Conducting Gestures & Teaching Methods That Inspire Young Musicians

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Conducting Gestures & Teaching Methods That Inspire Young Musicians

Effective conducting and teaching at the middle school and early high school level requires skill beyond basic beat patterns and simple clarity of instruction. This course will help participants expand their pallette of conducting gestures to include those that are proven to command the attention of young musicians. This course will help participants develop specific language intended to engage their student's musical imagination and keep them engaged in every lesson. Bill Jastrow will discuss short term and long term planning for effective lessons for the large ensemble. Steve Squires will lead participants in conducting exercises designed to improve conducting gestures. Brian Balmages will help participants recognize the attributes of high quality literature and develop rehearsal priorities based on those attributes. Craig Kirchhoff will lead a discussion about how all of the skills during the week can be applied in the classroom to affirm the musical capabilities of young students and motivate them to become independent learners.

Course outcomes:

  • The facilitating teacher and guest lecturers will lead participants in exercises designed to help expand the number of non-verbal gestures needed to help young musicians engage in more authentic music making.

  • The facilitating teacher and guest lecturers will discuss how to encourage routine musical conversations in the classroom.

  • The facilitating teacher and guest lecturers will evaluate participant's conducting gesture and help them move beyond beat patterns to conveying meaningful and useful musical intent. 

Instructors: Brian Balmages, Craig Kirchhoff, Charles "Chip" Staley,  Stephen Squires & Bill Jastrow

