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Applications to perform or to propose a clinic at the 68th Annual Midwest Clinic are now available!

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Small School & Title I Initiatives

Launched in 2015 as a way to present pragmatic solutions and real world expertise from practitioners in similar teaching environments, the Small School and Title I Initiatives return for our 70th. Larger and more comprehensive than its inaugural year, these tracks were created, developed and cultivated by Midwest as a way to offer support and provide resources for instrumental music educators delivering instruction in these settings. Music knows no bounds, and students regardless of their area, community or demographic should be afforded every opportunity to have the most exceptional music education instruction possible. Don't miss the conference that brings you these and over 90 other sessions presented by world-class experts!

Small School Initiative

small school, BIG Design: Employing Creative Resources in the Marching Band

The marching band is the face of the total band program in any community. No matter how strong the concert band program, the public expects the band to be present at all athletic events, town parades, etc. For the small director the marching band is under even more scrutiny given the size of the community. This session aims at presenting directors in these communities with expert advice on how to make a BIG impact on the field with limited means and instrumentation.

Tearing Down the Wall between Music and Athletics-How to Make the Musical Athlete Work for You!

Contrary to opinion, music and athletics go hand in hand.  Learn how to make these work together to make a better music program, a better school sports program and a better student. A win, win, win scenario.

G.R.I.T. Passion and Perseverance! "Gaining Resources In Teaching Music” for the Small School Band!
Band directors of all size bands find it helpful to use a little GRIT to get through the day.  The particular challenges of teaching the small band often requires an extra portion, if not a continuous supply of GRIT.  Drawing from their combined fifty-nine years of collective experience, the father/daughter panel will discuss important aspects and solutions to various problems in teaching small school bands.'s a Secret! Size Doesn't Matter: A Strategic Plan for BIG results in small School Band Programs
The challenges of working with a "small band" can sometimes cause us to look toward the greener pastures of the "large band" program.  Through years of experience in small schools, these clinicians will provide proven strategies on how to achieve musical success in all areas of performance. ALL band students deserve a superior musical experience, no matter what size of the program. From day one of beginner band thru the graduation of the high school band member, these techniques can change the perception of directors, students, parents, and administrators.  Bigger is not better because size doesn't matter.

Voicing and Re-voicing for YOUR Band's Success!
Finding repertoire for your specific instrumentation is an ongoing challenge for all band directors, particularly for those in small school settings. Educator/Composer/Arranger Robert W. Smith shares his decades of experience in voicing for all instrumental ensembles. Discussion topics include voicing for incomplete instrumentation and re-voicing for student performance success. Mr. Smith will be joined by the Princeton High School Band (IL) demonstrating voicing techniques in various musical settings.

Title I Initiative

Engaging Challenging Students in Band and Orchestra
Identifying risk factors that lead to students acting out is an important component of maintaining focus and decorum in the classroom. Activities adapted from Eric Jensen’s “Engaging Students with Poverty in Mind: Practical Strategies for Raising Achievement”, plus findings from John Hattie’s work, will be explained and applied to music education. These techniques work to engage all students, not just the challenging ones. All students need to feel safe in making mistakes so they can create, explore, and perform to their highest potential.

Teach the Kids and the Band Takes Care of Itself
Inspiring, empowering and educating students in challenging situations is the direction of music education in the foreseeable future. This presentation will provide problem solving approaches, educational strategies and a conceptual framework for creating the next generation of successful programs.

Building Community By Teaching to a Higher Purpose
Much has been written about Music Advocacy with the purpose of promoting and defending Music Education. And many music educators are prepared to quote famous articles and show off awards as signs of their success. But, “actions speak louder than words”. We will examine creative ways of immersing the program into the community, and we will also discuss a very common practice of band directors that works directly against their programs. Take the emphasis away from awards. The real trophies of your music program are your students, parents, and community.

Title 1: A Label, Not A Limit
This presentation will focus on pedagogy, rehearsal technique, repertoire selection, motivation and the unique advantages and challenges of teaching in a Title 1 school. Proven strategies will be explored for building a strong educational culture and a successful middle school program that is the foundation of an outstanding high school experience.

“Hai!”: Practical Application of Japanese Band Methods in
Urban Schools

For decades, musicians have admired the high level of performance typical of the common Japanese school band. At the same time, many directors have dismissed their pedagogy as “too foreign” or “not practical” for the American band room. Mr. Das will share some systems, techniques and strategies that are standard for Japanese bands, but often overlooked in the states. Students from Pritzker College Prep, a Title I school, will be on hand for live demonstration.

Beauty from the Beginning
“Over the years I have come to appreciate the importance of kids playing real music as early as possible; not just unison exercises, but real music with the stuff real music has: harmony, beauty, formal tension, a sense of purpose. This session will show directors that even with the simplest grade 1 piece there is so much beauty to be both had and found.” -Frank Ticheli

Visit our Schedule of Events to find these sessions and more!