2017 KMEA All-State Music

Technical Excerpt from the Charlier Book #12

The 2017 Kentucky Music Educators Association (KMEA) All-State auditions are Saturday December 9. The Charlier excerpt is by far the most challenging of the two etudes in this audition. This book is known to be challenging for professional players and the maturity musically to be able to play these etudes at a high level can only come with experience. Hopefully you have an excellent private lesson teacher to help guide you to the unwritten musical ideas that help bring this excerpt to life. Below are some pointers on the Charlier excerpt that may help in your final week of preparation. I have also recorded the etude keeping close attention to the ideas listed below:

  1. Work hard to keep a steady tempo, except for measure 8, where it is acceptable to add a slight ritardando for both musicality and to get a breath.
  2. Pay special attention to the accents throughout this etude. Do not overlook these.
  3. Stand out with your musicality on the dolce sections. Do not be afraid to slow the first two sixteenths of measure 13 and 17 slightly for musicality. Make a difference between the “decide” sections and the “dolce” sections.
  4. It is imperative to play the dotted sixteenth/thirty second passages very snappy and rhythmic. Do not play them like triplet rhythms. Also, be very concerned not to lose the thirty-second notes within the quick rhythm.
  5. Keep excellent time on the last five measures where you have quarter notes tied to eighth notes, and a quarter rest at the end of the measure. Practice with a metronome and keep an excellent internal pulse.
  6. Last but not least, while the tempo is marked quarter note equals 96, only play this excerpt as fast as you can play beautifully and accurately.

Good luck on your audition. Be overly prepared and do not forget to practice your scales and sight-reading. Play in front of as many people as possible this week and be confident.

If You Want It, Teach It!

During a recent podcast with Lois Wiggins, Band Director at Edith J. Hayes Middle School, a quote stuck out to me. She said, “If you want it, Teach it!” She mentioned young students are not born with the capacity to sit still and quietly for even five minutes at a time. You have to teach them to behave correctly according to the expectations. What great advice as we prepare students to learn and grow as musicians and people.

This advice, while simple in nature, is very profound. How many times have educators said things like “I wish my students were more serious, or I wish my students would rehearse better? I know as a consultant during the fall many directors are concerned their students will not listen, or will not take things as serious as they wish they would. I have also heard the directors say students talk after every repetition or so much time is wasted in between takes. My response since talking to Lois has been, “Have you taken the time to teach them how to do those things that you expect? What should their thoughts be and how do they raise their expectations?” It may not be that they don’t want to, they may just not know how! It may take many days and much patience, but by teaching the student how to do something, instead of just telling them to do it, you will see a huge impact.

The training of the students’ mind, energy and thoughts should be just as important as the music itself if not more so. We as educators need to take the time and initiative to give our young musicians the chance to be mentally ready for what we expect them to handle. Some examples of this might be:

1. sitting still in class

2. not bringing phones to rehearsal

3. what to do when you finish a repetition

4. using a pencil to write things in the music (without being told when to do so)

5. how to stay focused when someone enters the room

These are just some small examples of things that can be taken for granted that students should be able to do, but no-one has ever taken the time to teach it just as you would the notes and dynamics. It may be different depending on what you teach and what the expectations are for your class.

I had a student ask me “How do I practice at home?” What a great question!

This is an example of a student coming to me and asking for me to teach them what I took for granted they already knew. This student was begging to be better. Some students may be this far along, but others may be longing for the training of just how to expect more from themselves. Whatever it is that you want out of your students, break down your thought process and then teach your young musicians to think the same way. Whatever it is, If you want it, Teach it.

Do you have an example of an “If you want it, teach it” moment?

You can check out the podcast episode here!

Music on Purpose E013: Guest Vincent DiMartino, International Trumpet Touring Artist

In this episode of Music on Purpose I had the opportunity to spend time with one of the greatest trumpet performers of all-time, Vincent DiMartino. He has performed and/or played with everyone imaginable from Lionel Hampton and Dizzy Gillespie to Canadian Brass and Doc Severinsen. He offers his advice on how to separate yourself from the middle of the pack and make your way to being extraordinary. He is an educator at heart and taught at the University of Kentucky for over 20 years and Centre College for almost 20 years.


Music on Purpose E012: Guest W. Dale Warren, Senior Wind Band Conductor University of Arkansas

W. Dale Warren, Senior Wind Band Conductor from the University of Arkansas, joins me to discuss qualities that embody successful music educators. W. Dale has taught music at every age and enjoys working and consulting with programs all over the country. A genuinely passionate man about building and keeping relationships, he offers advice on connecting with students and keeping the passion to have longevity in the field of music education. Chair of the Sudler Shield Committee, W. Dale offers advice to programs on how to stand out during the audition process.


