Texas marching bands are nationally recognized and considered some of the best marching bands in the country. Texas is supposed to be known for its high school football teams; what is it about the marching bands that attract so much attention? Here, you’ll read about what makes these programs so strong and why you can find Texas marching bands in nationally televised events like the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Click here to check out some examples of award-winning Texas marching bands.
The band director is an enormous part of what makes a marching band able to perform at a national level. A passionate, knowledgeable band director can push their kids to the next level.
Band directors choose the show music months in advance and meet with experts to perfect the music and the routine. They schedule private tutors for students and prepare all of the props that bring the show together.
In Texas, band directors are some of the best, and are paid accordingly. At some high schools in Texas, the band directors rake in a higher annual salary than even the head football coach. At Haltom High School, in a suburb of Fort Worth, the band director makes just shy of six figures, with an annual paycheck five grand higher than the school’s head football coach. The band, which made it to state finals, even has its own slick website and up-to-date social media accounts. The dedication Haltom’s band directors demonstrate isn’t unique.
Band directors across the state are members of the Texas Music Educators Association, an organization that has promoted excellence in music education statewide since 1920. Directors of the top-performing music programs in the state expect the support of the legislature and the best from their students. At Richardson High School, former band director Scott Taylor was known for challenging his students to play tough pieces while performing complex marching choreography. He was demanding but understanding, offering a skillset that led his band to win multiple titles during his 32-year tenure of directing. As Texas Monthly suggests, band directors like Scott Taylor are the “Halftime Heroes”.
Band camp starts a month, sometimes a month and a half, before the school year. Students start memorizing the show music as early as the beginning of summer or late spring.
During band camp, marching practice begins early in the morning and goes until lunchtime. After a break, students retreat inside to work on the show music during the heat of the afternoon. Their day isn’t over yet; students head back out once the sun sets for several more hours of marching practice. At Bowie High School in Austin, TX, band members dedicated the last two weeks of summer to band camp. The grueling fortnight of rehearsing stretched from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day. This rigorous summer band camp schedule is pretty typical of most successful band programs. According to UIL rules, once the school year starts, band members may not practice for more than 8 hours a week outside of school hours. This makes intense band camps a crucial part of prepping for the season.
Along with the physical stress of marching while holding an instrument up for minutes at a time, students sometimes have conditioning (running and exercising) sessions in the morning or evening to make sure everyone is physically fit enough to survive the marching season.
Parent and Community Support
Parents are the unseen backbone of the Texas marching band programs. They provide support for students and ensure that the band director doesn’t have to worry about the extra things that go along with running the program. Along with support, parents donate their time, money, and effort to make sure their students have food, water, and things like matching practice shirts. Marching bands travel a lot for competitions, so parents help sort out travel costs like hotels, plane tickets, and reserving buses for the students.
Additionally, Texas communities are fierce supporters of local marching band programs. Often local businesses will donate money to band programs and support band fundraising efforts. In Killeen, TX, a smallish city close to Fort Hood, bands from the Killeen Independent School District come together for a collective fundraiser every fall. The Spirit Spectacular showcases the work of all four Killeen high school marching bands, who furiously prepared for the event during their summer band camp. Killeen residents, even those without kids in the band, look forward to the annual event which just marked its 36th year. The $6 ticket sales go to support all four band programs. Employees from Apple Moving, a local company providing cheap moving services in Killeen, TX, look forward to attending the event every year with their young families. “It’s an inexpensive night of family fun that we’ve turned into an annual tradition.”
Texas marching bands are strong because they employ the best band directors and leaders, practice hard for every competition, and have support from the community to push them up to the next level. Between districts, friendly rivalries form and urge marching bands to become better, just like they do for football teams.
Even though summer is coming to a close, you can still squeeze in a fun-filled family weekend getaway after the school year starts. To inspire your music loving students, Vogt Airstream dealers has put together a list of the top music museums in the country, paired with the best local RV campgrounds. To make your weekend excursion more affordable and enjoyable, hookup your Airstream travel trailer and make it a road trip you’ll never forget. Explore these music destinations by day and retreat to your campsite to unwind in the evenings. With fun and informative tributes to the world of music all over the U.S., there’s likely a destination within driving distance to your home if one of these doesn’t work.
The EMP Museum (Seattle, WA)
Founded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, this non-profit museum got its start as a museum dedicated entirely to music, but now also features exhibits on science fiction and pop culture. Every year, the museum hosts a music competition open to participants 21 and under, where bands and solo artists showcase their sounds and battle for industry attention. EMP also offers a number of other classes and workshops to help burgeoning young artists hone their skills. On your visit, make sure to check out the Sound Lab, where you can break out your tunes in one of the sound proof rooms and stop by Guitar Gallery to see some of the 236 guitars in the museum’s permanent collection. After you’ve finished your visit to the museum, you can hop on the elevator at the Space Needle next door for panoramic views of the Seattle skyline.