Balmages Brian Balmages is an award-winning composer and conductor whose music has been performed throughout the world with commissions ranging from elementary schools to professional orchestras. World premieres have included prestigious venues such as Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, and Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. His music was also performed as part of the 2013 Presidential Inaugural Prayer Service, which was attended by both President Obama and Vice President Biden. He is a recipient of the prestigious A. Austin Harding Award from the American School Band Directors Association and in 2016 was awarded the James Madison University Distinguished Alumni Award from the School of Visual and Performing Arts (the first year the award was given). In the same year, he was commissioned by his other alma mater, the University of Miami, to compose music for the inauguration of the institution’s 6th president, Dr. Julio Frenk.
As a conductor, Balmages enjoys regular engagements with all-state and region bands and orchestras, as well as university and professional ensembles throughout the world. Notable guest conducting appearances have included the Midwest Clinic, Western International Band Clinic, College Band Directors Conference, American School Band Directors Association National Conference and others. Additional conducting appearances have included the Kennedy Center and Meyerhoff Symphony Hall as well as engagements in Australia, Canada and Italy. He received his bachelor’s degree in music from James Madison University and his master’s degree from the University of Miami in Florida. Currently, he is Director of Instrumental Publications for The FJH Music Company and Assistant Director of Bands and Orchestras at Towson University. 
Kirchhoff,_Craig_headshot_v2_2013Craig Kirchhoff is professor of conducting at the University of Minnesota. Born and educated in Wisconsin, Kirchhoff brings to his position a wide knowledge of both traditional and contemporary literature. He has won critical acclaim from composers Warren Benson, Henry Brant, Michael Colgrass, Karel Husa, Libby Larsen, George Perle, Vincent Persichetti, Stephen Paulus, Verne Reynolds, Gunther Schuller, Joseph Schwantner, Steven Stucky, Elliott Schwartz, Chen Yi and others. Kirchhoff is past president of the College Band Directors National Association, and is an active member of the American Bandmasters Association, the National Band Association, the World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles, and the Music Educators National Conference. He also served as the founding editor and principal advisor of the College Band Directors National Association Journal. Kirchhoff has appeared as guest conductor, clinician and lecturer throughout the U.S., Australia, Canada, Japan, Taiwan, Europe and Scandinavia. He is a frequent guest conductor of the Tokyo Kosei Wind Orchestra and has recorded with them on the Kosei Publishing label.
Staley,_Charles_headshot_2013Charles "Chip" Staley began his teaching career at Eisenhower H. S. in Blue Island, Illinois. Staley recently retired from public school teaching after 30 years in District 204 in Naperville, where he served as the 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 John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts National Schools of Distinction in Arts Education Award. Neuqua Valley has been honored by the GRAMMY Foundation seven times with GRAMMY Gold status, and was twice recognized as the 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.
DSC_1623Stephen Squires is a musician with a career that blends his passions for conducting, teaching and performing. Squires has had the honor to conduct for many exceptional artists, including Frederica von Stade, Samuel Ramey, János Starker, Pinchas Zuckerman, Shmuel Ashkenasi, John Browning, Leon Bates, Stewart Goodyear, Richard Stoltzman, Ani Kavafian, Wendy Warner, James Tocco, Kevin Cole, Vadim Gluzman, and many principal players of the Chicago Symphony and Lyric Opera Orchestras. Fully committed to conducting the music of living composers, Squires has premiered over 40 new works.
Squires received his musical training at the Preparatory School of the Eastman School of Music and the Crane School of Music, both in his home state of New York. He earned his master’s degree in instrumental conducting and trumpet performance at California State University, Northridge. He completed further conducting studies with Helmuth Rilling, Maurice Abravanel, Daniel Lewis, Tsung Yeh, and at the Aspen Music Festival. Squires has conducted recordings for the Delos, Spring Hill (a division of EMI), MEDR, Editions Margot, and Centaur labels.  His most recent recording (in progress) is for the Albany label, featuring the music of Victoria Bond.
Squires is Professor of Conducting in the Music Conservatory at the Chicago College of Performing Arts, Roosevelt University. Prior to this appointment, he served on the artist faculty of the Northern Illinois School of Music for 19 years, where he received the prestigious Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award.
JastrowSpanning 41 years, William Jastrow’s teaching experience ranges from a community high school with an enrollment of 450 students, to Neuqua Valley H.S. with an enrollment exceeding 4,000, to the position of Music Education Coordinator for Indian Prairie School District 204, a unit district comprising 33 schools and 29,500 students.  Teaching and conducting responsibilities at Neuqua Valley included concert bands, jazz ensembles, marching band, and the Klangfarben Percussion Ensembles.  Jastrow holds degrees in music education from the University of Illinois and Northwestern University.
A frequent Illinois All-State and NAfME clinician, as well as a district and all-state festival conductor, Jastrow served the Illinois Music Education Association Board of Directors as Band Division President and State President. As an executive officer Jastrow assumed a leading role in the development of a Leadership Conference for exemplary music educators, a Future Music Educators Symposium for high school students, and an All-State Percussion Ensemble.  As past-president, Jastrow was active in promoting a statewide survey on the status of music education, contributed to the planning of “Dream Out Loud”, a joint advocacy initiative with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Yamaha, and authored numerous articles on the vital role that music should play as part of a comprehensive education for all students. 
Over his career, Jastrow’s bands have performed for the University of Illinois Superstate Festival, the NBA National Convention, the West Sussex International Youth Music Festival, and the Liberty, Outback, and Fiesta Bowl festivals and parades, as well as for international audiences in Canada, the United Kingdom, Scandinavia, and the People’s Republic of China.  During his tenure, Neuqua Valley H.S. was recognized as the Kennedy Center National School of Distinction in Fine Arts Education and was a multiple recipient of the Grammy Signature Gold and National Signature School Award.  A 2011 inductee into the Phi Beta Mu Illinois Bandmasters Hall of Fame, Jastrow is a recipient of the John Paynter Lifetime Achievement Award, Illinois State Board of Education "Those Who Excel" Recognition, ILMEA Distinguished Service Award, and NAfME Excellence in Teaching Music Award.

Course Details

Instructors: Brian Balmages, Craig Kirchhoff, Charles "Chip" Staley, Stephen Squires & William Jastrow 
Guest Ensembles: 
Merit School of Music Summer Wind Ensemble
Joliet Central Symphonic Band
3 Graduate Credits
Tuition: $1,020, due in full at registration
Course Code: 6079
Dates: July 15-19, 2019
Location: VanderCook, room TBD
Required text(s):
VanderCook will provide all text(s).
Required Equipment:
Primary instrument and a conducting baton

VanderCook College of Music

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

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