The Power of the Teacher

Teachers can be so influential on children of all ages when they genuinely care, and I have personally had some music teachers that really did change my life. They taught me how to be confident in my individualism, how to work hard to achieve tough goals, and how to appreciate music and the empathy it encompasses. These people are so often overlooked for what they do, which is so much more than just throwing instruments into the hands of middle and high schoolers and waving their arms around to conduct. Continue reading “The Power of the Teacher”

Breathing Gym

Yes, you read that right: breathing gym. When I state those words to people who have never heard of this kind of training, I am often met with surprise and skepticism. However, it is a wonderful thing to learn from and take advantage of if you are a wind player or if you teach a wind ensemble. Continue reading “Breathing Gym”

Benefits of the Combo

Music education provides so many opportunities for children to learn skills that are applicable for anything that comes their way, and one of these skills is learning how to work in a team. By playing in orchestras and wind ensembles, one learns how to listen to others and find where they fit into the grander scheme of things. However, sometimes students get lost in these larger groups — they either fall behind, or they feel that they are unimportant and that nobody would notice if they did not play altogether. This is when the jazz combo gains significance. Continue reading “Benefits of the Combo”

What It Means to Be a Section Leader

More often than not, the section leader is the best instrumentalist in their section. They practice their instrument as they should, they have good tone, and they generally know what they are doing. They are the most mastered at their instrument in the group, and they are the example the director wants the other students to strive for. However, although being a section leader means that one is a talented musician, there is so much more that goes into holding this respected position — a section leader is a role model, a teacher, and ideally a friend. Continue reading “What It Means to Be a Section Leader”

Concert Etiquette — For Parents

One of the key things students learn in school music ensembles is how to have respect for the arts, and respect for each other in concert settings. These are invaluable lessons, but they can often be undermined when parents set such bad examples in the concert setting. For the sake of your child and the arts, pay attention parents. Continue reading “Concert Etiquette — For Parents”

What Students Should Be Doing In the Audience

Even though it is often with a large group of people, getting up on stage and performing repertoire you have been working on for months can be exhilarating and nerve-wracking, and just a lot of fun. This is the time for you to demonstrate what you have been working towards, and to impress the audience. You have talent to showcase, and you expect the audience’s attention and respect — when you are in the audience, it is your duty to reciprocate that. Continue reading “What Students Should Be Doing In the Audience”

Music In Our Schools Month® Is Over…

…but that does not mean that we should stop promoting the importance of music education. The National Association for Music Education has designated March as a month of celebration and recognition after the idea for the event was conceptualized and has expanded over the last few decades. Throughout this last month, my social media feeds were filled with inspirational quotes about music education, from various organizations that I follow and my friends that are involved with music. This is the kind of promotion that will encourage others to get involved and work to protect the arts. Continue reading “Music In Our Schools Month® Is Over…”

A Horrifying Quiet on the Horizon

Earlier this month, President Donald Trump announced his plans to completely cut the funding for the National Endowment for the Arts — to say that I was angry would be a bit of an understatement. This funding takes up a whole 0.004% of the national budget, and the president is planning on taking that money and funneling it towards the military, which currently accounts for about 16% of the budget. By just quickly skimming through this blog, you can tell that the arts are something that I hold very dear to my heart: it is of the utmost importance that we do everything in our power to prevent the opportunities that the arts bring from being taken away from our children. Continue reading “A Horrifying Quiet on the Horizon”

Leland High School’s Big Band and Orchestra

Mr. Rian Rodriguez is the music director at Leland High School, and tonight he led both the school’s big band and orchestra through thoroughly entertaining sets that featured some Michael Jackson, marimba, Mozart, and Lin-Manuel Miranda. The students had clearly worked hard to prepare for this performance, and they were also clearly having fun with the dynamic repertoire. Continue reading “Leland High School’s Big Band and Orchestra”

Spotlight on Rafael Maldonado

When San Jose State University music major Rafael Maldonado first picked up a musical instrument, it was a pair of drumsticks in the fourth grade. His older sister had been in band, and he decided that he wanted to be a part of music too (an inspiring episode of Spongebob Squarepants that featured a band also helped him make his decision). Little did he know that it would lead him to the career in music that he is currently pursuing. Rafael is a magnificent musician with an absolutely inspiring passion for the arts, and with his talents he is helping students become well-rounded individuals while also working to spread the joy behind the universal language that is music. Continue reading “Spotlight on Rafael Maldonado”