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For the New Year/Coffee Card Promotion

Happy New Year!  Please see below for resources recently released to help make our New Year better…

New! – Easy Flex-Band.  Michael Sweeney and the band department at Hal Leonard have created a new easy (grade 1.5) version of Flex-Band. Instead of 5 parts and percussion it’s just 4 parts and percussion. Ranges and rhythms are more accessible.  One other new flex feature is that they will now all have grade levels which will really help the director in the selection process.  While there are over 140 of the more difficult Flex titles, at this time the list for Easy-Flex has 5 titles (Celtic Air and Dance as shown is one of them) but look to see more in this new series.  For a collection of over 300 flex titles for all grade levels click here   And for Flexible ensembles click here

New! – Gibraltar Hi Hat Sanitizer Station Kit – #00359735  – $49   The Hi Hat Sanitizing Station allows you to turn your hi hat stand into a cool, fun hands-free sanitizing station. This simple two piece set up connects to your upper hi hat tube, and clutch, and activates a hand sanitizer pump by stepping on the hi hat pedal.  As students enter and exit the room they play a note like below on the Hi Hat helping the group achieve a clean groove befitting our times! 

Features include:

– DIY hands free sanitizing station
– Bottle holder box with stand clamp
– Sanitizer pump bottle
– Pump arm – attaches to hi hat clutch

Available soon.  Taking pre-orders now.

Product Cover for Hi Hat Sanitizer Station Kit

Every December The Midwest Clinic premieres many new offerings in the music education world and although the recent conference was virtual, there was much that was debuted.  Please see below for some highlights;

New! – Teaching Music Through Performance in Band Volume 12 book – #G-10349   Available February 2021, taking pre-orders now. Carrying on the tradition of this wonderful series Volume 12 headlines as the indispensable resource for the wind band profession.

New! – Rehearsing the Jazz Band- Papich and Adamsons – #327344 – $32.95 With chapters by Gordon Goodwin, John Clayton, Greg Yasinitsky, Ellen Rowe


New! – Rehearsing the Choir – Stephen Sieck – #295712 – $32.95 If we could sit down with some of the best choral conductors of our time, what might we learn?  See this video for a brief review

Rehearsing the Choir by Stephen Sieck Sheet Music

New! – Teaching Instrumental Music (Second Edition) – Developing the Complete Band Program – Shelley Jagow – #G-10377 – $74.95   Saskatchewan’s Shelley Jagow brings a revised version of this popular book.  See the short video from Shelley for more

New! – World Drumming Jams (A Collection of 6 Drumming Ensembles) – Joel Smales – Kendor Music – #20650 – $39 These 6 ensembles work great for a band or choir class that may not be playing/singing, or a nice change of pace anytime.  Each of the six small ensemble pieces (trios & quartets) in this collection offers a fun, exciting way to expose your students to different drumming styles. Each piece includes preparatory exercises, and all pages are reproducible for one school.  Great value.  To see the contents click here

Congratulations to the Saskatchewan Band Association and all the performers on a very successful Virtual Holiday Band Concert this December.  I’m listening/watching the video again today as I write and I’m totally happy to hear carols again in January.  December is best but January is more fitting than May, June and July, the other time I listen to carols amidst the publisher’s new music!  A wonderful endeavour bringing together so many musicians young and young in spirit in the only way possible these days.  Great to see many friends here too.  We are pleased to help support the SBA with the music in this heartwarming virtual get-together.  Well done everyone!!  Totally enjoyed it!

Our January promotion is back!  Spend $200 or more (reduced from $250) and receive a free card from Tim’s or Starbucks.  Order double that and the offer is sweetened. This applies to bell covers and singer’s masks, supplies, flex music, bucket music, music of any sort, music folders, anything off our page, or anything not on our page.  It won’t arrive through the chimney as that was last month’s delivery method, but will be included with your order.  Take a moment for yourself and enjoy a few bevies or lunch.

Thank you for reading.  Have a great January in a New Year that perks up!

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Alberta Music Conference 2021

This year’s provincial music conference will be unlike any before. Music Conference Alberta Online offers 19 valuable sessions in four streams — band, choir, classroom, and studio — between January and April 2021. We invite musicians and music educators from across the province to participate!

