BUSMEA: Up To Date

Here are some photos from the Introductory Pedagogical Approach Guitar Clinic put on by Paul Madryga on

March 4th!

BUSMEA would like to send a huge thank you to Ted Good Music for donating guitars for participants to use!


This is the handout from our December 3rd clinic with Steve Hamilton!

Starting a Student on Electric Bass


✔       Powell’s Top Ten Clinic Do’s/Don’t’s      


Do… Don’t…

… what the director asks you to cover.


… know the age group you’re dealing

with, and use age-appropriate terminology.


… come prepared.


… arrive early.


…play, play, play.


…use techniques you’re already familiar with.


…make them fall in love with the instrument.


…try different set-ups if the room allows (circle, pods, etc.)


…use honest, positive reinforcement.


… Fake it ‘til you make it (if necessary)!


… second guess yourself or your musical instincts.


… pick favourites.


… be surprised if some of the students are UNprepared.


… hold up your carpool.


…talk, talk, talk.


…be afraid to try a new technique/idea you haven’t implemented before.


…degrade other sections of the band (even if yours IS the best)- an ensemble is a team!


…sit in a stick-straight line. Please.


…be blunt/dry.


…forget to have fun!


Tempo Conference Reflection

by Shelby Nohr

At Tempo 2016, three out of the four sessions I attended were elementary sessions. The three session were called, “Click-Clang-Bong”with Debbie Imiolo, “Bring on the Bugs”, with Steph Davis and Sean Fitzmaurice, and “Journey Through Outer Space”, also by Steph Davis and Sean Fitzmaurice. The theme of these sessions were very similar in that they all themes that children could relate to. The first session was all about making different sounds with different unpitched percussion instruments the the students ages 7-11 could do. The second session was all about bugs, and how to use themes to create fun activities and games for the students. This session was based for children grades k-3. The third session was all about outer space and using this theme to create activities and games that helped in learning about the Phrygian scale.

The percussion session focused on how to make a variety of different sounds on a variety of unpitched percussion instruments. The ways demonstrated are techniques that children grade 3 and up would be able to do. The clinician also demonstrated how to create a story that incorporates these different instruments to correspond with the story.

The bugs session focused on different approaches that are more energetic and more fun when teaching young students. Things like using your finger to draw their sound in the air when doing vocal warmups, or using props to piece together a melody. Using objects that allow the children to learn hands on is beneficial to the early years of music education. It keeps the children engaged and they enjoy being in the music classroom.

The galaxy session focused on using different approaches to teaching children about the Phrygian scale. Creating a song that contains the Phrygian scale as well as irregular and changing meter, movements, singing, and certain percussion instruments. Combining multiple components into an activity is both engaging and allows the students to be creative.

I enjoyed how all of these sessions were very interactive and energetic. That type of energy and enthusiasm is needed in an elementary music classroom in order to keep the children involved and interested. By using themes such as the ones that were used in the sessions, teachers will be able to connect with the students and keep the lesson fun and interesting.

I learned that there is more than one way to play a percussion instrument and most of the instruments can create more than one kind of sound. This information can allow children to be creative with how they want an instrument to sound. If the task is for the children to come up with a song that includes percussion, for example, they have a wide variety to choose from regarding what kind of sounds they want in their song.

Going into TEMPO, I knew a small amount about ORFF. The bugs session and the galaxy session were both ORFF based. By attending these sessions, I learned more about what ORFF is and how to use this form of teaching in the classroom.

I think the TEMPO 2016 conference was a success. I learned a lot about how to teach elementary music and different strategies to use for different age groups. The amount of enthusiasm and positive thinking was awesome throughout the day. It was great to be able to experience what it is like to be around more experienced music educators.


Robert Duke Clinic

by Leah Derksen

On January 29th I had the opportunity to travel to Saskatoon, along with seven other BUSMEA members, to attend a clinic hosted by the University of Saskatchewan music department. We participated in four sessions presented by Dr. Robert Duke. Dr. Duke is a professor and the Head of Music and Human Learning at the University of Texas. He is a renowned researcher in the field of music education and we were lucky to have an opportunity to learn from him.

