Directors' Toolbox

Avoiding a Sheet Music Emergency

January 22, 2019

To those of us in the sheet music biz, contest and festival season is also known as “score season.” Contests and festivals are great opportunities to showcase your performing groups outside of school and get feedback from judges. It also leaves a lot of opportunity for things to go wrong – you’ve selected your pieces and rehearsed your group, but did you remember to get your required scores for the judges? Here are a couple of things to keep in mind before entering score season.

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Directors' Toolbox

How to Help Students with Special Needs in Music Class

January 15, 2019

Dr. Alice Hammel remembers when Vinnie started school. He had frequent outbursts and struggled throughout most of his elementary school years; eventually, he was diagnosed as being on the autistic spectrum. Dr. Hammel, who is a nationally recognized expert on teaching music to children of all ages with special needs, said Vinnie was unusual in that he could not match pitch – at all.

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How Eric Whitacre’s “Deep Field” Movie Was Made

January 8, 2019

Composer Eric Whitacre delved into the visual world of film after he received an invitation he could not refuse. After conducting his Deep Field orchestra piece, which is based on the Hubble Space Telescope’s findings, he was approached by audience member Scott Vangen, a NASA payload specialist, who invited Whitacre to come to the Kennedy Space Center for a visit. Just a month later, Whitacre was there.

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Multigenerational Singing in Church

January 3, 2019

The spiritual and educational value of asking different generations to sing together is meaningful, and the energy they create together can be palpable. In the “good old days,” multigenerational singing was a regular part of worship. Now, many churches offer special activities for children and youth during services, and this can affect how young people view worship. Recently, churches are rethinking this philosophy by looking for moments where children, youth, adults and seniors all get an opportunity to minister together. I’d like to offer some suggestions about how you might form and maintain a multigenerational musical group.

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Most Popular Pepper Blogs of 2018

December 26, 2018

J.W. Pepper would like to thank all the musicians and teachers who shared their time and expertise with us in 2018, making it possible for Cued In to cover meaningful stories. Here is a countdown of the 2018 blog articles viewed by the most people. Click the arrow to move through the slides, and click on the image if you’d like to read an article you missed:

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Directors' Toolbox

Preparing Students for Auditions

December 4, 2018

It never failed. Late November into December, when my performing groups were approaching the final stages of concert preparation, one or more students would ask me, “Can you help me prepare a piece for my audition?” Most of the time it was for an early college audition, or an audition for a musical. “When is your audition, and what are you planning to sing?” were my first questions. The answer was predictable: “I’m not sure when it is, and I was hoping you could help me choose a song!”

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Music Advocacy

How Music Education Benefits the Brain

November 14, 2018

Processing sound is one of the human brain’s most difficult jobs. The task involves multiple brain systems that need to be able to respond in microseconds.  Over the history of human development, it has been important for survival to be able to instantly and precisely recognize the sound of a snapping twig or a crunching leaf when it’s dark.

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