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June 16, 2021 - What’s on Your Summer Reading List? Don’t forget the music!

Being inspired by the memories of summer reading, I thought I would post a couple of children’s books that I have really loved sharing with my six-year old that are music and string-family related. As well as a couple of books for young musicians, especially those who may struggle with performance anxiety.

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May 12, 2021 - Full Circle: Brad Whitfield's Journey Through Music Education & the ASO

Throughout my career I’ve had incredible influences on my musical life. From my first patient piano teacher, Teresa Capra, to the incomparable Yehuda Gilad (Professor of Clarinet, University of Southern California), to the ever-inspiring, often eccentric Michael Tilson Thomas (Music Director, New World Symphony), each has helped mold me into the musician and person that I am today. However, I can point to two concrete influences in my youthful formative years right here in Birmingham, Alabama that laid the cornerstone for success.

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April 14, 2021 - Music Fundamentals: The Real Heavyweights

As I have sat in on many of the Virtually INSPIRED visits with our conductors and musicians, I always see one common theme that has helped drive their success: spending a lot of time understanding and refining music fundamentals...

Listening to them during these visits has inspired me to rediscover music in a new way, to think about my own approach and given me such joy in watching them inspire young people to strive for greatness.

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March 17, 2021 - Planting Seeds: A Lesson in Music Education

The Orchestra recently debuted a beautiful spring-themed lineup of new virtual ASO concerts available to stream for free. The beautiful concept of the “Spring Serenades'' made me think about how to approach this blog, reflecting on the last year and our seasons of change throughout this pandemic.

In regards to education, who plants the seeds of learning in us? Parents, grandparents, and teachers are the first answers that come to mind. However, pondering this, I thought about it from another angle, do our children plant seeds of learning in us? What do they teach us?

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February 17, 2021 - Guest Contributor: Never Give Up, A Musical Lesson from Super Bowl LV

This month’s edition of the ASO Education Blog was crafted by ASO Music Director Carlos Izcaray. Through Tom Brady’s career as an athlete, students can learn how to apply their skills in determination and mindfulness to be successful in their careers as a musician.

A few weeks ago, the country enjoyed one of our favorite past times: The Super Bowl. In this week's education blog, see how athletes like Tom Brady can provide inspiration and lessons for young musicians everywhere. One example is how both athletes and musicians prepare for auditions in order to prove their skills and earn their spot.

Like in football, where tryouts determine the starting team, auditions are a grueling process where musicians of all ages expose themselves in front of an adjudicating panel that assesses both the technical proficiency and artistic merits of the participants. It is here where it gets decided if you’ll be a part of the team, and if so, in which position. In a few minutes, a musician must show the final product that they’ve come up with after years of practice and studying...

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January 14, 2021 - Guest Contributor: How COVID-19 Changed Band Camp

This month’s edition of the ASO Education Blog was crafted by Dwight Caddell, the band director at Hueytown High School. He joins us to share his experiences of adapting band camp, football season, and his classroom to COVID-19.

We have made it to 2021! As we enter this new year, we look forward to what is yet to come, but we also take the time to reflect on the previous year. 2020 will be a year that will be talked about for generations to come. The entire world lived through a rare and extraordinary year. 

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November 19, 2020 - All you need to know about Virtual Ensemble Recording, featuring Kevin Fitzgerald

One of the most beautiful things about my job at the Alabama Symphony Orchestra is that I have the privilege of being in the midst of world class musicians who strive for artistic integrity every day. These professionals are the living and breathing framework for our mission. Their work proves that by incorporating music education in our schools, Changing Lives Through Music is possible in our community. Another inspirational part of working in our Education Department is being a part of the formation of budding musicians and their journey to the same artistic integrity. 

In June 2020 it became clear that the pandemic was not going anywhere, so the team put our heads together on what a virtual season could look like for the Alabama Symphony Youth Orchestra. I addressed the framework of this in my last post, but this time I want to concentrate on the most visible aspect of the season that has received so much attention: video projects.  

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October 28, 2020 - Welcome to the Alabama Symphony Orchestra’s Education Blog!

We are excited to share with you news and happenings in our ASO Education Department, community and state. We will highlight musicians, music educators, or collaborations with Alabama schools to provide a forum for us all to learn and enjoy.

Many have asked how we have been adapting to the pandemic. I thought this first entry would be a great place to share how ASO Education has approached the Alabama Symphony Youth Orchestra’s Season. I also wanted to highlight how we are accomplishing online rehearsals, virtual recording projects, and more!

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