JOHS Music Newsletter

April 10, 2020

Hey there, and welcome back for our week 3 quarantine newsletter! I hope no one minds the Easter themed background and design this week. I know for me personally the longer I stare at the screen the hungrier I get. I may have baked and eaten a lot of cookies while putting this week's newsletter together...

Educational Resources

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Last week everyone was to explore smartmusic and pick some songs to practice. Continue to work on those pieces or pick newer harder ones if needed. Please please please take advantage of this program. 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 staff construction, but this week we are focusing on ear training. Yay!!!!

Go to - click on "keyboard 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 setting.

If you're struggling with this, I am happy to help. There are also many videos on youtube to help with building ear training and relative pitch, which is what this exercise is focused on targeting.


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 three, kids!!! Y'all, this week is NO JOKE. Be sure you hydrate and don't do it in 85 degree weather like I did. Good luck!
JOHS Workout #3

Miller and Barna's Practicing Tip for the Week!

Have a plan and a routine. Do you ever get your instrument out of the case, sit down, and think, "now what?" Having a plan for your practicing is crucial to your growth. Practicing without a plan and goal is unproductive. Follow these steps for your next practice session and see how it goes!

  1. Create an atmosphere - Pick a practice space that is right for you where you can focus best. Have everything you need nearby, such as water, pencil, highlighter, sharpener, valve oil, reeds, music, scrap paper, metronome, etc.
  2. Write down your goals for the practice session - start with the end in mind
  3. Create your detailed plan to achieve those goals - focus in your warm-up on the techniques you need for the pieces you're working on
  4. Warm-up - this shouldn't be a boring, mindless routine. This is your chance to settle in with the instrument and take notes on how your body and mind are responding that day.
  5. Repertoire - technical exercises, etudes, excerpts, other literature
  6. Warm-down
  7. Self-evaluate the practice session as a whole - what did you achieve? What did you not achieve? What do you need to continue to work on? What may the next practice session look like?
  8. Reward yourself - yes, practicing is something all musicians are expected to do, but it's not always fun and it's hard work! Celebrate your successes and reward that hard work with mental praise and also physical (eat a cookie or take a nap).

Happy Practicing!

Ms. Miller

Student Spotlight - Lauren Finley

Lauren is a senior violist in the orchestra and is a SUPER talented musician! Lauren has made mid-state every single year since I've known her (throwback to Croft), and even though she isn't getting a music degree in college, she auditioned and is going to be receiving a huge yearly scholarship to play in the orchestra at TN Tech. Congrats Lauren! We are all so proud of you and will miss you dearly next year!

Favorite color? Light blue

Favorite food? Chicken nuggets

What clubs and organizations are you apart of? Volleyball, Beta Club, National Honors Society, String chamber group, and employee at Chick-fil-A

What has been your favorite pass time during the COVID19 quarantine? Reading when it's sunny outside

What do you miss most about school? I miss being with my friends and also the constant routine.

Do you have a secret talent? I can pop my jaw on command.

What advice do you have for the underclassmen? Don't worry about fitting in. You'll find your own group in your own time. Don't change for people. Concerning music, you gotta do it! It's so much fun and it's a great community to be part of.

Listening Snack

Molly on the Shore by Percy Grainger

  • Molly on the Shore is an arrangement of two Irish reels and let me tell you, it is fast and technical. Clarinets, buckle up!
  • Also, the comments for the recording that I linked are quite entertaining. Enjoy!

Loop D Loop by James Stephenson - performed by Jeremy Wilson

  • This is a very cool piece for trombone and loop station. Jeremy Wilson, who you see in the video, is the trombone professor at Vanderbilt University and is an amazing musician. Before coming to Vanderbilt he was a member of the Vienna Philharmonic, winning that audition at age 25! Check out his bio here.

Cheek to Cheek performed by Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett

  • If you haven't heard Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett sing jazz together then YOU ARE MISSING OUT! Check out their Cheek to Cheek full album. It's seriously so amazing.

Student Sharing

Let's see what everyone has been up to this past week! People seem to be getting crafty! Click the button below for a video compilation of all the student sharing from this week. You'll see Jess singing her made up quarantine song, David working on jazz improv on piano, Matthan throwing a frisbee, and Jess collapsing after the week 2 workout. Enjoy!
JOHS student sharing week 3
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)

The MNPS Social Distance 5 !!!

Baking with Ms. Miller

JOHS Baking Show! Blueberry Scones
Head on over to for more recipes and the full instructions for these scones!

Office Hours

We will continue office hours on Wednesdays from 10am-11am, and starting on Saturday, April 18th we will add a Saturday meeting. Meetings will continue to start at 10am. Check your emails for the Zoom ID and password.

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. Sign ups will start next week!