CBDNA - Music Education

Current Music Education Committee

James Ripley, Carthage College, Chair
Mary Schneider, Eastern Michigan University
Rebecca Phillips, Colorado State University
Paula Holcomb, State University of NY-Fredonia
Charles Peltz, New England Conservatory of Music
Colleen Richardson, Western University
Christopher Morehouse, Southern Illinois University
Brian Doyle, Crane School of Music
Rick Fleming, Buffalo State University


This is the first in a series of videos of innovative approaches to teaching within the large ensemble. The Music Education committee will have more available in the coming months.


In this document CBDNA proposes a set of departure points for the conversation. We do not attempt to respond to every point put forth in documents offered by CMS or others. Rather, we wish to address some of the fundamental issues that underlie reform. We choose not to argue for positions. Rather we ask questions, we offer and suggest, all in the spirit of collaborative dialogue.

Transforming Music Study from its Foundations:

A Manifesto for Progressive Change in the
Undergraduate Preparation of Music Majors.
Report of the CMS Task Force on the Undergraduate Music Major
November 2014

A Compilation from The 2014 Ithaca College Conference on Instrumental Music Education: Preparing the 21st Century Artist-‐Teacher
Related File: EditedFinalIthacaCBDNAReport.pdf

In 2014, a group of distinguished teachers, musicians, and leaders was commissioned to respond to the following questions related to the preparation of future instrumental music teachers at the university level. The related file contains a compilation of their responses. These responses (presented in alphabetical order), along with discussions from session participants were part of the Ithaca College Conference on Instrumental Music Education: Preparing the 21st Century Artist--‐Teacher which was held June 29--‐July 1, 2014. This conference was sponsored by the CBDNA, the Paynter Foundation and Ithaca College.

2014 CBDNA Symposium on Instrumental Music Education

Ithaca College/CBDNA Conference on Instrumental Music Education.
June 29- July 1, 2014
Mark Fonder welcomed us and provided initial introductions. He shared a brief history about this conference and reminded us about its purpose. Mark said,
In 2010, the CBDNA decided to re-focus on one of its founding principles: that of supporting instrumental music education in the elementary and secondary schools. The first conference was held at the University of Minnesota and the focus was on mentoring new teachers while in their first or second year of public school teaching. The second conference, held at Arizona State University in 2012, began expanding the definition of instrumental music education beyond the large ensemble and band membership to include teaching nontraditional instrumental ensembles in the schools.
Welcome to Ithaca College and the third of three CBDNA-sponsored conferences. Like the two previous conferences, CBDNA remains committed to its principle of strengthening and supporting instrumental music education in the schools. However, this conference has a unique mission. The purpose of this conference is to examine the role of the college and university conductor in the preparation of the future instrumental music teacher.
We acknowledge that sometimes there is a lack of coordination in the preparation of future instrumental music educators in higher education. The music education faculty might perceive the applied faculty approach as fossilized while the conductors might see the music educators approach as lacking artistry.
Over the next two days, we have an agenda filled with exciting topics and presentations given by some of our professions best minds. Concluding each day will be a panel presentation that promises to be provocative, perhaps controversial, but always aimed toward assisting in preparing the instrumental music teachers in bringing the highest quality music experiences to their students.

