Best Practices from the Podium


All online MECA courses
conclude on May 3, 2020.

Visit our MECA FAQs page.

Drop, withdraw or change using
Add/Drop Form.

For other MECA-related questions,
contact us at

or 312.788.1139.


Best Practices from the Podium is a blended course designed to give music educators a chance to reflect upon the impact of a wide variety of rehearsal techniques on an ensemble’s performance. Students will perform in the Adult Concert Band at Birch Creek Music Center in Egg Harbor, Wisconsin while they also observe veteran teachers Jim Stombres, Steve Sveum and Chip Staley rehearse the Adult Concert Band, lead sectionals and engage adults in learning music.
“What works and what doesn’t work?” will be the guiding question for the Adult Band Camp weekend. Students will have an opportunity to discuss rehearsal practices and the effectiveness of the teaching methods they observe immediately following each rehearsal segment. The discussions will be geared more toward practical questions than on philosophical underpinning. The curriculum will be flexible and be adjusted to allow for the many variations of instruction that happen when working with a real ensemble. The instructor will consider the background and interest of participants when considering the focus of each discussion session.


Jim Stombres, Steve Sveum & Chip Staley


Charles "Chip" Staley began his teaching career at Eisenhower High School in Blue Island, IL. Staley recently retired from public school teaching after 30 years in District 204 in Naperville, where he served as a Fine Arts Chair first at Waubonsie Valley and then at Neuqua Valley High School. Over his career, Staley taught wind ensemble, jazz ensemble, symphony orchestra and musical theater orchestra. Under his guidance, the Neuqua Valley Fine Arts Department was awarded the National Schools of Distinction in Arts Education Award from the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Neuqua Valley has been honored by the GRAMMY Foundation seven times with GRAMMY Gold status, and was twice recognized as a GRAMMY National Signature School.
Staley’s bands and orchestras have performed at the Midwest Clinic, Chicago’s Symphony Center, University of Illinois’ Krannert Hall, and at concert venues in China, England, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Spain, Hungary and the Czech Republic.
Staley is the recipient of the John Paynter Lifetime Achievement Award, the Mary Hoffman Excellence in Teaching Award, the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra's Music Inspiration Award, and the John Philip Sousa Foundation’s Sudler Flag of Honor. Staley is a member of the Illinois Music Educators Association Assessment Committee and is an advisor for the Illinois State Board of Education. Staley is a National Board certified teacher holding degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Illinois.

Click to Register for Summer MECA Courses

Best Practices From The Podium

Instructors: Jim Stombres, Steve Sveum & Charles "Chip" Staley 
3 Graduate Credits
Tuition: $1,020, due in full at registration  
Course Code: 7058
Dates: August 16-19, 2018 in residence at Birch Creek Music Center in Egg Harbor, Wisconsin
Online:August 19-31

VanderCook College of Music

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

Stay Connected


Continuing Education  




Powered by Website design and development by, Inc