2012-13 Music Handbook Now Available

The 2012-13 NHS Music Handbook is now available on the tab above (PDF Format).  The largest changes you’ll see this year are cosmetic–we’ve changed the layout significantly and condensed from an unwieldy 31 pages down to a positively svelte 18!  We’re hoping that the result is a handbook that is easier to navigate and digest, especially for new parents and students who will be with us for the first time.  Give it a look, and if you have any feedback or questions, feel free to email Mr. O’Briant!


Get Involved with NHS Music

Just as the NHS Music program has made a commitment to enriching the artistic life of our community, the Norwell Public Schools have made a commitment to supporting its arts programs in return.  But in these times of high energy costs, a sagging economy and ever-tightening budgets, finding the resources to provide artistic opportunities and services to our young people can still be a big challenge.  If you would like to help support the growing arts community at NHS, there are many things you can do:

Volunteer! The Norwell Scholastic Arts Society is an organization of parents, students and friends of the arts, who advocate, work to raise funds and create new opportunities for students in grades K-12 in all of the visual and performing arts in the Norwell Public Schools.  If you would like to become involved even on a small level with this exciting organization, please send us an email!

Attend performances! There are few things that affect students more positively than a large, enthusiastic, music-loving crowd.  Please see our Calendar tab at the top of the page for month-by-month listings of our performances and events.

Advertise with us! If you’d like information on placing an advertisement for your business in NSAS playbills that are distributed at all NHS concerts, art exhibitions and theatrical performances, please contact the Norwell Scholastic Arts Society.

Donate! If you have unused instruments, amplifiers, sheet music or other musical equipment, feel free to bring them by.  If it’s something we already have at the high school, it will immediately be donated to the other Norwell schools.  If you’d like to make a monetary donation to the NHS Music Student Activities Fund, please make your check out to NHS Music and send it to Norwell High School, 18 South St., Norwell, MA 02061.  Donations to the NHS Music Department can be tax-deductible–if you wish to do so, please indicate as much with your donation and we will provide you with a receipt.
Part of a larger-scale update to the “Get Involved!” Section of the NHS Music website.  Check out the other pages for more info!

Arts Advocacy Message from the White House

From The Huffington Post:

As education budget cuts continue to threaten the quality of education nationwide, a recent government report is encouraging schools to refocus on curriculum that is often found first in line for the chopping block — the arts.

On Friday, President Obama’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities released a report titled: “Re-Investing in Arts Education: Winning America’s FutureThrough Creative Schools.” It encourages “reinvestment” in arts education, citing social and intelectual benefits discovered during the committee’s 18-month-long study.

The committee’s report presented examples of success in Chicago, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, and Oklahoma that showed comprehensive improvements in learning — from test scores to attendance rates. The report states:

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Music Career Night May 25 @ Duxbury HS

Music Career Night flyer 2011

The Duxbury High School Music Promoters are hosting their fourth annual Music Career Night on Wednesday, May 25th at 7pm in the DHS Orchestra Room (see the above PDF flyer for details).  It is a casual panel discussion with several professionals in the music business and at least one college music major.  Feel free to contact Mr. O’Briant if you have any questions!

MMEA All-State, Day 2

The second day of All-State seems to be more business-like than the first–no worries with regards to student registration, no carting luggage back and forth, and you’ve already caught up with a lot of your colleagues.  It’s a day of heavy rehearsing for the students (who were still plugging along at 8:00pm after they’d started in the morning) and lots of clinics for the teachers.

The band students have really bonded with their conductor, Heidi Sarver, who, when I last checked in at around 6:30pm, had them singing their parts, with the students paying nearly comic attention to the nuances of articulation and dynamics.  In the meantime, I made it to clinics on ways to use SmartMusic in order to better differentiate instruction and give individual attention, a discussion with Dr. Roger Mantie of BU regarding teaching students to make their own artistic choices in music education, a great nuts-and-bolts workshop with Brent Ferguson on starting a beginning jazz rhythm section and a discussion with Dr. Kenneth Raessler (Prof. Emeritus, TCU) about advocacy for music education.

Onward to day three and the performance!  Hopefully we’ll have photos of the students rehearsing and/or performing in Symphony Hall to post soon.

MMEA All-State, Day 1

It’s been a whirlwind day at the 2011 MMEA All-State Festival and Conference.  Saxophonist Frank White has spent the entire morning in rehearsals with the All-State Symphonic Band, under the direction of Prof. Heidi Sarver from the University of Delaware, working on such repertoire as Charles Ives’ Variations on America and Richard Saucedo’s Snow Caps. Meanwhile, I have been sitting in on some fantastic workshops–earlier today, it was a clinic on jazz rhythm section techniques featuring Steve Houghton and the Foxborough High School Jazz Ensemble (Steve Massey, dir.).

There’s plenty still to come in the afternoon sessions–the level of musicianship exhibited by the students here has been inspiring, and it’s a wonderful opportunity to learn from our colleagues and celebrate the vitality and importance of music in our schools!

Leadership in Music

I recently saw a wonderful article from Miller-McCune (a business and world events magazine) about looking for leadership in new places–like music and the arts.

Music performance is a wonderful crucible for leadership, since there are no shortcuts to success.  You either put in the work or you don’t, you have the passion and choose the disciplined path necessary for great music-making or you don’t.  There’s no way to fake it, and no way to cheat.  Music also demands that we be emotionally honest, that we be able to communicate verbally and non-verbally, and that we be able to adapt quickly between leading and following one another.

This kind of recognition–of the non-musical skills that music helps people develop–has been growing for quite some time, and it’s always great to see it described in print.