Karl Paulnack, Dean of the School of Music at Ithaca College, provided the keynote address. He acknowledged the purpose of this conference was to address two somewhat separate approaches to music education, and implored us to find common ground. At the core of what any of us do in music – is music itself – beauty, art, and what it means to be fully human. Karl cited brain research and how music is used to help heal stroke victims. According to Karl, the four areas that impact brain development, include music, exercise, play, and a numinous (transcendent/spiritual) experience. By focusing on what we know about the human brain and how music stimulates the human brain, perhaps we can appreciate the many ways in which music can be experienced and taught.
Carolyn Barber was the first presenter on Monday morning. Her presentation, entitled Ensembleship for the 21st Century Artist Teacher challenged us to find ways to go beyond the conductor as all knowing by engaging our ensemble members in projects based on our repertoire. Carolyns college wind ensemble students work together in sectionals and other pre-arranged small groups to improvise, share interpretations, and build ensemble trust. Each project (approx. one or two per semester depending on the literature) is based on repertoire and deals with some aspect of musicianship or ensemble performance that Carolyn or the students feel needs improvement. Students might be asked to work on articulation, intonation and style for one project. Another project included watching a video and then selecting a musical interpretation. All circle games or projects were directly linked to repertoire being studied in wind ensemble rehearsals. While Carolyn might be present to videotape the musical circles, her role is not to tell the students what to do; she observes and guides once the project has been assigned.
Doug Orzolek presented a session about assessment trends in music education. Dougs focus was on past assessment methods as well as future and included the myriad ways in which teachers are assessed and required to assess student learning. Using excerpts from band repertoire, Doug shared specific ways in which we can engage students in music making so that our end goal can be reached: independent music makers (students who love music). Doug reminded us that assessment is not simply a grade given at the end of a semester and that grade should certainly not be based on a students attitude or attendance. Rather, assessment is an ongoing part of the learning process and should be used to determine what a student has learned, and is learning.
Interestingly, both Carolyn and Chris Azzara used the tune Simple Gifts (Carolyn was working on Coplands Variations on a Shaker Melody in her rehearsals) to demonstrate possibilities for improvising in the band room setting. Chris took participants through his seven step process of improvisation after asking participants to take the oath of there are no mistakes in improvisation, every wrong note is just a half step away from a right note and, if you play something that doesnt sound right, you are either really cool or you just dont get it yet.
Brian Diller, DM Candidate in Conducting from Cincinnati Conservatory, was selected as one of three paper presenters for the conference. Brian shared his experiences as a high school band director who was committed to creating a valuable chamber music program at the high school level. Brian shared recordings of his ensembles and even provided live musicians performing without a conductor. Brians session, Beyond the Band: A Model for Incorporating Conducted Chamber Music into the School Music Program. Strategies, Repertoire, and Materials looked at how to incorporate chamber music into a program without it being relegated to only preparation for solo and ensemble contest.
Each afternoon session was devoted to a rehearsal lab. On our first afternoon, 40 members of the Ithaca High School Concert Band were present to serve as a lab ensemble for four different student or first year teachers. Our intent was for each young teacher to rehearse the Ithaca Band for 20-25 minutes while participants watched master teachers work with the young teacher. We were hoping to see the process of teaching rehearsal techniques, and rehearsal pacing. Each mentor teacher used a slightly different approach with each young teacher. Director of Bands at Ithaca High School, Nicki Zawel worked with Grace Demerath on Frank Tichelis setting of Amazing Grace. Grace has had limited large ensemble experience so kudos to her for having the courage to not only step in front of a high school band that she didnt know, but also to allow 60 conductors to watch! Nickis approach with Grace began with the positive things Grace was doing and then she focused on conducting technique and facial expression. Nicki asked Grace to listen carefully and also to tell the students why she wanted them to do something. Director of Bands at Eden Prairie High School in Minnesota, Liz Jackson, worked with Kelsey Melvin on Graingers Ye Banks and Braes O Bonnie Doon. Liz asked Kelsey to think more about the expression and meaning behind the piece. She encouraged Kelsey to ask the students questions and engage them in the rehearsal process.
Mitch Robinson, Associate Professor and Chair of Music Education at Michigan State University, worked with Erika St. Denis. Erika graduated from Ithaca College one year ago and has spent the year substitute teaching in both music and other subject areas. Erikas presence on the podium was commanding and energetic. Mitch let her work on her own for a bit before stopping her. He told the group that he had spoken to Erika before the rehearsal (just as he would have if he was in a real mentoring situation) and asked her what she wanted him to look for in her rehearsal. She asked him to pay special attention to her rehearsal pacing. The ensemble was playing the second movement of Tichelis Cajun Folk Songs and having some trouble lining up ensemble entrances (internal pulse) after sustained notes. Mitch shared his approach to working with student teachers and commended Erika on her fast pace, while offering suggestions for future rehearsals.
Craig Kirchhoff, Director of Bands at the University of Minnesota, worked with our final young teacher, Mike Reinemann. Mike, like Erika, graduated one year ago and has spent the last year as the band director of a high school near Springfield, Massachusetts. Mike had prepared the third movement (Rondo) of the Malcolm Arnold, Prelude, Siciliano and Rondo. Mikes pacing was extremely quick – in fact, Craig asked him to slow down and work to be less frantic. Craig wanted Mike to focus on elements of balance revealing an understanding of who had the primary and secondary lines.
Interestingly, all this took place in front of Frank Battisti who was the Director of Bands of the Ithaca High School band from 1955-1967. It was wonderful to have him in the same room with members of the high school band and their current director, Nicki Zawel. During the post rehearsal Q and A session, Frank said, every rehearsal needs to have a eureka moment and that can only happen if the director is extremely well prepared with a rehearsal plan backed up by extensive score study.