Given the many challenges musicians and music educators are facing in these COVID times, the Music Conference Alberta Joint Planning Committee identified accessibility and affordability as top priorities. For that reason, delegates can register for a single stream for $60, 2 streams for $100, or the entire conference for $150. That works out to less than $8 per session.

We also wanted to contribute as little as possible to the Zoom fatigue that many of us are feeling. For that reason, we elected to offer conference sessions/webinars over a period of 4 months. If you’re not able to attend the livestream presentation, most sessions will be recorded and available 30 days later. This offers some flexibility to delegates and ensures they are able to benefit from the wide variety of conference offerings.

Even in these uncertain times, you — Alberta’s musicians and music educators — continue to inspire your students and ensemble members. I believe strongly that those who inspire also need inspiration, and it is my hope that Music Conference Alberta Online will serve as that inspirational resource for many of you.

The first session with Indigenous singer-songwriter Leela Gilday on the Power of Music in “Reconciliation” happens this Saturday!

Register for Music Conference Alberta:

Renew Your Membership – Help Us Reach 300!

The best way to support the Alberta Band Association is by renewing your membership to ensure that we have healthy membership numbers to report to the Alberta Foundation for the Arts and other granting agencies. Help us reach our membership target of 300 current and renewed members for 2021!  Now more than ever, the ABA is relying on its membership to sustain and support the Association. Memberships expire on August 31.

For information on the different types of membership, please visit our website!

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Alternative Resources – Percussion Ensembles

Music directors deserve huge accolades and admiration for being amongst the most imaginative and adaptable people in the school.  This applies at all times, but especially so in our current climate.  Thank you for; standing on your head, walking on burning coals, and marching to the unsteady and warped beat of Covid, all to keep the music alive for your students.  Remember, you are making a difference.  And let’s hope Covid marches off a cliff soon at a brisk and steady 240 bpm.  Until that happens please read on…

Our previous post had alternate resources for theory, history, etc.  Below are resources that can help elevate a percussion ensemble.  Percussion ensembles are one popular way of keeping the music active until back playing and singing, and can be in every music director’s bag of tricks during these times.  They are fun, flexible and can work at any grade level.  I hope the below may help until back playing.

Many alternative resources were included in our New Music Session which you may view with the link below.  If you are back to playing, our new selections are here too of course, for your listening/viewing.  

The below are presented roughly from beginning level and progress to grade 4 level.  The World Music Drumming resources at bottom work at a broader variety of levels.

The Blast Off! series – easy percussion ensembles at grade 1 to grade 2, easier than the Leopard series or the “sicles” series shown below.  The Blast Off collections contain 3 or 4 creative titles in each and work well with elementary or junior high students.  There are over 30 different Blast Off collections, Bucket Worx and Metal Worx are popular.  

Count Me in – Darcy Vogt Williams and Brian Balmages.  Playable without instruments of any kind.  Can work well with sticks and practice pad too.  Includes ensembles in the form of rounds, duets, trios and full performance.  Beginning to grade 2.5.  $8.95.  In stock.

Hand Drumming Ensembles 
Hand Drumming Ensembles by Cheryl Grosso (Rhythm Charts for Group Performance) – $14.95  This is the companion to the method book Hand Drumming Essentials. This supplemental volume contains twelve complete performance scores of compositions for hand drumming ensemble. These “rhythm chants” are written at a variety of levels and can be learned by young musicians and students, or they can be studied and performed by more proficient musicians. Built on elements of Western and non-Western music, the pieces offer versatility in structure and instrumentation, as well as providing an opportunity for more advanced players to improvise.   Available promptly via our Rush Speed/Regular Price service.    

Body Percussion Ensembles: Rock Trap – William Schinstine – Kendor Music – grade 3 – $14.95 For four players.  Includes knee slapping, finger snapping, hand clapping, whistling, and vocal sounds (two copies of each part provided).   Other economical body percussion titles by Schinstine are available; Bossa Nova Without Instruments, Overture for Hans N. Feet, and Scherzo Without Instruments.

