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Educating the Next Generation of Music Teachers
By West Music Company
6/21/2017 4:25:00 PM  

West Music & Chairman Steve West Honored for Efforts in Music Education

Since its founding in 1941, West Music has been dedicated to music education. Last month West Music and its Chairman of the Board, Steve West, received The President’s Honor from Kirkwood Community College. The award was given in recognition of both the company’s and Steve West’s own personal dedication to the school in its efforts to train the next generation of music teachers.

40 Year Relationship with Kirkwood Community College

Kirkwood Community College is a long established 2-year college in Eastern Iowa. Headquartered in Cedar Rapids, the college also has several satellite locations across the region. They offer several music-related degrees including Music Theory, Music History and Applied Music.

Steve West first became involved with Kirkwood in the 1980’s, while he was the president and CEO of West Music, when the school asked about purchasing a few new instruments. Over the next 40 years the relationship grew from simply transactional to one that was truly collaborative.

Graduating Future Music Teachers Sooner and For Less

In 2006 West Music established an endowed Kirkwood scholarship for students beginning their studies at Kirkwood, then transferring to The University of Iowa or University of Northern Iowa to peruse degrees in music education.

Before 2006, music education students transferring from Kirkwood to one of these universities would lose 40 of their 62 college credits. Steve West worked with the schools to pave the way for acceptance of every college credit earned while at Kirkwood. Thanks in part to this collaboration, today future music teachers can graduate sooner and with far less debt than they did in the past.

Community Efforts to Bring Music to More Students

West Music continues to be a key supporter to Kirkwood’s music programs as well as an enthusiastic booster of the Kirkwood Foundation. Steve West has been a tireless volunteer and leader in Foundation campaigns and initiatives to bring more resources to Kirkwood music programs.

Additionally, West Music has donated to Kirkwood’s piano practice studios for many years and partners with Kirkwood's K.I.C.K. Summer Camp program, helping to provide a variety of summer music camps to students of all ages and abilities.


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Categories: West Music Marion, Music Advocacy
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Robin Walenta of West Music Presents Award to Iowan Senators
By West Music
5/31/2017 1:12:00 PM  

Robin Walenta and Sen Joni ErnstLast week, Robin Walenta, President and CEO of West Music presented Iowa Senators Joni Ernst and Charles Grassley with a flag in representation of the two school districts in Iowa that were recognized as the Best Communities for Music Education by The NAMM Foundation. The two school districts, Davenport Community School District and Sioux City Community School District, were recognized earlier this year by The NAMM Foundation as part of the organization’s Best Communities for Music Education awards program which honored 527 districts across the nation for their commitment to music education.

Walenta made the presentation as part of the annual NAMM Music Education Advocacy D.C. Fly-In, May 22-24. Along with nearly 100 music industry leaders, notable artists, and arts education activists, Walenta took to Capitol Hill to advocate for all school-aged children to have access to quality, comprehensive school music education programs. The issue of music education takes on a special significance this year as the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), signed into law in 2015 by President Obama readies for state-level implementation in 2018 in the face of proposed budget cuts. New research also shows strong ties between K-12 school students who actively participate in school music education programs and overall student success. A recent study of students in the Chicago Public Schools by brain researchers at Northwestern University, detailed in Neuroscientist and Education Week, builds on previous findings that participation in music education programs helps improve brain function, discipline and language development. 

Robin Walenta and Sen Chuck Grassley“Music and music making is vitally important to offering students a well-rounded education,” shared Walenta. “We join this week of advocacy to reinforce the importance of funding music and the arts, and in this case, to share the stories and an award of the districts in our home state where music is making a difference. The Best Communities for Music Education award represents the dedication of the students, teachers, administrators and community at large in Iowa that value the importance of music education.”

West Music is a third generation locally owned and family operated business. For over 75 years, West Music has been the area’s leading partner in music education, specializing in pianos, guitars, drums and percussion, band and orchestra instruments, and print music as well as offering music instruction, repair, and music therapy services. With seven retail locations in Iowa and Illinois as well as award-winning ecommerce websites dedicated to servicing music education and percussion communities, West Music strives to encourage people of all ages and abilities to play now and play for life

 

     NAMM Logo

About NAMM

The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) is the not-for-profit association with a mission to strengthen the $17 billion music products industry and promote the pleasures and benefits of making music. NAMM's activities and programs are designed to promote music making to people of all ages. NAMM is comprised of approximately10,300 Member companies located in more than 103 countries. For more information about NAMM or the proven benefits of making music, interested parties can visit www.namm.org, call 800-767-NAMM (6266) or follow the organization on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. 

