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Summer 2021 MECA, Summer 2022 MECA

Continuing Education Courses


Best Practices from the Podium


August 16-August 19, 2022

Course Code



3 Graduate Credits


$1,065, due in full with registration


“Best Practices from the Podium”.  This course is concurrent with the  Adult Band Camp session at Birch Creek August 16-19. As a performing member of the Adult Band, participants in this course will be in a unique position to observe veteran teachers Jim Stombres, Steve Sveum and Chip bring their many years of experience and obvious passion to the podium to make the band the best it can be in very short order.  Discussions will be more practical than philosophical.  “What works and what doesn’t work?” will be the guiding question of the weekend.


Chat Session




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.

Soon after you register, 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).


Charles "Chip" Staley

Charles “Chip” Staley directs the Wind Symphony and is a member of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) leadership team at the Merit School of Music in Chicago. Staley is also the Founder and President of ARTSpeaks, a non-profit arts advocacy organization and teaches graduate coursework at the VanderCook College of Music. Staley began his career at Eisenhower High School in Blue Island, Illinois, before moving to Naperville, Illinois to teach at Waubonsie Valley High school. Staley transferred to Neuqua Valley High School when it opened, serving as Department Chair and teaching the Wind Ensemble, Symphony Orchestra, Jazz Ensemble and Marching Band before retiring from public school teaching. Under his 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’s bands and orchestras have performed at the Midwest Clinic, Chicago’s Orchestra Hall, and at venues in the People’s Republic of China, England, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Spain, Hungary and the Czech Republic. Staley has conducted the ILMEA All-State Band and maintains an active schedule as a keynote speaker, clinician and conductor. Most recently, the Merit School of Music Wind Symphony performed at the ILMEA Conference and shared a concert with the University of Illinois Wind Symphony in Foellinger Great Hall.

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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