J. D. Shaw, SmartMusic, and the Phantom Regiment

Horn virtuoso J. D. Shaw was a founding member of the Boston Brass, with whom he served as a music director and arranger for 15 years, helping create their signature sound. Today J. D. is the professor of horn and the assistant director of athletic bands at the University of New Mexico.

J. D. has recorded more than fifteen albums of a wide variety of musical genres. He has performed with the Boston Pops, Missouri Symphony, Rochester Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Vienna Philharmonic, and Wichita Symphony Orchestra. His performances have been featured on NPR’s “Performance Today” and the CBS “Morning Show.”

But in the unique world of drum and bugle corps, he is best known in his role as music arranger and caption head for the acclaimed Phantom Regiment Drum & Bugle Corps.

When I learned of J. D.’s use of SmartMusic with the Phantom Regiment, I asked him if he’d share his experience with us and was delighted when he agreed!

“Here at Phantom Regiment Drum & Bugle Corps, we are excited to use SmartMusic to keep track of students’ progress throughout the winter months even though they might live thousands of miles away. Being able to hear recordings of the students and then offer advice/tips from our staff members has proved to be an invaluable resource.

Not only that, but we are able to immediately identify students’ idiosyncrasies and design a tailored pedagogy program to implement during the competitive season. Another charming side-benefit of SmartMusic is that the Gradebook helps me get to know the students better in less time by putting faces to their names.

As an arranger, I simply write my scores in Finale then save them as SmartMusic files. Then I upload them to the SmartMusic server and, from there, my staff and I can design assignments that are both recordable and assessable.

SmartMusic will allow us to achieve new levels of excellence in spite of our members being from all over the globe and limited amount of rehearsal time together. Not only are our students learning a competitive show but we are able to instill strong principles of music education and pedagogy.”

Since we so often think of using SmartMusic with the students we see in school during the day, it’s an eye-opener to read of J. D.’s account of working through the off-season with performers thousands of miles apart.

On behalf of the entire SmartMusic team I’d like to wish J. D. and the Phantom Regiment the very best for 2010.

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