After the rehearsal lab, we were treated to information about Cindi Johnston Turners research with Google Glass. Cindi and her graduate assistant, Tyler Ehrlich, talked about the various projects they have been working on during the past year, including the new composition for glass entitled, Edward. From using Glass to project her view of the score on a screen during a concert to using Glass to immediately send video clips to conducting students after class, participants learned about how Glass might transform the way in which we do things. Cindi also organized a performance of Edward which was written for four performers wearing Glass including drum set, conductor, prepared piano and bass clarinet.
Before dinner, Mark Skaba, Phd. candidate from Rutgers University and a music educator from Nanuet Schools in New York, read his paper entitled, The Incomparable Organ of Instruction: Teaching and Learning Within the Band Tradition. Marks premise is based on writings by Dewey, and Allsup, and explores the role of the band experience in the public school. Mark writes, The band teacher sage approaches his craft as musician and teacher with care—care for musical creation, care for the spaces of learning those musical experiences support, and care for the individuals whose living experience become a part of his own.
After dinner, the first three questions of the six core conference questions were answered and discussed by the following panelists: Craig Kirchhoff, Bob Duke and Evan Tobias. The questions are as follows:
1. In your view, what is the role of the college ensemble director in the preparation of the future public school instrumental music teacher?
2. If we ourselves have not been prepared to teach outside of the traditional band and orchestra model, what can we do to help prepare our music education majors to do so?
3a. What experiences and processes occurring now within the curriculum of the instrumental music director could be diminished or perhaps replaced in order to more fully enhance their students music education?
Each panelist answered his question in depth and the other panelists were invited to comment before conference participants were invited to comment or ask additional questions.
By the second morning, Liz Jackson summarized the core debate of the conference and posted this on Facebook:
Ok - the big controversy at this conference is does the large ensemble performance experience deserve to continue as a vehicle for teaching music in the schools? Or should we be devising other methodologies for instruction that are less antiquated and can reach a higher percentage of the student body? There are definitely two camps here, and the debate is on. WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Lizs post immediately received many thoughtful and provocative responses which can be viewed on the newly-created conference Facebook page. Please visit the Facebook page and add your own comments: https://www.facebook.com/groups/ithacacbdna.
William Bauer began the second day by sharing his thoughts and many valuable resources regarding technology in instrumental music education. Bill cited several specific ways in which directors can utilize technology to teach comprehensively in the band rehearsal. Providing a brief history that included the CMP Wisconsin model, Bill shared methods that combine technology with comprehensive teaching in the rehearsal room.
Based on her personal experience in Venezuela, Cassie Sulbaran, presented an overview of El Sistema in Venezuela and the United States. El Sistema is completely funded by the Venezuelan government but Cassie shared methods and resources for how programs in the U.S. could flourish. Pedagogically, all students including the very youngest beginners, are exposed to orchestral literature from the start. The idea in this method is that the instrumentalist may only be able to sit and listen during the first few months, but gradually they will be able to play and participate more fully as repertoire is repeated.
Brian Shelton and Alexa Yunes presented information on how to teach and motivate diverse populations in the music program. Alexa suggested that directors need to learn and understand cultural values that may determine program success. For example, in the Latino community, where family time is valued, it works well to create performance opportunities that include entire families. Alexa suggested that simply requiring a student from the Latino community to perform in a concert, may not be a reasonable expectation. But, asking the band to perform at a festival with other family-centered activities might be more successful.
During a roundtable lunch break, participants visited in small groups. Some talked about the conference presentations and others caught up socially. Participants were invited to join the Facebook discussion.
After lunch, Larry Livingston rehearsed the Northeast Wind Conducting Symposium Wind Ensemble on Bachs, Fantasia in G. Pointing out extra musical meaning in the scale passages, the Golden Section and the Fibonacci series, Larrys rehearsal was engaging, passionate and interactive. As participants looked on, Larry questioned the players about dissonance, suspensions, tension and release in his attempt to get the players to play with more passion, expression and musical sensitivity. Larry talked about the power of music as a vehicle to define who you are and that music expresses the ache in humanity.
Scott Shuler unveiled the newly revised National Standards for Music Education that include creating, performing and responding to music. Suggesting that the traditional ensembles including band are somewhat antiquated and only include 15% of the secondary school population (on average), he then advocated for more non-traditional approaches to music making in an effort to get more students to participate in music.
After dinner, the Scott Shuler, Larry Livingston and Frank Battisti responded to the final three core conference questions:
3b. What experiences and processes could be added to the curriculum of the instrumental music teacher in order to more fully enhance their students music education?
4. At every level, from major symphony orchestras to school bands, there are challenges to maintain cultural and social relevance. Discuss the balance you would seek between preserving our history and traditions on the one hand and becoming more culturally and socially relevant on the other.
5. What recommendations do you have to bring together all the stakeholders (collegiate and public school ensemble conductors, teacher educators, researchers, community members) toward the achievement of a musically educated society?
The Ithaca Conference on Instrumental Music Education concluded with many great ideas shared, discussed and bantered about. While each attendee will ultimately take from it what they will, the overall feeling was that change is inevitable – we each need to reflect on how we are doing things both in the ensemble room and in academia – in order to provide the best, most musical and relevant experience for our future music teachers.

