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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Graduate Student Spotlight

The survival and success of school music programs rely heavily on attracting and retaining students. Even with the best instruments and facilities, great teachers still can not teach empty chairs. That is exactly what GMU music education doctoral student Angela Ammerman points out in a recent article published in the latest issue of the American String Teacher. According to Ammerman, "perceived musical ability was the most significant factor [for students when] deciding to drop orchestra." By boosting her students' musical confidence, increasing the social status of the ensemble, and improving rapport with her students, Ammerman is able to establish "brand loyalty" for the orchestra program -thus boosting student retention. Click on the link to read the full article: Curbing Beginning String Attrition: Marketing Orchestra.

Angela Ammerman serves as the orchestra director at Annandale High School in Farifax County Public Schools. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in music education at George Mason University. Her experiences in teaching K-12 general music and orchestra have provided her with insight into developing strong music programs through a variety of recruiting and retention styles. Before entering the graduate program in the GMU School of Music, Ammerman taught in Ohio, North Carolina, and Virginia where she has also served as a guest conductor and presented clinics at in-service conferences. She recently returned from St. Louis where she presented her research at the 2014 NAfME Music Research & Teacher Education National Conference. She has been recognized as Beginning Teacher of the Year and has received the Claes Nobel Educator of Distinction Award

The American String Teachers Association is an organization whose mission is "to enrich lives through the joy of teaching and playing string instruments." The GMU School of Music chapter of ASTA would like to invite all music students to join.  For more information about our student chapter contact Laura O'Konski at  or visit the ASTA online registration page.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

FCBDA Marching Band Clinic

James W. Robinson Secondary School is thrilled to once again host the FCBDA Marching Band Clinic on Saturday, September 20.  This event will feature 9 Fairfax County Bands performing in a clinic environment.  The end of this day will include “back-to-back” performances by all bands.  Please come out and support our bands for this event.  All aspects of the clinic are open.  Our clinicians for the event include Carl Bly, John Kilkenny, John Casagrande and Alfred Watkins.  Admission to this event is $5.00 and concessions are available.  The clinic begins at 10:00 am and concludes at 6:00 pm. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

United States Air Force Band 2015 Collegiate Symposium

The United States Air Force Band

As part of The United States Air Force Band’s Advancing Innovation through Music (AIM) program, Commander and Conductor, Colonel Larry H. Lang, announces a new educational initiative for collegiate wind, percussion, harp, and double bass musicians: The United States Air Force Band Collegiate Symposium. The Symposium is a two-day immersive experience encompassing a variety of activities that will enhance musical growth and learning.

The program begins on Feb. 7, 2015, at historic Hangar 2 on Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washington, D.C., the home of The U.S. Air Force Band. Participants will attend clinics and masterclasses conducted by world-class instrumentalists, participate in round table discussions, enjoy a tour of our facility, and rehearse side-by-side with The U.S. Air Force Concert Band. The weekend culminates on Sunday, Feb. 8, with another side-by-side rehearsal and live streamed public performance with The U.S. Air Force Concert Band at the Bowie Center for the Performing Arts in Bowie, Maryland.

For application information, please visit: 

To contact the Symposium staff, please email 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Fall 2014 Lab Ensemble Assignments

The LAB ENSEMBLE ASSIGNMENTS for the Fall 2014 semester are now available by following the link. Students with questions should contact the director of the ensemble they are assigned to. Contact information is as follows:

Students who are assigned to Lab Band must secure their woodwind or brass instrument from the instrument storage room (PAB 327A). Storage room hours are Tuesday and Thursday. Students assigned to oboe, bassoon, clarinet, bass clarinet or saxophone will need to provide their own reeds; students assigned to a brass instrument should provide their own mouthpiece. Percussion instruments and mallets (other than snare drum sticks) will be provided. For more information pertaining to instrument procurement contact Scott Nichols at