Dr Duke began the first session by discussing the title he chose; Beautiful. We were asked to consider the ways by which we involve our students in beautiful music. How often do we ask our students to listen to music just for the sake of listening? And how often do we ask our students to create something beautiful? Often times we assume that our students know that music is supposed to convey something to the audience and we neglect to teach them about it. Dr. Duke reminded us that it is important to teach children that music is an emotional experience so their brains make connections between music and expression.

In the second session Dr. Duke discussed mistakes and tests. He pointed out that many students are so afraid to make a mistake that they will not try something new. From the very beginning of their time in band teachers should push their students to try new things before they cement the fear of mistakes that they have acquired in their regular classrooms. He said that the fear of being wrong can be perpetuated by the type of questions we pose. Often students are required to answer closed questions with exact answers. This type of question does not help the students to understand the topic, it only requires them to parrot an answer back. Dr. Duke thinks that if we strive to help our students achieve a deeper understanding and ask them ambiguous questions that require them to think, then the possibility of answering incorrectly will not seem so intimidating because the student is equipped to find the answer.

In sessions three and four Dr.  Duke discussed structuring band programs in a way that engages students in music that they enjoy while keeping them in their zone of proximal development (as in Vygotsky’s theory). He gave an example in the way that he used to start beginners. He had his students playing on recorders initially. The simplicity of the recorder allowed his students to play music that kept them engaged while they learned to create a proper tone on their mouthpiece. In this way he allowed his students to develop their musicianship while creating good instrument technique. Dr. Duke thinks that all years of band should be structured in a similar fashion. Students should be given music that they can play well to provide them with gratification while they learn new concepts.

Upon arriving at the University we were warmly welcomed by the U of S music education students. During our lunch break they gave us a tour of their beautiful campus, telling us many anecdotes and stories. Along with Dr. Duke’s insightful sessions it made for a wonderful day that was well worth the drive.


Performance Anxiety

Our recent clinic on Performance Anxiety and General Stress Management was a big hit! Presenters David Playfair, Chris Brown, and Grant Wilson have amalgamated their resources to give you a list of  authors, books, and websites you can always look back to if you find yourself in need!

Check it out! Performance Anxiety Resource List


TEMPO Conference Report

This year’s TEMPO Conference was a very positive experience for the BU students that attended. The itinerary of the day included four sessions of our choosing, the keynote address, and the Manitoba Music Educators’ Association AGM. It was hosted at Mennonite Brethren Collegiate Institute in Winnipeg on October 23rd.

The keynote speaker was Dr. Tim Lautzenheiser, a well-known figure in the North American music education community. He spoke about the incredible influence of music teachers and the opportunity they have to develop both music and life skills in students. He spoke about our responsibility to make our music programs welcoming and accessible to all students and the impact music can have on students who often find little success elsewhere. Dr. Lautzenheiser’s humour, passion, and encouraging message left the audience motivated and optimistic for the future of music education in Manitoba.

Other notable presenters included composer Robert Sheldon, jazz trombonist Vincent Gardner, guitar player Don Ross, and elementary specialist Artie Almeida, among others. A total of 44 sessions were offered ranging widely in topics related to teaching instrumental, choral, elementary, and guitar music. Sessions addressed many general concepts as well, such as understanding the teenage brain, encouraging lifelong engagement in music, and incorporating technology into the classroom.

One of the most valuable aspects of TEMPO is the opportunity it provides aspiring music educators such as ourselves to encounter the world in which we will someday work. It is a chance to meet or reunite with other music educators, often people we consider mentors or role models. It is a chance to discuss what we are learning and hear about what other teachers are doing in their classrooms. Making connections with other music educators is extremely valuable and TEMPO is a great facilitator of that.

In addition to the conference itself, several BUSMEA members had the opportunity to have dinner with Robert Sheldon on Oct. 22nd. We enjoyed many stories about his years studying with music legends such as Clifton Williams, Frederick Fennell, and Alfred Reed. It was a unique opportunity to interact with such a prominent composer of today’s band music.