To learn more about NAMM and the Top 100 Dealer Awards, please visit https://www.namm.org/summer/2017/top-dealer-awards

 West Music Logo

About West Music

West Music is a third generation locally owned and family operated business. For over 75 years, West Music has been the area’s leading partner in music education, specializing in pianos, guitars, drums and percussion, band and orchestra instruments, and print music as well as offering music instruction, repair, and music therapy services. With seven retail locations in Iowa and Illinois as well as award-winning ecommerce websites dedicated to servicing music education and percussion communities, West Music strives to encourage people of all ages and abilities to play now and play for life. For more information, visit westmusic.com or call 1-800-373-2000.


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West Music’s Residency Sponsorship Shows The Power of Music Therapy
By West Music Company
3/10/2016 10:21:00 AM  

The music therapy discipline is a fundamental and highly respected element of care for people with dementia, developmental and learning disabilities, brain injuries, and many other conditions—and the University of Iowa School of Music has contributed in important ways to its growth, through training therapists and conducting foundational research.

Rhapsodie String Quartet
The Rhapsodie String Quartet of the Madison Symphony Orchestra

Later this month, the UI and eastern Iowa community will have a chance to learn  about a successful music therapy-informed program, when the UI and West Music team up to bring the Madison Symphony Orchestra's HeartStrings program—a community engagement initiative that serves children and adults with special needs—for a two-day residency.

The MSO's Rhapsodie String Quartet will host a free, public "Under the Hood" program in the University Capitol Centre Recital Hall from 12:30 p.m.-1:20 p.m. on Wednesday, March 23. The event will feature the Rhapsodie String Quartet, MSO Director of Community Engagement Kathryn Schwarzmann, MSO music therapist Laurie Farnan, and UI music and music therapy educators.

"Anyone with an interest in music with special populations will find the Under the Hood event a fascinating exploration of the development of the MSO's HeartStrings program," said Mary Adamek, head of the Music Therapy Area of the UI School of Music.

During their residency, the Rhapsodie String Quartet will also perform in a specially designed HeartStrings program for residents of Iowa City's Oaknoll Retirement Residence and their families. The Oaknoll session will be closed to the public.

The residency is co-sponsored by the UI Music Therapy Program, the UI String Quartet Residency Program, the UI Obermann Center for Advanced Studies, and West Music.


About HeartStrings

HeartStrings is the Madison Symphony Orchestra’s award-winning, music therapy-informed community engagement program that serves children and adults with special needs, including developmental and physical disabilities, long-term illnesses, assisted living needs, and dementia.

The program aims to serve participants by enhancing their quality of life and overcoming the barrier presented by concert halls by bringing live, high-quality classical music to them through a series of highly participatory music sessions.

HeartStrings is presentedby the MSO’s Rhapsodie Quartet at community partner locations which include healthcare facilities, state institutions, and retirement communities.


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Tags: University of Iowa School of Music, Madison Symphony Orchestra, HeartStrings, Rhapsodie String Quartet, under the hood, Kathryn Schwarzmann, MSO, Laurie Farnan, Obermann Center for Advanced Studies
Categories: Music Therapy, Music Advocacy
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Sour note? How to encourage, not nag, a child to practice a musical instrument
By West Music Company
1/13/2016 10:00:00 AM  

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Supporting Music Education: Choose to Teach
By West Music Company
10/15/2015 2:20:00 PM  

Supporting Music Education: Choose to TeachHow do you know if you want to become a music teacher? Some students just know, and others make that decision when considering career options. For many students, sharing the joy of music becomes their passion.

This tip sheet, Supporting Music Education: Choose to Teach presents information that will assist you and your students in making an informed choice. Becoming a music teacher can be an extremely rewarding and challenging career. If you love to make music and enjoy working with others, there is no better way to convey that passion than by sharing your knowledge and enthusiasm as a professional music educator.

