Annually hosted as part of the DCI World Championships and Bands of America Grand Nationals, the Future Music Educators’ Experience returns to Indianapolis this August.
A longstanding collaboration between Drum Corps International, Music For All, the College Band Directors National Association, Kick It In, the National Association for Music Education, the National Band Association, and Winter Guard International, twice a year future music educators are afforded the opportunity to learn outside of their normal university curriculum and given a platform to ask questions to those who have been in their shoes through a variety of interactive sessions and activities.
Fran Kick, who has facilitated the program for more than a decade, has noticed that schools across the country have ingrained their music education students with superb lessons about teaching music, but tend to fall short on showing students how to solve the more practical and logistical problems posed when running a band program.
“I don’t know very many music education programs that teach future band directors how to hire color guard instructors or percussion instructors. Yet, when they get out into the world, they’re expected to take the lead on that,” Kick said.
“Students can really come in and ask a master teacher like composer Richard Saucedo, ‘Hey, how do I get some experience in x, y or z?’ Or ‘What do you suggest I do dealing with a percussion instructor?’ Or ‘How do I find a color guard instructor to help me write the show but also teach it?’”
In addition to learning from and networking with a variety of movers and shakers in the marching music community, those who attend the free Future Music Educators’ Experience will also receive a behind-the scenes stadium tour of Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis and a ticket to the DCI World Championship Semifinals or Bands of America Grand National Semifinals, depending on whether one attends the August or November session.
Kick mentioned there was a university in Wyoming that flew its entire marching band to Indianapolis to allow them to watch some of the nation’s best marching ensembles. It was an opportunity to see what can be done.
“We’ve had a number of college professors who come with their classes and they haven’t been to a marching show in years,” Kick said. “When they see it, they’re like, ‘Oh, wow. I had no idea this was possible on a marching band field.’”
The ensembles that perform at both the DCI and Bands of America Semifinals are the ‘City upon a Hill’ for other programs to look up to. In playing great music? Yes. But also in how to operate a nonprofit organization. How to travel the country with hundreds of students. How to get on and off the field with ease.
Kick described this opportunity for future educators as gleaning an aspirational blueprint from the performing ensembles. That experience offers the college-aged students firsthand answers to the most sought-after questions about what’s it like running a band program.
“It is focused on the marching activity but they’re also focused on learning the importance of building a collection of staff and resources in their community to help reinforce that comprehensive program,” Kick said.
In the end, the Future Music Educators’ Experience can provide students the opportunity to build relationships and set the foundation for their network.
“We hope it will be one of the main ones,” Kick said. “There are people out here who’ve been here and done that. Someone once said, ‘If you want to be good at doing something, hang out with people who are really good at doing that something and learn from them. And that’s what this is all about.”
Learn more about and register for either or both of upcoming Future Music Educators’ Experiences:
DCI World Championship Semifinals
Friday, August 9, 2019
Bands of America Grand National Semifinals
Saturday, November 16, 2019