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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Teachers

The Influence of Jazz: Resources for Your Students

Jazz Appreciation Month may not have gotten as much attention this April as in years past, but there are certainly no time constraints on...

Sight-Reading Exercises for At-Home Music Practice

Sight Reading Music Practice Now is the perfect time to work on sight-reading skills. Students can use their moments at home to strengthen their ability...

Helping Music Teachers and Students During Covid-19

J.W. Pepper & Son, Inc. Creates a New Tool to Overcome an Unexpected Barrier to Music Education Update: This service is now being extended. Teachers...

2021 Music Teacher Resource Guide

There are many great ideas floating around social media as everyone adjusts to virtual teaching and learning. We thought we’d highlight some of the...

Publisher Permissions and Distance Learning

*April 3 Update: Pepper has worked with music publishers to provide a way to share music you purchased with your ensemble members for...

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...

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...

Adding Orff Instruments to the Music Classroom

For nearly a century, the Orff approach has been used to help children explore the world of music. This experience usually includes opportunities for...

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...

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...

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...

Celebrating the Leonard Bernstein Centennial: Contributions to Education

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...

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...

Something New and Exciting – Affordable Steel Drums for the Classroom!

One of the staples for any general music classroom, regardless of level, is instruments: barred instruments, recorders, rhythm instruments, percussion instruments, piano or electronic...

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...

The Inside Voice: An Interview with Greg Gilpin

Music education is a pivotal part of keeping our culture alive, and the teachers who carry out this mission need the support of other...

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 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...

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...

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...

The Inside Voice: An Interview with Wynn-Anne Rossi

Wynn-Anne Rossi is known to the music world as a talented pianist, dynamic composer, and dedicated music educator. Throughout her life, she has combined...

Make Pepper Part of Your Summer with Pepper Live

As graduation days approach, we know what’s really on everyone’s minds: summer vacation. And while days at the beach or camping in the woods...

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...

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...

Meet Debra Reilly: Grammy Music Educator Award Finalist

Recently, Pepper had the privilege to speak with Debra Reilly, a 2015 Grammy nominee for the Music Educator Award.  Ms. Reilly teaches and directs the string programs for Springhouse and Orefield...

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...

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...

Pepper’s Basic Library: A Strong Musical Foundation

Despite the fiscal challenges classical music faces in today’s changing musical landscape, I’m very grateful for the few remaining radio stations dedicated to classical...

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...

Qualities That Make a Great Student Leader in a Marching Ensemble – Part 1

With marching band season gearing up once again, directors find themselves looking to their flock of students in search of that indispensible percentage that...

The Benefits of Attending a Live Reading Session

On July 23, 2012, J.W. Pepper hosted Summer Sing, a choral music reading session in the company’s corporate headquarters in Pennsylvania.  While reading sessions...

Key People: Interview with Wynn-Anne Rossi

Crystal Desch and I had the honor of interviewing Wynn-Anne Rossi, and we think you'll find her as we did, an inspirational composer, pianist and...

Key People: Robert Vandall, Part 1

Crystal Desch and I recently interviewed Robert D. Vandall by phone.  Robert Vandall is one of this country's most prolific and popular composers of educational...

Meet Julius Brown and the Extraordinaires

Music teacher Julius Brown is making a big difference at KIPP, otherwise known as the “Knowledge Is Power Program.”  There are approximately 99 KIPP...

Adrianna Svitak: Child Prodigy and Educator

Is it possible for music education to expand the minds and imagination, as well as inspire the creative energy of today’s youth? Let’s take a close look...

Mariachi Music in the Classroom

Mariachi music has emerged as the primary musical representation of nationalism in Mexico, and is growing increasingly popular in the southwestern and other areas throughout...

Efficiency Expert

I was pleasantly surprised to come across Carmine Caruso’s Musical Calisthenics for Brass in our online database.  I studied trombone with Carmine from 1968...

Here’s to You, Mr. Masterson

In an era where The Arts seem to play…ahem… “second fiddle” to other disciplines in our schools and communities, it's important we support educators by recognizing those...

Dr. Tim on concert etiquette

Concert etiquette is important as it shows respect for both performers and fellow audience members alike.   Musicians that pursue their craft in earnest grow to appreciate...