Republished with permission of the Music Achievement Council. For more tips on keeping music strong in your schools, visit the site devoted to all things music advocacy: www.supportmusic.com.


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Tags: music administration, band director, orchestra director, school music program
Categories: Band & Orchestra, Music Advocacy, Music Education
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Supporting Music Education: Audience Guidelines
By West Music Company
10/1/2015 2:20:00 PM  

Supporting Music Education: Audience GuidelinesBecoming a discerning, supportive and knowledgeable audience member is an important part of a student’s education. Successful audience participation requires skill, discretion, common sense, discipline and a bit of knowledge.

Discover some great ways to set expectations for your audiences, in a variety of settings, in this tip sheet, Supporting Music Education: Audience Guidelines

Republished with permission of the Music Achievement Council. For more tips on keeping music strong in your schools, visit the site devoted to all things music advocacy: www.supportmusic.com.


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Marion October 2015 Musician of the Month: Brady Diercks
By West Music Company
10/1/2015 8:00:00 AM  
Brady Diercks is an acoustic guitar student of Garth McMann. He has been taking lessons with Garth for 2 years. Brady is a home school student and is in the 5th grade. Garth nominated Brady because he has just finished book 1 of the Mel Bay Beginning Guitar Instruction. One of Brady’s musical goals is to complete all the Mel Bay guitar books. His advice to other musicians is to practice and work hard.

Brady says’”music is really fun to learn and you can make your own songs.” His favorite types of music include country and pop. Some of his other interests include football, baseball, and bowling. He participates in soccer and future problem solving. Something that might surprise you about Brady is that he goes by his middle name. His first name is Robert.

Congratulations Brady! Keep up the good work!

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Tags: Brady Diercks, Garth McMann, acoustic guitar,
Categories: West Music Marion, Music Advocacy, Music Education
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Supporting Music Education: Concert Thoughts
By West Music Company
9/15/2015 2:20:00 PM  

Supporting Music Education: Concert ThoughtsToo many excellent presentations are tainted by failure to take care of the many details of a production. We must take full advantage of the opportunities awaiting our students. The concert is our students' opportunity to show their parents or community audiences what they can do.

See an organized approach to creating a smooth-running, successful presentation where the students, audience, administration and support staff all understand their roles and expectations in this tip sheet, Supporting Music Education: Concert Thoughts

Republished with permission of the Music Achievement Council. For more tips on keeping music strong in your schools, visit the site devoted to all things music advocacy: www.supportmusic.com.


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Supporting Music Education: Expanding the Learning Power of Music
By West Music Company
9/1/2015 2:20:00 PM  

Supporting Music Education: Expanding the Learning Power of MusicThe contemporary student comes to the classroom with a sophisticated knowledge of computers. It is vital that we creatively approach and utilize the application of available technology to engage students and enhance learning. Multimedia learning provides teachers, including music teachers, the opportunity to be at the core of communications.

See an overview of how to apply current multimedia approaches to learning in the arts to attract and engage students and to enhance your program in this tip sheet, Supporting Music Education: Expanding the Learning Power of Music

Republished with permission of the Music Achievement Council. For more tips on keeping music strong in your schools, visit the site devoted to all things music advocacy: www.supportmusic.com.


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15 Reasons to Take Up The Drums
By West Music Company
8/28/2015 10:30:00 AM  
With a new school year beginning, now is the perfect time to learn a new instrument. Whether you’re starting school band or just want to develop a new skill, the best time to pick up a new instrument is always right now. Drums are a perfect choice for someone who wants to get involved in music without spending a lot of money, and most school band programs are always looking for additions to their percussion section.

Never been interested in the drums before today? Check out this article from Mamiverse.com: “15 Reasons to Take Up the Drums”. There are a lot of benefits beyond simply learning the drums that you may not have considered.

1. It’s a great time! Playing the drums is actually fun. Whether you do it like a pro or you just pound away on the bongo drum, it’s exciting and entertaining. You can be silly, you can be strong, you can play with different rhythms and you can collaborate with different instruments. And anyone can try it. Even an infant can create a beautiful sound using a drum.