This year’s conference was infused with an atmosphere of passion and learning. The sessions stimulated thought and excitement about teaching and did a great job of providing its attendees with information and resources to become better educators.


Last year BUSMEA hosted a reception for student educators across the country during the 2015 Canadian Music Educators Conference! Here’s a picture of those in attendance! This meeting also sparked the idea of creating a Canadian Student Music Educators Association of students throughout Canada. If you would like to be a part, ask any BUSMEA member for more details!



A Clinic On Clinics

On Wednesday September 30th, BUSMEA hosted our annual Clinic on Clinics event. This session is geared towards creating strong student clinicians that are active throughout the province of Manitoba. In this session we look at everything from the set up before hand, to the content you should include when asked to lead a clinic.

This years guest speaker was Dr. Wendy McCallum. Her notes and pictures from the session are attached below!

Clinic on Clinics

IMG_1011 IMG_1010


Dr. Kari Veblen Visits BU

Emily Hodge


On Tuesday, September 29, 2015, the Brandon University School of Music was fortunate to have been visited by Dr. Kari Veblen, Associate Professor of Music Education at Western University. Dr. Veblen began her day in the School of Music by participating in a third year Foundations of Music Education class, where students were able to discuss her published article entitled “Adult Music Learning in Formal, Nonformal, and Informal Contexts”. The class discussed other topics as well, including the effect of childhood musical participation later in life, brain plasticity and music, and the Internet’s influence on the way we learn.

Later, Dr. Veblen gave a lecture on Community Music. She discussed topics such as communitas, informal affinity groups, problems facing community music programs, and contributions of musicians to community music programs. She included many different examples of community music ensembles from around the world, and revealed the ways that they are so important to the people involved. The feedback on the day was overwhelmingly positive, and enriched our understanding of international Community Music programs.


Veblen, K. K. (2012).  Adult music learning in formal, nonformal and informal contexts. In G. McPherson & G. Welsh (Eds.). The Oxford Handbook of Music Education. Pp. 243-254. London: Oxford University Press. ISBN-10: 0199928010  |

ISBN-13: 978-0199928019



Dear Music Educators,


I hope you have all been enjoying your first month back at school thus far! I am looking forward to a fantastic year filled with many exciting and enriching moments.

BUSMEA’s goal is to provide you with constructive and inspiring professional development opportunities throughout the school year. Everything we do is geared towards developing the professional skills and knowledge of you and your colleagues, and we would love to hear your feedback so we can provide opportunities that stem from our local thoughts and interests.  We are always trying to come up with innovative ideas concerning fundraising, clinics, and conference sessions for the annual Da Capo conference. Please feel free to contact us by email at busmea@brandonu.ca or talk to a council member with any questions, concerns and suggestions you may have.

We have been busy planning for the months ahead and we are eager to provide you with diverse educational opportunities. In September BUSMEA hosted a music education mixer and invited the first-year music students to meet returning students and ask questions regarding the Music Education program. In addition, we held our annual Clinic on Clinics on September 30. We were proud to have Dr. Wendy McCallum presenting at this year’s clinic. If you were unable to attend, you can find clinic notes on the BUSMEA website.  This year, the seventh annual Da Capo conference takes place on Saturday, January 16th, 2016 at the Queen Elizabeth II Music Building at Brandon University. Stay tuned for more information!

If you have not registered for the TEMPO conference, put on by the MMEA, be sure to do so soon! This year’s conference will be Friday, October 23rd. Take a look at the list of sessions and registration form HERE!

Be sure to check out our bulletin board in the basement of the School of Music for a calendar of upcoming events, council biographies, handouts from sessions and more! You can also find us on Facebook as well as Twitter @BUSMEA; check into keep up to date with tour initiatives.

On behalf of BUSMEA, we would like to wish you the best in the year ahead, and we look forward to connecting with you soon.


Warm regards,

kelsey sig






Kelsey Demond

BUSMEA President