HEADLINES...

It will be great to visit and share with friends in Pennsylvania Music Educators Association District 10 this October when I present two sessions at their Professional Development Day (10/9/17, Parkland High School, Allentown, PA): "Enhancing Ensemble Rehearsals with Composer Skype Sessions" (with co-presenter, Dr. Jenny Neff), and "Soundtrap in Music Education."

My article, "8 Ways for Teachers to Mentally Reset for Back to School," appeared in August on the Alfred Music Blog, Ledger Lines, which features advice posts by Alfred Publications author-experts.

I'm so excited to be heading down this week to North Carolina to do three days of professional development workshops with music teachers in the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools! Here's the schedule: Aug. 22 - Middle School Band, Chorus, Orchestra: "Getting the Most Out of Ensembles" and "Helpful Technology for Ensembles." Aug. 23 - Elementary General: "Integrating Technology Into the Elementary Curriculum" and "Hands On: Using Technology to Unlock Musical Creativity." Aug. 24 - High School Band, Chorus, Orchestra: "Getting the Most Out of Ensembles" and "Helpful Technology for Ensembles." This is the 2nd year in a row for this - I am really looking forward to seeing all my friends/colleagues in the Tar Heel state again!

Two of my compositions - Aesop's Fables and Dorian Haiku - were featured in Kirk Vogel's presentation, "The Best Music You've Never Heard" at the Colorado Bandmasters Association Convention on Friday, July 14, 2017 in Denver, CO.

My article, "How to Keep Your Instrumental Students Motivated This Summer," appeared in May on Alfred Publication's blog, Ledger Lines, which features advice posts by Alfred author-experts.

I've been invited to guest conduct the PMEA District 10 (West) Elementary Band Festival to be held April 27, 2018 at Wilson High School, West Lawn, PA (Mrs. Donnasue Thompson, host).

I'm looking forward to returning to North Carolina again this August (22-24) to work with the music teachers of the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools, conducting three days of PD workshops on instrumental pedagogy, rehearsal strategies and technology integration at all levels.

My new publications are now available! My concert band composition, A Golden Legacy (Grade 4), commissioned by the Lehigh County Bandmasters to commemorate the 50th (or "Golden" anniversary) of the Lehigh County Band Festival, is published by Wingert-Jones Publications. New works released this year by Alfred Publishing include: Terracotta Warriors (Grade 2.5), See Amid the Winter's Snow (Grade 1.5), and Celebratory Fanfare (Grade 1). String orchestra works of mine released by Alfred Publications include: Secret Agent Sugar Plum (Grade 2) and A Joyous Celebration (Grade 2.5). You can read all about each piece, and find links to recordings, on the MUSIC page of this site.

My new work for solo flute and piano, Bolt Out of the Blue is now published by Trillenium Press (Sarasota, FL).

I will be presenting at the Midwest Clinic this December! My colleague, Dr. Jenny Neff, and I have been invited to present the session, "Enhancing the Ensemble Experience Using Composer Skype Sessions," this Dec. in Chicago. I hope to see may friends/colleagues at this world-class conference for band and orchestra educators!

I will be serving as adjudicator for a Music in the Parks Concert Band event held at Hershey Park (Hershey, PA) on Saturday, May 13, 2017.

January 2017 Performances: I'm so pleased that my Lion of Ireland will be performed by the Allegheny Valley Junior High Honor Band, Dr. Travis Weller, guest conductor, on Friday, January 6 at North Allegheny High School (Wexford, Pennsylvania). Also, my El Cid will be performed by the Eastern Colorado Honor Band, Kirk Vogel, guest conductor on Thursday, January 5 at Bennett High School (Bennett, Colorado).

I'm looking forward to greeting and visiting with many band friends and colleagues at the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago this Dec. 15-17, 2016. Please stop by the Alfred Publications Booth on the vendor floor to say "hi" if you are attending. I'd love to see you there!

My piece, Race Car, is included on the PMEA District 10 In-Service Workshop Concert Band Reading Session at Pocono Mountain-East High School (Swiftwater, PA), Mr. Tim Eick, Coordinator, on Oct. 10, 2016.

Upcoming performances! Thanks to those of you who have contacted me to let me know about performances of my music in the months ahead, which include:

  • The Orange County School for the Arts Frederick Fennell Wind Ensemble, Teren Shaffer, Director (Santa Ana, California), will perform my Queen Mab on October 19, 2016 (at OCSA Symphony Hall) at a special concert entitled, "The Contemporary American Wind Band."
  • The Magic Valley Symphony, Twin Falls, Idaho, will premiere a new 12-minute full orchestra reworking of my piece, Magic Valley, at their November 11, 2016 concert.
  • The Albemarle County Middle School Honors Band, Charlottesville, VA, will premiere my new work, Terracotta Warriors, at their November, 2016 festival concert.
  • The Central Dauphin School District Middle School Honors Band, John Gabrielle, guest conductor, will perform my arrangement, O Happy Day (Alfred Publications, Grade 2) at their festival Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2016 at Central Dauphin Middle School (Harrisburg, PA).
  • My piece, Lion of Ireland (Alfred Publications, Grade 3), will be performed at the 2016 All New England Band Festival by the festival concert band, Dr. Travis Weller, Guest Conductor at Plymouth State University (Plymouth, NH) on November 21, 2016.
  • The Cairn University (Langhorne, PA) Wind Ensemble, Heidi Wolfskill, Director will perform my piece, Fantasy On An Old English Air (Shawnee Press/Hal Leonard, Grade 4) at their fall concert November 11, 2016.
  • The Allegheny Valley Honors Band, Dr. Travis Weller, Guest Conductor will perform my piece, Lion of Ireland (Alfred Publications, Grade 3) at their festival Friday, January 6, 2017 at North Allegheny High School (Wexford, PA).
I'll be conducting a one-hour clinic with the North Penn 6th Grade String Orchestra (Lansdale, PA), Sonya Hoffmann, Director on Mon., Nov. 28, 2016 in preparation for their winter concert, which includes my arrangement, Dreidl Adventure.

