Well that was fast • 31 October 2014

Can you believe we are already a quarter into into the school year?  For me, being in a new building, making hundreds of new relationships, learning new procedures & protocols - not to mention the distraction of my ACL & Meniscus repair - things have been flying by!

It was great to meet many of you again at conferences earlier this month and to any I have yet to meet in person, you're always welcome to stop in. Regardless, please stay in touch either via email, phone or text.

Now that second quarter is beginning, things will normalize a bit for the remainder of the year - at least in terms of my expectations - I'm not sure anything is ever normal in a middle school. Hopefully I'll be able to keep up with the basics of this weekly or biweekly blog - outlining what's up in Band & Orchestra. If you have specific questions about your student, please let me know.
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Practice: As you well know, success at anything requires adequate practice. Success in band and orchestra is most easily realized through a consistent home practice routine. Middle School students are given monthly practice logs. Elementary students are on a longer track but I will check every week in group lessons. Students are aiming for 150 minutes per weekly; I'm more interested in a consistent pattern of improvement than minutes. 30 minutes/day is adequate for muscle, brain and soul development.
Practice Documents
• When can I practice? - map out your week. 
• Middle School practice log - Due November 24.
Weekly Practice Priorities

SmartMusic: smartmusic.com  - I will NOT be using the SmartMusic grade book this year.  The SM grade book system has become too cumbersome to correlate that system with the MPS grade book system. I remain steadfast in my confidence of SmartMusic as an effective practice tool. Toward this end, playing assigments will be able to be practiced and recorded, and shared through SmartMusic - I simply won't be using the assessment % as part of my calculations - the software doesn't assess tone, dynamics, expression or articulation anyway.  I encourage all students and families to look into a subscription to SmartMusic if they haven't already, it's great but not required. If students are not going to use SmartMusic, they are still expected to practice (sans all the fun interactive stuff) and document their effort through recordings and email them to me. Students can do this through Audacity (mac/windows freeware), garageband (mac) or some other audio capture system. No need for any access to ProTools or Abelton Live. If students don't have a reliable computer, they may record over the phone via my Google voice number (612) 234-5379. Simply leave a voice mail style recording and google emails me an audio file. Assignments & instructions will be forthcoming.

Music Theory Homework (a worksheet or transcription assignment). Middle School students should expect a weekly or biweekly homework assignment. Homework is always due on a Tuesday.

Jazz Ensembles meet Monday's & Thursdays 8:20-9:30 - [Jazz Workshop, Mondays - Big Band focus & Jazz Lab Thursdays with an improvisation/"head tune"/small group focus]. There are a few spots available all sections (brass, reeds and rhythm) - if your student might be interested and is not yet participating, please have them come talk with me. My request is that student commit to a consistent attendance schedule.

LHCS has a new partnership with the Dakota Foundation for Jazz Education and some of the twin cities top jazz musicians will become frequent clinicians to work with our jazz band(s).

Private lessons: I always encourage students to seek out private lesson teachers. There are many great places for lessons that are close: Linden Hills SoM, Mount Olivet, Schmidt Music, Center for Performing Arts, as well as many in-home teachers. If you're looking for a recommendation please reach out via email and I'll help connect some dots.

UPCOMING ENVENTS:

Free Jazz Piano Workshop November 8 (registration deadline Nov. 4). Sponsored by the Dakota Foundation for Jazz Education. Click here for details & Registration.

Stiletto Brass Quintet to perform on November 13 9:45-10:30. All Middle School band and orchestra students will be attending but families are certainly welcomed. Stiletto Brass is a premiere all-female brass ensemble and we are honored to be hosting them while they are in the twin cities. 

Winter Concert - Decmeber 9 - Middle School Band & Orchestra 7-8pm, 6:30call, dress: Black & White.

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