The Inside Voice

An Interview with a Cappella Guru Deke Sharon

September 18, 2018

It was at a television station in San Francisco, California, where Deke Sharon realized how far his work in a cappella music had reached. He went to the station to complete a satellite interview for an Australian morning show when he struck up a conversation with a gentleman who was there to talk with the national media about military drone strikes. Sharon said the man, who was dressed up in an “FBI suit” and looked very serious, had an outburst of joy when Sharon said he was there to promote the movie Pitch Perfect 2.

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Directors' Toolbox

School Concert Planning Checklist

September 11, 2018

Trying to keep track of all of your classes and ensembles is hard enough. Then concert planning time comes, and there is a sea of event planning details to remember as well. To try to make things easier, we’ve compiled a checklist of concert planning tasks, along with a few stories from the trenches that showcase ideas that worked and moments when things went unexpectedly wrong. First, here is the checklist. Follow the arrows to see the planning steps from beginning to end:

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Directors' Toolbox

How It Got Started: Essential Elements for Band

September 4, 2018

Think about the way we learn music – the methods and best practices used in the vast majority of music classrooms.  The teaching approaches are not all the same, but there are a lot more similarities than differences. Go back to the 1980s and earlier, though, and you will find systems that are far removed from what we have today. Changes happened over time in large thanks to the inception of the Essential Elements for Band method books.

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The Inside Voice

Classical Crossover Band Inspires Students

August 21, 2018

Two worlds collided for cellist Nicole Myers as she traveled back to her Pennsylvania high school to give a performance as a professional musician. She and her bandmates in a rock orchestra group called Cello Fury visited Ephrata High School on a rainy spring day for one of the many outreach concerts they do for schools. There she was greeted by her former cello teacher Galen Reed. Myers says Reed went above and beyond as an educator, including driving her to state orchestra events and supporting her work beyond high school.

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Culture

Lesser-Known Stories About Leonard Bernstein: A Museum Tour

August 8, 2018

A large wall photo at a Philadelphia exhibition shows Leonard Bernstein during one of the most poignant days of his life – a day in 1948 when he conducted a concert with a small group of Holocaust survivors in Germany. The picture and the story behind the moment are part of the Leonard Bernstein: The Power of Music exhibit at the National Museum of American Jewish History. The presentation marks what would have been Bernstein’s 100th birthday in August 2018.

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The Pepper Difference

Behind the Scenes of Editors’ Choice

August 1, 2018

Tom Dean says when he worked as a music teacher he faced a daunting task every summer – the job of sorting through mountains of new sheet music to find the gems that might work for his school choirs. That changed when he discovered a service called Editors’ Choice. It made finding quality music much easier. Now Dean is J.W. Pepper’s Classroom and School Choral Editor, and he is part of the team that puts together the Editors’ Choice lists.

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The Inside Voice

The Inside Voice: An Interview with Concertmaster David Kim

July 19, 2018

David Kim paused after playing a few exquisite bars of music on his Italian violin. The concertmaster of The Philadelphia Orchestra seemed concerned that his instrument may be echoing too loudly across the sweeping multistory lobby of the Kimmel Center, where other people were working or visiting. This moment during our Pepper interview showcased both Kim’s humble nature and his concern for others – along with his extraordinary talent.

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The Inside Voice

The Inside Voice: An Interview with Cristi Miller

July 10, 2018

Teaching middle school tends to be “the road less traveled” for many new music educators. Sometimes this can be due to a lack of targeted training for middle school music, but more often it’s a fear of not knowing how to work with the physical and psychological changes experienced by this age group.  Thankfully, there are experienced mentors like Cristi Miller who are more than willing to help other teachers develop skills that work for their classrooms. Miller is a frequent clinician at choral workshops such as the Joy of Singing, and Pepper was able to sit down with her to talk about teaching, composing, and inspiring the next generation.

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Culture

Celebrating Patriotic Music

July 3, 2018

Each year when the annual celebration of our nation’s birth approaches, patriotic music becomes more prevalent in our daily lives. These songs paint a picture of our nation through their spirited melodies and inspiring lyrics. This Independence Day, Pepper has compiled some of our blogs about our national anthem, the “March King,” and other patriotic sheet music, along with interviews with some of the masters of military music.

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