Tag Archives: choir

What is MSMISP? -or- Who Wants $1000 of Free Sheet Music?

We had the good fortune to speak with TMEA about the MSMISP grant program more in depth. They were very helpful in providing answers to some of your most frequently asked questions. We thought we would share what they had to say.

 The Middle School Music Instructional Support Program (MSMISP) is a grant program from TMEA (Texas Music Educators Association) for 6-8th grade Choir, Orchestra and Band directors in Texas. It will provide $1,000 (yes, a full grand!) for sheet music to programs who are selected in the 2014 – 2015 school year. If you end up going over the grand TMEA will give you then your district will be billed for the difference. Penders is offering free shipping so you can make full use of your thousand without worry.

In order to qualify the director must have current membership with TMEA and teach at a Texas middle school. Applications may be submitted from September 15, 2014 to October 15, 2014. There is a total of $500,000 that will be allocated based on current funding and size of the program. So, if you want a snapshot of your program’s chances of getting this money, simply divide your budget by the number of students you have. If your dollar-per-student is lower than the state average you will have a great shot at getting a grant.

TMEA has told us that as of September 24, 2014there are only 230 applications filed, that means that even if you have a million dollars in the your budget you should still apply. There are currently 2,800 qualified campuses in Texas so odds are most of you haven’t even heard of this program. Even if you teach programs at multiple schools you can apply, the grant money is program specific not director specific. Even private school programs can get this money so you really have no reason not to apply.

Let’s get one thing straight, though, this music may only be used for sheet music designed for a full ensemble so you won’t be able to fund your next few years of solo and ensemble with this money. It also can’t be used for pop pieces such as show tunes or accompaniment CD’s. A limited number of sight-reading pieces will be acceptable in TMEA’s view. Finally, choral applications with less than 10 individual sheets per piece will be asked to bring that number up to an amount that can serve a choir rather than can be used for perusal. TMEA’s explicit goal is to place challenging music in front of every middle school choir, orchestra and band student in Texas.

Your application will need to be submitted with a quote from a qualified vendor that includes shipping (again, Penders has free shipping on all MSMISP quotes). TMEA will review each piece and let you know if something doesn’t work for the use of the money. If you get the grant the quote will then be sent back to the vendor who will fill your order will be paid directly from TMEA. They are considering allowing refunds and exchanges in extreme scenarios only but will be subject to an approval process at TMEA before they can be completed.

On their site TMEA has outlined some criteria to help you select music appropriate for this program.

Quickly they are:

  • Works that offer insight into significant composers.
  • Works that have cultural, historical relevance as defined by the TEKS.
  • Works that extend the technical demands and musical limitations normally associated with middle school repertoire.
  • Works that can be related to other artistic genre such as dance, visual arts and literature

If you were confused by some of these points don’t worry, so were we.

First, we asked what their definition of a significant composer was. They told us it is going to be anyone of historical or musical significance to include contemporary composers (think Tichelli, Whitacre and the like) and those doing Hollywood music (John Williams, Danny Elfman, Howard Shore and others). But again, NO POP.

In regards to the last point about relating to other genres, they said a piece would qualify under this condition if it could be related to another academic subject and specifically quoted ‘Of Sailors and Whales’ by Francis McBeth to relate to literature, ‘Solitary Dancer’ by Warren Benson to relate to dance and any piece with multiple time signatures or difficult rhythms to relate to math. Of course, this is not an exhaustive list so be creative when applying this one.

While these may seem restricting, TMEA has told us that anything on the UIL list that is appropriate for the average 6 – 8th grade ensemble will be fair game but they stressed that pieces grade 3 and above are their preference. This list is primarily meant to guide your selection of music outside the UIL list.

TMEA wants to work with you to provide your students with the best music education available. They will be reviewing each application personally and will do line by line acceptance of pieces rather than whole application rejection or acceptance. If something you selected is outside their expectations they will contact you. But feel free to contact TMEA or Penders with any questions or concerns you may have.

 TMEA wants to give you $1000 in music and my barber always told me to never reject money more than once.

 Get your application in now! Penders can help you do it. If you have any more questions then please email or call us (our information is below). You can also send us your list of music and we will return your proposal within one business day so you can get your application in quickly.

