The idea for Memorial Day stemmed from one of the most trying times in the history of the United States. During the Civil War so many lives were lost that the U.S. had to create the first national cemeteries. By the 1860s some towns and cities had established traditions of decorating graves in the springtime. The leader of a veterans’ organization, General John A. Logan, called for a national day of remembrance that he called Decoration Day.
The grandeur of Carnegie Hall is a far cry from where composer Patrick Hawes began his musical education. In a small English coastal town, Hawes began learning piano as a child at his father’s pub. A pianist there named George Marsden taught Hawes pieces ranging from Roll Out the Barrel to Mozart sonatas.
British composer Patrick Hawes gives an unusual answer when asked if there’s anything career-wise he wishes he could do better. His response: “Nothing.” The reason is based on Hawes’ Christian beliefs. He says he believes his ability to compose choral and symphonic music is a gift from God.
Perhaps you’re a long-time band director asked to start a string program at your school. Or you’re a first-year teacher looking at limited job options that may include any combination of band, chorus, or strings. However you find yourself in this situation, the lack of a string playing background shouldn’t deter you from taking on the position of orchestra director. Being prepared and willing to learn can lead to an extremely rewarding teaching experience. Here are a few tips and resources to get you started:
Believe it or not, summer vacation is not far off. Students are undoubtedly excited about that, and for piano teachers and the parents of young piano players, summer provides hidden opportunities for growth. Learning the piano is a fun experience for everyone involved, but it also takes a real commitment. For those unable to continue lessons during the summer, it can be a challenge to keep up.
Nearly three decades ago, a group was started with a simple mission – to play contemporary big band jazz, rooted in a traditional style. The brainchild of Stanley Kay, former manager of the Buddy Rich Orchestra, the DIVA Jazz Orchestra started auditioning potential members in 1992 after Kay approached drummer and current DIVA Jazz Orchestra leader Sherrie Maricle about forming the group. Kay had heard Maricle play some years earlier and was so impressed with her talent that he approached her and asked if she knew any other women that played like her.
The pressure to create visually spectacular marching band shows can be high in the age of short attention spans, reality TV competition shows, and social media. Some large universities have met the challenge by creating exciting performances featuring drill sets with detailed picture formations and transitions. Many high schools have responded by incorporating creative and challenging shows. Regardless of the level of complexity, some basics need to be in place to help students entertain the crowds. Here are some ideas on how to help your students have the best marching experience possible.
Grammy-winning composer Eric Whitacre and the late “Mother of Hubble” Nancy Grace Roman had something in common when they were children: they both enjoyed watching the stars at night. For Roman, the interest was encouraged by her mother, a music teacher. Roman’s early stargazing eventually led her to become a renowned NASA astronomer who led planning for the Hubble Space Telescope and lobbied Congress for funding. For Whitacre, his childhood experiences compelled him to create a powerful composition and film about Hubble’s findings.
Since 2001, April has been recognized as Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM). Certainly one of the best ways to learn about jazz and explore its history is to do it in person. Luckily, much of the past has been maintained and curated for the public at numerous museums, parks and homes. Here are 12 places where you can learn more about jazz greats from the past and present.
It may not feel like it, but the academic year is coming to an end. When the doors to the school building close for the summer, instrument cases all too often close with them. Rather than let a year’s hard work be erased by three months without music, consider a summer music program to keep your students’ minds sharp. We spoke to Dr. Jenny Neff, Associate Professor of Music Education and Director of Summer Music Studies at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia about finding the right program for young musicians and making sure they get the most out of it. She offers unique perspectives, having been a former camper, counselor, and director at the New England Music Camp.