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.
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!”
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.
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.
As a jazz educator and president of the Jazz Education Network (JEN), I have seen literally thousands of lives impacted by studying improvisational music – but I didn’t realize the full impact it was having until my oldest two children Porter and Bryn became involved. It has been so exciting to watch them grow in their own abilities, not just as musicians, but as people.
Most people know Leonard Bernstein as a world-renowned composer and conductor whose contributions to music and culture can be heard in concert halls around the world. Less known are his contributions to education, but they are no less impactful. Since the 1990s more than 250,000 students have been exposed to an educational method Bernstein created called Artful Learning®.
There’s an old joke that just about every musician has heard that starts, “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” The punch line, of course, is simply, “practice.” You are probably rolling your eyes at the moment, having known that joke for decades, but you also know that the truth is often said in jest – even if it’s not a particularly good jest.
It’s back-to-school time! Many of you are already back in the classroom while other teachers are gearing up for the first day. That means it’s time to gather the supplies you need to be ready to start making music.
With the nation’s birthday approaching, it is appropriate to celebrate the men and women of the United States military, without whom we would not have the many comforts and freedoms we often take for granted. It takes all kinds of people to make our armed forces the elite presence it is in the world, and we honor each of their contributions, thanking them for all that they do for us.
It’s no secret that taking part in musical activities has a significant positive effect on young people’s academic achievement. There are countless news stories from reputable organizations that extol the virtues of music education, and it is easy to find discussions by experts in neuroscience about just how impactful music can be.