Camping Recommendation: Tolt MacDonald Park & Campground
This King County Park sits just 40 minutes from downtown Seattle in the lush Snoqualmie Valley. With over 500 acres filled with hiking trails and flowing rivers, there’s plenty to explore in this neck of the woods. In addition to tent, yurt, and container camping, the park also has 16 pull-through RV sites equipped with water and electric hook-ups.
Graceland (Memphis, TN)
Graceland is the sprawling estate of late music legend Elvis Presley, who redefined music by introducing the world to rock-and-roll – a new style of music cultivated by Elvis’ love for pop, country, gospel and R&B. Within two years of signing a recording contract with Sun Records, Elvis was a worldwide sensation, beloved for his smooth voice, handsome looks, and charisma. After enjoying over two decades of stardom, the adored singer passed away unexpectedly from heart failure at the young age of 42. Today, you can visit Graceland, which is still decorated just how the King left it, replete with green shag carpet in the very 70s chic “Jungle Room”. Learn all about the life and legend of the man who forever changed music.
Camping Recommendation: Graceland RV Park and Campground
This campground is managed by the same people who run operations at Graceland and sits just steps from the front door of the estate. In addition to offering concrete pads with full hookups, the campground also has a bathhouse, walking trails, and a swimming pool.
Motown Museum (Detroit, MI)
While Detroit might be best known as the epicenter of the American auto industry, it’s also known as the birthplace of Motown, a musical genre that blends soulful gospel with be-bop jazz. At the Motown Museum, you’ll get to tour Hitsville U.S.A. where Motown legends like the Temptations and the Supremes recorded and peruse the museum’s collection of Motown memorabilia. In the summers the museum offers Detroit youths the chance to attend the Motown EDU camp, a week filled with learning about music and the music industry.
Camping Recommendation: Addison Oaks County Park
Located just outside of the city, this 1140-acre county park offers visitors abundant opportunities for outdoor activity, with swimming, boating and fishing on two lakes and multiple spring-fed ponds. Additionally, guests may hike, picnic, and explore the area’s bike trails. There are pull-through sites with water and electric hookups available.
Musical Instrument Museum (Phoenix, AZ)
Ranked by TripAdvisor as one of the top 20 museums in the United States, the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix houses an impressive collection of instruments from over 200 countries around the world. Guests can view instruments from 5 major world regions in the Geographic Galleries or see some of the instruments played by legendary artists like Taylor Swift and Johnny Cash in the Artist Gallery. Visitors of all ages will enjoy making their own music in the hands-on Experience Gallery, where they can test out a variety of instruments.
Camping Recommendation: Lake Pleasant Regional Park
This county park sits on the edge of Lake Pleasant, just 25 minutes from downtown Phoenix. Here your family can find reprieve from the dry desert climate with a dip in the lake’s refreshing waters. To make a reservation for one of the waterfront campsites, visit the county park website.
There have been a number of famously successful entrepreneurs over the years who started out as young musicians. For instance, take Paul Allen, the cofounder of Microsoft who started taking violin in 2nd grade before transitioning to playing guitar in high school. Though he’s now a billionaire thanks to his business acumen, music is still a critical part of his life; at 63, he plays in blues band called the Underthinkers and founded Seattle’s EMP Museum, which is dedicated to music, sci-fi, and pop culture. He’s not alone as an entrepreneur with a strong musical background. Others include Steve Wozniak, cofounder of Apple; Gwen Stefani, a singer who started her own fashion line L.A.M.B.; and Tim Westergren, who had a failed music career prior to founding Pandora. It seems that a background in music has helped these successful business people hone their entrepreneurial skills.
