5 Ways to Make Your MEA Conference Fun and Productive

Saxophones at MEA Conference

It’s tough for educators to get away from their classrooms for any reason, and that goes double for music educators. Attending a conference means lost rehearsal time, the problem of non-music subs, and scheduling problems in general. To minimize difficulties, many music teachers only attend one conference each year – their state music educator’s association conference.

Creating a Quick, Inexpensive Concert Program

Creating a Quick, Inexpensive Concert Program

Putting on a successful concert means taking care of a lot of details. Obviously, preparing the music is most important (and comes with its own processes and challenges). Nevertheless, sometimes the logistics feel like the hard part. You have to enforce a dress code, make sure that students arrive on time, setup and manage the facility, and more.

Tips from Successful Marching Band Directors

Tips from Successful Marching Band Directors

Marching band alumni, from small high schools to world champion drum corps, often remain passionate about marching. Even though they no longer march themselves, they watch the next generations of musicians perform year after year. They remain active on marching-related social media.  I am no exception. I love seeing and hearing the shows that my high school puts together today just as much as I love re-watching our old shows.

Teaching ii-V7-I Progressions to Young Musicians

Teaching ii-V7-I Progressions to Young Musicians

The ii-V7-I progression is the foundation of tonal Western music, and famous jazz musicians agree that learning harmony is crucial for developing improvisation skills. How do we teach students about this important harmonic pattern? Most of the time, we let students pick it up through osmosis, showing them that the seventh scale degree naturally resolves up to the tonic, how to tune thirds to better create triads, and why key signatures matter.

Talking with Frank Ticheli about “Making Music Matter”

Talking with Frank Ticheli about "Making Music Matter"

“Making Music Matter” is a new beginning band method created by Frank Ticheli and Gregory B. Rudgers and published by Manhattan Beach Music. You can flip though the pages of the teacher’s edition below:

I’m delighted to announce that “Making Music Matter” was added to SmartMusic this month.

Using Formative Assessment in the Music Classroom

It’s a common scenario — you’re stuck in a professional development session that doesn’t apply to you because your ensemble classroom isn’t like a math or language arts class. You want to work with these great teaching techniques, but the presenter just doesn’t understand the limitations and circumstances involved in the music classroom.

Help Your Students Practice This Summer

Help Your Students Practice This Summer

It’s an unspoken rule of music education that students don’t practice over summer break. As teachers know, the appeal of Netflix and naps can easily get in the way of productivity (be honest, you haven’t organized your library of sheet music or large instrument closet), but we also know how important it is that students do something on their instruments over the summer so that the long break doesn’t undo all the work that happened during the school year.

Teaching Swing to Young Musicians

Teaching Swing to Young Musicians 1Many young jazz ensembles focus on funk and rock arrangements to hide the fact that they don’t know how to swing. Rather than limiting our concert programs to “25 or 6 to 4” and “Fantasy,” we should be teaching swing to young musicians from the beginning of their jazz careers.

3 Exercises for Improving Intonation with Drones

3 Exercises for Improving Intonation with Drones

Everyone who plays a wind instrument can probably remember a teacher saying, “Just work on long tones.” It’s easy for a teacher to see the advantages of building range, strengthening endurance, and developing tone quality with one exercise. Playing long tones along with a drone takes things to the next level, helping make the exercises more interesting and, more importantly, opening the door to improving intonation.

Using Audiation to Improve Student Musicianship

Using Audiation to Improve Student Musicianship

While I attended many fantastic sessions at the Midwest Clinic last December, one really stood out for me: Chad West’s clinic on teaching musicianship to young students. Chad suggested that music educators often focus on reading notation and building technique, but don’t spend enough time working with students on internalizing rhythm, hearing tonal relationships, and developing creativity.