The Orange County School for the Performing Arts (Santa Ana, CA) Wind Ensemble, Teren Shaffer, Director, will be performing my Queen Mab on October, 19, 2016. OCSA was part of a 12 school/university consortium put together by Composers & Schools in Concert to create this new work last spring. As part of the educational component of the consortium project I'll be conducting a Skype rehearsal with the OCSA Wind Ensemble this fall as well. To learn more about the consortium project, and the schools involved, CLICK HERE.

New publications! I'm honored and humbled to have the following compositions published in the current cycle of new releases this summer (all available at J.W. Pepper and other retailers):

  • Race Car (Alfred Young Symphonic Series, Grade 2.5) - I'm especially proud of this one! Yes, it's programmatically about an exciting auto race, but the real thrill lies beneath the surface of the music where the idea of PALINDROME is embedded in the music on several levels. Read all about it here!
  • Capturing the Blue Riband (Alfred Challenger Series, Grade 1.5) - Captures the ebullience and grandeur of early 20th-century transatlantic ocean travel. This has already appeared on several state lists and is a 2016 J.W. Pepper Editor's Choice.
  • Come, Rejoice (Alfred Debut Series, Grade 1) - Joyful and bright arrangement of "O Come, All Ye Faithful."
  • Morning Star (TRN Publisher, Grade 1.5) - Accessible arrangement of this most beloved of all Moravian Christmas carol. This recieved a great review in the PMEA News (Summer 2016) and is a 2016 J.W. Pepper Editor's Choice.
  • Silent Night, Holy Night (TRN Publisher, Grade 1.5) - Beautiful and reverent arrangement of the well-known carol.
I am pleased to announce that my composition, A Golden Legacy (Grade 4), commissioned for the 50th ("Golden") anniversary of Lehigh County Band and recently performed several times by the New Holland Band (New Holland, PA), will be published by Wingert-Jones and released in the summer of 2017.

MARCH 2017 GUEST CONDUCTING APPEARANCES: On Saturday, March 25, 2017 I'll be serving as guest conductor for the Berks County (PA) Elementary 6th Grade Band Festival at Oley Valley Middle School. It will be great to spend the day with Berks County friends/colleagues and their students. Then, on Tuesday, March 28, 2017 I'll be guest conducting the 9th Grade Honor Band for the PMEA District 5 Freshman/Junior High Band Festival to take place at Mercer Junior-Senior High School. I'm really looking forward to being with the students, festival host Dr. Travis Weller, and the other directors of PMEA District 5 in March for this event! Then on March 31, 2017 I'll be guest conducting the PMEA District 6 6th Grade BandFest at Hollidaysburg Senior High School, Mrs. Melissa Ott, host.

I am excited to be spending a full day at Reynolds High School, Winston-Salem, N.C. on August 19, 2016 conducting professional development training for music teachers in the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools. Topics include: instrumental pedagogy and music technology integration.

The Governor Mifflin Intermediate School, Mr. Steven Holgate, Director, has commissioned me to write a Grade 1.5 work for combined band and strings for spring 2017. I'm looking forward to the challenge of writing an attractive piece at this level for band and strings students.

I'm very honored to have received a commission to write a new work for the Albemarle County Middle School Honors Band (Charlottesville, VA) to be premiered at their festival this November 2016.

Throughout the months of April-May, 2016, twelve university and high school bands from across the U.S. will be presenting their premieres of my new composition, Queen Mab. This work was the result of a consortium commission put together by Composers & Schools in Concert (CLICK HERE for more info).

The Muhlenberg High School Concert Choir, William Snelling, director, will perform my composition, The Mystic Trumpeter, for SATB Chorus, Piano and Trumpet, on their May 23 concert.

My piece, Awake the Iron (Grade 1.5, Alfred Publications), will be performed on the program at the PMEA District 6 BandFest on April 8 under the able baton of guest conductor and good friend, Dr. Travis Weller. This piece will also be performed by the PMEA District 10 Elementary Band, Ronald Demkee, guest conductor, at their May 20 festival.

I will be guest conducting my piece, Magic Valley (Alfred Publications, Grade 3), April 1 with the Pennfield Middle School Wind Ensemble (North Penn School District, Lansdale, PA), Chris Thompson, Director at the 2016 Pennsylvania Music Educators Association conference in Hershey, PA. Also at this year's PMEA Conference the Kiski Area Elementary Band (Vandergrift, PA), Karl Priore, dir. will be performing my Joyful Rock.

In March 2016, the New Holland Band (Lancaster, PA), Dr. Kenneth Laudermilch, Director will be presenting a number of my works in concert under the theme of Keystone Composers. I will be guest conducting my works, and sharing some behind the scenes stories and lessons as part of this concert on Sunday, March 13, 2016. My pieces include A Golden Legacy, Night Journey, Magic Valley, and Fantasy On An Old English Air.

My Dorian Haiku (Grade 2, Alfred) will be one of five featured pieces performed by the award-winning Illiana Christian School Wind Ensemble (Lansing, Illinois), Patricia Menninga, Conductor as part of Robert Sheldon's session, "The Small School Band," at the Midwest Band & Orchestra Clinic in Chicago. The session is 10:30-11:30 am, Thursday, December 17, 2015 (McCormick Place, Room W183).

So pleased to be invited by Dr. Peter Boonshadft to guest conduct my Aquatica (Alfred, Grade 4), at his Band Director's Academy during the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) Conference in Nashville, TN.

As part of the Composers & Schools in Concert consortium commission, I'll be conducting a series of "Meet the Composer" sessions - many via Skype but also face to face - with the bands/directors for whom I am writing the new piece. Here are those scheduled at this time:

  • Wilson-West Lawn (PA) Symphonic Band, David Cooper, Director (10/8/15)
  • Bangor Area (PA) Senior High Symphonic Band, Eric Hahn, Director (10/22/15)
  • East Stroudsburg Area-South (PA) Senior High Symphonic Band, Katye Clogg, Director (10/26/15)
  • Plymouth State University (NH) Wind Ensemble, Mark Stickney, Director (10/28/22)
  • Orange County (CA) School for the Arts Wind Ensemble, Teren Shaffer, Director (10/29/15)
  • Hollidaysburg (PA) Senior High Symphonic Band, Scott Sheehan, Director (11/16/15)

Honored to have my concert band piece, Der Erlkonig (Alfred, Grade 2), selected for inclusion on the 2015 Bandworld Top 100 listing. The piece will be read at the Western International Band Clinic this Nov. in Seatle, WA.