 Pender’s Music Co

 band@penders.com choir@penders.com orchestra@penders.com

1 (800) 772-5918

Work Backwards for Success

A Choir Teacher Prepares for the New School Year

[by Guest Blogger, Denise Eaton]

We are people of “beginnings” but I have found that teaching requires something more from me. Instead of thinking about the beginning of the year, think backwards. Make a list of the things that went well last year and the things upon which you would like to improve. Be very specific about both your strengths and weaknesses as a teacher. One example could be that you feel very good about your ability to teach repertoire, but your classroom organizational skills need improvement. While thinking in that vein, begin planning to implement the “how to’s,” “what to do” and “what not to do’s” which will effect a successful beginning.

Confession: After twenty-nine years in the profession, I still attend the “Tried and Proven” and “Jump Start Your Year” -type sessions at conventions because I fret over what to do at the beginning of the year. They target young teachers but I am proof that you can teach an old dog new tricks. It is crucial that there be a thorough classroom management plan in order to establish boundaries and expectations between you and your students. Procedures for checking roll, getting in seats, distribution of music/materials, picking and putting up folders, etc. must be well thought-out. Anticipate and have a plan for anything and everything your students will “throw” at you and know that it is impossible to over prepare.

Consider the concepts you taught last year, how you would like to build upon them, and any new ones you would like to teach this year. My list consists of:

  •  Continued rhythm growth: Extracting rhythms from repertoire, review of rhythm and relative duration (a very basic presentation of note values), and through selected drills from the Sueta Rhythm Vocabulary (ask your band director – he/she should have Sueta and many more you could use).
  • ŸInterval identification and drills: We begin the year speaking and singing steps and thirds, steps and thirds, steps and thirds. It is impossible to over enforce these basic tenets of sight reading throughout the year. Next we’ll begin the introduction of fundamentals from the SMART Book  in the tonality of the song(s) being introduced.
  • Ÿ Sight Reading: My high school Chorale used to begin the year sight reading The Lord Bless You and Keep You. Since it is four-part, it is at least eight days of sight reading, as everyone learns all four parts. The order of teaching events consisted of : chant text in rhythm, audiatesolfegge, and then sing solfegge.  The “amen” section is a great place to begin as the choir can successfully make the transition from syllables/neutral syllables to text. The song will be a great way to get them singing, but we would also begin some sort of sight singing series, be it SMART, Jenson, or portions of each.
  • ŸRepertoire: [All the time] I’m listening to CDs, digging through my “possible” music stacks, ordering single copies of songs heard while judging, attending festivals, and conventions.  Initially, my “possible” stacks start off high; I put anything and everything I think I might be able to teach plus all that my choir might be able to execute. It is then time to play through the songs, looking at range, harmonies, etc. all the while paying particular attention to exposure of each part.  This helps determine whether the song will show off a choir’s strengths or draw attention to their weaknesses. Eventually, there is a short stack for each choir. After much study and thought to what will provide a varied and interesting program, next is score study and teaching material preparation. It is always good, however, to keep a few songs in reserve; once you have actually heard your choir and you get to know their collective strengths/weaknesses, your repertoire choices could change.
  • ŸAssessment: Implement some creative ways to assess your students. Assign a part learning assignment using technology (Carl Fischer and BriLee have FREE down-loadable part-by-part recordings online); and writing assignments – nothing long and elaborate – merely a tool to get to know students better and to assess their strengths and weaknesses as communicators. In addition to their writing, the students will develop a word bank of musical terms and any vocabulary I use when teaching that they can not readily define. Rhythm counting drills are always fun and can be made into a competition/game between sections.

In closing, I hope that by working backwards, you can move forward as a teacher this year. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, to ask questions and to share your ideas with trusted colleagues in order to get feed-back and encourage dialogue. We are all in this together!

— Denise Eaton, a former TMEA President and active educator, joined the editorial team of Carl Fisher in 2011, where she serves as their choral editor. Carl Fischer, and their sister company, Theodore Presser, are leading publishers of educational choir sheet music, band sheet music, piano sheet music, orchestra sheet music, and much more.
 
 

Where Sheet Music, Competition & Creativity Collide (in TX)

If you live in the state of Texas, and you’re involved in music and education in the schools, then the two acronyms TX UIL and TX PML likely spill freely and frequently from your lips. And even if you’re not from Texas, but are involved in music education somewhere in this great country of ours, then you probably know what they mean, right? Just in case you don’t, though, here’s the information in a nutshell taken from the UIL home page: “The University Interscholastic League (UIL) exists to provide educational extracurricular academic, athletic, and music contests for schools in Texas.”

