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Midwest Preview Roundup of Clinics

Editor | December 2011


Get ‘Em Moving: Shifting in the Beginning Strings Classroom 
Sarah Maurice and Adam Davis
Wednesday, 10:20
   It is difficult to decide when to introduce shifting to young string students. If you wait until it is required by the music, it can be as late as grade 4 compositions. A good solution is to carve out a few minutes every day and introduce the basic elements of shifting to beginning students. This will lay the groundwork for advanced techniques and save a lot of extra work and heartache in the long run. Exercises such as polishing the neck of the instruments, waving goodbye, ski jumps, and more build the foundation students need to perform advanced techniques.

Teaching Music with Purpose:
25 Things You Can Do Tomorrow To Improve Your Ensemble 
Peter Loel Boonshaft
Wednesday, 11:40
   This clinic offers simple techniques that will improve the quality of an ensemble, make rehearsals more productive and energize your teaching. Boon-shaft offers different techniques to teach characteristic tone, breathing, air management, tonguing, balance, rhythmic subdivision, intonation and posture while keeping students focused with signals, hand signs, humming, singing, buzzing, changes in set up and silent rehearsals. He will also discuss how to inspire students and instill confidence and conviction.

I Must Have Missed This Class
Frank Tracz
Wednesday, 11:40
   There are many things taught in college to prepare for a teaching career, but there are many more that are not in the curriculum. Experience can have a sobering effect on a young teacher’s confidence and sanity. Simply stated, success demands much from us. This clinic offer suggestions, tips, ideas on what you should know, what to do with what you know, and how to find out what you don’t know that will help you create a great program that cultivates tremendous learning and music making for all.

Artistry for All: Techniques to Unlock the Creative Potential of Every Ensemble
Carolyn Barber
Wednesday, 1:00
Musicians learn to listen efficiently and deliberately from a young age, and to use what they hear creatively. Furthermore, artistry relies on divergent thinking and the deliberate exercise of all one’s faculties (intellect, emotion, intuition, technique) in a concerted effort to bring into being something new and valuable. Artistry in an ensemble setting also relies on convergent thinking, or the ability to merge with others into a single cohesive unit. The ability to do both at once – to be simultaneously divergent and convergent – is the focus of this clinic. The clinic offers practical ideas such as games to play with ensembles to aid in this process. 

Tales from the Real World of Music Teaching, Midwest Clinic
Elizabeth Peterson
Wednesday, 1:00
   Based on the true stories of over 30 first-year music teachers, this clinic will feature three young teachers from the book, The Music Teacher’s First Year: Tales of Challenge, Joy, and Triumph. This clinic is intended for young teachers, college music education majors, or college music education methods course instructors. It will provide practical ideas for first-year success and inspirational stories.

It Sounded Better at Home: Tips and Techniques to Manage Performance Anxiety
Linda Chatterton
Wednesday, 2:30
   As a flutist who gives solo recitals around the world, I am often asked if I get nervous before I go on stage. The answer is: yes because I care about giving a good performance. One of the best tips I can offer is simple, yet many of us may fail to do when pressed for time, or because we don’t think it is really necessary. It is to know the music. What I mean is to prepare the music on different levels other than just being able to read what is on the printed page. This means that you should always memorize the music, even if you never perform it on stage from memory. If the thought of memorizing leaves you cold, think of it as playing by heart instead.

Rehearsal and Performance: Knowing the Difference Makes the Difference
Bobby Adams
Wednesday, 2:30
   This clinic will help directors find consistency with their ensembles, in both rehearsal and performance. Directors often explain a disappointing rehearsal with comments such as, “it’s Monday” or “the last day before vacation.” The quality of rehearsals can vary somewhat but not by much, and certainly not from good to bad. If the conductor is not in control of this variable, who is? This clinic will provide instruction on how directors establish and maintain control of rehearsals that will result in consistency from one rehearsal to the next. Directors will also learn techniques to bring compositions to a high level of emotional involvement that anticipates but does not betray that special, unique fuel reserved only for performance.   

Injury Prevention for Musicians
Paula Brusky
Wednesday, 4:00
   Injuries among musicians are on the rise. Current data indicates some groups of instrumentalists have injury rates as high as 88%. No longer just a string or keyboard problem, all types of band and orchestra instrumentalists report injuries. The demographics believed to be at greatest risk are females and college age students. Many musicians are unaware how daily activities affect their bodies. Simple lifestyle changes can greatly decrease the likelihood of injury. For example, static stretching (a non-moving, held stretch) before a performance is no longer considered healthy as the muscles tighten and lose agility directly after the stretch. Dynamic stretching (a muscle is activated before and during the entire stretch) is believed to better prepare performers for the stage. This clinic will teach practical solutions, including beneficial stretches and self massage techniques, to decrease the likelihood of injury.

