Marketing Music Education art

Between a Lesson and a Concert


GRAMMY Quarterfinalists

Tony Mazzocchi
Caleb Chapman


Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Marching Illini Sousaphones run 5K


Coming up on the podcast

Donna Schwartz of Music Teachers’ Resource Guide
Joe Beard of The Marching Podcast
Follow up episode with Gary Doherty, author of Ignition Point: Striking the Match


Upcoming Events

2015 Music Parent Booster Seminar at the Conn-Selmer Institute

Music for All Summer Symposium

MFA Parent Booster Institute


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Laura Blake WEB

Laura Blake, Events Manager of Music for All


MME Laura Blake sq

About Laura Blake

Laura Blake WEBLaura Blake has been around the marching arts and Indianapolis area school bands since she was 6.  A trumpet player (and cable in percussion), she still plays each week in a community band and occasionally for local community theatre. Between 1998 and 2005, Laura worked with over 10 different Indiana school band programs, joining Music for All in 2005. She attended Butler University, but due to financial constraints, she left school one semester short of her bachelors degree. She expects to earn that degree this spring, thanks to the encouragement of Music for All CEO Eric Martin, and will begin her pursuit of a masters in non-profit management. An alumna of Kappa Kappa Psi, she serves on their Alumni Association Board.

MME laura blake twitter



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Tony Mazzocchi, author of The Music Parents’ Guide


music parents guide cover art

About Tony Mazzocchi, author of The Music Parents Guide

music parents guide tony mazzocchiA GRAMMY® nominated music educator, Anthony Mazzocchi has performed as a trombonist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, New Jersey Symphony, San Diego Symphony, San Diego Opera, Riverside Symphony, Key West Symphony, in various Broadway shows and numerous recordings and movie soundtracks.

Tony has served as faculty or as a frequent guest lecturer at The Juilliard School, Manhattan School of Music, New York University, and Mannes College of Music.  He has taught students from kindergarten through college, and has served as a district Director of Fine and Performing Arts in the South Orange/Maplewood School District.  Tony has been a consultant for arts organizations throughout the NY/NJ area.

Tony is currently Associate Director of the John J. Cali School of Music at Montclair State University in New Jersey.  He is also Executive Director of theKinhaven Summer Music School in Weston, Vermont.  Tony is a clinician for Courtois – Paris.

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You Should Opt Out of the PSSAs—We Did!

opt out of the PSSAs

A few days ago, I stopped by my children’s schools and spoke with their principals. The next day, I opted them out of PSSA standardized testing.

Why opt out of the PSSAs?

There are so many reasons I’m opting my children out, but I think education researcher Dr. Tim Slekar put it best:

“I love my child, I love my school and I love my teachers! I will not take part in this insanity anymore.”

Standardized test results are being used as a weapon, and I can no longer allow my children to be a part of this.

Educators are the backbone of a successful society. Every successful individual can credit at least one of their teachers for giving them a strong foundation.

Yet somehow in modern society—especially in today’s political climate—teachers are increasingly characterized as lazy slackers who only took the job because they’d get summers off, or because they weren’t successful enough to do something more lucrative.

As such, lawmakers have concluded that they must demand “accountability” from public schools and educators.

How ironic that these legislators, who likely learned to be accountable thanks to the efforts of their own teachers, are now wielding “accountability” as a cudgel against those same educators.

I don’t know about you, but every teacher I’ve ever had—heck, every teacher I’ve ever MET—is the polar opposite of anyone who needs accountability.

The teachers I know are, without fail, highly educated, accomplished professionals who care deeply about their students.

The teachers I know reach deeply into their own pockets to provide the supplies—and sometimes food and clothing—their own schools and their students’ families cannot.

The teachers I know expect excellence from their students, while providing a safe place for their students to learn, fail, and grow.

And yet somehow, today’s educators are rewarded by being asked to do more with less time and money. It’s like trying to teach with their hands tied behind their backs.

Hours and hours of standardized testing and test prep—thousands of dollars poured into creating, purchasing, and processing these tests. And for what?

Test results delivered months to late to do anything useful educationally. Instead, those test results are used only to provide quantifiable evidence of the failure of American public schools. And too often, those test results are used to justify spending less on music education, and more on the subjects being tested. Kids are pulled out of music and art classes to spend more time on test prep.


I, for one, have had enough. My children’s test results will no longer be used as weapons against the teachers and the schools they love.


Image credit: Flickr user emagic

How NOT to Celebrate Music In Our Schools Month

 bless your heart

Bless your heart.

The Texas Classroom Teachers’ Association TRIED to help celebrate Music In Our Schools month (MIOSM).

It just didn’t quite work.

Here is the story of the MIOSM Sax Fail of 2015.


The post

miosm sax no mouthpiece

Whoever was tasked with sourcing that image for MIOSM was clearly never a band kid. Nor was the either stock photography site, the photographer, nor the model.

For the record, the sax is missing its mouthpiece and neck strap altogether, and her hands are holding the instrument incorrectly.


A few people noticed, apparently, and down came the post.

TCTA apology screenshot clean


The response

Imgurians were largely amused.

Facebook took it more seriously. (Most of them, anyway.)

trumpasax comment

As you can see, some of the replies by teachers are borderline vitriolic. And really, it was a mistake that got fixed (arguably—some commenters feel that a new, correct image should be posted in support of Music in Our Schools month).

