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Where the most Inspired Musicians
become the most Inspiring Music Teachers

Summer 2024 MECA

Continuing Education Courses


Band Director Workshop


July 12-July 15, 2024

Course Code





Two options:
$750 - 2 graduate credits
$275 - 28 PD hours (no graduate credit)


Led by renowned experts Brian Balmages of Alfred/MakeMusic, Scott Rush of Habits Series, Alexander Kaminsky, Director of Bands, and Dr. Stacey Larson Dolan, Associate Director of Bands, this hands-on workshop will equip participants with valuable resources and effective rehearsal techniques, focusing on enhancing ensemble sonority, refining communication through conducting, and exploring new music.

The VanderCook Summer MMEd Graduate Band will serve as the demonstration ensemble. Evening activities will include concerts and events in Chicago on your own or with the group. Participants will earn two graduate credits or professional development hours.


Chat Session

None - this course meets in person.



Required Text(s)

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).


Alex Kaminsky cropped2

Alexander Kaminsky

Director of Bands, Associate Professor of Music

Alexander Kaminsky was appointed Director of Bands and Associate Professor of Music at VanderCook College of Music in 2019 after a highly successful tenure at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL. Previous to that, Kaminsky led the band programs at Buchholz High School, Lincoln High School, Auburndale High School, and Cocoa Beach Jr/Sr High School, all of which excelled under his direction.  He holds degrees from the University of Florida and Indiana University, is active as an adjudicator, and is in demand as a guest conductor/clinician across the country.

Throughout his 30-year career as a high school band director, Kaminsky’s ensembles consistently earned Superior ratings at all levels of evaluation. In addition to earning straight Superior ratings at the Florida Bandmasters Association (FBA) State Concert Band Assessment for an unprecedented 21 years (the last 11 years with both his first and second bands), he is the only director in the history of the FBA to have had three concert bands from one school earn straight Superior ratings at State, and he achieved this three times (2009, 2018, and 2019).

Kaminsky’s high school bands performed at the Midwest Clinic (2005, 2009, 2014, and 2018), ABA National Convention (2014), CBDNA/NBA Southern Division Conference (2004 and 2014), FMEA State Conference (2014), Music for All National Concert Band Festival (2002 and 2012), and the National Wind Band Festival at Carnegie Hall (2009 and 2018). In 2018, the Stoneman Douglas Wind Symphony was named a Mark of Excellence National Wind Band Honors winner as one of only ten 6A bands in the nation. His marching bands consistently placed in the Florida Marching Band State Championship Finals, winning several FMBC State Championships (including 4 of his last 6 years as a high school band director), as well as being named a finalist band at BOA regional competitions.

Kaminsky has presented his clinic “How Can I Get My Band to Sound Like That” at various conferences and workshops, and his hands-on rehearsal demonstrations for the annual “How To Fix It” series at the FMEA Professional Development Conference received high acclaim with over 900 attendees in 2019.  He has been awarded the National Band Association’s Citation of Excellence numerous times and has been recognized with several achievement awards for education including Florida’s 2019 FMEA Secondary Music Educator of the Year Award, FBA Oliver Hobbs Award, FBA Andrew J. Crew Award, National Honor Roll’s Outstanding American Teacher, Nobel Educator of Distinction, Teacher of the Year, and is listed in Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers.

Kaminsky is a Conn-Selmer Educational Clinician, an elected member of the prestigious American Bandmasters Association and the American School Band Directors’ Association, and also holds memberships in CBDNA, NBA, and Phi Beta Mu. He has served on many state and national committees, currently serving on the ABA Sousa/Ostwald Award Committee and the ABA School Bands Task Force, and is the NBA National Student Chapters Advisor. Kaminsky is a National Board Certified Teacher and has been featured in several publications including The Instrumentalist, Teaching Music, Halftime Magazine, School Band & Orchestra Magazine’s “50 Directors Who Make A Difference,” Home Magazine’s “12 Exceptional Educators,” and most recently, Inspiring a Love of Music published by GIA Publications.

Stacey Larson Dolan

Stacey Dolan

Chief Academic Officer
Dean, Undergraduate Division

Dr. Stacey Larson Dolan is the Chief Academic Officer, Undergraduate Dean and Associate Director of Bands at VanderCook College of Music.  Dr. Dolan advises and teaches students through a variety of music educa­tion and conducting courses, as well as bands at both the undergraduate and graduate level.  Prior to 2004 and her appointment at VanderCook, Dr. Dolan taught at the middle school and high school level in both private and public education.  She was on the design and teaching staff of the National Champion Lake Park Marching Band for twelve years and was the creative director and conductor of the Bensenville Young Musicians Mentor Band from 1995-2007.

Originally from Itasca, IL, Dr. Dolan has been a guest conductor, presenter and clinician for hundreds of bands from the United States, Europe, Canada and China. Honor band conducting experiences include the Tianjin International School in Tianjin, China, the Tri-State Honor Band in Morehead, KY, the Music For All Summer Symposium, ILMEA, PMEA, OMEA, and many guest conducting and adjudication experiences throughout the U.S.  She was the recipient of the IGSMA Barbara Buehlman Young Conductor Award and the Chicagoland Outstanding Music Educator Award, has received the Citation of Excellence from the National Band Association, and the Distinguished Alumni Award from both Itasca School District #10 and VanderCook Col­lege of Music.  Dr. Dolan has been published in The Instrumentalist and her professional affilia­tions include Phi Beta Mu, NAfME, Vice President of AIMS, NBA, and CBDNA.  Dr. Dolan earned her Bachelor of Music Education degree from Millikin University and Master of Music Education degree from VanderCook College of Music.  She earned an EdD from the University of Northern Colorado with a minor in applied statistics and research methods.  Her research areas of inter­est include music teacher education, Care theory, teacher assessment, and teacher resilience.

To learn more about Dean Dolan’s journey in music education:

Stacey Larson Dolan on Women in Education

Stacey Larson Dolan speaks on her career journey from starting the flute in fifth grade to higher education.

Stacey Larson Dolan speaks on the basics of running a music classroom.

Stacey Larson Dolan speaks on how she works to achieve balance in her life.


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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.

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