Ultimate Body Percussion Workout – Murray Houllif – Kendor Music – grade 3-4 – $46.95 Primarily written for percussion ensembles, all in four distinct parts, these eight selections use all parts of the body to create interesting musical moments.  Foot taps, hand claps, finger snaps and other body techniques are all musically explored.  Band, orchestra, choral and general music students will also find this concept fun to perform as they help to teach many basic musical and ensemble skills.   Other body percussion titles by Houliff include; Three for the Road, Stampede, Rhythm Trip, and Body Jams.  Really fun ways to encourage creativity and expression!!

Leopard Percussion Ensemble series  Each arrangement is written with a flexible instrumentation based around mallet instruments, a variety of Latin instruments and drum set.  The Leopard titles work well at high school level, most are grade 3 level.  There are over 20 titles in the Leopard series, and they arrive promptly via our Rush Speed/Regular Price service.  Click here to hear My Little Suede Shoes is a complete list of the Leopard titles with sample recordings

The “Sicles” series of percussion ensemble collections, include 8 titles and contain six percussion parts within (which can be doubled up) and work with percussion instruments found within most band rooms.  The sicles work well at high school level, most are grade 2-3, some extend into grade 4.  I like collections as they give good value and variety of programming.  Groovesicles, Rhythmsicles and Noveltysicles are good ones to start with, there are 10 different “sicles” in total.  See all here

Sound Percussion – Percussion Ensembles Available for; Snare Drum, timpani, keyboard percussion, multiple percussion – $9.99 each, Conductor – $19.99 each Contains 13 pieces at the grade 3-4 level designed to give your students a valuable percussion performance experience.   It synthesizes skills taught in Sound Percussion and can be used as performance music.  Sound Percussion arrives within a week via our Rush Speed/Regular Price service.  Confirm by Thursday, and we have it the following Tuesday.Titles include: Trumpet Tune; Funeral March / March of the Marionette; Jingle Bells / Parade of the Wooden Soldiers; Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah; Joy to the World / Deck the Halls; Chester / Battle Hymn of the Republic; España Cañi (Spanish Paso Doble); Mama Paquita (Brazilian Folk Song); Sakura/Arirang (Traditional Japanese / Korean Folk Song); The Entertainer; Pomp and Circumstance; Mission Possible and Gears.

World Music Drumming by Will Schmid – songs with online audio access – kid tested for grades 3-12 If your school has access to world drums and also mallet instruments, the below may be of interest.  These include optional vocal parts which can be added when your school allows singing again.  Available promptly via our Rush Speed/Regular Price service.
Book and online audio for grades 3-12 – $29.95

And for some humour….

Racoons are the official animal of 2020.  Racoons always wears a mask, they frequently wash their hand (paws), and the letters of racoon rearranged spell corona.

But skunks are the official social distancing creature of Covid.  Don’t have a skunk?  Paint a white stripe on your black cat, put them on a leash, instant social distancing wherever you go!  

This Fall dogs and cats everywhere wonder where did the kids go?

We made it through the first month!  Lets hope each successive month gets better and better with more and more music making.  Give a shout when you need help and we look forward to assisting whenever you are ready.

Thank you for reading!

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Alternative Resources – Theory, History, Games, Ear Training…


Music directors are using a variety of alternative resources to keep the music going this fall.  Thank you for your creative work that enables students to have music, in whatever form that may be right now.  Maybe we aren’t where we want to be but we will pull through.  If you are playing and singing, absolutely great!  If not, below are resources that can help until we are back, or can be great supplements at any time.  You may also view alternative resources from our session by watching the “movie” via the link provided below;

Here are suggestions for; Music Theory, History, Games, Ear Training and more that work for music classes at a variety of grade levels…

Music Theory

Alfred’s Essentials of Music Theory – a suite of related theory resources that works for a surprisingly wide variety of grade levels. Book 1 and the games are great for younger musicians, book 3 will challenge high school students.  Here is a partial list of what is available;

  • Book 1 (shown below)
  • Book 2
  • Book 3 
  • Combined book (all three books together – popular for high schools)
  • Teachers Activity Kit

Alfred’s Essentials of Music Theory is available within 3-5 business days of confirmation.  Confirm by Thursday, it’s here the following Tuesday, super quick.  The same speed applies to anything from Alfred and Hal Leonard.  This prompt service is what we call our weekly Rush Speed/Regular Price service with these two larger publishers (about 75% comes from these two sources collectively).

