2008 PMEA Summer Conference & Summer Catch-Up

While my wife is out and my daughter is taking a nap, I finally have found time to catch up on the summer so far. First, beginning July 2, I have been holding optional music rehearsals for my marching band students. We have been meeting on Wednesday mornings each week. This is the first year I have done this. Experience has taught me that since this is the first year that I have done this, the entire group of musicians would probably not show up. And, this has held true, and it’s what I expected. However, each session has been productive and has yielded positive results. The way I figure it is that anything that we get done before our regular camp in August is a positive. This will put us ahead of the game, and can only be a good thing. Other than that, the only thing left to do for camp is write drill…which I am currently dragging my feet on!

At this time last week, I had the absolute pleasure of attending the Annual PMEA Summer Conference in State College, PA. This is the first time I have attended, and I will continue to come back every year. I encourage all music educators in PA to attend this event! It is cheap, and is full of great information…not to mention that it helps you get charged up for the impending school year! As a blogger, I was particularly excited about this conference as the title was “Tools for the 21st Century Music Educator.” I was especially impressed by our two opening morning speakers, Mr. David Warlick, and Mr. James Frankel. Both presentations were excellent!

David Warlick talked about our 21st century students, and how they learn. He also talked about why it is important for us as educators to look at how we teach them in this ever-evolving technological age. You can find much more information on his pages at http://handouts.davidwarlick.com and http://landmark-project.com

James Frankel discussed current trends in music technology, and shared with us some really interesting new things in the field. Well, they were things that I wasn’t aware of anyway. He also gave other presentations as well. You can hear his entire presentations from the conference here. He has many great podcasts. Be sure to check out the ones on the Korg Kaossilator! Very cool!

Our afternoon session was in the band “strand” and we played an rehearsed under Dr. Edward Lisk. This session was especially enjoyable for me, since my college wind ensemble director, Dr. Stephen Gage is a student of Dr. Lisk’s. Dr. Lisk’s session was divided into two parts: 1. A new dimension in teaching, thinking, practicing, and playing and instrument. The clinic addressed instrumental teaching and rehearsal strategies for developing a successful instrumental music program. The rehearsal and instructional concepts are designed to enhance and accelerate student performance skills. 2. New considerations for interpreting expression beyond the unadorned markings of music notation. The concepts and instructional techniques address the uniqueness of expression, ensemble interpretation, characteristic qualities and the decision making process surrounding the subtle details of artistic response. You can see Dr. Lisk’s website with the concepts covered in this session here.

The rest of the first day concluded with dinner and our variety show. Tuesday morning began with an update from the Pennsylvania Dept. of Education, and then followed with a jazz reading and improvisation session.

After our closing general session, it was time to head back to Sharon, PA! I want to thank Eric Schrader, Director of Bands at Greenville HS, and Jim Scanga, Director of Bands at Farrell HS for being great roommates during the trip. Special thanks to Eric for driving the whole way!

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