JOHS Music Newsletter

April 3rd, 2020

Hey there, and welcome back! Hopefully you enjoyed last week's newsletter, did some learning, worked out a little, and found inspiration in the other resources. I hope you enjoy this week's letter just as much! Look at the smartmusic section. DO IT!

Educational Resources


This week everyone is to log on to smartmusic using the code and instructions below. Pick one or two songs to work up on your instruments. Share your progress with me between now and next week's letter.

How to log in to smartmusic:

1. Open a chrome browser and visit: https:

2. When prompted for a class code, please enter:


3. Now you have access to 1000s of pieces of music for all instruments!

Music Theory

Last week we focused on staff identification, but this week we are focusing on staff construction, including notes, key signatures, intervals, scales, and chords.

Go to - click on the exercises under "staff construction" and remember that you can customize the exercises by clicking the gear in the upper right hand corner of the screen to fit your instrument clef, ability, etc. You should all be able to do note naming in your clef, key signatures, and scales. If you need help with intervals check out this video. If you need help with chord identification, check this out.

If you're struggling with any of these, I am happy to help. There are also many videos on youtube explaining theory to beginners.


Interested in creating your own music? is a great free resource to start exploring composition. It takes some time to learn how to use the program, but once you do, utilize your theory skills and try to create a melody for your instrument!


Time for week two, kids!!! Let's get that blood flowing and release some endorphins! Remember that endorphins are chemicals that your body releases that help reduce stress and pain. They even boost your happiness! So, let's get happy! Put on your tennis shoes, turn up the volume, and start moving!
JOHS Workout Week 2

Miller and Barna's Practicing Tip for the Week!

Remember those lovely little things called scales? Yeah, the ones we used to practice every single day in class. We do that because they are IMPORTANT! Believe it or not, practicing your scales makes you a better musician. You might be thinking, "Why Ms. Miller?! Why? We hate practicing out scales." Well, funny you should ask kids. Here's why:

1. Scales help you recognize common patterns in music.

2. Scales build your understanding of music theory and composition.

3. Scales improve your hand/finger technical coordination on your instrument.

4. Scales make memorizing music easier.

Tips for practicing scales:

1. Learn your major scales going through the circle of 5ths. You know the one. You know the page in the blue book. Dust those things off and get to it!

2. Once your major scales are awesome, practice starting on different pitches. For example, start on D for your C major scale, but continue to play in C. That will really test your skills.

3. Practice your minor scales (natural, harmonic, melodic) and blues scale. There's a whole world of scales out there waiting for you!

Happy Practicing!

Ms. Miller

Student Spotlight - Jonathan McVay

Jonathan is a sophomore trombone player in the wind ensemble and is awesome! Let's get to know Jonathan a little better!

Favorite color? Red

Favorite food? Chocolate Moose Tracks Ice Cream with a side of Chocolate Moose Tracks

What clubs and organizations are you apart of? I am a part of the symphonic band, wind ensemble, and marching band at John Overton.

What has been your favorite pass time during the COVID19 quarantine? My favorite activity has been talking with my friends, mostly over video games and online voice calls.

What do you miss most about school? I miss seeing my friends everyday and just generally being able to be somewhere other than my house.

Do you have a secret talent? I can juggle, kinda...

What advice do you have for the underclassmen? Give marching band a chance, Juuling isn't cool, make friends, and keep it real.

Listening Snack

Each week I'm going to include one wind band or orchestral recording, as well as one solo artist recording. Check it out and let me know what you think!

Wine-Dark Sea by John Mackey

  • A three movement piece commissioned by The University of Texas Wind Ensemble conducted by Jerry Junkin. Check out the story behind how it was titled and what each movement is supposed to portray here.

Saint-Saens Violin Concerto No. 3 in B Minor, Op. 61, Mvt. 3 - performed by Gil Shaham

  • This is one of my ALL TIME FAVORITE violin concertos. I remember in college listening to one of my friends practicing this in the practice room next to me and absolutely loving it. I would take a break from my own practicing and go sit and listen to him practice this opening statement to the 3rd movement. It's amazing!

Good Day by Surfaces

  • The band Surfaces was introduced to me just this week by some of YOU! Shoutout to Jojo, Matthan, and Jess for this recommendation. Want to feel good and just chill? Listen to this group. They're super chill.

Student Sharing

Let's see what everyone has been up to this past week! I spy lots of working out and some other recreational activities! Click the button below for a video compilation of allllll the student sharing from this week. It's awesome. Seriously! Diana Fowler throws a seven on rifle, y'all. Go watch.
JOHS Student Sharing Week 2
Have a project you've been working that you'd like to share in the next newsletter? Send it my way!

A NOTE of inspiration (pun intended)

Dolly Parton

Did you know that Dolly Parton was the 4th of 12 CHILDREN?! She grew up in a small run down cabin in rural Tennessee. One of the most inspiring parts about Dolly is not only her rags to riches story but her continued philanthropy. She started Imagination Library in an effort to increase literacy amongst children and donates money to many other organizations. In fact, she just donated 1 million dollars to Vanderbilt University Medical Center for research on coronavirus vaccination. Check out her story!

The Tragic Life Story Of Dolly Parton

Greek Dancing 101 with Miller

Greek Dancing Instructional Video - Kalamatiano
Here's the link to the music if you want to practice later without me!

Office Hours

We will continue office hours on Wednesdays from 10am-11am, and following this next week's hours we may add office hours on Saturday. We will use Zoom and that code and password will be sent out weekly.

Leadership Training

Anyone interested in joining the Leadership Team 2020 this is for you! For anyone that does not know, students on leadership take on different leading roles in the marching band. Potential positions include drum major, drill instructors, section leaders, electronics crew, field crew, librarians, social chairs, etc. Current freshman, this now includes you! Don't be afraid! Sign up and go through the training. Even if you end up not being on leadership this training will be beneficial to you!

Leadership training is going to look a little different since we aren't in school, but this is a great lesson to start us off on our training. Sometimes we have to be flexible and what's most important is how we respond to adversity. So, we are going to stay positive and train virtually. This will include reading, writing assignments, some video watching, meetings, etc. More info on how to sign up soon!