Excellence in Theory Book 1,2,3

Practical Theory Book 1,2,3

Master Theory Book 1,2,3,4,5,6


Standard of Excellence Music Theory and History – Student Book 1,2,3, and Teacher Book 1,2,3

Games and Flashcards

The below are part of the suite of resources in Alfred’s Essentials of Music Theory mentioned above.

  • Game – Rhythm
  • Game – Note Naming
  • Game – Key Signature (shown below)
  • Flashcards – Rhythm
  • Flashcards – Note Naming (shown below)
  • Flashcards – Key Signature

Ear Training

Alfreds Essentials of Music Theory Ear Training Disc 1 and 2 (CD)  This is part of the suite of resources in Alfred’s Essentials of Music Theory mentioned above.

Essentials of Jazz Theory – Shelly Berg

Learn the essentials of jazz music through concise lessons, practice your jazz music reading and writing skills in the exercises, improve your listening and ear training skills with the CDs, and test your knowledge with the review that completes each unit.  Prerequisite should be book 1 and 2 of Alfreds Essentials of Music Theory.  Available as;

  • Book and CD Pack – Book 1
  • Book and CD Pack – Book 2
  • Book and CD Pack – Book 3
  • Book and CD Pack – Complete (all 3 volumes together)
  • Answer Key and 3 CD
  • Book and CD Pack Complete Self-Study Course

If any of the above interests you just let us know and we will continue for you. 

And a bit of humour, because we all can use it…

In 2015 not a single person got the answer correct to “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”

I need more exercise, the buttons on my shirt are starting to socially distance each other.

Homeschool first week:  How can I get this kid transferred out of class? 

Homeschool second week: I’m not talking to myself, I’m having a parent-teacher conference.

I washed my hands so much that my exam notes from last year showed up.

In an unsettling reversal of our teenage years we are now yelling at our parents for going out.

Drum sticks are the new toilet paper.

As always but especially now, know that you and your music classes are the “light” for many.   Thank you for your valour and virtue displayed daily to your students and the school community in these unusual times.
Hoping start-up is as smooth as possible.

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Music Direct Virtual New Music Session!

Grade 0.5 – 00:08:30

Acropolis – 00:08:44

Six Note Symphony – 00:12:09

Vulcan’s Forge – 00:15:23

Rockstar – 00:17:14

Alternative Resources – 00:19:57

Stick Bags/Practice Pads – 00:25:53

COVID Supplies – 00:26:50

Grade 1 – 00:28:18

Slavic Festival – 00:30:00

Down by the Salley Gardens – 00:31:53

Arctic Wars – 00:34:25

The Gods of Egypt – 00:38:30

In the Cool of the Evening – 00:41:28

Gothic – 00:44:53

The Dragon Lord – 00:49:09

Pine Island March – 00:52:31

Utopia – 00:54:42

New Releases for Younger Bands – 00:57:20

Small Ensembles for Younger Levels – 00:58:40

Flex Band for Younger Levels – 01: 00:42

Sale Titles – 01:02:41

New Jazz and Choir Selections – 01:02:58

Grade 2 – 01:03:25

Walking Tune – 01:05:44

Flowers – 01:09:11

Luna Y Fuego – 01:13:19

Bees – 01:15:50

Sunset Lullaby – 01:20:17

Earthdawn – 01:24:10

Tyler Arcari on Bring to Light – 01:28:44 – Please find working recording here:

Hop! – 01:31:22

Brent Pierce of the Alberta Band Association – 01:36:47

Chris Herard of Band Director’s United – 01:39:10

Woman Band Director’s International – 01:41:10

Donald Lee – 01:43:06

Recent Releases for More Advanced Bands – 01:47:00

New Christmas – 01:48:06

Grade 3 – 01:48:25

Phoenix – 01:50:16

Brigid’s Cross – 01:53:09

Raven – 01:55:44

The Quest – 0:1:59:25

Danza la Habana – 02:03:52

AUTUMN – 02:09:40

Kalos Eidos – 02:12:34

Flying High – 02:18:41

Carpe Diem – 02:22:54

Dances of a Shimmering Spirit – 02:28:11

Small Ensembles for High School – 02:33:53

Flex Band/Sale/New Jazz & Choir/Stick & Mallet Bags/Practice Pads- 02:35:48

COVID Supplies – 02:37:29

Percussion Ensembles for High School – 02:37:53

Grade 4 – 02:39:33

Super (Em)Powers – 02:41:28

Whacked – 02:44:51

Vanishing Point – 02:47:36

Glorious Insurrection – 02:52:37

Deus ex Machina – 03:00:25

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse – 03:05:47

Sword of the Titans – 03:14:25

Ancient Dances – 03:19:26

Grade 5 – 03:25:02

The Wilderness – 03:25:10

Radiant – 03:30:14

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New Music Virtual Band Session!