This November (2015) I'll be one of two guest conductors at the All New England Band Festival, hosted by Dr. Mark Stickney at Plymouth State University in Plymouth, NH. I'll be working with the Concert Band (alongside Dr. Jack Stamp, who will be guest conducting the festival Symphonic Band) at this one-day honor band festival. Here's the festival Concert Band program I will conduct:

  • Jubilant Flourishes, Travis Weller (FJH)
  • Fantasy On An Old English Air, Scott Watson (Hal Leonard)
  • Aesop's Fables, Scott Watson (Alfred)
I'll also be guest conducting my own, Aquatica (Alfred), with the Plymouth State University Wind Ensemble as part of the festival concert. I'm looking forward to a great time of music making in New England this November!

I will be doing two presentations this Oct. at the National Association for Music Educators (NAfME) National In-Service Conference ("Empower Creativity") in Nashville, TN. My own session, "Using Technology to Unlock Musical Creativity," will share ways to draw out student's authentic creativity in meaningful activities/projects (Sun., Oct. 25, 2:00). Also, I'll be guest conducting my piece, Aquatica (Grade 4, Alfred), as part of the reading session for Peter Boonshaft's Tuesday morning Band Director Academy (Oct. 27). I hope you'll join me if you're in Nashville for the conference!

My piece, Awake the Iron (Grade 1.5, Alfred Publications), will be performed on the program at the PMEA District 10 Elementary Band Festival (May 2016), under the baton of guest conductor, Mr. Ronald Demkee.

The Parkland School District (Allentown, PA) selected me and 14 colleagues to receive the Parkland Pride Award, given by our Superintendent to outstanding district staff and volunteers. This was the first year the award has been given. You can learn more HERE.

The Magic Valley Symphony, Twin Falls, Idaho, has commissioned me to create a work for full orchestra to premiere at their November 11, 2016 concert. This major work, about 12 minutes in length, will be an orchestral re-working of my earlier piece, Magic Valley, composed a few years back (and published by Alfred) for the Twin Falls Municipal Band as part of an American Music Center Continental Harmony Commission to celebrate the centennial of the town of Twin Falls, ID.

I was invited by Philadelphia's science museum, The Franklin Institute, to serve on a special Advisory Board to help develop an upcoming exhibit on music and the brain. It will be called, ThinkMusic and should be really cool! The small advisory board - which met for the first time this month (July 2015) - consists of some really interesting, creative folks - two from the Curtis Institute, one from University of Pennsylvania, one from Drexel University, one from Cornell University - and me! You can read more here and look for the exhibit to open in 2017.

I'm excited to share my new 2015 concert band releases! Four new pieces have been published by Alfred: Der Erlkonig (Grade 2, J.W. Pepper Editors Choice), O Happy Day (Grade 1.5), Secret Agent Sugar Plum (Grade 1.5) and Super Hero (Grade 1, J.W. Pepper Editors Choice). Two more pieces will be published by TRN later this year: Silent Night, Holy Night (Grade 1) and Morning Star (Grade 1.5). All are, or will be, available at the J.W. Pepper website. CLICK HERE to hear full recordings of all six pieces in a SoundCloud playlist! I hope you can check them out and consider them when programming for your band!

I'll be presenting a wide-ranging, but relevant session entitled, "What's Hot in Music Ed Tech and Teaching Music in the Cloud," at the Conn-Selmer East Clinic hosted by North Penn High School, Lansdale, PA on June 20. For session notes, CLICK HERE.

The group, Composers and Schools in Concert (CSIC) has organized a nationwide consortium to commission me to write a new Grade 4-5 work which will be premiered by a dozen school ensembles in the Spring of 2016. To learn more about the consortium project, and the schools involved, CLICK HERE.

Check out my article, "Fun and Games with Young Instrumentalists," on the SmartMusic blog (April 2015).

Honored to have my El Cid, Dorian Haiku, and Call to Valor guest conducted by friend and fellow composer, Robert Sheldon, for several of his elementary and middle school honor band festival appearances this spring, including the ASBA All-Star Honor Band in Arkansas.

Honored to have the Temple University Symphonic Band, Dr. Matt Brunner, Conductor, perform my Fantasy On An Old English Air on Sunday, April 26, 2015 in the Temple Performing Arts Center.

The Shepherd Middle School Band, Ottawa, IL premiered my new work, Race Car, under the baton of their director, Ms. Donna Martin in April. The piece was commissioned to honor the career of Ms. Martin who will be retiring at the end of the school year. I'm very proud of exciting, auto-racing themed music and that it could be used to cap off Ms. Martin's highly regarded career in Ottawa, IL. Look for the piece to be released as part of Alfred's Young Symphonic Series in late spring 2016. For news about the premiere, click here.

The program for the Pennsylvania Music Educators District 10 Intermediate Band Festival, guest conducted by Mr. Frank Parker, will include my El Cid. The concert is April 10, 2015 at Freedom High School, Bethlehem, PA.

I'm honored to be guest conducting the Bristol Township School District Middle School Honor Band Festival on March 27-28, 2015 at the Ben Franklin Freshman Academy (Bristol Township School District) in Levittown, PA.

I'll be guest conducting the Washington County (Maryland) Elementary Honors Band this February 17, 2015 at North Hagerstown High School, Hagerstown, MD.

Two holiday/seasonal pieces of mine for young band, Silent Night, Holy Night and Morning Star, have recently been accepted for publication by TRN Music Publisher. We should be seeing these pieces released by late next summer in time to program for the 2015 winter concert season. I'm proud to have my music in the TRN catalog - a great company that carries fine music!

I've been commissioned by the New Holland Band, one of the oldest community bands in the nation, to create a transcription/arrangement of the Doppler Rigoletto-Fantaisie. The original, for two solo flutes and piano, will be expanded to solo flutes, piano, and concert band, but will be abridged in length. The premiere of this adaptation will be this June at Gretna Theatre, Mt. Gretna, PA featuring my wife, Kimberly, and daughter, Abigail, as flute soloists and my son, Benjamin, on piano!

