Music Ed Mentor Podcast #012: Live from NAfME!

Last week I had the pleasure of attending the 2017 NAfME National In-service Conference. It was the experience of a lifetime. I had a blast meeting educators, talking about burnout (thanks everyone who attended my session), and hearing students make music.

Conferences are one of the best ways for us to challenge ourselves as educators.

Five Philosophers Consider Jazz Repertoire Selection

Five Philosophers Consider Jazz Repertoire Selection

Repertoire selection is the most important job of any director. Great repertoire can culminate and demonstrate of all of the learning that has taken place during rehearsals. It should showcase the strengths of the ensemble and challenge the players to grow in areas where they may be less comfortable.

5 Innovative Ideas to Retain Beginning Music Students

5 Innovative Ideas to Retain Beginning Music Students

As orchestra, choir, and band directors, one of our biggest fears is that our programs will eventually disappear because of attrition. Yet we know that every year, a large number of kids register and participate in beginning ensembles. Clearly, the solution is to retain those beginners and keep them in the fold through their middle and high school careers.

SmartMusic Repertoire Update: November 2017

SmartMusic Repertoire Update: November 2017

In November we give thanks for the bountiful music we have at our fingertips. Well, that and other things, too.

This month we’ve added 13 new ensemble titles to the SmartMusic Repertoire Library. Included are pieces for choir, concert band, and string orchestra.

View the complete list.

The Dallas Brass: A Healthy Upper Register on the Trumpet

The Dallas Brass: A Healthy Upper Register on the Trumpet

The ability to play in the upper register eludes many young trumpet players and frustrates their teachers. Most people would consider this skill to be “difficult,” but I want to change the way in which we discuss and approach the upper register. Rather than referring to high notes as “hard,” “challenging,” or “difficult,” I advocate a philosophy where the upper register is simply unfamiliar.

Music Ed Mentor Podcast #011: Classroom Management

Music Ed Mentor Podcast #011: Classroom Management Secrets

Since launching  the Music Ed Mentor Podcast in June, I’ve tried to keep topics focused on improving the lives of music educators “off the podium.” There are many great podcasts that can help you refine curriculum and have great rehearsals, but not so many that focus on how we can improve life outside of class time. 

New SmartMusic Update – November 2017

New SmartMusic Update - November 2017

Over the last month, we’ve been making improvements in the new SmartMusic for teachers, students, and administrators. We’ve also introduced some features, added new content, and refined existing titles. Please check out the highlights below.

New Features Grading scale and grading calendars can now be shared among classes. This means you only have to create them once, and they’ll become available for all other classes.

Going Against the Grain: Flexibility Exercises for Trombone

Going Against the Grain: Flexibility Exercises for Trombone

Brass players talk about lip slurs and flexibility to describe mastery over a simple concept: buzzing the right pitch. Band directors are all too familiar with a brass player buzzing the incorrect harmonic partial while fingering the correct notes. The result is the wrong pitch. Things get worse in the upper register, where partials are closer together and more accuracy is required.

Prevent Music Teacher Burnout

Prevent Music Teacher Burnout

At this time of year, many band directors start counting down the days until Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks. While we all look forward to the time away from our band halls (and students), the difference between just being tired and truly burning out is very significant. If we’re not careful, the former can often lead to the latter.