The links and passcodes to the Zoom sessions are provided below.

Saskatchewan/BC/ManitobaWhen: Monday August 24th – 3.00 pm

Zoom link:

Zoom Meeting ID: 853 3467 0352

Zoom Passcode: 776689

Calgary/Red Deer/Southern AlbertaWhen: Tuesday August 25th – 3.00 pm

Zoom Link:

Zoom Meeting ID: 824 3349 3857

Zoom Passcode: 221401

Edmonton/Northern AlbertaWhen: Wednesday August 26th – 3.00 pm

Zoom link:

Zoom Meeting ID: 876 3852 7022

Zoom Passcode: 737025

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Reaching Out/June Sale/Session!


I wanted to check in with you to see how you are doing.  “Hi” and “I care” is the base of this message along with two notes on what’s happening in the future.  

This has been a very strange year with teachers having much thrust upon them.  I get how difficult that is.  It’s like pulling a rabbit out of a hat when you’re not a magician, and without a hat, or building a plane while flying it.  Not easy!  I hope the “Covid series” emails were somewhat helpful.  Three of them with tips and links on distance learning were provided, with some humour.  Our staff took to working on our page while at home, and fixed recordings that needed tweaking.  That work is now complete and we are pleased to have you browse through our page.

Bottom line, I hope you are doing as good as possible during this challenging time.  Remember summer is around the corner and we are all hoping and working towards the best Fall.  

Typically we announce two things at this time of year;

1 – June Sale!   Whats unique about the June Sale?  Delayed billing til Fall.  With some current budgets frozen due to Covid-19, delayed billing to next year’s budget is one way of helping.  An extra discount is another way of helping.  The June Sale applies to everything from supplies to ensembles to full music.  Visit it here  

2 – Our Unique New Music Reading Sessions!  Our sessions (Calgary, Red Deer, Edmonton – August 24-26) which have been booked for months will transition to a virtual session as there are just too many variables beyond our control.  Doing so is in everyone’s best interest.  I wish we could see each other face to face.  However, we are working hard to make the virtual rendition an outstanding event.  In the background, I am doing tons of listening to find great music for it.  Come join your colleagues in our annual fun, unique event, with great PD that will make your principal proud.

Please see the date below for the session time: 

Music Direct New Music Band Session (Gone Virtual!)

When: Tuesday August 25 – 3:00 pm

Venue: Your screen (pants not optional)

Menu:  Your fave bevy and what’s in your fridge

RSVP to so we have enough watermelon bandwidth.  A passcode will be provided.

Here are a couple short videos that may be useful;

Scott Lang author of Sound Leadership –

I Will Survive –

Sometimes we need a laugh… 

I overheard some kids talking… “I can’t believe school used to start before 9 am and we actually went.”  

I’ve discovered commas are important.  For example “No more caffeine.”  Where really it’s “No, more caffeine.”  

It’s OK if you fall apart, tacos fall apart and we love them. 

I ordered a chicken and an egg online.  I’ll let you know… 

This Covid-19 shall pass, like a large kidney stone.

A big and genuine thank you for all that you do, and hang in there for a couple more weeks.  Your work on behalf of music students and the music community IS appreciated.  

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Together We’ll Get Through #3

Hello again valued customers and friends,

Please see below for ideas and tips on distance learning in these unusual circumstances.  Also some lighter moments to get us through these trying times.  

We continue to work away at our web page fixing an update that did not go perfectly.  We are working backwards and have currently reached year 1998 (volume 6) and are proceeding to 1992 (volume 1 where we began).  Just for fun, titles from 1998 include; A Longford Legend – Sheldon, Juno Beach – Edmondson, March of the Kangaroos – Huckeby.  Remember those?  I know many have performed them with your students, and they continue to be played today.  To see these titles and many more visit our homepage.

