Professional Development

Perhaps you are a violinist, violist, cellist or bassist considering the world of electric strings. After deciding to "plug in," your next question is probably: "Plug in to what?"
As a percussionist, there are three things that we should always work on — reading, rolls and ear/listening. I know it is naive to believe that these are the only things to work on, but if you can continue to improve in these areas, you will be more prepared for the future. 
In the blog post, Case Study: Building a Band Program from Scratch, we learned how Daniel Berard built successful concert and marching bands at Fossil Ridge (Colorado) High School. Here is how he did it.
The key to sight-reading success? Consistent daily practice, according to Dr. Charles R. Jackson, Jr., part-time assistant professor of music at Kennesaw (Georgia) State University, and Michael Burritt, professor of percussion and chair of the woodwinds, brass and percussion department at Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. 
As our thoughts turn to preparing for upcoming festival performances, we must remember that this is all about students attaining full facility of the skills required to become independent music-makers within the framework of the ensemble.To borrow from "A Christmas Carol," Charles Dickens' famous holiday tale, let's focus on festivals past, present and future.
In the blog post, Boston Brass' Quest to Educate Young Musicians, the members of the Boston Brass shared that education is essential to their mission. Here are some tips that the Boston Brass members like to impart to music directors during their many clinics.
As you might have guessed, the Boston Brass is a brass quintet originally formed in Boston. What you might not have known is that more than performing with a unique blend of broad repertoire and boisterous fun, the group's first goal is to help educate as many young musicians as possible.
Many years ago I was presenting a workshop entitled "The Power of Strings: Plugging In!" at a statewide music educators conference. The participants were all music teachers who had never played electric string instruments but were either planning to purchase some for their schools, were simply curious … or, in one case, outright skeptical.
In my more than 30 years working in music education, I have observed a great deal of change. However, one constant is the overwhelming impact that music teachers have on the overall success of their students.
In much the same way that a sports team needs skill players to perform specific tasks, quality school bands and orchestras need a given ratio of instrumentalists to carry out their defined functions in the ensemble. In both cases, the excellent condition of the component parts is key to putting together a winning team.

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