So what is it about a musical background that makes musicians great entrepreneurs? We sat down with Moonraker, a digital marketing company based in Austin, to discuss why they think music and entrepreneurship go hand-in-hand. Austin, dubbed the Live Music Capital of the World, is also known as an entrepreneurial mecca, filled with dozens, if not hundreds, of start-ups just like Moonraker. This Austin company cites creativity, flexibility, and determination as some of the key factors that made it successful; factors which the founders attribute to their background in music. Now this marketing agency is a huge proponent of programs in music entrepreneurship and ensuring that music education stays in public schools. While this isn’t a difficult case to make in a city like Austin, where people live and breathe music, other cities across the U.S. are slashing music budgets in public schools. Those who want to see music stay in the school system would argue that music teaches more than just playing an instrument. It teaches critical skills that can be used in other areas of life, particularly in entrepreneurship. Here are some of the top reasons that musicians make great entrepreneurs:
Not Afraid to Take Risk
Many young musicians are trained from an early age to take a risk by putting their talents on display for others to watch and critique. Taking center stage can be a scary proposition: the musician may forget the notes or botch an out of range vocal. Entrepreneurship similarly requires going out on a limb, putting one’s untried and untested business ideas out there for the world to consume or trample on. Steven Dragoo, a business consultant who teaches entrepreneurial lessons through karaoke, teaches students to “make a mental, emotional and spiritual commitment and then take the risk”. For anyone who’s ever performed karaoke in front of a crowd, one can see the applicability of his statement to both the world of business and to taking center stage. Learning to accept risk and endure failures as a young musician can help prepare students for a future in entrepreneurship.
Creativity Breeds Great Ideas
As Panos Panay suggests in this post from Fast Company, musicians make great entrepreneurs because their musical background hones their right brain skills. Panay argues that most business schools primarily focus on left brain activities like analyzing and working through “make-believe” scenarios. Music, on the other hand, breeds creativity, innovation, and improvisation, all of which are key attributes of a successful entrepreneur. Being creative not only helps business people think of original ideas, but being able to improvise as they go helps with pivoting a product or service to success.
It Takes Patience & Discipline
Piano great, Martha Argerich, is arguably the most famous living pianist on the planet. Now filling concert halls on a moment’s notice, this famed Argentinian pianist started taking piano lessons at the tender age of 3. By age eight, she made her debut, and by sixteen began winning European competitions. Though undoubtedly a natural, Argerich’s success in the music world didn’t come without a lot of discipline and dedication. When challenged by her teacher, Friedrich Gulda, to prepare Gaspard de la Nuit and Abegg Variations for her next lesson, Argerich learned both pieces in an astonishing five days. One might guess that she spent those five days glued to the piano bench, practicing a flurry of notes over and over again until she had them right. Entrepreneurship isn’t all that different. Starting a business from scratch requires passionate discipline and lots of patience in testing different strategies before happening upon one that works.
A shift in the industry has forced musicians to get more creative about using their talents to generate income. Majoringinmusic.com cites “dramatic changes in employment opportunities” and “dwindling attendance in many venues” as reasons that musicians must pursue more entrepreneurial endeavors. Many schools now teach entrepreneurship as part of the music curriculum, in order to best prepare students for a successful, and profitable, future pursuing their chosen art.
Even if children don’t decide to pursue music professionally as adults, having a background in music as a child can set them up for success in business endeavors down the road. It’s imperative that we give kids an opportunity to pursue music by keeping fine arts as a core component of the curriculum in our schools.
The City That Never Sleeps is reputed as a place of opportunity, where ambitious young people can pursue successful careers in everything from finance to music. With notable music conservatories like Julliard and the Manhattan School of Music, abundant opportunities for collaboration and performance, and the magical world of Broadway, it’s no wonder that so many burgeoning young artists choose to move here in pursuit of a music career. If you’re considering moving to the Big Apple to bolster your music career, there are some things you should know before you move:
New York is Expensive
Most people are aware of NYC’s repute for sky high real estate prices, but many aspiring artists move here without a true grasp of just how expensive living in the big city is. In the first quarter of 2016, the average Manhattan apartment cost $1.95 million, while rental rates were the 2nd highest in the country, just after San Francisco. According to Zumper, the median one-bedroom in Manhattan runs about $3100. Unless you’re independently wealthy, you’ll have to face the realities of getting a day job and living with multiple roommates to pay the bills.
You’ll Need to Pare Things Down
Along with expensive real estate comes the reality that you’ll have less personal space, so you’ll need to be prepared to do a lot of purging prior to your move. Local NYC movers, Imperial Moving, who have helped thousands of people complete relocations to New York City, note that customers moving from out-of-state are often surprised at just how little space they have in their expensive new apartments. “Many clients come loaded down with entirely too many things and end up having to sell or put the nonessentials in storage.” If you’re serious about moving to New York, be willing to pare down your wardrobe and other belongings to the essentials. Otherwise, you may not even be able to turn around in your small living space much less have room for practicing music.
Get a Day Job
To expand upon the themes of expensive big city and tiny living quarters, keep in mind that moving to NYC means you’ll probably have to get a day job (or two) in order to make ends meet. While playing for tips in the subway might be your dream, unless you also want to sleep in the subway, it’s wise to watch out for other opportunities to make money. Berklee School of Music suggests that music careerists be willing to be versatile and creative in coming up with a workable revenue stream. This doesn’t necessarily mean flipping burgers at McDonald’s; you could put your skills to use with a paying gig as a part-time music teacher or a vocals coach.
