Notes from Midwest Clinic 2019

Leading Rehearsals that Inspire

Jeffery Grogan & Michael Raiber - Oklahoma City University

Hand out online on the clinic page


  • arm position 1-10, high-low, cue the instrument like the instrument

  • 405-596-2120 Why did you decide to me a music teacher? It is a space to be human in a world that tells us we shouldn’t be

    1. Music technique: Music is yes or no when we talk about technique

    2. Musical knowledge: the things we want to know and understand. Not knowing what music is is the reason why we are here

    3. Heart for why we do this.

    4. We need to make the effort everyday to remind ourselves why we do this.

  • Parker Palmer - The Courage to Teach

    1. teacher need and teacher focus - my degrees and experiences

    2. entirely on students needs - if we get bogged down in their needs we can’t get to the reason they showed up. 

    3. The subject matter - music in service to the human beings who are making it (art is something that man does. What does the music demand of us?

      • Why did we choose this music now?

  • We make music because we have to

  • Band of brothers - Why we fight

  • There has to be one magical moment every single day. 

  • The technique serves the art - relate what you say in rehearsal back to serving the music. 

  • Keep the emotional and magical part at the center

  • A sense of urgency

    1. pretend like the composer is there during rehearsal

    2. do the students feel the same urgency that you have. 

    3. What was the reason the piece was written 

  • Honesty and trust 

    1. Don’t praise when its not deserved. When its good celebrate it.

  • I make music because ____

  • When I make music I _____ 

  • Music makes me _____

  • Benjamin Zander - The Art of Possibility

Embracing the Traditional and the Emerging - a win-win for ensembles, for music education, and for all students

Dr. Keith Keiser & Dr. Matthews Claus  - Ithaca College


Context and Shared Values

  • Music for all - 

    • How might educators and conductors involve all students?

  • Advancing the art

    • What do music educators and conductors need to do to advance the art?

  • Ultimate goals: Comprehensive musicianship, independence, lifelong participation, creative expressive music making, excellence, etc …

    • What do music educators and conductors need to do to teach to these goals?

  • Best practice and pedagogy

    • lifelong musicianship


The Problem:

  • Traditional and emerging practices are often pitted against one another

  • some teachers feel our professional practice is outdated

  • Our profession is just beginning to explore the opportunities that may arise

  • The terms “traditional “ and “emerging”

Tradition is rarely thrown out. It is usually added to. 


“Emerging” Pedagogies in “Traditional’ Ensembles

  • Do we really believe in music for all?

  • Relevancy - showing the community and showing the students

  • Pedagogy and literature/resources that both advances the art and is diverse and representative 

  • Curricula and pedagogy that foster:

    • Student - musician independence

    • Collaboration with others

    • Deep meaningful aesthetic - expressive experiences

    • Comprehensive skill development

    • Lifelong participation


Traditional Pedagogies in Popular Music education

  • Informal learning doesn’t equal pop music

  • Formal learning doesn’t equal classical music

  • We can’t just take music they interact with outside and stick it int the classroom 

Reflections and strategies to increase creativity and musicianship in our rehearsals

Joseph Parisi - UMKC


Algorithmic vs. Heuristic

  • Algorithmic is easier - show up, put fires out

  • Heuristic takes creativity and thought


How have you inspired your students to think creatively?

When are you at your most creative?


Creativity: The work and lives of 90 eminent people (book)

10 contradictory traits of creative people

  1. Creative people have a great deal of physical energy, but their often quiet and at rest

  2. Creative people tend to be smart yet naive 

  3. Creative people combine playfulness and discipline, or responsibility and irresponsibility

  4. Creative people alternate between imagination and fantasy, and a rooted sense of reality

  5. Creative people tend to be introverted and extroverted

  6. Creative people are humble and proud at the same time

  7. Creative people, to an extent, escape rigid gender role stereotype (gender instruments)

  8. Creative people are both rebellious and conservative

  9. Most creative people are very passionate about their work,

  10. Creative peoples openness and sensitivity often exposes them to suffering and pain as well as a great deal of Joy


In class/ensemble you can incorporate

  • Guiding prompts - seat work when entering, journaling and answering 

  • Short Listening/Videos 


The Minds Ear (book)


Sparks of Genius - The 13 Thinking Tools (book)

  1. Observing

  2. Imaging

  3. Abstracting

  4. Recognizing Patterns

  5. Forming Patterns

  6. Analogizing

  7. Body Thinking - certain frequencies and how they feel

  8. Empathizing - Left (systematic) and right (empathizing) brains

  9. Dimensional Thinking 

  10. Modeling 

  11. Playing

  12. Transforming 

  13. Synthesizing


(avoid asking “How can tell me?”)


Human emotion in Music

How do we get someone there > How do we teach our students this > How do you show your students what we love and value?


Could you be a teacher without music?

What can you do to foster creativity?

How can you give everyone music ownership?

Do you share with your students what you love about music?

What do you want students to say about having studied with you?

What is your “sentence”?

    What words do you want in your sentence

                    inspired to learn

                    inspired to lead

                    inspired to feel

Why Music?

  • Every person regardless of age has the capacity to be moved by music.

  • We must move the people we work with from the love of being in our ensembles/classes to the love of music

  • Help them experience the greatest music possible so that they have a wow moment


It is better to Illuminate than to Shine

Dr. Tim and Frank Battisti


Battisti - 

  • A teacher of music instead of a band director

  • The most important thing we do is foster a love of music education

  • Music is the art of sound - Sound becomes music when it is embellished by humanity

  • Technical execution is a given, the goal is making music

  • Pick music the way you pick seed. Pick the seeds that grow the biggest and best flowers

  • Great teaching is sharing your passion

  • Education’s purpose is for expanding ourselves

  • Give the students something to love in life - expand on that

  • Collaboration happens when the music is prepared. 

    • They can practice their parts by themselves but they can’t practice ensemble stuff at home

  • You can’t do everything if you want to do something well. You will make sacrifices

Interview with Julie Giroux

and Dr. Tim


  • Band music has to evolve

  • It can do anything orchestra can do but it needs to be orchestrated well

  • If you can write for band and not make anyone miss strings, you’ve done it well

  • Orchestration is a craft

  • The classical composers orchestrated one way because they didn’t study orchestration. 

  • Chamber music- every instrument is a solo instrument

  • *Bandstration*

  • All of her music is based on emotion - Riften Wed

  • If it doesn’t mean anything, is it worth writing?

  • Educational music has to mean something too

  • musicians never retire

  • You don’t compete with other composers. Its yourself that you compete with.

  • Everyday is a gift and everyday you should make this place a better place.