JOHS Music Newsletter

April 24, 2020

Hey there, and welcome back for our week 5 quarantine newsletter! I hope everyone is surviving and not going too crazy. Be prepared next Monday to start receiving a bit more structured learning via Schoology. As always, let me know if you have any questions! Miss you all!

Educational Resources

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Take advantage of our smartmusic subscription. It is free only until June 30th! Don't wait. 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 you have the freedom to work on whichever section you'd like.

Go to - pick one exercise to challenge yourself!


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.


Time for week five, y'all! This workout is no joke and allows for you to push yourself to your limit. Here's a breakdown of the workout:

1. Warm-up

2. EMOM (every minute on the minute) - 20 minutes

3. AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) - 15 minutes

4. Stretch/Cool down

JOHS Week 5 Workout


Courtney is a senior french horn player in the wind ensemble. She has not only made mid-state every year since middle school, but has also made all-state two years in a row. Courtney is definitely one of the best french horn players Overton has seen. She is an amazing musician and person, and we are going to miss her so so so much next year. Don't leave us, Courtney!

Favorite color? I can never choose, they're all great.

Favorite food? Olive Garden salad dressing

What clubs and organizations are you apart of? Wind ensemble, Tennessee Youth Symphony, Cyber Security Club, marching band, brass quintet at Blair School of Music, mellophone section leader

Favorite song and artist currently? Movin' Out by Billy Joel

What has been your favorite pass time during the COVID19 quarantine? Going on walks with my family

What do you miss most about school? I miss the little quirks of Overton, along with the acquaintances and teachers I know I won't get to see again.

Do you have a secret talent? I have a collection...of half empty water bottles next to my bed. I have around seven currently.

What advice do you have for the underclassmen? Whenever something completely strange or just weird happens in the hallways, smile and laugh about it. It makes life way more fun if you look forward to outrageous things.


Isabel is a senior flute player in the wind ensemble. Isabel is one of the greatest musicians we've seen at Overton. Along with Courtney, above, Isabel has made mid-state every year since middle school, as well as all-state for three years straight. Isabel has participated in many masterclasses, summer programs, and local projects that are quite impressive. We will definitely miss her next year!

Favorite color? Teal

Favorite food? Chocolate chip waffles

What clubs and organizations are you apart of? Wind ensemble, Curb Youth Symphony, marching band

Favorite song and artist currently? I've been listening to a lot of older songs like "Hey there Delilah" by the Plain White T's and "Breakeven" by The Script.

What has been your favorite pass time during the COVID19 quarantine? I have been drawing, playing (way too much) Animal Crossing, and practicing.

What do you miss most about school? I really miss seeing all of my friends and teachers, and being in band class.

Do you have a secret talent? It's super weird, but I can make a really high pitched scream sound that kind of sounds like a dog whistle.

What advice do you have for the underclassmen? Join marching band! It's the best way to meet people from every grade, and it's so comforting to know people going into high school.

listening snack

Symphony No. 4 composed by David Maslanka

  • Symphony No. 4 is a fantastic piece that utilizes famous hymn tunes, along with original melodies which are hymn-like. Take a look at the program notes to learn more.
  • Follow along with the score.
  • Maslanka wrote for a variety of genres and his compositional style tends to be "rhythmically intense and complex, highly tonal and melodically-oriented." Learn more about Maslanka's background.

Mozart Horn Concerto No. 4 in Eb, III - performed by Barry Tuckwell

  • It is my extreme pleasure to introduce you to Barry Tuckwell, one of the greatest horn players to ever live. Barry Tuckwell passed away this January at the age of 88, but continued playing his horn professionally until age 65 when he retired. He was Australian, but spent the majority of his career in the United Kingdom. He was one of the most recorded horn soloists with over 50 recordings, and received three Grammy Nominations in his life.

Blank Space performed by Ryan Adams

  • Ryan Adams has quite a history and way too much to put in this newsletter. Learn more about him here.
  • This cover of "Blank Space," originally on Taylor Swift's album 1989, is a calmed down version and quite enjoyable to listen to. Enjoy!

Student Sharing

This was just too good not to share. Take a look at Kara, Gavin, and Collin sight-reading through some smartmusic songs together. This one I believe is James Bond? Actually, it could potentially be The Incredibles? I'm not sure, but it was fun to watch! Enjoy!

Have a project you've been working that you'd like to share in the next newsletter? Send it my way!

Student Sharing: Bond edition

A NOTE of inspiration (pun intended)

Let me introduce you to Johnny Costa. You probably don't know him by name, but you most certainly have heard his music. Costa was an American jazz pianist, but more famously served as the musical director, arranger, and keyboardist for Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. Did you know that all of the music you heard on the show was recorded live? It's also interesting to know that Costa insisted on not playing "baby" music for the show. He believed that children understood good music, so he took liberties and experimented with his own styles. It's interesting how correct he was with that mentality. Mister Rogers' Neighborhood was known for its music, which definitely can't be said about all children shows.
Johnny Costa Documentary Short

Miller and Barna's Practicing Tip for the Week!

We're keeping this week's practice tip simple. We promise if you follow the advice below you will be well on your way to being the next Yo-Yo Ma, Allen Vizzutti, or Hilary Hahn.

Step 1: Take your instrument out of the case.

Step 2: Begin practicing.

Happy Practicing!

Ms. Miller

Leadership Training

All interested applicants should have submitted a form and been added to a leadership training groupme. If for some reason you were not added, send me an email and I'll take care of it. The first assignment will be sent soon!

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."

Marching Band 2020 Announcement

As you all know, coronavirus has impacted our school and local community, state, nation, and world. Some of the impact it has had is financial stress due to the current economic situation, resulting in many people losing their jobs. Some other impacts are the enforcement of social distancing and cancelation of the rest of the school year. This directly effects the Overton Band in many ways. For instance, we lost our spring recruitment at the middle schools, we are unable to have kick off camp, a lot of families are struggling financially right now, and the future is unpredictable. With this being said, we as directors and a booster board, feel that the best option for the John Overton Marching Band in the fall 2020 season is to be non-competitive. We always want to ensure every child has the same opportunities and never want to burden families with additional financial stress. We understand that an $800-$1000 band fee is not realistic for many families this year and we want to be sensitive to that. Additionally, it would not be economically smart to invest in a competitive season for this fall when there is still so much unpredictability. With that being said, we are dedicated to still having a high quality, entertaining show that students will love performing and audiences will love watching. Our standards of excellence will not change, as well as our expectations for student leadership. Some differences you may see are a minimized staff, music and drill done mostly in-house, reduced rehearsal schedule, and significantly lower band fees. You will also see a show design that is going to be an absolute blast to learn, perform, and watch. No one can know for sure exactly what this fall will look like, but we are doing our best to plan for multiple outcomes with students and parents at the center of those decisions. We want to emphasize one final time that our standards of excellence will not diminish, but instead continue to grow as they do each year. We cannot wait to see you all again and start this new journey through the fall 2020 season.

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.