I've been asked to serve as part of PMEA's Model Curriculum Committee and will be meeting with them in State College, PA on Jan. 3, 2015 for our first session, where we'll work to integrate several recent educational initiatives (new NAfME Standards, Student Learning Objectives, 21st-Century Learning, etc.) into a K-12 Music Curriculum that can serve as a model around the state.

This month (Dec. 2014) I had the privilege of guest conducting the Cedar Crest Bible Fellowship Church adult choir in a performance of my What Child Is This? (SATB, piano, solo flute) during a Sunday worship service. My wife, Kimberly, was flute soloist.

My new work for solo flute and piano, Bolt Out of the Blue, was premiered by my daughter, Abigail (flute) and son, Benjamin (piano) on Nov. 15, 2014 at Ware Family Recital Hall (Swope Music Building) at West Chester University. Click here to see a video of their fine performance!

Thrilled with the news that my El Cid (Alfred, Grade 2) will be performed by the Frederick Fennell Wind Ensemble (Orange County School for the Arts) this December at the 2014 Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago, IL! If you're in Chicago for the conference, please stop by the Alfred Publications booth on the vendor floor and say hello.

Some good press for my upcoming Allentown Band performance of Aesop's Fables at Miller Symphony Hall, Allentown, PA on Nov. 5: WFMZ TV Blog and Allentown Morning Call newspaper.

I couldn't be more happy to have had three recent concert band works reviewed in the last three issues of The Instrumentalist magazine (Dorian Haiku, Aug. 2014; Aquatica, Oct. 2014; and El Cid, Nov. 2014). You can read major excerpts from all three reviews at the REVIEWS area of this website (click here). You can hear full recordings and, if interested, purchase these selections via J.W. Pepper and other music retailers.

The Illinois Music Educators Association District 6 Junior Band, John Korak, guest conductor, will perform my "Thrills and Trills!" march (Alfred, Grade 2.5) on Nov. 1 at Edwardsville High School, Edwardsville, IL.

I've been invited to be a part of Composers and Schools In Concert, an organization that pairs composers with school music programs. I'm looking forward to new opportunities to work with student musicians and their directors via CSIC!

In just a few weeks on Nov. 5, The Allentown Band (Ron Demkee, Conductor) will perform my Aesop's Fables for hundreds of area students and the general public for their Youth Concerts (three performances) at Allentown Symphony Hall. The performance will be augmented by choreographed dance provided by Allentown's own Repertory Dance Theater!

On Saturday, October 4, 2014 I will be a featured presenter at the Pennsylvania College Music Educators Association (PCMEA) Region 3 Music Education Conference at Penn State University. I'll be presenting two sessions to pre-service and in-service teachers: "What's New? Current Trends in Music Education Technology," and "Using Technology to Unlock Musical Creativity." I'm looking forward to being in State College, PA again and meeting new and old friends!

The start of school is just around the corner! As you consider which music to place on the stands of your band students, please check out my August 2014 new music update, listing new releases since last year. There's something for everybody! If you're interested in seeing ONLY my most popular and recent winter/holiday music for young band, then click here.

If you do perform something I've written, I'd love to hear from you about how the music was received. Drop me an email!

I'll be composer-in-residence with MusicAlliance Summer Honor Band Camp (Cleveland, OH) from June 18-20, 2014, rehearsing and conducting the premieres of two new works. The piece for the "upper band" is Der Erlkonig and the piece for the "lower" band is Super Hero. Both commissions and the residency were made possible by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. I'm looking forward to meeting new friends in Ohio, working with these student musicians, and introducing these two new works for band!

On Thurs., July 10, at Plymouth State University my music will be included in the Grade 3-5 Reading Session at the New England Band Directors Institute. Many thanks to Dr. Mark Stickney who will lead the session, for including my music!

I've been commissioned by the Shepherd Middle School Band, Donna Martin, Director, in Ottawa, IL to write a new piece to be premiered at their May, 2015 Spring Concert. This is an honor since Ms. Martin is retiring after a long, successful career in Ottawa and this will be her final concert with the Shepherd Middle School Band.

My piece, Aquatica will be played by the Lehigh County Honor Band on Sat., Feb. 1, 2014 at Northwestern Lehigh High School (New Triploi, PA). This piece will be published by Alfred during Summer 2014 - can't wait to share this exciting new work!

I'll be presenting a workshop, Tips on Interviewing, to Music Ed majors at Cairn University (Langhorne, PA) on Sat., 2/1/2014.

The nation's oldest community band, The Allentown Band, Ron Demkee, Conductor, will be performing my four movement work for narrator and band, Aesop's Fables, for their Fall 2014 children's concerts in a number of school districts. This is just about my favorite piece in my catalog and the Allentown Band is a first rate ensemble - so honored! Even better, this performance will be augmented by choreographed dance provided by Allentown's own Repertory Dance Theater!

I've posted information on courses I'll be teaching this summer here: watsonmusic.wikispaces.com. Courses are offered by Villanova University, Central Connecticut State University, and Valley Forge Christian College - follow the link for contact/registration information. I'll also be Composer-in-Residence and Guest Conductor for the Music Alliance Summer Honor Band Camp, Cleveland, OH. A new course at Central Connecticut State Univ. this year is Composing and Arranging for School Bands (see video below). Please share with colleagues who may be interested - thanks!


I'll be guest conductor for the PMEA District 10 Elementary Band at their festival on April 11, 2014. The event, hosted by Northampton Area School District, Ryan Mertz and J.J. Sansone, host directors, is shaping up to be a great one! My program includes: Anthem of An Era (FJH) by Tyler Grant, Hercules vs. the Hydra (Alfred) by Scott Watson, O Waly, Waly (Alfred) arr. Doug Wagner, Legend of the Alhambra (Alfred) by Mark Williams, Bluesville (Hal Leonard) by Eric Osterling, and Activity March (Carl Fisher) by Harold Bennett/arr. Larry Clark. The combined band and orchestra finale will be an arrangement of the Strauss Radetsky March created by PMEA colleague, Ron DeGrandis. I'm honored to play a part and look forward to spending the day with all my PMEA 10 friends and their students!

