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 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.

Music on Purpose E005: Guest, Chris Coletti from Canadian Brass

On this episode of Music on Purpose, Chris Coletti from the world famous Canadian Brass joins us to talk about his passion and success in performing at the highest level. It was such a pleasure to sit down with Chris and get his insights about what helped him get to the level to be able to perform around the world in the Canadian Brass.

You can follow Chris on twitter @colettitrumpet, Instagram @trumpeterchris, and follow his website at

Music on Purpose E004: Guest, Nate Siler, Assistant Trombone Professor, EKU

On this podcast, Nate Siler talks about things that have helped him in the world of freelance playing and being a successful educator at both the high school and collegiate level. Nate is the Assistant Professor of Trombone at Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, Ky. He’s real about getting students to become the best versions of themselves.

Music on Purpose E003: Guest, Gary Schallert from WKU

Learning what's really important

Gary Schallert joins me on this podcast from Western Kentucky University. He is the Director of Bands at WKU and talks about the amount of passion needed to be a successful music educator. Gary discusses his career and the things he has learned that helped him be successful.

For information about Western Kentucky University, please visit