As said previously, I’m here, available, and can help anytime.  Contrary to what my dog wants I’m not walking him all the time so I’m at my computer, answering emails, the phone and staying busy (mostly by writing these emails).  My cat continues to be annoyed with me but honestly Fluffy I need to be in your house all the time right now, sorry to invade your space so much, get used to it!  If you wish to place an order, that can be done.  Most publishers are open and working (either from home) or with a skeletal staff, but are operating and shipping, albeit sometimes with slight delays.  And we have a tremendous amount of music in stock.  All the titles on our page we try to keep in stock, and those can be provided promptly without ordering from the publisher, not that there is a big rush right now.  Regardless, much is available for concert band, jazz band and choir.  And when everyone does get together again to make music, whenever that glorious time will come (sooner I hope), it will be unbelievable!  

Once again, sharing and helping is what’s important.  Working together, irrespective of limiting borders.  Music itself is the essence of togetherness.  Recognizing we all have much in common, sharing in a greater community, and not feeling alone.  My notion is to make this precarious landscape smoother.  I hope the below helps…

A Special Message to Students from Dr. Tim Lautzenheiser (co-writer of Essential Elements, dynamic author and speaker, VP of Ed with Conn-Selmer)  a video to students of bands, orchestras and choirs (and their directors) that shares Tim’s inspiring thoughts during COVID-19

Free Content for Remote Learning for Band, Choir, Orchestra and Elementary music from our friends at Alfred Publishing

Excellence in Chamber Music – Learn new music and play as solo, duet or small ensemble.  Looking for a way to encourage music making among your students in the same household?  Flexibly scored  Excellence in Chamber Music is the perfect fit!  Suitable for any combination of instruments, each volume includes 15 favorite songs with 3 parts to choose from: A (melody); B (harmony); and C (bass). By mixing and matching instruments and parts each arrangement can be performed in an unlimited number of ways from solo and duet, to small ensemble and full concert band. The combinations for chamber music practice and performance are endless!  Books are $8.95  (My entire family played from this, it’s fun!) 

Free Online Theory Program: Please see the below from Adrian Bourgeois regarding his online theory program… 
“For people looking for an easy music theory access point for your students, I have redeveloped and reintroduced the online theory course I developed 13 years ago, alongside the Canadian Band Association.  The theory program allows for students to practice their theory knowledge and expand on it as they go.  Feel free to access and use the program with your students.  A second level is currently in the works as well.  To access the site and use it, click on the link below.  If it asks you to log in, log in as guest.  Once again this access is FREE.  I just want to share with band teachers and students.  The free version will not change and will be available until further notice.  In the fall, a subscription based version will also be available to teachers that will include marks book, formal assessments (self-marking), and other options.  Watch for more information on that as time goes on.”
Adrian Bourgeois BourgMusic

New Video resources from the Saskatchewan Band Association.  This includes a video by Dean McNeil on Ways to Practise…Quietly, something that can help students playing at home at this time.   Also Developing Motivation which has much content that crosses over to any student. To access a further series of videos at the beginner and intermediate level a free and easy access is provided.  There are videos for all instruments and more are being added.  The remarkable A Hope for the Future video is also here.

Drum Head Maker Turns Drumheads into Medical Face Shields…D’Addario our provider of Rico and Rico Royal reedsD’Addario guitar strings and Evansdrum heads turns drumheads into medical face shields.  “…the engineering team devised a way to fabricate protective face shields using the clear film from the company’s popular Evans G2 drumheads. After working around the clock for three days, the team had its first prototype (shown below).  The company plans to be in production by April 27 or earlier and to ramp up as quickly as possible to a capacity of 100,000 face shields per week. Management intends to manufacture the shields as long as they’re needed in New York and anywhere around the globe.” 

