Band gets tips on play­ing to­gether

Lower More­land High band di­rec­tor vis­its class

Springfield Sun - - NEWS - By Linda Finarelli lfinarelli@21st-cen­tu­ry­media. com @lk­finarelli on Twit­ter

UP­PER DUBLIN » “Sit tall, feet on the floor, flutes straight across.”

The sixth-grade Sandy Run Mid­dle School Con­cert Band got some tips on how to play bet­ter and play to­gether May 18 from Lower More­land High School di­rec­tor of bands Erin Stroup.

The long­time friend of Sandy Run band di­rec­tor Sean Kennedy, Stroup was in­vited as a guest con­duc­tor to pro­vide some en­sem­ble tech­niques for the sixth-grade mu­si­cians. A sax­o­phon­ist, he also gave a lit­tle demo play­ing two sax­o­phones at the same time.

“I came to lis­ten to his sixth-grade band” and pro­vide “con­cepts about play­ing to­gether,” Stroup said be­fore the mid­dle-school­ers ar­rived for the class. “It’s a lit­tle ex­er­cise about work­ing to­gether as a team.

“A lot of times I lis­ten and then com­ment on what I hear,” said Stroup, a twotime quar­ter-fi­nal­ist for the Grammy Mu­sic Ed­u­ca­tor Award, grand prize win­ner of the Voices of In­spi­ra­tion Ed­u­ca­tor Award and Mu­sic and Arts Ed­u­ca­tor of the Year nom­i­nee who lends his tal­ent to other schools.

Stroup and Kennedy met in 1994 when both were hired for the sum­mer to play in a rock and roll band at Dor­ney Park and have been close friends ever since, he said.

“I do en­joy work­ing with mid­dle school stu­dents,” said Stroup, a mu­sic ed­u­ca­tor in the Lower More­land Vis­it­ing con­duc­tor Erin Stroup pro­vides tips on work­ing as a team dur­ing Sandy Run sixth-grade band class. School District for 20 years.

Stroup, who holds a mas­ter’s de­gree in mu­sic ed­u­ca­tion from the Philadel­phia Univer­sity of the Arts as well as a post ed­u­ca­tional lead­er­ship de­gree, said he learned the “play­ing tech­niques” from sev­eral com­posers with whom he has worked.

“I pass on what I learned from my men­tors over the past 20 years,” said the sax­o­phon­ist, clin­i­cian, con­duc­tor, ed­u­ca­tor, com­poser and mar­ried father of four.

Af­ter lis­ten­ing to Kennedy’s stu­dents play “Nighthawk,” Stroup em­barked on his les­son, urg­ing the stu­dents to cor­rect their pos­ture and do things to work to­gether.

“It’s harder to play softly,” he said. “Find where you sound the best and don’t pass it, ever.”

Erin Stroup plays two sax­o­phones at the same time for Sandy Run sixth-grade band class.

PHOTOS BY LINDA FINARELLI — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

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