Network Until You Can No Longer Speak
As with just about any industry, the music industry is all about who you know. Take every single opportunity you can to connect with anyone you meet, including fellow artists, promoters, and even the guys running sound check. While you can form genuine relationships and even friendships with your new industry acquaintances, this is not the time for modesty and humility. If you don’t sell yourself, no one else will. Talk up your achievements and talents at every outlet possible to get your name out there.
It Requires a Resilient Spirit
Music is known as a cutthroat industry and it can be difficult to break into already established circles. Adam Small, a music management consultant who spent years as a musician in New York, advises new musicians to prepare for being “vibed” by fellow artists. According to Small, vibing occurs when resident musicians get territorial and snub new arrivals to the scene. Though this attitude may seem like a personal affront, you must be resilient in these situations. Keep your eye on the road to success and like T. Swift wisely advises, “shake it off”.
Success Won’t Happen Overnight
Many people move to New York with the mindset that success will rain down on them as soon as the landing gear makes contact with the tarmac at JFK. This false assumption, popularized and romanticized by Hollywood movies and TV shows, couldn’t be further from the truth. Yes, there is that occasional random story of right-place-at-the-right-time success, but most artists have to claw their way to the top. Once you’re in New York, Sonic Bids suggests that you need to be “mentally and emotionally prepared to dedicate years of hard work to [your] craft”. Successful musicians work hard to get where they are, committing years to perfecting their sound and trying like mad to get their foot in the door whenever possible.
Even though moving to NYC to pursue music comes with its fair share of challenges, it can ultimately be an exciting and successful proposition. Just make sure you’re fully prepared for what’s ahead!
Moving to a new city as a teenager is one of the hardest things to do. New friends and situations can be stressful to cope with as the teenager acclimates to the unfamiliar culture and surroundings. Great Guys, a leader in the relocation and auto shipping industry, indicates that millions of Americans will move this summer. In recent years, American moves, particularly cross country ones, have been on the rise, as people seek warmer climates and better economic opportunities. Among the population moving are many families with children and teenagers, who might be resistant to the thought of moving. If your students are among the thousands of American teens that will be forced to uproot and relocate this summer, take a look at the music programs available for your teenager at their new school this fall. One of the best ways to ease the anxiety of this transition is by encouraging new students to join band or choir. Music is a universal language that can be shared between every gender and race, making it a great way for new students to feel like they fit in, in their new school. Here are 7 reasons encouraging your student to join the band or choir is a great idea:
1. Instant Best Friends
It can be difficult for teens to break into new social circles because solid friendships are often already in place as junior high or high school arrive. When a teen enters band, however, they have an instant subject to use as an ice breaker with others. Plus, most middle and high school bands have the opportunity of attending and performing football games, concerts, and competitions. These extracurricular activities make for an easy segue into other social events.
2. Encourages Teamwork
According to the National Association of Music Parents, band and choir teaches teamwork skills. In performances, individuals must come together to cohesively perform the given piece of music, melding their individual talents into a group product. This encourages both self-improvement and teamwork. Working with others is a critical skill that translates into life beyond high school, useful in future careers, relationships, and more.
3. Forms Nerve-Cell Connections
It’s a well-known fact that band members are often straight-A students. In fact, playing music helps kids and teens make new and complex neurological connections. Music For All points out that teens will often do better in all of their academic classes, particularly in math and science, when music is a daily part of life.
4. Introduces Students to Community
Teens will make friends with their bandmates, and they’ll also have a chance to meet others in the community too. Joining a music program almost always requires some fundraising responsibilities. Teens might work with neighbors or local businesses in order to raise money for that next field trip or competition outing.
5. Helps Entire Family Bond with Neighborhood
Teens aren’t the only ones who’re dealing with a transition. Parents also have some struggles as they transport their lives and settle into the new home. Music programs encourage parents to get involved by volunteering to chaperone events and helping out with fundraising. This is a great way to meet fellow choir or band parents and make new friends.
6. Develops Leadership Abilities
Each band member has a chance at being a leader. These leadership roles might rotate through the group as the year wears on, such as conducting the group or leading an instrument section. Who knows, you might even be raising the next drum major! Being able to lead is a skill that enhances the teen’s self-esteem and serves them well as adults.
7. Time Management and Discipline
Being in a band or choir means that there’s extra work besides the academic classes. Teens must organize and manage their time very wisely or else the music or school will suffer. Personal discipline, such as studying hard and going to bed early, is inherent with band members.