As it pertains to UIL music, of course, this includes marching band, concert band, full and string orchestra, both instrumental and vocal solo and ensemble, and choir. Solo and Ensemble music events in band, choir and orchestra are scheduled in 28 TX UIL Music Regions, and portions of the choral and instrumental sheet music to be performed must come from the Prescribed Music List (PML).

Hence, since the performance at least in part must come from the UIL music list that is not of your own making, the sheet music selection itself is a very important part of the process, because no individual soloist or music performance group wants to play sheet music that is either too easy or too difficult. Nor do they want to play from just any sheet music that is on the UIL music list. It needs to be sheet music that is specifically relevant to their group. Picking out what sheet music is to be played at a competition (or in essence, at a mini concert), is perhaps one of the most difficult parts of the TX UIL music process. That PML piece must be representative of the overall performance level of either that one person (in a solo), or the entire group of musicians involved. Because it’s all about the competition, right? Or is it?

Students want to earn that Division One Rating at the region competitions, so that they are eligible to advance to the TX UIL State Solo and Ensemble Contest that is traditionally hosted in Austin every year on Memorial Day Weekend. The annual trek is to Austin, because it was the University of Texas at Austin that created the TX UIL in first place in 1910. So consider that. What has grown into the largest inter-school organization of its kind in the world, has a more than one hundred year history, and the model from which it was created here in Texas is now emulated all over the country.

But is it really all for just the competition? Most certainly not. Yet in almost any music circle, you’ll find there is usually a constant debate about competition, its merits, and how it relates to music and the arts. There is a school of thought that since music and the arts are creative pursuits, why must competition or the participation in music contests be an integral part of it, particularly in the school classroom? It almost seems contradictory doesn’t it? Music | Creativity | Expression. What is competitive in that? How can you measure creativity? Expression?

Yet (again from the internet pages of the TX UIL), “the Music Program [specifically]…is designed to support and enrich the teaching of music as an integral component of the public school curriculum in the state of Texas.” Support…enrich…compete, too…and don’t forget to play or sing that choral octavo or instrumental sheet music as creatively and expressively as you can. Because luckily for us, UIL music and competition have and will continue to coexist beautifully together, because as anyone knows, the heart and soul of a school’s music organization is its concert ensemble, whether it be the top-level choral group, or the elite wind ensemble in the concert band program. It is by no coincidence at all that the best marching band programs are a direct reflection of the best concert bands; that the best a cappella choral groups are an extension of the premiere choir in the school; that the wind trios, brass quartets, and percussion ensembles that compete in the TX UIL music contests are usually formed from the top players of their respective programs.

So play on and compete. Seek and find the best band sheet music, choir sheet music, and instrumental sheet music which speak not only to you, but to your students as well. The time to do it is now. Christmas is right around the corner and the TX UIL music competitions will be here before you know it. Therefore, let the sheet music, competition and creativity collide, and trust Pender’s Music Co. to help you. The result will be worth it.

Helpful links:

Band PML | New Selections for 2011 | Texas UIL (slideshow)
New Texas UIL | PML Concert Band Additions for 2011-2012 (pdf)
Choral PML | New Selections for 2011 | Texas UIL (slideshow)
New Texas UIL | PML Choral Additions for 2011-2012 (pdf)
Orchestra PML | New Selections for 2011 | Texas UIL (slideshow)
New Texas UIL | PML Full & String Orchestra Additions for 2011-2012 (pdf)
Texas UIL | PML Vocal
Texas UIL | PML Instrumental
Texas UIL | PML String

 

 

Choral Students: Submit Text for an Upcoming Choral Arrangement!

Heritage Music Press continues to celebrate the value of music education and quality music for ensembles everywhere, and they’re inviting students to become part of the compositional process.

Through June 30, 2011, Heritage Music Press will accept submissions from students enrolled in any choral ensemble to be considered as a text for a future choral publication. The winning submission will be used by one of their composers to create a new composition for their Fall 2012 release. The student who submits this text will receive a $100 prize, and his or her choral ensemble may be given the opportunity to premiere the piece. Good Luck!!!

The Texas Original Score Contest Wants You!

