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Where the most Inspired Musicians
become the most Inspiring Music Teachers

Summer 2023 MECA

Continuing Education Courses


An Intensive Master Class on Teaching from The Podium (Birch Creek, WI)


August 15-August 18, 2023

Course Code



3 Graduate Credits


$1,080 is due in full with registration.


Registration for Birch Creek Adult Band Camp can be located here:

An Intensive Master Class on Teaching from the Podium is led by Chip Staley. Staley will be joined by Jim Stombres and Steve Sveum to work with participants during the Adult Band Camp session at Birch Creek. As performing members of the Summer Wind Ensemble, participants will be in a unique position to observe veteran teachers work to make the Wind Ensemble the best it can be as quickly and efficiently as possible. Discussions will center around the concept of “What works and what doesn’t work?”. This course is meant to be practical and applicable to any teaching situation.

Here is a testimonial from former participant in this class, Eric Stashek: “The Birch Creek/Vandercook College of Music Graduate Credit ‘An Intensive Master Class on Teaching from the Podium’ is a brilliant opportunity to expand your horizons of music education and performance. The hands-on practical experience gained allows for any musician, emerging or experienced, to further develop and advance their understanding and expertise of best music education practices through performance. In addition to learning diverse teaching methods, the course expands on one’s understanding of a music program expansion including scaffolding instruction, motivating musicians, relationships and rapport, and much more. The three instructors provide a rich background in each of these topics areas, allowing oneself to dive deep into an ocean of knowledge and sophistication. I highly recommend enrolling in the course to further your passion and comprehension of music performance and music education!”

This course will address the following critical topics as experienced in the Adult Band:

  • Literature selection
  • Rehearsal Pacing
  • Setting Appropriate Goals
  • Scaffolding Instruction
  • Motivating Musicians
  • Critical Feedback
  • Relationships and Rapport
  • Building Confidence
  • Teaching Musicianship


Chip Staley can be reached at [email protected].

“You are what you repeatedly do.  Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”  Aristotle

Course Goals

This course will address the following critical topics as experienced in the Adult Band:

  • Literature selection
  • Rehearsal Pacing
  • Setting Appropriate Goals
  • Scaffolding Instruction
  • Motivating Musicians
  • Critical Feedback
  • Relationships and Rapport
  • Building Confidence
  • Teaching Musicianship
  • Differentiating instruction by establishing nurturing relationships between musicians with different skill sets.

In residence requirements.

  •  Participate fully in all scheduled activities for the Adult Concert Band.
  • At the end of each day, meet with instructor to discuss the critical topics related to the day’s rehearsals.

Online Requirement

A final project will be a reflection paper reflecting on three of the critical topics, providing specific anecdotal evidence from the Adult Band Camp experience.  The student will select any three of the 10 critical topics addressed during the ABC session.

Teaching Methods:

Participants will be challenged to think deeply about the critical topics.  Participants will be able to recognize methods and procedures that help facilitate learning in a performing ensemble.  Participants will be able to articulate the difference between best practice and common practice.

Course Component Specifics

The course is laid out so that students will have an opportunity to discuss rehearsal practices immediately after rehearsal segments.  There will be an opportunity for each student to examine teaching methods and their efficacy.

Best of all, after the experience, students will have nearly two weeks to reflect upon the critical topics in writing.  This will make what they have learned more permanent enabling them to apply the methods they have learned to improve their own teaching.

Attendance and Make-Up Work

Attendance at the Adult Band Camp is required.  All work will be completed by August 31.  Students may ask for an extension for the on-line component.

Course Requirements and Grading

  • The course will require students to participate in all activities as a musician in the Adult Band.
  • Everyone in this class is expected to be actively engaged in detailed conversations about the impact of instruction on the performance of the Adult Band. This means that students will be collecting anecdotes and articulating them with great attention to detail.
  • Participants will be graded on their participation and the quality of their final project

• Contact Chip Staley at [email protected] with any questions.


Chat Session

Blended Course Timeline: August 15-18, 2023 in residence at Birch Creek Music Center in Egg Harbor, Wisconsin. Online component is from August 19-31.


Undergraduate Degree in Music Education or equivalent.

Required Text(s)

This is a very practical course, so an optional component of this class is to read one of the following practical books in preparation for this experience:

Foundations compiled and edited by Chip De Stefano

Gary Stith’s Book The Conductor’s Companion

John Williamson’s book Rehearsing the Band

Learning Platform Information - Online Courses Only

Schoology is a learning management system that allows you to interact directly with your instructors, fellow students, and members of the greater VanderCook community.

The evening  before your class begins, be on the lookout for an email from Schoology with log-in instructions. Once you receive credentials, visit to login. 

Some courses have specific online chat meeting times (please see course descriptions), while others have a flexible meeting schedule. You can expect all courses to meet together in a live online chat. If a live meeting time doesn’t work, you can work with your instructor to make other arrangements.

More information about Schoology can be found at

Please see specific software/hardware requirements in the course description.

Online course grades are available within two weeks of the course(s) completion.  If you need a transcript, please CLICK HERE to access the online transcript request form. For a faster turnaround time, please submit the transcript request to the registrar prior to the end of your course(s).


Chip Staley Headshot 10 28 17.jpg 1

Charles "Chip" Staley

Charles “Chip” Staley is the Department Chair of Large Instrumental Ensembles, serves on the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Antiracism (IDEA) leadership team and conducts the Wind Symphony at the Merit School of Music in Chicago. Staley is the Founder and President of ARTSpeaks, a non-profit arts advocacy organization, supervises student teachers at Roosevelt University, facilitates the “Alive Inside” program for AgeGuide, co-founded the Birch Creek Wind Ensemble Retreat for adult musicians, and teaches graduate coursework at VanderCook College of Music. Under Staley’s leadership, Neuqua Valley High School was twice recognized by the GRAMMY® Foundation as the National GRAMMY® Signature School and was awarded the 2009 John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts National Schools of Distinction in Arts Education Award. Staley holds degrees from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, the University of Illinois – Urbana/Champaign and Doctor Honoris Causa from the VanderCook College of Music. He has been awarded the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra’s Music Inspiration Award, the John Paynter Lifetime Achievement Award, the John Philip Sousa Foundation’s Sudler Flag of Honor, the Illinois Music Educators Association Mary Hoffman Excellence in Teaching Award, and the American School Band Directors Association Edwin Franko Goldman Award.

The mission of VanderCook College of Music is to enrich the lives of present and future generations by developing uniquely skilled music teachers who exhibit strong character, professionalism, and a commitment to excellence.

© 2023 VanderCook College of Music. All Rights Reserved.
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