time at the age of 13, he wanted to play the trumpet; however, he was told that he had the right hands and teeth for making an ideal sound on the saxophone. Only later did Tse find out that the band director had simply needed a second alto player.
Bringing a guest artist to work with your students can be a win-win for all involved. Students and teachers have the chance to learn new skills and be inspired, while your administration and community will see your work firsthand.

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