JOHS Music Newsletter

April 17, 2020

Hey there, and welcome back for our week 4 quarantine newsletter! There are lots of fun goodies in this week's letter, so take a minute to peruse it all. At the end you'll find new leadership information, as well as scheduling and signups for next year. Miss you all!

Educational Resources


Please please please take advantage of our smartmusic subscription. It is free only until June 30th! Don't wait. Go now. Go! Stop scrolling. Go to smartmusic and start exploring!

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 keyboard ear training, but this week we are focusing on note ear training without a keyboard.

Go to - click on "note ear training" under the "ear training" section. Before starting these exercises, click the gear in the upper right hand corner of the screen and be sure the "reference note" is turned on in settings.

To make this exercise a bit more approachable, listen to the reference note every time. Get used to hearing the different intervals.


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!

GarageBand is also a very user friendly and fun way to create your own music, and it's free for all mac users. Check out this online beginners tutorial then dig in! Soundation is a good alternative if you do not have a mac, and you can sign up for a free account here.

Bonus points to anyone who can tell me the music source for the following meme and why it's funny!

Big picture


Time for week four, and let me just say, YOU DO NOT WANT TO MISS THIS! DJ and Kathy Smith, along with Sam, put together a hilarious introduction video for my workouts. Take a look. You will not regret it!
JOHS Week 4 Workout


William is a senior clarinetist in the wind ensemble. He is a fantastic musician, having made mid-state every single year of his high school career. We are so proud and thankful for William's participation and contribution to the Overton Band! Let's learn more about him!

Favorite color? Green

Favorite food? Mac and cheese

What clubs and organizations are you apart of? Wind ensemble, jazz band, Tennessee Youth Symphony

Favorite artist currently? Ben Rector

What has been your favorite pass time during the COVID19 quarantine? Playing games with all my friends and talking with them online

What do you miss most about school? I miss being able to see all my friends, especially since It's my last year of high school.

Do you have a secret talent? I have made INCREDIBLE songs about McDonald's.

What advice do you have for the underclassmen? Do marching band, especially your freshman year because it makes the transition to high school much easier and gives you friends from all grades.

listening snack

Armenian Dances: Part 1 composed by Alfred Reed

  • Armenian Dances is a four movement-suite will part 1 (linked above) consisting of the first movement and part 2 the remaining three. Each part uses a number of Armenian folk songs from the collection of Gomidas Vartabed, an Armenian ethnomusicologist. Learn more here!

Cheek to Cheek performed by Pete Fountain

  • Let me introduce you to the amazing jazz clarinetist Pete Fountain! Pete had such an interesting childhood story. As a child, Pete suffered from a lot of respiratory infections as a result from very weak lungs. One day his father took him to the doctor and the doctor suggested Pete start learning a musical instrument to help strengthen his lungs. They went to the music store that same day, picked out a clarinet, and the rest is history. Fun fact: Pete couldn't make a sound on the clarinet at first, but through practice not only did he become one of the most famous jazz clarinetists in the world, but also strengthened his lungs and improved his health! See? Playing an instrument is both mentally and physically beneficial! Not going to say I told you so, but I told you so.
  • Owen Bradley produced this particular album (Cheek to Cheek, 1993) in Mt. Juliet, TN at Bradley's Barn. Owen has a statue on music row right here in Nashville because of his major contributions to the country music scene as a producer.
  • One other fun fact is that my dad, Gary Miller, played lead trombone on this album. It's a small world!

When You Wish Upon a Star performed by Linda Ronstadt

  • Feeling a little down during quarantine? Disney always lifts my spirits, so take a listen. Linda Ronstadt is a retired American singer who has won a ton of awards throughout her career and has recorded a diverse number of genres from rock to opera to latin. SHE IS AN AMAZING VOCALIST with so much control to her voice. Learn more about her here.

Student Sharing

Let's see what everyone has been up to this past week! People seem to be getting crafty! 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)

Let me introduce you to Jacob Collier. He is a musical genius and way cooler than I'll ever be. Collier is an English singer, arranger, composer, producer, and multi-instrumentalist. He creates a lot of fusion-like music combining many different genres and techniques. One of Collier's most impressive albums (in my opinion) is called "In My Room" and he literally recorded, performed, arranged, and produced the entire album in a small room in his home in London. He won TWO GRAMMYS for this album that he created in a room in his house! Learn more about him here.
A one-man musical phenomenon | Jacob Collier
Musician Explains One Concept in 5 Levels of Difficulty ft. Jacob Collier & Herbie Hancock | WIRED

dinner with ms. miller: disney edition

It's very safe to say I've lost it just a little bit during this quarantine. Here's to hoping this brings you some joy and laughter at my own expense. Have fun!
Cooking with Miller

Miller and Barna's Practicing Tip for the Week!

The meat and potatoes of a practice session. Besides having a quality, purposeful, engaged warm-up and a solid warm-down, what should you practice in the middle? Depending on your ability level and what you're prepping for this will look different. However, here's a general breakdown of what should be included in the middle (meat and potatoes) of your practice session.

  1. Pick 1 or 2 etudes to focus on each week. These should be technical exercises focusing on skills you need to improve or that are needed in your repertoire.
  2. Pick 1 or 2 orchestral excerpts to focus on each week. Some of you will need these later in life for auditions. Plus, they are great for developing a variety of technical skills.
  3. Solo repertoire - work on the solo literature you're planning on performing. This will be continuous over the many weeks leading up to your performance.
  4. Ensemble literature - work on the music you're performing with an ensemble.

Happy Practicing!

Ms. Miller

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!

Fill out this form by April 20th if you're interested!

Scheduling for 2020-2021

Please check with your counselors that you are enrolled for the appropriate music classes. Everyone should at least have band, orchestra, or percussion on their schedules. If you do not, please please please take care of this. I am happy to help.

IMPORTANT! Guard, AICE music, and beginning strings still need more people to enroll in order for the classes to make it on the master schedule. If you have room in your schedules or know others who may be interested, please let me or a counselor know!

New members (current 8th graders) and current members should complete this form so we can start gathering interest and organizing the ensembles for next year. This form along with audition info will be communicated to current 8th graders through the middle school directors and is also available on the website under "become a member."

Office Hours

Office hours are on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 10am-11am. A zoom link is sent out every week with an ID and password for accessing the meetings. The code is the same from week to week, so you can just save it on your computer somewhere.