THE J. W. PEPPER BLOG | DELIVERING MUSIC SINCE 1876

THE J. W. PEPPER BLOG | DELIVERING MUSIC SINCE 1876

THE J. W. PEPPER BLOG | DELIVERING MUSIC SINCE 1876

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Music Education

How to Access CARES Act and ESSER Funding for Your Music Program

These are exceptional times. Schools across the U.S. are working to overcome enormous challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Music educators have the opportunity...

DIY Virtual Choir: It’s Easier Than You Think!

Virtual choirs have become more popular than ever due to our current need to stay socially distanced from fellow musicians. The publishers Pepper works...

Copyright for Virtual Concerts: What You Can and Cannot Do

J.W. Pepper hosted a webinar on October 1st with Katie Baron, attorney and partner at Alter, Kendrick & Baron, LLP and Shari Molstad, Permissions...

My Score Grants Help Composers Reach New Audiences

Pepper offers grants to diverse array of composer non-profit groups.

Is Music Talent Genetic? What Scientists Know and Don’t Know

For centuries, scientists and the public alike have tried to determine if talent genetically runs in families when it comes to music. There are certainly many...

The Year of Beethoven: How to Help Students Understand Musical Genius

There’s no shortage of ways to celebrate the upcoming 250th anniversary of Ludwig van Beethoven’s birthday in December 2020. Numerous special events are planned around the...

5 Tips on Student Retention in Music Ensembles

Have you been in this situation before? It’s the start of the school year. You have returned from a summer of planning and preparation....

20+ Surefire Ways to Warm Up Your Choir

What types of warm-up exercises do you use for your choir rehearsals? The answer to this question can take on myriad forms depending on...

Black History Music Lesson Plans: Ideas for Music Teachers

If you are looking for some fresh and interesting ways to explore the achievements of African Americans with your band, choir, or orchestra during...

Promoting and Selling Your Compositions Through My Score

Directors and music teachers are always coming up with new and creative ways to keep their programs engaging. Sometimes writing a song or fun...

Overcoming Challenges as a New Music Teacher

The first year of teaching didn’t go entirely well for award-winning music educator Victor de los Santos. He was assistant band director at Santa...

Summer Reading Ideas for Music Teachers and Directors

Now that summer is in full swing, there’s time to kick back and enjoy some light reading. There are innumerable books that can inspire, entertain and...

Ways to Celebrate Music in Our Schools

What started as a single day of music advocacy by the New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA) back in March of 1973 has grown into...

Black History Month Songs: Using Music to Teach About the Past

Updated January 2020 The idea for Black History Month was developed during a difficult time for African Americans in the United States. In 1926, segregation...

Avoiding a Sheet Music Emergency

To those of us in the sheet music biz, contest and festival season is also known as "score season." Contests and festivals are great...

Teaching Music to Students with Special Needs & Learning Disabilities

Dr. Alice Hammel remembers when Vinnie started school. He had frequent outbursts and struggled throughout most of his elementary school years; eventually, he was...

Preparing Students for Auditions

It never failed. Late November into December, when my performing groups were approaching the final stages of concert preparation, one or more students would...

Back to School: Tips from Teachers

J.W. Pepper talked to current and former teachers during one of our summer workshops to get some ideas for starting the school year right. Here...

Fun Piano Lesson Ideas for Summer

Summer can be a welcome break from the usual school-year routine and offers some unique opportunities for your private piano students. No school (or...

Top 10 Tips for a Better School Year

Music directors are busy people.  One of our great joys at Cut Time is getting to know directors and learning about their programs.  Here are 10 things directors say help them have a more successful school year: 1. Eliminate surprise.  Set calendar reminders to prepare for upcoming  concerts and other events. Work a little bit ahead to avoid compounded stress around performance time.

Music In Our Schools Month: American Young Voices

Over a period of two years, the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) has strengthened its partnership with an exciting program that is building...

How to Practice Music Effectively

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...

Managing Your Music Ensembles with Cut Time

There are many moving parts involved in managing music ensembles. Between keeping track of inventory, communicating with students and parents, coordinating volunteers, planning trips,...

Building an Advanced Music Lab in Your Classroom, Part 2: MusicFirst

Like many other teachers, I have been exposed to learning management systems (LMSs) through professional development, online courses and even some face-to-face coursework. Early...

3 PA Systems That Music Teachers Love

Music classrooms are inherently noisy. First there is the ventilation system to compete with, which is especially difficult in the large spaces we typically...

Music Essentials Checklist

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...

Music Advocacy Resources for Spring Concert Programs

In March, the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) and music associations across the nation celebrate Music in Our Schools Month (MIOSM). It is...

Choosing Orchestra Music – Playing to Your Strengths

Every spring, orchestra teachers anticipate getting next year’s rosters. They give a good indication of the instrumentation they'll be working with in the coming...