So why all the venom toward the Texas Classroom Teachers’ Association?

Perhaps it all boils down to disrespect.

Teaching, as a profession, is not well respected in our current political climate. Music educators are respected even less. Programs are getting slashed.

The unenlightened feel that music isn’t a “real” or an “important” school subject, that kids enrolled in music are “just having fun,” which of course they should be doing on their OWN time, not on the taxpayers’ dime.

Music educators have to fight these biases and misinformation EVERY DAY. And to have an organization—whose sole purpose is to support educators—post an image that propagates music education illiteracy? It’s too much.

It’s not fair that music education has to advocate so ardently for their existence, in a way that math or English never will. An image like this practically advocates AGAINST music education.

I think THAT’S why this makes music educators so mad. It makes a mockery of their life’s work.


How to avoid—or handle—a situation like this

As a social media manager, I’ve been in the same shoes as the unfortunate TCTA admin who created and originally posted the image. It’s not fun.

If you see something off about a social media post, privately message the account and let the admin know. They’ll be so grateful that you did. Try to be gracious about it—there’s enough hate on the internet already.

If you’re the one posting the offending content, time is of the essence. Where possible, react quickly and apologize.  Make it right to the best of your ability.

To TCTA’s credit, they’re not deleting negative comments. Deleting comments just escalates things. You look like you’re not willing to acknowledge your mistake, and commenters feel they’re not being heard. That makes them want to step up their efforts and let more people know not just about the original offense, but your disappointing response to it.

 For more on handling a social media meltdown, read this and this.

Mistakes happen. We can turn them into teachable moments, like the music educator who posted the unfortunate saxophone image on a bulletin board, and invited his students to find “What’s Wrong With This Picture?”

We’ll laugh about this one day, TCTA. I promise.

Jacksonville State University celebrates Music in Our Schools Month.

Jacksonville State University celebrates Music in Our Schools Month.


Want to sound off about this? I’d love to hear what you have to say!


miosm sax fail

Tim Hinton MME

Tim Hinton


In this episode of Marketing Music Education, I speak with Tim Hinton. He is one of the hosts of the Marching Roundtable podcast, which I’ve listened to and enjoyed for years. Hi background as an educator is readily apparent, as he schools me about the benefits of hiring an arranger, the pitfalls of burnout, and the need to educate not just marching arts judges, but the entire marching arts community—and beyond!

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#MIOSM Instagram Challenge

March is Music In Our Schools month!

Let’s celebrate with the National Association for Music Education. They’re celebrating 30 years of MIOSM this year!

So remember how I’m always going on about “marketing music education?” MIOSM is a wonderful reminder to do that. And it’s much better than mourning Music NOT In Our Schools Month.

It’s so easy. Here’s how:

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Gary Doherty, author of The Ignition Point


Ignition_PointGary Doherty is spearheading a conversation that is long overdue, particularly in the field of music education. We were introduced at Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic by mutual friend Cam Stasa (who gets an associate producer credit for this episode). After just a few moments with him, I knew that Gary Doherty could speak with authority to the importance of self-care and wellness for music educators (and volunteers!) as someone who had spent thirty years in the trenches of music ed and performance, and paid the price.

In this episode, Gary talks about his own personal “ignition point,” how to recognize your own, and even how to create one for yourself or someone you love. He talks about what came next on his journey, and how his relationship with food has changed. We cover the paleo lifestyle, the slow food movement, and his adult beverages of choice, influenced by his secondary career as a mixologist.

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Wage Equality: Patricia Arquette and her Oscar Acceptance Speech

As she accepted her Academy award last night, Patricia Arquette of Boyhood (and one of my favorite shows, Medium) surprised everyone by using her speech to advocate for wage equality.


“To every woman who gave birth to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else’s equal rights,” Arquette said.

“It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all, and equal rights for women in the United States of America.”

Her words were met with enthusiasm from the live audience.




By the next morning, though, the blowback had started. Not from those objecting to equal pay, but from those advocating “intersectionality.” I had to look it up.

Other feminists were openly condemning her for—not going far enough, I guess?

Look, the only way there will be progress on this issue is if the issue is talked about. By slamming a woman who chose to use a few seconds of her time on the world’s stage to discuss this issue, it gives the whole movement a bad name. This is why “feminism” is a four-letter word.

By vilifying Arquette for not saying it the way YOU would have said it, it makes millions of supporters less likely to speak out.

I do not at all dispute the existence of intersectionality. On the contrary: it’s insidious. But we can only speak from our own experiences. Arquette’s perspective, like my own, is that of a white woman. We can’t change that. But it doesn’t mean that we can’t begin to empathize with women of color, or that the struggles of white women are somehow more important than anyone else’s.

The way I took her statement, she was calling out everyone who has ever had a mother (HINT: that’s everyone) to pitch in to fix wage equality.

Ladies, we can’t spend our energy shouting one another down for “doing it wrong.” We all have to pull in the same direction.

practice slowly

Practice slowly to learn fast!


If you want to learn something quickly, practice that thing S-L-O-W-L-Y. Because your brain is like a fresh snowdrift.


Listen to find out why musicians should practice slowly.

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