Music on Purpose E011: Teaching Middle School w/Lois Wiggins

On this episode of Music on Purpose I was fortunate enough to talk with a wonderful person and music educator Lois Wiggins. Lois is the Band Director at Edith J. Hayes Middle School in Lexington, Ky. Recently, Ms. Wiggins was a finalist for the Grammy Music Educator Award and she discusses the thought process and techniques that have helped her be successful. She says “If you want it, Teach it!” Great thoughts from an experienced middle school music educator.


Don’t Overload the Students

It is that time of year when summer clinics, sectionals and band camps begin. There is so much information to be given and so much hope for the success of the upcoming fall. It takes time to put together a winning product and it takes time to mold the students into the best version of themselves. When giving them warm-ups, music and basic fundamental thoughts, remember that our goal is to get 100% of the students to learn 100% of the information 100% of the time. In order to do that we must slow down and not be in such a hurry. The elaborate warm-ups and chorales are nice but if the thoughts running through their minds are not right, what will it sound like?

Start with one thought, and make sure that thought is learned by everyone.

At some point some of the information we give students will need to go on “autopilot” because there is simply too many things to think about. In order for things to become a habit the student must be taught exactly what to do, and each thought must be practiced over and over apart from the music. If it is how to expand when breathing, that single thought must be focused on apart from other thoughts. We cannot continue giving the students 10 things to think about while expecting them to play a difficult 8th note exercise perfectly. Have you ever tried to rub your tummy and pat your head at the same time? That is only 2 pieces of information and it is difficult to master. It takes time and organization. Help the students train their brain and be very organized with your thoughts so the students can master 1 step at a time.

It is not simply enough to give the students the correct information. The best educators give the information and then continue through the process with ensuring the student understands it and can master it. Many educators are not organized with their own thoughts and come into the situation without a clear vision of “what do I want my students to master and how do I make it happen?” Assuming students can do it without slow, organized methods usually leads to an ensemble doing many things but not mastering any. A “jack of all trades and a master of none.” Some educators think they hear the New York Philharmonic from their ensembles but in reality it is closer to the local middle school ensemble. Learn to hear what is really there! As we get ready to put together a fall marching show, take the time to break it down for the students. Don’t overload them with information. Each step should be mastered by 100% of them. Take it slow and organized.

A book recommendation that talks about this very thing is called Effortless Mastery. It is a short read and talks about when students begin to master things at a professional level, no matter how small, it breeds confidence and encouragement. Check out this short audio clip of me discussing this very topic with regards to breathing concepts.


Have you recently felt you are overloading your students?

Music on Purpose E009: Guest, Matt Hawkins Freelance Percussionist

On this episode of Music on Purpose, I talk with Matt Hawkins about his passion for being a freelance percussionist and doing what he loves as his career. He has some great insight about what it is like to be a self-employed musician. Matt also discusses his primary teachers and advice that has meant so much to him. He has an amazing sense of humor and is extremely laid back and easy to talk to. Listen to him talk about how to get along with others and the importance of what others think about you. He also mentions his love for playing Bach!

You can contact him at kwikslver@gmail.com with any questions.

Music on Purpose E008: Guest, George Boulden from University of Kentucky

We are pleased to have George Boulden from the University of Kentucky join us on this episode to discuss music education at both the high school and collegiate level. He is also an avid marching band and concert band adjudicator with BOA and DCI and gives his view on what makes a successful band program. George is the new President Elect with Kentucky Music Educators Association and gives his advice on how to improve our state music education in marching and concert band activities.


Music on Purpose E007: Guest Eric Hale, Bourbon County HS Director

On this episode of Music on Purpose, Eric Hale, Director of Bands at Bourbon County HS in Paris, Ky, joins me to talk about how he has been able to build a state champion band. He discusses the steps to follow to get band programs to the next level. He also discusses the positives and negatives to the way the state of Kentucky is doing the concert festival and gives his opinions on WGI Winds. Eric is a very passionate music educator and very real on this podcast. His sense of humor makes this a fun as well as an extremely educational podcast.

Music on Purpose E006: Guest Andrew Marriner, Principal Clarinet London Symphony

What a pleasure to sit down with the long time Principal Clarinetist of the London Symphony Orchestra, Andrew Marriner. On this episode of Music on Purpose, Andrew talks about the things he has done to be successful at the highest level and gives advice to those planning to audition for an orchestra job. He also talks about the many recordings he is part of, and the conductors and mentors that have meant the most to him along the way. One of those mentors was his father, who founded and conducted the St. Martin in the Fields Orchestra, which is one of, if not THE, most recorded orchestras of all time. Take a listen to a wealth of experience and knowledge.