Taking Your Marching Band to the Next Level

In all areas of the country, marching band is a vital part of the high school fall experience. While the type of band your...

Choosing Festival Repertoire

Last updated January 14, 2020 You have decided on the trip, made all the preparations, and your students and parent groups have been hard at...

Mark Cabaniss’ Top 10 Reasons for Performing a Musical

Night of Miracles… Joy Comes in the Morning… Friends… It’s Cool in the Furnace… Celebrate Life… and the list could go on. Hopefully, you’re...

Technology in Education Today

The influx of technology into our lives and into our classrooms has had a profound influence on the way many music educators approach the...

Pepper’s Top Tips for Concert Season

Concert season is right around the corner and, chances are, you have been preparing for it since your last concert ended. You spent the...

Traveling with Your Music Department

Traveling with your school ensemble can be a wonderful experience for your students and your program. It can help deepen the social ties within...

ePrint: Your Source for Printable Sheet Music

Pepper's ePrint service is getting even better, and we can’t wait to share the improvements with our customers. Since its introduction, ePrint has grown in popularity...

A History of Service: Music Education

Education is the lifeblood of any successful society, preserving the best skills and techniques by passing them down to future generations. The music world...

The Inside Voice: An Interview with Julia Kamanda

If you have not yet had the pleasure to hear Julia Kamanda speak about classroom music, composition, and education, you are missing out on...

Teacher Evaluation: Keep Calm and Improve Your Craft

  In 2012 Pennsylvania piloted a new teacher evaluation program called the Teacher Effectiveness System.  By 2014, every district in the Commonwealth was using this...

Introducing My Library

Performance planning is rarely the highlight of any music director’s season. Designing your concert may be enjoyable in itself, but the stress that comes...

Music and the Brain

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...

Teaching Concert Etiquette

One of the most frustrating experiences a music teacher or director can have is a concert audience that is disrespectful.  Whether it is cell...

Capturing Your Concert: Simple Tips for Recording, Part 2

In this installment of Capturing Your Concert: Simple Tips for Recording, we are going take a look at handheld recorders which are designed specifically...

The Inside Voice: An Interview with Sharon Burch

Sharon Burch has always been passionate about music education, especially for elementary-age students. From a young age, she loved music and wanted to bring...

Recruitment and Retention in the School Music Program

Much has been written about recruitment and retention for music programs.  With the uptick in access to social media, there are even more opportunities...

John Rutter: The Importance of Choir

Listen as composer John Rutter delves deeply into the importance of choir in all aspects of life.  He shares his own love of music...

A Glimpse at Tracy Harris’ Flute Boot Camp

Here is your chance to take a sneak peek at Tracy Harris’ Flute Boot Camp.  Pepper has compiled seven videos that take you inside Tracy's...

Necessities for Marching Band Maintenance

With limited resources for many music programs these days, proper instrument upkeep has never been more important.  While you need to handle major repairs...

Repertoire – Choosing Quality Choral Music, Conclusion

Now that you have found some potential pieces and they fit the “who, what, when, where and why” of your practical considerations, what now? ...

Repertoire – Choosing Quality Choral Music, Part 2

In Part 1 we discussed practical considerations in choosing repertoire, such as the makeup of your performing group and the expectations of your intended...

Repertoire – Choosing Quality Choral Music, Part 1

Of the responsibilities that music teachers have, perhaps one of the most challenging is that of finding and choosing quality repertoire.  With the amount...

Who’s in the Choir?

Why join the choir?  Well, for one reason, you'd be in some very good company.  Here's a rundown of some former choir members: Want to...

Band Camp: A Crash Course in Life Skills

For some, band camp has concluded and the school year is underway;  for others, camp is in full swing, complete with marching and maneuvering...

Support for First-Year Music Teachers

Ask any teacher about their first few years teaching and it’s likely their response will be equal parts nostalgia and relief that they are...

“Fame” High School of the West: The Los Angeles County High School for the Arts

If you are reading this, it most likely means that you are either a musician or involved in some type of art form.  As...

Teaching Music to Deaf Students

As a musician and a person who deals with both the music business and the deaf world, I assumed, as many people do, that...

World Teachers’ Day – October 5, 2012

Internationally recognized as World Teachers’ Day, October 5 is a special day to celebrate the essential role of teachers.  Established by UNESCO (United Nations Educational...

Qualities That Make a Great Student Leader in a Marching Ensemble – Part 3

Over the past few posts, we have been discussing the qualities that define an excellent student leader.  The first two traits this three-part series...

Something New for K-8 Music Teachers!

Selecting appropriate materials for the classroom is one of many challenges elementary music teachers face.  Working with multiple grade and skill levels in itself...