In January (1/17/2014), I'll be the guest conductor for the "Chester County BandFest" (PMEA 12 Intermediate) at Octorara High School (Theresa Sundwall, Host). I look forward to being with these PMEA District 12 students and directors for the one day festival. I'll be using my Alfred publication, Call of Valor, to start the program.

I'll be heading to Chicago for the Midwest Clinic Dec. 18-20, 2013. This is a great conference for instrumental music teachers. In addition to attending workshops and concerts I'll be spending time at the Alfred Publications booth on the vendor floor. If you're at Midwest, please stop by and say "hi"!

Excited to be Skyping into rehearsal with the Ephrata (PA) High School Concert Band, Scott Fairchild, Director, on Dec. 17, 2013. They're performing my Night Journey in an upcoming concert. I'll be coaching them on performing this piece, plus taking questions from students about my music and work as a composer. Can't wait!

Just released! Flourish On An Easter Hymntune (Grade 4 concert band) is now available from TRN Music Publisher. I'm so thrilled to see this exciting piece in print! If you program this work, please do let me know.

Music Alliance has received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to commissioned me to write two new concert band works for their summer honor band camp, to take place the week of June 16, 2014 in the Cleveland, OH metropolitan area. I'll be composer-in-residence during the week, rehearsing the camp's junior and senior bands and guest conducting the premieres in a concert on Saturday, June 21, 2014. I'm honored to receive this commission and excited about this collaborative project with MusicAlliance!

Upcoming workshops/clinics include: August 2013 - Wilson SD Music Dept. (West Lawn, PA), "Current Trends in Music Ed Technology" and "Finale for Music Educators" and Northampton SD Music Dept. (Northampton, PA), "GarageBand in Music Education" and Villanova University A capella Choir students, "Recording with GarageBand"; October 2013 - Northampton SD Music Dept. (again!), "Finale for Music Educators"; Feb. 2014 - Cairn University Church Music Conference (Langhorne, PA), "Finale for the Church Musician," and "Electronic Keyboard Primer."

As the 2012-13 publication cycle winds down, I've already begun work on new pieces for 2013-14. I'll be posting info and sound clips here in the months ahead on new works including: For TRN Publishing: an exhilarating Grade 4.5 hymn fantasy; for Alfred Publishing: an exciting grade 3 overture, several grade 2 pieces for the Challenger Series, and a grade 1 piece for the Debut Series; and two pieces for Wingert-Jones: an exciting grade 1.5 Hanukkah selection, and a grade 1 light classical holiday transcription. Stay tuned!

In the 2013-14 school year I'll be doing a commissioned work and guest conducting for the Conestoga Valley School District (Lancaster area, PA). The new work, to be composed for their district's 6th grade band, will be premiered April 2014 in a district-wide concert with me guest conducting featuring performances of my music by their bands at each level. I'm honored to be chosen for this opportunity by the directors of the Conestoga Valley School District and look forward to working with their beginning, intermediate level, and high school bands!

I always do a number of summer music education courses for several universities, and this summer is no different. Click here to check out my diverse summer offerings (instrumental music, music education technology, and composition) and follow the links if interested in attending. It's always great to have friends/colleagues join us for these relevant courses.

I'll be doing a full day GarageBand workshop in August 2013 at Villanova University with Villanova acapella chorus students, sharing ways this versatile program can help them with recording and arranging music. More info when day/date/location is chosen.

So pleased to be working with my friends in the Wilson-West Lawn (Reading, PA) School District on August 8, 2013 for a full-day workshop on using technology in music education. During this professional development day I'll be demonstrating great ways to use both Finale (music notation software) and GarageBand (entry-level digital audio workstation) for the Wilson music staff and students.

The Morning Call newspaper ran a nice story on one of my recent projects - a commission for a concert band piece to honor the memory of a beloved educator/musician. Click here for the article. The piece, Aquatica, will be published by Alfred in 2014.

I'll be guest conducting the Zephyr Elementary School 5th Grade Band, Rick Hilborn, Director, in their performance of my piece, Slam Jam!, at their concert on February 20, 2013 at Whitehall High School, Whitehall, PA. Looking forward to being with a great elementary band and their fine director!

I'll be a keynote speaker for the 2013 Music Technology in Education Conference (MTEC) in Melbourne, Australia, April 8-10. I'll be talking about the topic of my book, Using Technology to Unlock Musical Creativity, as well presenting a few hands-on sessions. For information, click here. I can't wait to go "down under" to share with and learn from tech-savvy music educators from around the world!

On Sat., March 23 I'll be presenting a 2 hour workshop, "Composing and Arranging for Band," to music education majors, as well as area in-service educators, at Moravian College (Bethlehem, PA). The session is 1:00-3:00 p.m. in Peter Hall.

On Tues. night, March 19 at 7:00 p.m., I'll be serving as Mentor/Facilitator for a session on creative musical activities/projects in general/elective music classes in the PMEA Webinar Series, "Music Education for the 21st Century." Click here for more info and/or to register.

Looking forward to Skyping with Mr. Kris Nygard and his band in the Fleetwood (PA) School District, on Monday, Jan. 7, 2012. The ensemble will be performing my Appalachian Hoedown in an upcoming concert.

On Friday, February 1, I'll serve as guest conductor for the PMEA District 10 Intermediate Band Festival at Saucon Valley High School (Saucon Valley, PA), Mrs. Carol Free, Host. I'm really looking forward to this concert, which I'm dubbing "Scott Watson and Friends"! On the program I'll feature a few of my own works, plus those of some composer friends. Here's the repertoire:

1) Air Force One, by Chris Bernotas
2) A West Highland Fanfare, by Travis Weller
3) Shenandoah, by Robert Sheldon
4) Tu Ungane, by Scott Watson
5) Thrills and Trills!, by Scott Watson
6) Fanfare and Fireworks, by Brian Balmages

I would have loved to included even more music by some other very fine composer friends, but there's only so much I could program -- maybe next time!

Thanks to Kent White, Instrumental Music Specialist at Stanton's Sheet Music, for including my concert march, Thrills and Trills! at the Capital University Wind Band Invitational and Concert Band Reading Session on November 16-17, 2012.