How would you like to win up to $25,000 for your choir? Wouldn’t that be something? $25,000, to put toward important supplies and resources for your school’s music program.

Well, as the well-known slogan says…State Farm is there [to give you a chance to win money for your choir]. That’s right. All you have to do is enter the Texas Original Score Contest, a combined initiative courtesy of TMEA and State Farm Insurance.

With a commitment of  $100,000 from State Farm, a Texas high school music program has the potential to win up to $25,000! All you and your students have to do is create and perform an original score that reflects something great about the state of Texas. One of the beauties of this particular contest is that schools of all sizes can get involved, and be judged appropriately. 1A-3A high schools will compete in one pool; 4A-5A in another. Additionally, you can use just one part of your fine arts program (i.e. the choir), or combine the efforts of everyone, and produce a collaborative project among multiple music groups (choir, band, orchestra, etc) from your school.

What do you need to do? In a nutshell:

  • compose an original score that reflects something great about Texas,
  • bring together an ensemble of high school student musicians to perform the composition

Winning ensembles will be determined based on their composite score comprising three components: (1) the number of votes received in relation to the total possible number of votes in the contest (500 points), (2) score received from Texas Original Score Contest Adjudication panel based on standard TMEA/UIL competition criteria and integration of TEKS in the collaboration and creation process (250 points), and (3) score received from music industry adjudication panel, including members of Los Lonely Boys and other music industry professionals.

Go to the contest website to download the teacher handbook, review the rules, and learn more about how you and your students can participate.

(information courtesy of TMEA & OriginalScoreContest.com)

Choral Cache Thursdays, the series, will post to www.pendersbuzz.com a couple of times a month, with information from our staff, our publisher partners, guest bloggers and more. Come back to this site, or access it from our main Home Page, to find out the latest buzz!

Sing-a-bration is Makin’ a Move!

Exciting, important announcement! The Pender’s Music Company summer choral event, Sing-a-bration, is MOVING! That’s right. Our weekend of workshops that has been held in Grapevine for the last several years is getting a new home, and we’re all pretty excited about it around here, so we wanted to get the word out early to all of you.

We’re moving to Lewisville, TX to the Lewisville Convention Center, aka The Hilton Garden Inn. The dates for 2011 are from Thursday, July 14th through Saturday, July 16th. All workshops, each day (and the Pender’s on-site store), will be held in the convention center meeting space, which is attached to the Hilton Garden Inn. This facility is conveniently located at Exit 447B of Interstate I-35, near the intersection of I-35 and State Highway 121.

We have many reasons to be excited about moving to Lewisville and the Hilton Garden Inn:

  • There is more than enough meeting space for all of our workshops (and the Pender’s store). We’ll all be under ONE roof, for the duration of the event.
  • The Hilton Garden Inn is only three years old. It’s a beautiful hotel, is carpeted throughout, etc. The convention space is attached to the hotel, and can be accessed through an inside corridor near the main lobby, or through its separate main entrance that is adjacent to a huge parking area (free). There will be plenty of room for everyone.
  • In addition to the Hilton Garden Inn, there are several great hotels in the area, and we’ve set aside room blocks at three others, with very reasonable room rates, beginning at $79 per night.
  • The larger meeting space(s) allow us more flexibility in scheduling, and what we’re able to offer each of you. We’ve listened to your feedback, and we have some wonderful plans in store (more on that in a bit).
  • All food and beverage will be catered through the Hilton Garden Inn, which means that the hotel’s catering/convention staff will be there for us, the entire time.
  • We will have a completely separate area set up for lunch, at round tables – and if the weather is good, we may even dine out alfresco, on the Tuscany Garden Patio, with its covered pavilion and fountain.
  • Free wireless internet throughout the meeting space.
  • The Lewisville Convention Center is just minutes from Vista Ridge Mall, many other shopping areas, dozens of restaurants, etc. With Lewisville Lake, golf courses and more, there’s something in the area for everyone.

The NEW Schedule

Thursday, July 14th (9am to 4pm)

The first day remains our traditional Sing-a-bration day – Multi-Publisher workshops, in two tracks – Elementary and Secondary — with Andy Beck (Alfred Publishing Co.), Mary Lynn Lightfoot (Heritage Music Press), and Greg Gilpin (Shawnee Press).

