Share Your Passion


6255 Symposium: Teaching the Middle School Band


Join Our Mailing List

Shop the Vanderstore!

Recital Highlights

Experience middle level band teaching at its highest level. This symposium-style class brings together leading educators and composers to guide you through curriculum development, age-appropriate repertoire, motivational techniques, recruitment, retention, advocacy, and creative warm-ups and rehearsal techniques. You'll take away strong organizational ideas as well as rehearsal tips that will improve your teaching and the level of every musician in your band.

Instructors: Stacey L. Dolan, Mary Land, Robert Sheldon, Erin Cole & Chip De Stefano

Stacey Larson Dolan

Stacey L. Dolan is the dean of undergraduate studies and associate director of bands at VanderCook College of Music where she teaches music education courses, conducting courses and ensembles at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Prior to teaching at VanderCook, Dean Dolan had a successful 12-year career in both private and public education. Originally from Itasca, IL, Dean Dolan received her bachelor of music education degree from Millikin University in Decatur, IL, and her master of music education from VanderCook. She has acted as a guest conductor and clinician for over 400 bands from 15 states and several ensembles from Canada and Europe. Dean Dolan has presented workshops and/or conducted at Music Educators Association Conferences and Festivals in Illinois, Wisconsin, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, Texas and Missouri, and has been published in “The Instrumentalist.”


Robert Sheldon (b. Feb 3, 1954) has taught instrumental music in the Florida and Illinois public schools, and has served on the faculty at Florida State University where he taught conducting and instrumental music education classes, and directed the university bands. As Concert Band Editor for Alfred Music Publishing, he maintains an active composition and conducting schedule, and regularly accepts commissions for new works. Sheldon received the Bachelor of Music in Music Education from the University of Miami and the Master of Fine Arts in Instrumental Conducting from the University of Florida.

An internationally recognized clinician, Sheldon has conducted numerous Regional and All-State Honor Bands throughout the United States and abroad. His teaching career included 28 years in the Florida and Illinois public schools as well as at the University of Florida, Florida State University, Illinois Central College and Bradley University. He also held positions as conductor of the Alachua County Youth Orchestra in Gainesville, Florida and the Prairie Wind Ensemble in East Peoria, Illinois. He maintains membership in several organizations that promote music and music education.  He is lead author for the SOUND INNOVATIONS FOR BAND method books, and is a co-author for the MEASURES OF SUCCESS Volume 1 method book and the SOUND INNOVATIONS FOR STRINGS method books.

The American School Band Directors Association has honored him with the Volkwein Award for composition and the Stanbury Award for teaching, and the International Assembly of Phi Beta Mu honored him with the International Outstanding Bandmaster Award. He has also been a twenty-five-time recipient of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publisher’s Standard Award for his compositions in the concert band and orchestral repertoire. His compositions have been recorded and released on compact discs including, Images: The Music of Robert Sheldon, and Infinite Horizons: The Music of Robert Sheldon, as well as numerous other recordings. Mr. Sheldon has been the topic of articles published in The Instrumentalist, Teaching Music and School Band and Orchestra Magazine, and is one of eleven American wind band composers featured in Volume I of Composers on Composing Music for Band.


Erin Cole has been the band director at Tapp Middle School in Cobb County, Georgia since 1995.  Under her leadership, the Tapp Band honors include being selected to perform at the 58th annual Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago, Illinois in December of 2004.  The band has been a featured performing group at the University of Georgia Middle School Band Festival in 2008, 2003, and 1999.  Additionally, the Flute and Percussion Ensemble have performed at the Georgia Music Educators Conference in Savannah, Georgia.  The Tapp Band was also selected for the National Adjudicators Invitational Dixie Classic Festival in 2006 where they received all superior ratings.  The Tapp Band continually receives superior ratings each year at the District 12 large group performance evaluation.    

Ms. Cole has commissioned four pieces of music for the Tapp Band in the past 12   years.  In 1999, Robert W. Smith wrote "The Great Locomotive Chase", in 2002, Frank Ticheli wrote "Simple Gifts - Four Shaker Songs".  and in 2004, Samuel R. Hazo composed “Ascend” for the Tapp M.S. Symphonic Band’s performance at The Midwest Clinic.  Most recently, Ms. Cole and the Tapp Middle School Band was part of a consortium of directors to commission the Eric Whitacre piece “The Seal Lullaby”.  

Erin Cole earned her bachelor's degree in music education from the University of Georgia in 1995.  While at the University of Georgia, she played cello, flute, and piccolo in the University Symphony Orchestra, chamber groups, Symphonic and Concert Bands, and the Redcoat Marching Band.  She has studied cello with Christopher Rex, David Starkweather, and Alice Williams and has studied flute with Ronald Waln and Martha Lynn Volman.  

Ms. Cole's professional affiliations include Phi Beta Mu, Sigma Alpha Iota, National Band Association, and the Georgia Music Educators Association.  

Erin has written articles for The Instrumentalist magazine and has been a contributing editor for the publication.  She has also served as a clinician for the Music for All Summer Symposium and the Conn Selmer Institute.  She has also presented clinics at the Midwest Clinic and several state conventions.  In 2007, 2010, and 2014 Erin has written chapters for the popular GIA publication series Teaching Music Through Performance.  Ms. Cole is also currently a contributing editor for Hal Leonard’s Essential Elements method book and interactive website team.  

Ms. Cole has served as a guest conductor for numerous honor and all state bands, has taught several years at the "Encore" Music Camp, and is the founder and administrator of the Cobb County Summer Band Camp.  She was awarded the National Band Association’s Citation of Excellence in 2008 and 2003. She is the middle school band conductor for the newly formed Conn-Selmer Youth Band of Atlanta.  Ms. Cole is also very active in the McEachern High School Band program. She has been on staff with the marching band for the past 18 years as the flute instructor and conducts flute sectionals with Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Bands.



Click to Register for Summer MECA Courses

MECA Summer Registration Form

Course Information

6255 Symposium: Teaching The Middle School Band 

3 graduate credits
Location: HH Armour Dining

Click HERE for a campus map.

Tuition: $930 (includes $75 resource fee)
A $75 deposit is required at time of registration. Tuition balance is due in full by the first day of class.

July 13 - 17
Monday - Thursday: 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Friday: 8:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.


VanderCook College of Music

3140 South Federal Street
Chicago, IL 60616-3731
(312) 225-6288

Stay Connected

Powered by Website design and development by, Inc