Thanks to Dr. Herbert Marshall for including my composition, Awake the Iron, as part of the Baldwin-Wallace College New Horizons "Bronze" Concert Band on Dec. 12, 2012 (7:00 p.m.) in Gamble Auditorium (96 Front Street, Berea, OH).

My concert band composition, Call to Valor, was performed as part of the Reinhardt University Middle School Honor Band Clinic at Reinhardt University (Waleska, GA) on November 2-3, 2012, Robert Sheldon, Guest Conductor.

PMEA is launching a "webinar" series with topical online presentations about once a month throughout the school year. I'll be presenting some great ideas for general music classroom creative activities/projects that use technology in March - click here for more info.

I've been commissioned by the Salisbury High School Band (Allentown, PA), Rachel Reinecke, Director, to write a work for Spring 2013 in memory of former Salisbury School District superintendent, Robert Gross. Bob was Rachel's high school band director (in her words, "the reason I became a music teacher") and a former colleague and friend of mine so I'm honored to be involved in this project.

I've been asked to be a keynote speaker at the 3rd Music Technology in Education Conference (MTEC) in Melbourne, Australia, April 8-10, 2013. I'll be talking about the topic of my book, Using Technology to Unlock Musical Creativity as well presenting a few hands-on sessions. For information, when available, click here. Can't wait to go "down under"!

Here are some exciting events where you can find me in the months ahead:

  • I'll be delivering the keynote address, and several sessions, to several hundred attendees at the PMEA District 7 In-Service Workshop in Harrisburg, PA (Central Dauphin East High School) on October 8, 2012.
  • I was commissioned jointly by the Derry Township and Hollidaysburg Area School Districts to write a piece for their 6th Grade Bands. I'll be doing a "Meet the Composer" teleconference via Skype with each band during the late fall (2012).
  • I'll be guest conducting the PMEA District 10 Intermediate Band Feb. 1 (Saucon Valley Middle School) and am looking forward to programming some of my own compositions, as well as those of a few composer friends (Bob Sheldon, Chris Bernotas, Travis Weller). Info, when available, here.


Although music I've written for the 2011-12 publication cycle has just been released (click here for more about that), I've been working on a number of pieces for next year (2012-13 cycle) already! Upcoming pieces include a couple Grade 2 pieces (Challenger Series) and a Grade 1 (Debut Series) piece for Alfred Publishing and a Grade 1.5 piece (Discovery Series) for Hal Leonard.

I've been commissioned by the Salisbury High School Band (Allentown, PA), Rachel Reinecke, Director, to write a work for Spring 2013 in memory of former Salisbury School District superintendent, Robert Gross. Bob was Rachel's high school band director (in her words, "the reason I became a music teacher") and a former colleague and friend of mine so I'm honored to be involved in this project.


A lot of great opportunities coming my way this summer, including:

  • TI:ME (Technology for Music Education) received a grant from The Myerson Foundation to write a course on using technology in music education for "exceptional" (special needs) students. They've asked me and Dr. Kimberly McCord (Illinois State Univ) to write the course over the next year.
  • I'll be delivering the keynote address, and several sessions, to several hundred attendees at the PMEA District 7 In-Service Workshop in Harrisburg, PA (Central Dauphin East High School) on October 8, 2012.
  • I'm completing a new Grade 1 piece as a joint commission by the Derry Township and Hollidaysburg Area School Districts, also for a May 2013 premiere.
  • As I'm teaching several summer courses for the Villanova University Summer Music Program and the Central Connecticut State University Summer Music Institute, I'm also working on several new Grade 2 (Challenger Series) works and one new Grade 1 (Debut Series) work for my primary publisher, Alfred.


I had the chance to visit, via Skype, with members of the Mountain Lakes High School (NJ) Symphonic Band and Wind Ensemble on May 23. Each band was performing a piece of mine (Lion of Ireland and Awake the Iron). It was great hearing them play, offering feedback and encouragement, and answering some great questions from students. Thanks to Mountain Lakes' great directors: Chris Bernotas (a friend and fellow Alfred composer) and Meredith Boyan.

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I've posted information on some exciting, new and favorite older courses I'll be teaching this summer here: watsonmusic.wikispaces.com. Courses are offered by Villanova University, Central Connecticut University, and Valley Forge Christian College - follow the link for contact/registration information. Of special interest are new courses on topics such as Technology for Special Learners in Music Ed, and Free & Easy Web 2.0 Music Programs.


I'm looking forward to sharing with students in the Master of Arts in Teaching in Music Education program at the University of the Arts (Philadelphia) on April 10. I'll be speaking/discussing the usefulness and role of technology in facilitating creativity in project-based music learning. The class has used my book, Using Technology to Unlock Musical Creativity, this term. Thanks to professor Beth Sokolowski for inviting me to present!


On Mon. and Tues., Feb. 27-28, I'll be in residence with East Stroudsburg Area School District (South) Bands, rehearsing a new piece commissioned for the event as well as three other of my works for concert band. The new work, When Men and Mountains Meet, will be published by Wingert-Jones and released in September 2012. My other pieces, Aesop's Fables, Magic Valley, Tu Ungane are already published by Alfred Publishing Co. I'm thrilled to be involved with the East Stroudsburg bands and honored to be part of their "Composers Series" tradition that has included Brian Balmages, Andrew Boysen, Stephen Bulla, Elliot Del Borgo, Frank Erickson, Quincy Hilliard, Jack Stamp, and others. Thanks so much to my host, Mrs. Melodie Shamp, coordinator of music for the district.


On Tues., March 6, I'll be guest conducting the PMEA District 12 Intermediate Band Festival at Radnor Township Middle School. The program will include four of my pieces: Awake the Iron, Appalachian Hoedown, Tu Ungane, and Ghosts in the Graveyard. (Also on the program is Air Force One by my good friend and fellow Alfred composer, Chris Bernotas.) I'm really looking forward to spending a day in Delaware County, PA (where I was born!) and thank tremendously my host, Mr. Roger Morgan.


I've been commissioned (jointly) by the Hollidaysburg Area School District (Hollidaysburg Area 6th Grade Band, Melissa Ott, Director) and the Derry Township School District (Hershey Middle School Band, John Gabrielle, Director) to compose a Grade 1 work for both bands to premiere in May, 2013.