This report, respectfully submitted by Beth Peterson

Practice Like a Pro
Related File: PracticeLikeAPro1.pdf

-Garrett Lindholm

ACT (Action, Crticism, and Theory for Music Education)

ACT publishes refereed and invited critical, analytical, theoretical, and policy development articles of international interest that illuminate, extend or challenge the Action Ideals of the MayDay Group. Research based in and across a variety of disciplinary perspectives is thus encouraged and welcomed: e.g., education, music, philosophy, sociology, history, psychology, curriculum. Frequency of issues is determined by submissions, approvals and technical preparation.

Philosophy of Music Education Review


The Philosophy of Music Education Review disseminates philosophical research in music education to an international community of scholars, artists, and teachers. It regularly includes articles that address philosophical or theoretical issues relevant to education, including reflections on current practice, research, issues, or questions; reform initiatives; philosophical writings; theories; the nature and scope of education and its goals and purposes; and cross-disciplinary dialogue relevant to the interests of music educators.

Published jointly by the Indiana University Press and the Indiana Jacobs School of Music, the Philosophy of Music Education Review is the premier journal in the philosophy of music education internationally. Its founding editor is Estelle R. Jorgensen of the Jacobs School and its assistant editor is Iris M. Yob of Walden University.

The Problems of Band: An Inquiry into the Future of Instrumental Music Education

Randall Everett Allsup
Teachers College Columbia University
Cathy Benedict
New York University

Pondering the Presence Of Pesky Problems Of Pitch: Gary Garner

Practical and concise information addressing intonation problems on all instruments. A treasure chest of valuable knowledge dealing with tuning issues the director faces every day.

We've Opened the Cases...Now What?: Cheryl Floyd

Here is a clear and concise plan for dealing with the critical first days of introducing students to their instruments.

Beginning Band Objectives: Jason Tucker & Rob Chilton

Tools and strategies for getting the most out of your beginning band students.

Teaching Techniques For Young Teachers: Dennis Hopkins

Here are great strategies for engaging students in the learning process. Many can be implemented immediately.

Getting the Right Start to Your Year: Barbara Lambrecht

How to use a band website, email and other technology to organize your school year.

Sculpting 101: Lynne Jackson

A thought provoking and holistic approach to teaching beginning band students.

CBDNA Athletic Band Directors Statement on Music Education
Related File: CBDNAAthleticBandDirectorsStatementonMusicEducationRevision1.pdf

download PDF

Home About CBDNA News/Events/Articles Teaching Music Connecting with Audiences Ideas Resources Discussion Threads Member Services Related links Contact Us