Making an Advocate of Your Principal; 10 Easy Things You Can Do in January 
Marcia Neel
Thursday 10:20
   Music educators are some of the most active faculty members in the building. They take part in school activities, help build school spirit, energize parents and involve them in the education process, and are great at motivating people. This presentation includes  practical, easy-to-implement strategies that directors can use to help principals recognize the value of the music program. One idea to build staff morale and create good will for the music program is to have students create a clever version of a birthday song to serenade teachers, secretaries, custodians, and even the principals on their special day. Simply ask your students to burst into the teacher’s classroom, interrupt the lesson and perform “Happy Birthday!” Imagine the reactions of the staff as they are suddenly serenaded by a solo tuba or flute duet. 

Good Music is Good Music: Identifying Quality Repertoire for Bands of All Levels
Brian Shelton, Richard LoPresto, and Matthew Moore
Thursday, 11:40
   With the amount of time it takes for bands to learn a piece of music, it stands to reason that the time be spent on music of the highest quality. Good music can be found at all levels – from first-year beginners to college and beyond. This clinic will help both new and experienced teachers identify and select literature that includes the skills and concepts of good musicianship and is rewarding for the performers. A demonstration band will perform excerpts so attendees can hear examples of this kind of literature.

A Composer’s Secrets
Frank Ticheli
Thursday, 4:00
   I will first share my thoughts on what it means to be a composer, how we do it, how we succeed, how we fail, how we grow, and how we strive to transform our feelings into notes on a page. Then I will discuss how a conductor goes about transforming those notes back into the personal feelings that inspired them. The Berkner High School Band of Richardson, Texas (Ticheli’s alma mater) will assist with the clinic.

Unhelpful Conducting Habits Learned from “Helping” Students
John Ginocchio
Friday, 9:00
   Directors try to give students as much help as possible, but too often give them information that they don’t need or are not ready for. This session will highlight some of the conducting habits commonly seen in music educators at all levels and discuss the well-intentioned origins of these habits and as well as the communicative and educational difficulties they tend to cause. The clinic will also discuss alternative conducting gestures and rehearsal strategies and will end with basic suggestions for conductors to improve their conducting.

Teaching Both Hands: Skill-Based Strategies for Middle/High School Strings
Kirk Moss
Friday 11:40
   To perform expressively, string players develop techniques for both the right and left hands. This session will address the proper use of the bow with the variables of tone, the next group of bowings needed for intermediate repertoire, and basic shifting and vibrato. Too often, fundamental skills, such as the finger flexibility necessary to make a smooth bow direction change, receive minimal attention as students work their way through playing the notes and rhythms accurately. As one example, while the collé bow stroke was a staple of the Galamian world, it is rarely practiced in middle or high school string classes. The clinic will include ideas to improve sound with bow lanes, bow weight, bow speed, attack strokes, shifting, and vibrato among other skills. A student orchestra will demonstrate the ideas.

Stopped and Muted Horn: 
A Guide for Directors
James Boldin
Friday, 1:00
   Stopped horn is an extremely effective but sometimes misunderstood technique. Passages for stopped horn occur in nearly every genre of music, from solos and chamber music to large ensembles such as orchestra and band. This clinic will present practical methods for helping horn players learn this technique. 

Getting It Together: Style Tips for Your Jazz Ensemble
Jim Culbertson
Friday, 4:00
   This clinic is a quick overview of what separates the best junior and senior high school jazz programs. Culbertson will elaborate on six crucial elements for success. These areas must be in place before rehearsal technique and jazz style can be addressed. The Lincoln Park High School Jazz Band, led by director Philip Castleberry will assist in the presentation of the clinic and demonstrate many of the ideas. 

The Art of Conducting Based on Interviews with Pierre Boulez, Christoph von Dohnanyi, Kurt Masur, Herbert Blomstedt, and Richard Hickox
John Knight
Friday, 4:00
   Great conductors do not disregard technique, but what they are seeking is an evaluation of technique based on the inner representation of the score. Simply stated, in order to free the interpretation conducting gestures should come from the music – the gestures do not make the music. The clinic will give practical tips gleaned from interviews with outstanding maestros.

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