The Advocate

Newsletter for The Music Education Community of Western PA

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JMC's Trip to The PMEA In-Service Conference & All-State Music Festival

On April 6-9, PMEA hosted its annual In-Service Conference and All-State Festival.

This was the first conference to be held in person in two years, and it was great to see so many smiling faces and so much enthusiasm for teaching music. JMC is a corporate sponsor of the PMEA and purchased a booth at the conference to continue support and show educators and students what JMC has to offer. JMC was represented by Dennis Emmert, Joe Weinzierl, Alex Ayers, and Jim Lozenski.

Dennis and Jim are veteran PMEA Conference-goers (both having over 30 years of music education experience in PA), but this was Alex and Joe’s first experience attending a PMEA conference. For Alex, it was great to meet face-to-face with the educators that he often communicates with over the phone and email for purchasing musical supplies. For Joe, it was great to further understand the needs of music educators and student musicians.

It’s one type of experience to attend the PMEA Conference representing a company or as a music educator, but it is an entirely different experience to participate in the conference as a student selected to play in an All-State Ensemble. One of Dennis Emmert’s private students, Eli Conklin, was selected to play French Horn with the All-State Concert Band, and we received the chance to interview Eli about his experience playing in the band:

What was your day like when attending PMEA?

Each day went smoothly for the most part. Our general routine was a to-go breakfast, then rehearsal (the longest day was 6 hours of rehearsal) with meals at the host school, and then a return to the hotel for a night activity (including on one day, a concert from the US Army Field Band).

Did you feel prepared?

Yes, I felt very prepared. After spending time learning the music during my private lessons, and practicing with recordings at home, I felt like I knew what to expect for each song.

What pieces did you play?

We played four pieces:

“Hymn to the Sun” by Satoshi Yagisawa

“Magnolia Star” by Steve Danyew

“Pepita Greus” by Pascual Perez Chovi

“Of Our New Day Begun” by Omar Thomas

What were the rehearsals like?

The rehearsals were fast moving and kept everyone engaged. Our conductor was efficient in his rehearsing, but very few people felt tired, as he made sure we had enough breaks to rest. We didn’t spend a lot of time warming up, and just went right into playing the songs instead.

What was the audition process for playing at PMEA Fest?

The audition process was an online audition in February. Using music from both the Concert Band and Wind Ensemble for this year’s PMEA state festival, the state selected three excerpts to play. It was nice to have multiple attempts at recording the audition, instead of just one as in a live audition, since we just had to make recordings and then send them in.

What was your favorite aspect of the PMEA Fest?

My favorite aspect of the PMEA festival was getting to meet people from all over the state. Also, I got to meet up with some friends from band whom I hadn’t seen in a while.

What did you learn from participating in the All-State Festival?

I learned that despite all the work needed to get to the level of the All-State Festival, and even having to make up school work for the days I was at the festivals, the accomplishment of playing and performing the concert was worth all the hard work.

Dennis Emert French Horn Master Class at Plum

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This week, Dennis Emert taught a French Horn master class at Plum High School. Dennis was asked to lead the lesson by Plum’s band director, Bethany Loy, who he reconnected with at the PMEA In-Service Conference.

Dennis helped the students with pieces they will be performing in their upcoming Spring Concert. Dennis showed the students alternate fingerings and various techniques for easier and more articulate playing. Dennis also explained how to blend better as a section by listening to how the other musicians are playing and adjusting accordingly.

Dennis is an Educational Sales Representative for JMC for many reasons but primarily because of his experience as a music educator, teaching in a school setting for over 30 years. While Dennis enjoys his current role, he still enjoys teaching music hands-on and appreciates the opportunity to help young musicians perform at their best.

Expansion at JMC's Golden Mile Location

We have expanded our Golden Mile location over 30 percent at the first of the year. This additional area has allowed us to establish a comfortable waiting room for parents and guardians while their children participate in private music lessons. The expansion has also provided us with additional storage room, which will allow us to better attend to the school districts that we service in east Pittsburgh.

We are looking forward to more efficiently assisting schools in the east and providing our lessons customers with a comfortable environment to wait in. We are excited to continue expanding in order to improve our service to our customers.

Pictures of our expanded waiting room area are below.

Bob Johnstonbaugh's Trip to the NAPBIRT Conference

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Recently Jake Ishman, JMC’s Pro Brass Technician, and I attended the NAPBIRT (National Association of Professional Band Instrument Repair Technicians) International Repair Conference, held in the Inner Harbor of Baltimore, MD, which like PMEA, returned to in-person after a two-year hiatus.

For those of you not familiar with this organization:

NAPBIRT Inc. was founded in 1976 by a small group of technicians who realized the need for communication and the free exchange of information within their trade. NAPBIRT was created from these ideals and proudly celebrates over 44 years of sharing and growing together. The primary goal of continuing education is attained through Regional Clinics, NAPBIRT University Courses, Online Clinics and annual International Conferences all of which, in combination, provide over 300 hours throughout the year via lectures, demonstrations and hands-on sessions. In addition, NAPBIRT offers its members an online bi-monthly trade journal known as TechniCom, a comprehensive website and a member network of over 1000 technicians with whom to exchange tradecraft.

Jake has been an active member for years, and now that I am actively repairing again, I rejoined after being a member for many years. Attendees of the conference ranged from recent repair school graduates to seasoned craftspeople. In one case, I met a surgeon from the Armed Services currently stationed at the Pentagon who was there to explore instrument repair as a possible career option after retirement.

The two-and-a-half-day conference included vendors exhibiting industry-specific tools and supplies. One notable experience from the conference was a clinic presented by a mouthpiece manufacturer about refacing mouthpieces, which offered a mix of information and fun.

The conference underscored how essential having a professional repair service is for school music dealers and the music education community at large.

-Bob Johnstonbaugh

Tell us what you think!

This newsletter is for you! If there is something that you wish to know more about or have questions about, please let us know. We will do our best to get you the information you need. Also, if you like what you read, be sure to send to a friend.

Issued February 2022

Newsletter by Joe Weinzierl and Dennis Emert