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Thanksgiving Concert: A Fun Project for Instrumentalists

November 2021 – this post has been updated! Check out some new ideas on how to complete this project. I started doing the Thanksgiving Concert project a few years ago with my band and orchestra students. While I don’t believe in giving “homework” over long breaks, it is great when students can still play their…

Using Technology to Boost Student Engagement

This article was originally published in The Woman Conductor Journal, March 2021 issue. While the focus is on band rehearsals, the strategies described will work in nearly any music class or rehearsal. Technology integration is something that many band directors are aware of but are still unsure how to achieve. Especially since the goal in…

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Student-Centered Performances

In a performance-based class it may seem challenging to empower students and create a learner-centered environment. Musical ensembles are director-let by nature. Shifting focus to the students is not impossible, but it requires an open mind and careful planning to make it happen! Here are four ways you can create student-centered ensembles and performances. Student Choice in…

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Connected Music Students: Skype With a Composer

I’ve written before about how I believe empowered music students should be connected. The word connect, as opposed to collaborate, is intentional. I agree that it’s important for students to collaborate; it is a skill necessary for the 21st-century. But too often people hear the word collaborate and assume that means just with peers. Students…

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Personalized Learning Tidbits

Last week I attended the Mid-Atlantic Conference on Personalized Learning (MACPL). As a member of the Personalized Learning Design Team in Arlington County, this was very exciting! Last year I wrote about my work with Personalized Learning in music a few times. While I haven’t written about it in a while, it’s still something I…

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MIOSM for Empowered Music Students

Music in Our Schools Month (MIOSM®) is a great time for educators to showcase the fantastic things happening within their music programs. Throughout March, music departments all over the country put extra effort into making music front and center in their districts. This year I’m going to ask you to take that one step further….

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Organizing Multiple Ensembles

Anyone who conducts multiple ensembles or prepares for multiple performances knows it can be challenging to keep track of every group. What was covered during rehearsal?  What sections need more work? When were run-throughs were executed? The list goes on. Personally, I teach four separate ensembles during the school week – 4th-grade band, 4th-grade orchestra,…