6296 Conducting the Middle Level Band

Join leading educators and authors during a one-week symposium to exchange information and ideas about teaching middle school band. This course will provide participants with time-tested materials and methods to inspire and improve your teaching at the middle school level.  Discussion and experiences will center around building lessons in the CMP model, teaching tone and pitch, age-appropriate repertoire, motivation techniques, recruitment, retention, advocacy, commissioning, creative warm-ups, chamber ensemble repertoire, technology, instrumentation, rehearsal strategies and developing listening skills.

Instructors: Stacey L. Dolan, Emily Wilkinson, Rachel Maxwell, Chris Gleason, Jeff Scott & Steve Smith

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.”


emilywilkinsonEmily Wilkinson  is the former Associate Director of Bands at Cario Middle School in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. She is the co-author of the books, “Habits of a Successful Middle School Band Director” and “Habits of a Successful Middle School Musician”, published by GIA Publications. Before teaching at Cario, Wilkinson served as the Band Director at Fort Johnson Middle School in Charleston, SC. Under her direction, the Fort Johnson Band program received the South Carolina Band Directors Association (SCBDA) Outstanding Performance Award. Before teaching at Fort Johnson, she was the Assistant Band Director at Bates Middle School in Sumter, SC.

Wilkinson enjoys teaching a private studio of euphonium and tuba students in the Mount Pleasant, SC area. She has been working as a marching instructor, clinician, and chamber winds coach for the Wando High School Band program since 2003. She has served as a guest clinician for bands throughout the Southeast. Wilkinson is an alumnus of the Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps, and also an inaugural member of Bands of America’s INergy, a performing troupe that functioned as the musical ambassador for Indianapolis, IN. In 2008, she performed at the Midwest International Band and Orchestra Conference with the Palmetto Concert Band.

Wilkinson is a graduate of the University of South Carolina where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education, Magna Cum Laude, and a Performance Certificate on euphonium. Emily Wilkinson’s professional affiliations include NAfME, SCBDA, Pi Kappa Lambda National Music Honor Society, and she is an alumnus of Sigma Alpha Iota. She resides in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina with husband Eric and daughter Mary Catherine.

MaxwellRachel J. Maxwell attended Illinois State University  with a Bachelor`s Degree in Music Education. She received a Master of Music Education degree from the University of Illinois in 1997. In 2003 she completed a Master of Educational Leadership degree from Aurora University. Mrs. Maxwell has also completed additional coursework in team-building, leadership and working with diverse students. Mrs. Maxwell has taught band in the West Aurora School District (1993-95) and in the Oswego School District (1995-present).

Mrs. Maxwell currently serves as the Director of Bands and webmaster at Traughber Junior High School and as the Junior High Performing Arts and Band Coordinator for the district. She has taught music education courses at VanderCook College of Music in Chicago and North Central College in Naperville, IL and has been invited to be a  guest conductor, clinician and adjudicator at a number of music camps and festivals including The NC All-State Middle School Band, ISYM, Il State Univ. Junior High Camp and several IMEA District Level Festivals. She is also a part of the team from Oswego who commissioned and premiered Sheltering Sky (2012) by John Mackey , Sol ye Sombra (2014) by Donald Grantham and Atmosphere (2016) by Scott McAllister.

Rachel Maxwell is a member of the The National Association of Music Education, Illinois Music Educators Association, American School Band Directors Association, National Council of Supervisors of Music Education, and a number of honor societies. She is the recipient of the Who`s Who Among American Teachers Award, Who`s Who Among Emerging Leaders Award, Who`s Who In American Education Award, Who`s Who Among American Women Award,  ASBDA/UMI Outstanding Young Band Director Award-Junior High Division for the North Central Region of the United States, Chicago-land Outstanding Music Educator, National Band Association Citation of Excellence, and the National Recipient of the Jim Ott (Drum Corps International) Scholarship. She also serves on the advisory team for the  dynamic professional learning Facebook site Band Directors Group; A World-Wide Professional Learning Community.