Friday, July 15th (9am to 4pm)

For Day Two, we have something NEW! Yes, it’s still Hal Leonard’s popular Joy of Singing (not to worry), but for the first time ever, this day will ALSO be in two tracks – Choose Elementary or Middle School/High School. The Elementary track WILL include Classroom Reading with Cristi Cary Miller. The other featured clinicians from Hal Leonard, for both tracks, are Roger Emerson, Mac Huff and John Jacobson. We also welcome Denise Eaton for the first time, to round out the Middle School/High School slate of presenters.

Saturday, July 16th (9am to 4pm)

On Day Three, there will be two different workshops, running concurrently – the ever-popular John Jacobson Choreography and Reading session, as well as a full day of Joy of Worship, our church session.

Half of the church session will be presented by Hal Leonard and their affiliated publishers (Brookfield Press, Daybreak Music, Integrity, Fred Bock, and more); the other half will be our Multi-Publisher offerings (Alfred, Beckenhorst, Lorenz, Roger Dean, Shawnee Press, and others). Our clinicians for Joy of Worship will include Joseph Martin and Mary McDonald.

Hotel Information

Here is the information regarding the blocks of rooms that we have set aside for Singabration. Please use the appropriate Group Codes, etc, in order to receive the correct rate.

Hilton Garden Inn (Lewisville Conv Ctr)
785 SH 121
972-459-4600
$129 Group Code PENDER

Hampton Inn & Suites
2650 Lake Vista Dr
972-315-3200
$99 Group Code: PEN

Courtyard Marriott
2701 Lake Vista Drive
972-316-3100
$89 Group Code: Singabration

Comfort Suites
755A Vista Ridge Mall Dr
(972) 315-6464
$79 *Mention Pender’s Music Co.

Movement Ideas for Treble Choirs

Movement Ideas for Treble Choirs

(by Sally K. Albrecht; provided by Alfred Publishing Co.)

Each year, Andy Beck and I film a DVD containing choreography ideas for your choirs. This year’s Shine choral movement DVD offers complete staging for the following new 2-part Alfred choral titles, appropriate for winter or spring concerts.

1. Shout for Joy is a rhythmic song of joy written in a partner-song style, featuring hand claps plus optional trumpet and percussion. I enjoy using this as a vibrant and sophisticated concert opener.

2. Grandma’s Feather Bed is a novelty arrangement, including lots of silly “oinks,” imitation banjo sounds, snoring, and country-style craziness. Grab lots of bright-colored quilts and bedspreads for the front row to pull up on the chorus each time. You’ll also need some stuffed animals, including of course “the piggie we stole from the shed.” Yee-haw!

3. Esta Es el Tiempo is a multicultural gem; part Spanish, part English. The staging for this one includes lots of easy arm movement, rhythmic claps, and “tummy walks.” Incorporate some appropriate live rhythm instruments for a special touch.

4. Rocking Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu gets a fresh and funky treatment. The staging plays with the great lyrics throughout, “I wanna jump but I’m afraid I’ll fall, I wanna holler but the joint’s too small.” It might be fun to feature a few select couples doing the choreography out in front, with the rest of the ensemble joining in on the chorus/echo sections.

5.  Joyful Joyful is a jubilant concert work which includes a refrain from Beethoven‘s Ninth Symphony. The movement for this one is energized and elegant, but still works great on choral risers.

6. We Are One is an uplifting song of unity, offering the timeless message “We are one in music, we are one in song!” On the Shine! DVD, we show you sign language, which can be used to enhance this choral. Consider using your entire group of singers on the chorus and feature select students to sign the verses.

7. Shine a Little Light is my favorite closer this year. It’s got a bit of gospel, a bit of  This Little Light of Mine, and two small solos. The rousing number features great upper torso movement, snaps, and claps that work well on choral risers.

On all of our choreography DVDs, we demonstrate the choreography in three sections:

1. Complete performance with Sally and Andy facing the camera, mirroring your movements.

2. Instructional time, with explanations, descriptions, and options given as needed.

3. Exclusive “Double Shot” performance, with Sally and Andy facing a mirror — you see the movements both from behind and in the mirror.

Let us help make your choir “shine” in an upcoming concert!

_________

Elementary Music Mondays, the series, will post to www.pendersbuzz.com a couple of times a month, with information from our staff, our publisher partners, guest bloggers and more. Come back to this site, or access it from our main Home Page, to find out the latest buzz!