Thank you to Randall Standridge and Samuel Hazo for the below lighter moments;From Randall Standridge facebook – How Composers Wash Their Hands. from Randall – What It’s Like to Work From Home

From Samuel Hazo facebook.  Sam says “This is my former student! I can take zero credit for his abilities. He was in my 5th/6th grade band classes and taught me way more than I taught him!”  Quarantine or Quarantune? enjoy the video here also this note from Sam Hazo.  A Covid19 Message From Your Composer Buddy.  Hi, friends! If you run out of hand sanitizer, that 70% Proponol-based mouthpiece spray in your instrument case works just the same. Even gives your hands a “minty waft!” And that advice is free.😁 Stay well!  We’ll call it “Band Sanitizer.”

Some humour (why not)…

Do not call the police about suspicious people in your neighbourhood, those are your neighbours without makeup and shaving.

Tempted to go for a drive because gas is cheap, the weather is warmer, and the snow is gone?  Well your battery is likely dead and your winter tires are still on and probably low on air.  The tire shop can’t change the tires till August.  By then you might as well keep them on, winters coming.  

What your students really think during your zoom meeting “oh so thats where you live!”

Tomorrow is the day to take out garbage and recycling…so excited I can’t decide what to wear!

We can all learn from Sasqatch, a social distancing champion.

Home schooling update: My son just said “I hope I don’t have the same teacher next year.”  

With extra time on hand I went through my wardrobe and found something from 20 years ago and it fit perfectly!  It was a scarf but still pretty proud!  

The 6-49 lottery this week has grown to a 24 pack of toilet paper.  Ticket sales are up.

For Free: 2020 Personal Planner.  Hardly used, has some eraser marks. 

For fun, after many weeks of self isolation post a picture of your moustache, guys; do this too.

While standing in line at the bank I coughed.  It’s the most attention they’ve given me in 20 years.

Thank you for what you do.  Amongst other things, for learning new (and hopefully provisional) approaches to keep students engaged in music.  
I’ll keep saying it, hats off to our health care and front line workers everywhere.  Unsung truckers, you are the cavalry of the nation bringing food, meds and supplies where its needed.

To see our previous emails that included many resources, some of which have been updated; feel free to scroll down our Newsletter.

Thank you for reading.  Stay safe.

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Together We’ll Get Through #2

Hello valued customers and friends, 

As mentioned earlier I am sharing this walk with you through this challenging COVID-19 terrain.  I’m not going anywhere, rather I’m being available and committed to help and answer emails and the phone (I can’t go anywhere anyway as I gave myself a really bad home haircut with some hedge clippers and shaved an eyebrow to dissuade my persistent desire to congregate, and also accidentally clipped off part of my ear).  In addition to working on our webpage, I’m searching for resources that assist in distance learning and that also offer encouragement to directors and students in this temporary period.  It’s a time to assist, collaborate, and help one another.  With this we will get through sooner and better. 

This is the second post in this regard.  To see our first email which provided resources, explains our COVID mission as it were, and also lists many other possible ingredients for the new (and hopefully short lived) modus operandi we are working in please scroll down to the previous post, or use the link;

I hope the below may be of benefit to you and your students… 

Peter Boonshaft (educator, author, and dynamic speaker)  A short uplifting video message you may use with your students

Scott Lang (author of Sound Leadership and also a dynamic speaker) response to COVID-19  As Scott says  “Now is the time our students need us the most. The F#’s and Bb’s will soon be forgotten, but how we respond in this moment will be remembered.” Sign up for Scott’s #YouMatter Campaign, where you will get “frequent and unexpected positive messages why you do what you do!”  This is a great pick-me-up for music directors! 

Virtual Education Series – “Many teachers are being asked to provide virtual content to their students, often without additional training and resources.  The Virtual Education Series from Jupiter Winds offers fun and enriching online clinics for music teachers and their students. Produced in partnership with the International Music Education Summit, the weekly sessions are presented by highly regarded professionals and address a variety of music education topics. The clinics can be seen “live” every Thursday at 2 p.m. EST between March 26 and April 30. Archived clinics will also be available for viewing or revisiting at the viewer’s convenience after their initial airing.”  See Patrick Sheridan (Breathing Gym) next, on Thursday April 9.

Scott Edgar(author of Music Education and Social Emotional Learning) has two items of interest.  Student tips on working from home and The Students Voice during COVID-19 – Part 1  

The below programs may be of interest; 

Noteflight –  Notation software, now free! 

Sight Reading Factory –  Generates unlimited sight reading and sight singing – Try it free! 

