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

J.W. Pepper Staff Gives Free Lessons for Make Music Day 2021

We’re celebrating Make Music Day 2021 by putting on our educator hats and giving lessons to local students. In partnership with Make Music Philly,...

Top 5 Summer Music Conferences 2021 – Online or In Person

Summer is the perfect time to refresh and rejuvenate while you prepare for the fall. And what better way to do that than in...

ePrint Folders: A Proposal for Administrators

Teachers know the benefit of sharing digital sheet music (ePrint) legally with their students. In a school setting, it's crucial to involve the principal...

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.

How to Add Social-Emotional Learning Lessons in Your Music Classroom

As we approach the coming school year, we can all agree we are still in unmapped territory. We may again have to take on...

On-the-Go Music Educator: 7 Tips on Teaching from a Cart

This coming school year, more music teachers are being asked to be mobile during the school day. Some have lost their music rooms. Others...

A New Tool Helps Music Directors Find the Perfect Score

More than three years ago, an effort was launched at J.W. Pepper to make it easier for music teachers and directors to find compositions...

Social-Emotional Learning: Stress Release Techniques for Music Class

There is much discussion about incorporating more social-emotional learning (SEL) in schools during the next school year. Music class is certainly one of the...

Celebrating Teacher Appreciation Week: The Impact of Music Teachers

A famous quote, sometimes attributed to artist Pablo Picasso, says “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is...

The Power of Music: How Music Creates Joy and Relieves Stress

It’s no secret that music is used in innumerable ways to create connections, soothe troubles, and bring back memories. Parents who say they’d never...

Teaching Music Online: How to Engage Students Through Your Virtual Classroom

In this challenging time, the music education community has been doing what it does best: working together to keep students engaged in deeply meaningful...

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...

Yes, It’s Leap Year! 10 Ways to Celebrate in Music Class

It’s only once every four years we need to remember to add 29 to the end of February. But leap year is so much...

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...

How Music Helps Adults with Alzheimer’s Disease

One viral video revealed the power of music in a way few other film clips could. It shows a patient suffering from severe dementia...

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...

How Editors’ Choice Helps Music Teachers and Directors

Every spring, piles of new sheet music are stacked in nooks and crannies around J.W. Pepper’s corporate office. The works come from a thousand...

Music Room Design: Setting Up and Decorating Your School Music Room

Music teacher David Fernandes says he faced unexpected challenges when he had to set up his music room during his first year of teaching....

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...

Vocal Belting 101: How to Help Your Students Use Their Full Voice

When I was an undergrad, I was told that belting would ruin my voice. I shunned the music I loved and focused solely on...

8 Tips for Teaching Orchestra for the Non-String Player

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...

Summer Resources for Young Pianists

Believe it or not, summer vacation is not far off. Students are undoubtedly excited about that, and for piano teachers and the parents of...

How to Plan Visuals, Formations & Choreography for Your Marching Band

The pressure to create visually spectacular marching band shows can be high in the age of short attention spans, reality TV competition shows, and...

“Deep Field”: Exploring the Connections Between Science and Music

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...

Helping Students Select a Summer Music Program

It may not feel like it, but the academic year is coming to an end. When the doors to the school building close for...

Inspiring Our Youth: Music Programs That Celebrate Diversity

Aaron Dworkin says he did not know about many black classical composers before he went to college. Long before he was named a MacArthur...

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...

Building Successful Band Programs in Smaller Schools

The student population at Louisburg High School where I’m in my 40th year of teaching is about 535 students. Yet we’re proud that more...

The Advantages of Using Handchimes in Music Class

You, like many music teachers, may have a set of handchimes in the instrument cabinet of your classroom that have been sitting for years. ...

How Music Education Benefits the Brain

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...

Vocal Health Tips: How Choral Directors Can Help Students

One of the most important but sometimes overlooked jobs of a choral director is to help their students take care of their voices. With...

How to Handle Easy Instrument Repairs

As the school year progresses, instrument repairs seem to be an unavoidable fact of life. The good news is many of the most common...

School Concert Planning Checklist

Trying to keep track of all of your classes and ensembles is hard enough. Then concert planning time comes, and there is a sea...

How It Got Started: Essential Elements for Band

Think about the way we learn music – the methods and best practices used in the vast majority of music classrooms.  The teaching approaches...

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...

Practicing Sight Reading Year-Round with Your Band

Sight reading is a wonderful assessment of musical literacy, but it can take time for students to learn this skill. This is why I...

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 3: Do It Yourself

A dedicated music tech lab is a terrific way to supplement and reinforce the learning that is happening in the classroom and through ensemble...

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...

Building an Advanced Music Lab in Your Classroom, Part 1: Elementary

When I began teaching in 1982, everything from lesson planning to grading was done by hand with paper and pencil. I was part of...

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...

New Large Print Sheet Music from Pepper

Music is a passion for singers of all ages, and for many, performing in a choir is one of their greatest joys in life....

Protecting Teacher and Student Health with Earplugs at Band Practice

When school is in session, as teachers we all know to stock up on hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes and tissues, and schedule the annual...

A Band Director’s Guide to Teaching Chorus, Part 2

Are you a band director yet you find yourself teaching chorus? In Part 1: Preparing Your Singers I discussed setting up and managing the choral...

A Band Director’s Guide to Teaching Chorus, Part 1

Part 1: Preparing Your Singers During my teaching career, I noticed that there were many music teachers who would have liked to have known more...

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...

Church Musician or Magician? A Choral Planning Guide

It’s that time of year! Whether you started planning two years ago or you will wait until the first week of rehearsals (don’t worry,...

Choosing the Right Strings, Rosin, and Mute for Your Instrument

Choosing the right accessories for your ensemble can be tricky, especially on a budget. Some accessories can greatly affect the overall sound and efficacy...

Reading Sessions: The Shortcut to Your Success

For the past few months, the Pepper editors have listened to mountains of music to find the best choices for our Pepper Live events,...

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...

It’s Time 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...

Planning the Perfect Concert Program

Your concert is coming up; you and your students have been working on the selected repertoire for a while now – things are 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...

Music Room Furniture and Accessories: Everything You Need to Furnish Your Music Room

Look around your music room. Is anything missing? If your students are sitting cross-legged on the floor amidst piles of music, there might be some...

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...

Capturing Your Concert: Simple Tips for Recording, Part 1

Have you ever found yourself at the end of a performance wishing you had made a recording of it?  Sometimes you hear the audio...

Granting Three Wishes – The Schoener MusicMan Camp

A love of making music is ingrained in the culture of not only our nation, but the entire world. The evidence of that can...

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...

Your Ticket to a Hit School Musical

A lot goes into putting on a youth musical; that should come as a surprise to no one. What many teachers do is take...

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...