I'll be the keynote presenter at the upcoming SoundTree Institute METOS: Spotlight on Creativity online in-service conference (Jan. 16). My address (made via interactive web conferencing) will be based on my book, Using Technology to Unlock Musical Creativity (Oxford University Press).


A busy season of writing! Pieces of mine accepted for publication in the coming cycle (for Fall 2012 release) include these titles:

  • Alfred Publishing - Concert Band: Appalachian Folk Carol (Grade 2), Call to Valor (Grade 2), Thrills and Trills! (March, Grade 2.5), Old-Fashioned Sleigh Ride (Grade 1), and Huckleberry Hedgehog (Grade .5).
  • Wingert-Jones Publishing - Concert Band: When Men and Mountains Meet (Grade 1.5), Quick 'n Easy Carols for Band (Grade 1-1.5). STRING ORCHESTRA: Dreidl Adventure (Grade 1).


My just published, Lion of Ireland for concert band (Alfred, Grade 2.5) was named to the 2011 Bandworld Top 100 list! You can hear a sound clip here.


I'll be with the fine faculty of the Lehigh Valley Performing Arts charter school in Bethlehem in the early fall presenting a half-day workshop on using Finale music notation software for music teaching.


I'll be presenting two sessions at the 2012 Ohio Music Educators Association annual conference (held jointly with TI:ME, Technology for Music Education), to be held in Columbus, OH in February 2012. The sessions are: 1) "Creative Musical Projects with Technology That are Fun, Easy and Free!" and "Finale Top 10."


I'll be conducting a LIVE webcast to discuss my new book, Using Technology to Unlock Musical Creativity, at banddirector.com on Tues., Aug. 16, 2011, from 11:00 a.m. to noon. Joining me for the webcast is fellow Alfred composer, band director, and friend, Chris Bernotas. Hope you can tune in!


DATELINE, July, 2011: It's finally here! My new book, Using Technology to Unlock Musical Creativity, has just been released by the publisher, Oxford University Press. I'm so pleased with book, the result of over two years of writing and developing. The book discusses this dynamic, offers a basis for creativity-based music learning, and provides 29 example lesson plans (adaptable for grade level and technical/musical proficiency). These are some of the most musically meaningful and aesthetically rewarding activities I’ve done with students. A companion website provides dozens of actual student project examples and downloadable resources (audio and MIDI files, charts, grading rubrics, etc.) you can use with the lessons. The book is available from at the Oxford University Press website, Amazon.com, and others. Read Chad Criswell's great review of the book at www.musicedmagic.com!


I've been asked to present two music education technology sessions (Finale and GarageBand) for the PMEA District 10 In-Service Workshop in October, 2011.


I've been commissioned by the East Stroudsburg Area School District to write a new work for their South 5th Grade Band, and will be guest conducting the district's 5th grade, 6th grade, 7th/8th grade, and High School bands, each of which will be performing one or more of my compositions (TBA) in a spring 2012 concert. ESASD has a long tradition of instrumental music excellence and it's an honor for me to be participating in this long-running commission series.


On March 6, 2012 I'll be guest conducting the PMEA District 12 "Delco BandFest" at Radnor Middle School, Wayne, PA. The program will include two of my own works (still to be determined).


Three of my new concert band pieces have been named JW Pepper Editor's Choices: Night Journey (Wingert-Jones, Grade 3-3.5), Jamaica Me Crazy (Alfred, Grade 2), and Up On the Haunted Housetop (Alfred, Grade 1.5). Other new works released summer 2011 include: Lion of Ireland (Alfred, Grade 2.5 concert band) and a new string orchestra piece, The Days and Knights of Arundel (Wingert-Jones, Grade 2).


I'll be back at Central Connecticut State University this summer to teach two courses the week of July 4-8, 2011. The a.m. class will be Using Technology to Unlock Musical Creativity, and the p.m. class will be, GarageBand Does It All. Then, for Villanova University (meeting off-campus at Parkland High School) I'll be teaching two weeks of the course, GarageBand Does It All (July 11-15 and July 25-29). Click here for a complete schedule of my adjunct teaching, with links to the various university websites.


Great review of Tu Ungane (Alfred) by John Villella in the PMEA News (March 2010): "Excellent melodic material and cool rhythmic grooves makes this a fun composition for musicians and audience alike."


Upcoming performances of my music include those at the 2010 Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic (Chicago, IL) by the Kealing Middle School Wind Ensemble, Mark Gurgel, Director (Awake the Iron) and the 2011 PMEA State Conference (Hershey, PA) by the North Penn Elementary Wind Ensemble, Chris Thompson, Director (Awake the Iron and Ghosts in the Graveyard).


Great adjunct teaching opportunities fall 2010! I'll be teaching Applied Composition for Valley Forge Christian College and a brand new course I developed, Technology in Music Education for Special Learners, at Philadelphia Biblical University.


New concert band music under contract to be published next cycle (to be released Fall 2011) includes Night Journey (Wingert-Jones, Grade 3), Lion of Ireland (Alfred, Grade 3), Jamaica Me Crazy (Alfred, Grade 2), and Up On the Haunted Housetop (Alfred, Grade 1.5). A new string orchestra piece, The Days and Knights of Arundel (Grade 2), will be published by Wingert-Jones as well.


Upcoming in-service training workshops I'll be delivering include those for Northampton School District (October 2010 and January 2011), William Patterson University (October 2010), and Philadelphia Biblical University (TBA).


On June 24-25 I'll be serving for two days as Composer-in-Residence at Penn State University's Composer's Club day camp. The two week experience for intermediate-level instrumentalists runs during the Music at Penn's Woods Orchestra and Chamber Music Festival, giving Composer's Club participants the chance to work with professional performers.


Three new works of mine for concert band, published by Alfred - Awake the Iron (Debut Series, Grade 1.5), Tu Ungane (Challenger Series, Grade 2), and Jolly Old St. Nick (Debut Series, Grade 1), have been named a J.W. Pepper "Editor's Choice"! Click on the MUSIC link above ("School Publications") to hear sound clips.


Classes I'll be teaching this summer include "GarageBand Does It All," Central Connecticut State University (July 12-16), "Printing Music with Finale," Villanova University (at Parkland HS, June 28-July 2) and "GarageBand Does It All," (Villanova, July 5-9, and - due to demand - a second section July 19-23).


