The Director's Podium: A Newsletter for Connecticut Music Education Professionals
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Welcome to my second edition of The Director's Podium. I really appreciate all of the positive feedback I have received after this past month's first edition.

It's a crazy time of the year for all of us, but I am glad to find time to put this newsletter together and will try to keep music teachers aware of CMEA dates, everyone's concert dates, the latest music education trends, new releases from Hal Leonard and much more.

The content will vary each month and include information for concert band, orchestra, jazz band and choir directors. Thanks again for reading The Director's Podium!

JC Caillouette

CMEA Important Dates

High School:


Southern Region 
Hamden High School 11/21/15 

Northern Region

Western Region 
Danbury High School 11/14/15  
(Snow Date 11/21/15) 

Eastern Region
Killingly High School 11/14/15  


Southern Region 
Middletown High School 1/8-1/9/16  
(Snow Dates 1/15-1/16/17)

Northern Region 

Western Region
Staples High School 1/15-1/16/16 

Eastern Region 
UCONN 1/8-1/9/16 
Middle School:


Southern Region
Washington Middle School 12/5/15
(Snow Date 12/12/15) 

Northern Region 
King Philip Middle School 1/9/16 

Western Region 

Eastern Region
Johnston Middle School 11/7/15 


Southern Region
Lincoln Middle School 3/4-3/5/16
(Snow Dates 3/11-3/12/16) 

Northern Region

Western Region

Eastern Region
RHAM High School 3/4-3/5/16
(Snow Dates 3/11-3/12/16)

Here is a link to the CMEA audition music and other information:

Schedule Your Rental Nights Soon!

If you're interested in scheduling a JC Music Rental Night at your school, you should make sure to sign up as soon as possible - since our last newsletter spots have been filling up quickly, so if you don't want to get left out then give us a call! Or email Bryan Hagemann:

Physical Characteristics

When it comes time for a student to choose an instrument, there are ways to help the student choose an instrument.

1) What instrument are they most attracted to? Which one do they prefer the
sound of?

2) Which instruments are they most likely to be successful with based on their
size, their natural musical ability/musical ear, their facial/teeth/jaw structure,
their finger dexterity, their shyness or self-confidence, their finger length,
their arm and torso length, whether they have or will soon have braces, and
much more.

Here are the most common reasons for lack of success with an instrument:

  1. Lack of motivation (teacher and parent encouragement is important)
  2. Lack of practice
  3. Having a student playing an instrument in which success is difficult because of physical characteristics

Much like playing a sport, where everyone isn’t best fit into whatever their favorite position is, care should be taken to find out what instruments excite the student. Then find an instrument which is the same (or similar) which will also help lead to their success. Here are some things to consider regarding each instrument.


  • Large Overbite makes it very hard to play flute
  • Upper Lip should not have a teardrop shape in the middle
  • Requires long arms since instrument is held out to the side
  • Good Finger dexterity is important
  • Not a good choice for those who are double jointed
  • Avoid flute if double jointed
  • Very full lips make it difficult to play
  • Flute is one of the better choices for those with braces
  • Should not have a large overbite, as it makes it difficult to produce a quality tone
  • Needs to be able to make a flat chin
  • Extremely rounded bottom row of teeth will make mouthpiece placement difficult
  • Small pointed fingers may have trouble covering and sealing the tone holes
  • Overly long fingers make it difficult to play
  • Best to start after permanent teeth are in
  • Good Finger dexterity is important
  • Is not a bad choice for those with braces
  • Any overbite or under bite will make it difficult to play since the double reed requires even pressure on both sides of it
  • Slight overbite will be OK, but a slight under bite makes it difficult
  • Agile thumbs is important
  • This is not a good choice for those with small hands. Long fingers is helpful.
  • Balance of instrument is maintained by neck strap, so sitting up completely straight is a must
  • Strong arms to support instrument
  • Should have large enough hands to reach keys
  • Good Finger dexterity is important
  • One of the easier instruments to play, but one of the most difficult to play well. Many notes are out of tune and requires a good musical ear to make adjustments with embouchure.
  • Braces make it more difficult but not impossible
  • Thin lips are helpful
  • Slight overbite is OK, while an under bite makes it VERY difficult
  • Best for students with a lot of self-confidence and strong personalities. The trumpet stands out and is often playing the melodies.
French Horn
  • Must have a real good musical ear (Previous vocal or piano training is very helpful). Student should be able to match (sing back) pitches heard.
  • Difficult, but not impossible with braces
  • Slight overbite is OK - Under bite makes it VERY difficult
  • The bell of the horn rests on the players knee, so the upper torso must be long enough to hold and play the instrument.
  • Left hand dexterity (left hand fingers are used for the valves)
  • Full Lips are good
  • Slight overbite is OK - Under bite is difficult
  • Should have above average lung capacity
  • Need large enough hand to reach valves
  • Heavy to carry
  • Slight overbite is OK - Under bite makes it more difficult
  • Slightly Fuller lips than average are good
  • Short arms can make it a little more difficult
  • Bulky to carry
  • Requires good muscle memory and a good musical ear to learn where the notes are since they are not marked.
  • Should have full lips
  • Requires large lung capacity
  • Long torso is helpful to reach the mouthpiece
  • Best for a student who is self-motivated along with possessing self-confidence. The tuba provides the foundation for the entire band.
  • Requires a good musical ear.
  • Because violins are made in so many fractional sizes, it’s a great instrument to start at a very young age (as young as 4 years old).
  • Good hand dexterity will be important

Starting age for instruments:
Starting from age 4-8 - Piano, Violin, Viola, Cello, Guitar
Starting age 9 or older - Most any instrument is fine. There are a few which may be difficult before age 11 or 12 due to their size and most instruments are just not developmentally appropriate for the majority of kids before age 9.


By The Numbers 

77% of school teachers and 64% of parents believe access to music education is very important.
87% of school teachers and 79% of parents strongly believe that music education has a positive impact on overall academic performance and improves cognitive function.
71% of Americans say that music education equips people to display enhanced communication, problem solving, creativity and leadership skills in their careers.
80% of Americans believe their music education has contributed to their level of personal fulfillment.

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