Teaching Rhythm Logically from Day One

Darcy Potter Williams

The start of the year, especially for anyone who teaches beginners, can be stressful. It’s not collecting handbook signatures, the t-shirt money, or checking out instruments and lockers that is truly going to impact the infancy of your students’ band experience. What is crucial is getting them off to the right start when they know nothing.

Classroom Management: It Takes a Village!

Classroom Management: It Takes a Village!

Classroom management is directly related to our ability to form relationships. While clearly the relationships in our classroom are critical (and we’ll talk about those in a minute), relationships outside the classroom form the foundation of our “village,” and our success.

To begin, let’s look at who is in our village, and how can we strengthen these relationships.

Tips to Help Your Students Transcribe Music

Tips to Help Your Students Transcribe Music

I frequently tell my students that I have learned more about music by transcribing it than any book could ever have revealed to me. When I was a young, inexperienced newcomer to jazz, I wanted desperately to learn more about improvisation. My teachers advised me to transcribe solos, and so I did, and they were right!

Five Ways to Celebrate Jazz Appreciation Month

Five Ways to Celebrate Jazz Appreciation Month

April is Jazz Appreciation Month. It is also Mathematics Awareness Month and National Poetry Month, among others. Why should we choose to celebrate and appreciate jazz instead of trying to solve quadratic limericks or prove iambic pentameter?

As a uniquely American creation and something that has influenced music, visual arts, and society at large, I believe jazz deserves an honored seat at the head table of the artistic bounty.

The New SmartMusic: Discover a Better Gradebook

Discover a Better Gradebook

Chances are it wasn’t your love of the grading process that inspired you to become a music educator.

That’s why, in developing the new SmartMusic, we created a simple, intuitive gradebook. So you can spend less time with rubrics and more with Rossini.

Introducing a Better Gradebook

This new gradebook is color coded so you can quickly assess student performance at a glance.

Repertoire Spotlight on Jazz for Jazz Appreciation Month

Repertoire Spotlight on Jazz Band for Jazz Appreciation Month

This month we added 25 new ensemble titles to the SmartMusic Repertoire Library. Included are new pieces for choir, concert band, string orchestra, and seven pieces for jazz band. View the complete list here.  

As part of our celebration of Jazz Appreciation Month we’ll focus on one of those pieces, Vince Gassi’s arrangement of Louis Prima’s classic Sing, Sing, Sing, which was immortalized by Benny Goodman’s 1938 Carnegie Hall performance.

Free Ebook: The Big Band Director’s Toolkit

Free Ebook: The Big Band Directors Toolkit

There’s nothing little about a big band, from the huge sound to the amount of work and expertise it takes to successfully direct one. We’ve compiled tips from experienced jazz educators from across the country to help big band directors everywhere.

They share their experience on jazz conducting, teaching swing, and what jazz festival judges want to hear.