I've been asked to sign on as an exclusive composer for Alfred's "Challenger Series." I'll be guaranteed 2-3 pieces in the series each year, which I am really looking forward to writing! For the coming publication cycle (Fall 2010), I'll be contributing a fierce, exciting piece called Awake the Iron (Grade 1.5) as well as an African folk medley called Tu Ungane. Already signed for Alfred's Debut Series for 2010 is my arrangement, Jolly Old St. Nick, and for Fall 2011 a spooky-cool arrangement (with optional narrator), Up On the Haunted Housetop.


All three of my new Alfred Publications band works have been named "Editors Choice" by JW Pepper in their new fall catalog! If interested, check them out at the JW Pepper site: At the Feast of Stephen, Heavy Metal, and Magic Valley.


I just signed a contract with Oxford University Press to publish the book I am working on right now, Using Technology to Unlock Musical Creativity. I hope to have the manuscript delivered June 1 and the book published by Fall 2010. I'll be presenting a session entitled, "Using Technology to Unlock Creativity," at the NJMEA/TI:ME Conference in New Brunswick, NJ this March 2010.


Wingert-Jones has also accepted a string orchestra piece, Festive Intrada, for Fall 2010 publication.


I'm very excited to be teaching a new course offering, Music Technology, for Philadelphia Biblical University undergrads for the Spring 2010 semester.


New music under contract to be published Fall 2010 includes In the Cool Department (Wingert-Jones, Grade 2) for soloists and full orchestra (or optional string orchestra) and Jolly Old St. Nick (Alfred Publications, Grade 1), for young band. Upcoming in-service training workshops I'll be delivering include those for the Southern Lehigh School District (August, 2009), Muhlenberg School District (Reading, PA), and the Easton (PA) Area School District (March, 2010).


Classes I'll be teaching this summer include "GarageBand Does It All," Central Connecticut State University (July 6-10), "Using Technology to Unlock Creativity," Villanova University (at Parkland HS, July 13-17), and "Printing Music with Finale," (Villanova, July 20-24).


Works under contract to be published Fall 2009 include Magic Valley (Grade 3), a beautiful tone poem commissioned by the American Composers Forum, the Magic Valley Arts Council, and the Twin Falls Municipal Band; AND two pieces for young band: At the Feast of Stephen, based on the tune "Good King Wenceslas (Grade 1.5, Alfred), and Heavy Metal, a low brass feature for beginning band. Jon Ross Music released my Silent Night, Holy Night, a beautiful setting of the famous carol, this past summer (2008).


In May I adjudicated two "Music in the Parks" concert band festivals (Dorney Park, Allentown, PA and Hershey Park, Hershey, PA). I also did an all-day in-service training for my own school district (Parkland) on electronic keyboards, GarageBand, and some other fun topics useful for classroom music teachers. In March I did an all-day in-service clinic for the Southern Lehigh Music Department (Coopersburg, PA) entitled, "Music Technology in the Classroom" and a keynote session based on my course, "Using Technology to Unlock Creativity," for the Pennsylvania TI:ME Conference at West Chester University. In November 2008 I did two music education technology in-service clinics for PMEA District 11's Professional Development Conference at Montgomery County Community College: one featuring Finale music notation software in education, the other on Podcasting for music education.


Just finished up as orchestra/performance conductor for the Parkland High School run of the of the musical, Les Miserables (student version). Great cast, great music, lots of work...glad it's over!


I received a commission to write a new work for the Blue Mountain School District (Orwigsburg, PA) Elementary Band, Joseph O'Melia, Director. Made possible by a grant from the Blue Eagle Foundation. I'll guest conduct the premiere, as well as several other of my works, on May 16, 2008.


I just launched my new Podcast, What Music Means to Me, to share reflections on the intersection of music and life. Hope you'll check it out.


A busy winter/spring begins with music technology workshops in January: first a half-day workshop at Philadelphia Biblical University; then, a special 3-hour, hands-on, session at the Michigan Music Educators Assn. conference (TI:ME annual conference) in Grand Rapids on using music notation software (Finale) in music education .


Then, I direct the premiere of a newly commissioned piece at the Lehigh County (Pennsylvania) Band Festival in March 2008. The Lehigh County Bandmasters Association commissioned me to write a celebratory work (The Golden Legacy) to commemorate their 50th Anniversary.


I will also be guest conductor in March 2008 of "Bands-in-the-Round" - the middle school band festival of the Allentown (Pennsylvania) School District. The program includes my popular Ghosts in the Graveyard.


The Massachusetts Instrumental & Choral Conducting Association (MICCA) selected me for their 2007 commission, a Grade 3 work for combined concert band and chorus. I'll conduct the Algonquin Regional High School Band & Chorus in the premiere of the new work, "Night Journey" (text by by Theodore Roethke), at the Massachusetts Music Educators Association Conference, March 2007, in Boston. Past recipients of this commission include Thomas Duffy and David Holsinger.


I'm invited as guest conductor for the honor band of the "Middle Grades Music & Arts Festival" to take place at Delaware Valley Intermediate School in April 2007. Included on the program are my "Siege of Badon Hill" and "Freedom Brigade".


Works under contract to be published Fall 2008 include an arrangement of Prokofiev's "Troika" from Lt. Kije Suite (Grade 2, Alfred). New publications for Fall 2007 include: Ghosts in the Graveyard (Grade 1.5 Band, Alfred), and Appalachian Hoedown (Grade 1.5, Barnhouse). You can hear audio clips under the MUSIC tab.


Celestial Sounds, a new CD by the Christy/Davila Duo (flute and harp) is released for the holidays. Includes selections from Five Carols for Flute and Piano (or Harp). Twinz Records; available for purchase from www.christydavila.com.


Watson receives commission from International Horn Society (Meir Rimon Fund), to write a work for solo horn and concert band. Premiered April 2006 by soloist Mark Syslo with the Parkland High School Symphonic Band, Jason Lerew, Director.


The TI:ME Technology Guide for Music Educators, edited by Scott Watson, is released November, 2005. Click here for more information on this vital resource for music educators.