Chris Gleason

Chris Gleason earned his BME at UW-Eau Claire in 1997 and his Masters Degree from UW-LaCrosse in 2002. He has taught band in the East Troy School District and the LaCrosse School District. He currently teaches band at Patrick Marsh Middle School in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. Mr. Gleason's bands have performed at the Milwaukee Art Museum, Wisconsin State Capitol Rotunda, the "New Wisconsin Promise Conference", and the 2006 and 2009 Wisconsin State Music Conferences. The Patrick Marsh Middle School Band has commissioned composers such as Samuel R. Hazo (Blue and Green Music -2009), Brian Balmages (Sun Cycles – 2012), Michael Sweeney (Particles - 2013), Erik Morales (One Giant Leap - 2014), John Mackey (Lightning Field – 2015), Alex Shapiro (Rock Music- 2016), Brian Balmages (TBA – 2017), Andrew Boysen Jr (TBA – 2018).   In 1992 Mr. Gleason was selected as the Wisconsin Governor’s Scholar to Interlochen Arts Camp in Interlochen, Michigan. Mr. Gleason has performed professionally at Disneyland, Valleyfair, and the Mall of America. He has been guest conductor of numerous camps and festivals including the Tarleton Invitational Band Festival (Texas), National Band Association –Wisconsin Chapter Junior High All-State Band, Tri-State Honors Band, UW-Milwaukee Honors Band, UW-Whitewater Band Camp and numerous regional honor bands across Wisconsin. He is the past-chair of the Wisconsin Comprehensive Musicianship through Performance (CMP) Committee and the Wisconsin State Middle Level Honors Band.  Currently, he is chair of the Wisconsin State Middle Level Honors Project. He has taught CMP Workshops at VanderCook College of Music, the Los Angeles Unified School District in California, The NAfME National In-Service Conference, numerous school districts in the Midwest, and recently in Hong Kong.  He has presented clinics at the Minnesota, Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin State Music Conventions. Mr. Gleason was a quarter-finalist for the 2016 Grammy Music Education Award, the recent recipient of the Melvin F. Pontious Sparks in Music Education Award, and the Vi Miller Award for Excellence by Dane Arts and had a feature interview in the March 2015Instrumentalist Magazine. Mr. Gleason is the founder and organizer of the Band Festival at the Kalahari in Wisconsin Dells. Mr. Gleason is a member of NBA, WMEA, and NAfME.


Jeff Scott is the Director of Bands at Cario Middle School in Mount Pleasant. He is a graduate of the University of Kentucky and received a Master of Instrumental Music in Conducting at Southern Oregon University in 2005. In 2006, Mr. Scott received National Board Certification in Instrumental Music. In 1992, Mr. Scott was named national winner of the Stanbury Award for "Young Director of the Year." He is also listed in Who's Who Among American Teachers.

Mr. Scott is co-author of the highly touted books, "Habits of a Successful Middle School Band Director," and “Habits of a Highly Successful Middle School Musician” published by GIA Publications, Inc. Bands under Mr. Scott's baton have consistently received Superior ratings at state, regional, and national competitions, and have received the SCBDA's Outstanding Performance Award consecutively since 1989. Mr. Scott's symphonic bands have received Superior ratings at the South Carolina Concert Festival every year since 1989. His Sedgefield Middle School Band was honored to perform at the 1992 SCMEA In-Service Conference, and his Cario Middle School Band enjoyed that same distinction in 2005.

Mr. Scott is active as an adjudicator and clinician for professional teaching conferences, concert bands and marching events throughout the Southeast. Mr. Scott maintains professional affiliations with the National Band Association, MENC, Phi Mu Alpha, and Phi Beta Mu. He also received an appointment as a "Kentucky Colonel" by the Governor of Kentucky for his contributions to education.


Steve Smith taught middle school band in the Lewisville Independent School District, a northern suburb of the Dallas/Ft. Worth area in Texas for twelve years.  For eight of those years he served as the Director of Bands at Downing Middle School in Flower Mound.  At Downing, Mr. Smith taught the Symphonic Band, assisted with the Concert Band and taught all of the beginning woodwind classes.  The bands at Downing consistently displayed a high standard for musical excellence highlighted by a performance at the 2005 Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago.

In 2012, Steve joined the team at Hal Leonard, which has allowed him to pursue one of his great passions – working with and helping teachers.  At Hal Leonard, he works with the production of instrumental music and educational materials for band and strings.  Steve brings his recent teaching experience to Hal Leonard and is using this in the development of the new Essential Elements Interactive website designed to assist teachers and students at the beginning instrumental level.

In 2010, Mr. Smith’s composition Capilano Fanfare was selected in the Dallas Wind Symphony’s Call for Fanfares and received a performance as the opening fanfare for the 2010-2011 concert season.  In 2007, Mr. Smith was honored as a “Distinguished Music Educator” by the Yale University School of Music, in conjunction with an international symposium promoting music in the public schools.

Steve earned his Bachelor of Music Degree from the University of North Texas in 1998 and his Master’s degree from UNT in 2012.  While at North Texas, he studied saxophone under Dr. Eric Nestler and performed in the North Texas Wind Symphony under the direction of Mr. Eugene Migliaro Corporon.

Mr. Smith has was also involved in the drum and bugle corps activity for over twelve years.  After performing with and teaching the brass section for the Madison Scouts, Mr. Smith worked as brass caption head and staff coordinator for the Southwind Drum and Bugle Corps from Lexington, Kentucky and with the Santa Clara Vanguard from Santa Clara, California. Steve also worked with Specialized Administrative Services Inc., providing leadership training for high school band students across the state of Texas.

Mr. Smith is an active clinician whose passion for helping teachers has allowed him to work with and speak to teachers across the United States, Canada, and Australia.  Prior to moving to Wisconsin to join Hal Leonard, his wife, Jenny, was an elementary art teacher and is now a freelance artist in the Milwaukee area.  They enjoy spending time together and are proud parents to their 6-year-old son Seoul and their Corgi, Owen.


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Course Information

6296 Conducting the Middle Level Band 

July 18-22

3 graduate credits
Classroom: TBD

Click HERE for a campus map.

Tuition: $960 (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.

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

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