Ideally, try to time your move during the summer months. Your teenager won’t miss out on any school, and they have a chance to meet other band members as practice often runs through the warmer months anyway. As fall arrives, the teen will already have a strong group of friends through the band so they’ll be able to better concentrate on academics.
Every kid should have the opportunity to learn music, but with cutbacks to music programs in schools across the country it’s not always possible. Private lessons can be out of reach for a lot of parents at the same time. Don’t despair there are plenty of resources available to you to get free music lessons online. In fact you don’t even have to be a kid to take advantage of free music lessons.
There are lessons available for every level of musical ability and you can learn to play every instrument under the sun. There are websites where you can learn to play a specific instrument such as the guitar or the piano and others where you can learn musical theory as well. Here are some of the best sites for free music education. Pick your instrument and get started.
You can learn to do ANYTHING on YouTube from changing a tire to fixing your washing machine. Among all those videos are some quality channels that offer lessons on playing every instrument imaginable. YouTube also offers you the chance to learn at your own pace you can play the lessons anytime and repeat them as often as you like. In fact most sites that offer free music education have their own YouTube channels that you can visit for more lessons.
There are a collection of free music lessons from the Extension School of Berklee College of Music. The classes were put together from the faculty and music education experts and they cover all aspects of music education. You can learn to play an instrument, learn about songwriting, how to put on a performance as well as how the music business works. There are a couple of drawbacks though, these classes are not designed for a very young child and unlike YouTube there is a schedule to follow.
Andrew started to teach music online back in 2006, believing that everyone should have access to music education and today his YouTube channel has more than 300,000 subscribers. This site offers lessons on musical theory but the only instrument you can learn to play here is the piano. All the lessons are broken down to make even complicated piano playing into easy to learn lessons. Kudos to Andrew Furmanczyk for putting it together. Here is one of his lessons to see how simple he makes it.
JustinGuitar has over 900 free lessons to learn guitar and he has put in more than 15 years building the website to what it is today. Also he gets some pretty cool pats on the back from some big time rock stars, making it pretty easy convincing your child to stick with the lessons. Justin relies on the honor system so for those who can afford to donations are available and keep it free for those who can’t. His YouTube channel where you can find many of the lessons has more than half a million subscribers so he has made music accessible to millions.
Those are the best sites for music education on the web. Consistency is key though and lessons need to be kept regularly.
Everybody loves music of one sort or other, some sing or play an instrument while others enjoy listening. Despite a universal love of music it is almost always one of the first programs cut in schools. Not only do schools lose a class kids enjoy, it also helps enrich student’s lives and their education. There are more than a few interesting facts about music and learning that shows how music improves education.
11 Interesting Facts About Music and Learning
1. Music improves memory. Even when students are playing while following sheet music, students are constantly using memory skills to perform. Memorization is a skill that will serve you for the rest of your life.
2. Music helps develop language and reasoning skills. The area of your brain that deals with language and reason also deals with music, actively using that part of the brain keeps your skills sharp. The left side of the brain is better developed with regular musical training when you are young.
3. Increased coordination. Music is like sports in that it can improve hand eye coordination. Music and sports both help children develop their small motor skills when they are playing.
4. Students develop higher standards in their work. Learning music requires practice, it promotes craftsmanship. Students strive to create great work instead of mediocre work. This is a work ethic that can be used in every area of study.
5. Music students learn self discipline. Kids who master a musical instrument learn valuable lessons in discipline. Every day time must be set aside for practice and learning or creating new music. Kids must exercise self discipline to master their instrument.
6. Kids are engaged in their education. If kids like music and they are getting music classes in school they are engaged in their education. Student who like music are far more likely in to stay in school, and they achieve success in other subjects.
7. Students have better SAT scores. Studies have shown that students who have a musical education score higher on the SATs. Some reports indicate the scores are as much as 63 points on the verbal portion and up to 44 points higher on the math portion.
8. Music builds teamwork. It is not just sports that teach children the value of teamwork, music does as well. Kids who perform in orchestras or bands need to work together for musical performances. They learn the value of working together and build camaraderie and friendships along the way.
9. A strong sense of accomplishment. Learning to master a new piece of music is a difficult but achievable goal. Even the smallest piece of music leaves a student proud of their accomplishments.
10. Music develops creative thinking. Children with a background in the arts learn to think creatively. This is a life skill that can help in every aspect of your life, solving problems without visible solutions and the prospect of more than one answer.
11. Music develops a child’s imagination and intellectual curiosity. Teaching children music while they are young helps create a positive attitude towards learning. Children become curious about learning new music and this is adapted to learning other skills as well.