By Jeff Young

Do you ever have FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)?  

We all have lots of options when it comes to how we spend our valuable time. We might have to choose between two things that happen at the same time and wonder if we made the correct choice. I often hear about something or see pictures and videos online and think, “I should be THERE!” 

When it comes to professional development and teacher training, there are plenty of options, but many of them fall short in some important ways. The Music for All Summer Symposium has it all and then some! There are plenty of conventions and meetings where directors can listen to sessions and concerts, but what makes the Summer Symposium different is the opportunity for individualized attention and discussion with the top teachers of the teachers in the country. 

The entire faculty of the Summer Symposium – some of the finest marching band, color guard, drum major, marching percussion, and music production teachers from all over the country –  make themselves available to spend time with directors and staff members that come to camp at our nightly concerts and director socials. 

On Monday Maj. Ryan Nowlin, Executive Officer and Senior Assistant Director of “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band, gave the keynote address titled “What’s Your Motivation” and later guest conducted the Summer Symposium Director Band, under the direction of Richard Saucedo. 

The Director Academy is led by Nola Jones, who has assembled a who’s who team of Director Academy faculty. These faculty are experts at teaching the teachers and are known nationwide for teaching or designing for top high school and middle school programs. Nola also led a session for Director Academy called “If I’d Only Known ‘X’ When I Started Teaching,” which featured a panel of many members of the all-star faculty. 

Only at the Summer Symposium can you schedule one-on-one time in the “Director Lounge” with legendary directors including Greg Bimm. Directors get to talk through their marching band music and drill and get ideas and suggestions from the masters. Other directors meet with the masters about literature selection or program-wide topics. 

What kind of sessions can you expect at the Director Academy? In 2022… 

Jeff Young and Bobby Lambert took directors through a curriculum to work towards “Total Program Success.” Alfred Watkins led a session encouraging diversity, equity, and inclusion in our band programs. Richard Saucedo taught us about “Creating Clarity and Resonance in your Marching Band Wind Section.” Shirley Dorritie gave a great session on “Leadership at the Intersection of Stress and Success”. Susan Smith gave a great session on “’Talking to Crazy’ – Every problem is a communication problem!” Derek Smith and Susie Harloff ensured that our color guard instructors learned all about how to teach flag, rifle, and choreography. Tony Lymon, Jon Weber, and Matt Black worked with our Percussion Specialist Academy, focusing on pedagogy, orchestration, movement, and electronics. Beth Fabrizio taught us aboutDeveloping a Thriving Ensemble- The Three R’s: Navigating Recruitment, Retention, Repertoire.” John Phillips guided us though judging philosophy as well as a live session with the Carolina Crown Drum and Bugle Corps. 

The Music for All Director Academy and Summer Symposium continues through Saturday, July 2 with more learning, networking, and motivation! 

Jeff Young is the Director of Camps at Music for All and the Division Head for Marching Band at the 2022 Music for All Summer Symposium.