Share the above with anyone you feel may benefit.  If anything is helpful, I’ll feel this thorny journey has been made a little easier in some small way. 

A bit of humour…  Is your cat still trying to figure out why you are in their house after 7 am?   Is your dog wondering why all the extra walks? When the kids are watching too much TV; mute the sound, activate the subtitles and KAPOW suddenly they are reading! Tempted to touch your face?  Double fist any favourite beverage and problem solved. 

Thank you to all of you for what you do.  I hope you are keeping well in these trying times. 

Thank you to the front line workers everywhere.  Some heroes wear masks, not capes.   Have a happy and safe Easter break and talk soon,

And the Music Direct Team
Posted on

Together We’ll Get Through

To our valued customers and friends,

As business slows down, we are catching up on our web page.  As mentioned previously some of our people are doing this from home.   The web work will be where we put much of our energies to refine this tool for directors and fix an update that did not go perfectly.  Managing thousands of recordings/titles takes a certain amount of time, we have more of that now.  I will be here to monitor emails and phone calls.  Business is slow but not yet gone.  I’m not going anywhere.  However rather than signing off and saying “see you on the other side”, or “talk again when it’s over” I want to take a different approach.  I want to be with you as we wade through these turbulent times.  A virtual connection or partner to share the walk, if you will.  It’s already lonely right now, why make it more so?  I love talking shop with music directors so let’s keep it going and make a difference together in this temporary frontier we find ourselves in.

Most of my emails usually pertain to the music listened to and the titles recommended or to pertinent other new releases in music education that will make your job easier and you better.  That’s awesome and I’ll continue to do that for when we get back to normal.  But as we navigate this changing landscape, I want to transition to or add something new where I’ll share non music-product relating things; the links, web pages, social media posts of what I feel is helpful for the new distance learning thrust upon us and ways to make this temporary situation as positive as it can be.  I’ll start with the below, but otherwise I don’t know what it will be yet as some of it is still to come, as there are many ideas still in the oven.  It may be great for your program or it may not work in your situation, use what works for you.  Importantly we can move forward together, share and provide community.  As we so often hear right now “We are in this together”.  You are not alone.

Everyone is affected in some way.  Teachers are missing their students and lamenting the year that is now different.  Students are looking for guidance, wondering how to continue their music from home.  Some of their parents are out of work, fearful of the future.  Let’s get some music in the home.  It’s curriculum but more than that.  Let’s help each other.  Let’s be human.  Let’s help music do its wondrous thing.  With this spirit I’ll move forward.

Teach Band 101 –  Lessons, links, videos, worksheets designed by music teachers for junior and senior students.  Jazz too.  Plenty of teaching ideas here, and watch for the page to grow, revisit often!
Band Directors United on facebook –  A variety of teacher sourced resources and community for the school band director.
Meet the Composer Webinars from Excelcia Music  Hosted by Larry Clark, see interviews with composers of band, choral and string music.  Interviews are being added daily as composers sit at home and wait out the virus, watch for this to grow.  Sean O’Loughlin was added recently.  This is more of general interest for directors, versus curriculum ideas.
Play Along with Brian Balmages and Virtual Conductor/Smart Music (this just went live Brian says)
Practicing Musician –  Now free!
Distance learning made easy with Tradition of Excellence  Use online tools available with other band methods, like Essential Elements Interactive, and Sound Innovations.
Online Tools and Resources for Choirs –  Many ideas and information for choirs, and much crosses over to any musical group.
If you have come across resources that work please reach out.  Sharing and helping is the idea.

Thought you might be interested to see what other directors are doing.  Here are some great clips (in bold blue text) from directors we’ve received recently… 

“Now that students are away I will have time to organize my library and I need music storage boxes”… “I’m just working on my ‘Band at Home’ plan for my guys. Are you able to take orders for play-along books from parents and mail them out?”  Our answer is yes! “We are setting things up to take music online for the rest of the year, and there are some resources we would like to order in to get out to kids, please order 62 books of …”

Tempted to congregate outside?  Try this remedy…give yourself a really really bad home haircut.  Shave an eyebrow for extra assurance. Have a toddler colour your brow back in.
Once again a huge shout out to our health care providers and front line workers everywhere.

Stay safe,

And the Music Direct Team