2. You can improve your coordination. Some would argue that drumming requires more coordination than any other instrument because you are required to focus on one pattern with one hand and a different rhythm with your other hand. You create different sounds with different hands at the same time. Sounds difficult, right? Well, it is, but as you learn to use the drums and perfect your drumming skills you are also going to enhance your coordination overall.

 3. Drumming may give your immune system a boost. Drum circles have been used in healing rituals for centuries and in cultures around the globe. There is currently limited scientific data to support whether or not drumming actually can help heal, and it is still somewhat a mystery why it works. But studies have shown that drumming results in increased activity in natural killer cells. NK cells play a huge role in a healthy immune system by providing a rapid, innate response to infected cells in the body.

4. Drumming can make you smarter. Here’s some incentive to take up drumming—studies have shown that drumming may increase your IQ. Research also implies that drummers have an ability to tap into a natural rhythmic pattern found in elements throughout the earth. So basically, they are better at problem solving and more in tune with nature than the rest of us.

5. As a drummer you will feel like a rock star. Sure, the lead singer might be the most famous and the guitar player gets the most instrumental solos, but there is no denying that drummers are true rock stars with the ability to steal the show and truly capture the attention of millions. When you think about your favorite rock song, imagine it without the drum beat. Not so awesome, right?

6. Drumming helps to develop creative skills. If you learn to play drums, it encourages you to be creative with sounds, rhythm and movement. You have the freedom to see where the rhythm takes you when you move your body in a different way. And you can inspire creativity with kids as well but helping demonstrate different drumbeats and watching how they mimic you and then experiment on their own.

7. It can be helpful for learning social skills. Sure, you can practice musical skills solo, but typically when a child learns to play an instrument he is not only practicing with a teacher but also with other kids. Working in a group environment is an excellent opportunity to socialize and improve interpersonal skills as you learn to work well with others.

8. It’s a great workout. There’s a reason that PoundFit classes are dedicated to the motions used while drumming. Using your upper body and your lower body to create drum beats burns calories and a lot of energy. An hour-long drumming session can burn over 200 calories! It’s no wonder rock stars are in such good shape.

9. Playing drums can help relieve stress. It’s no coincidence that you feel your levels of stress and anxiety diminish when you hear or play certain music. Rhythm, and more specifically the act of drumming, has been shown to reduce stress hormones such as cortisol. Drumming can give you energy, can relax you and can help you blow off steam, resulting in a more healthy mood.

10. Drum work can help fight depression. Research has shown that drumming can have a positive psychological effect, to the point where it may help fight depression and help you work through traumatic experiences in your post. According to the Daily Beast, a 2008 study with veterans suffering from PTSD showed that drumming created an “…increased sense of openness, togetherness, belonging, sharing, closeness, connectedness and intimacy” as well as helping subjects regain a sense of self-control.”

11. Using drums can help you to understand music. The components of music are complicated and understanding how music is composed is not an easy feat. But drum beats are the foundation of so many musical productions, so understanding the rhythm of the drum and where that beat comes from can help you improve your understanding of music overall.

12. Drumming can sharpen your concentration. You have to truly focus in order to play the drums, or at least play the drums well. Your arms are doing several things at once while your feet do something different and your entire body needs to keep the beat. Not a simple task. Learning the drums will help you train your mind to focus intensely on several tasks at once while also using your body. And if you can use that concentration for almost anything.

13. You will improve your reflexes. Drumming requires extremely quick movements of the hands, fingers and feet in order to maintain the beat and work on several different tasks at one time. By training your body to excel at drumming you will simultaneously improve your reflexes, as your body will be more accustomed to quick, repeated movements.

14. Working with drums improves your rhythm. Some people are born with good rhythm and an ability to heat the musical beat. Some need to work at it, but either way, using the drums will enhance your rhythm in everything you do. And it’s great for teaching children rhythm as well. You can start by drumming simple beats and showing them how to repeat your actions.

15. As a strong drummer you become the center of a band. Without a good drummer a band is just a lot of noise. If you learn how to play drums, you set the tone, the beat, the rhythm and the mood of a song. A strong drummer can enhance any band or any musical production, which makes it an invaluable musical skill.

Read the full article at mamiverse.com
 

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