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Instrumental Music

  • NYU Steinhardt 35 West 4th Street, Room 985 New York, NY, 10012 United States (map)

Presented by Jennifer Schecter & Kris Gilbert


Beginning Band 101: Tips and Tricks for Starting Beginners in Large Ensemble Settings (by Jennifer Schecter)

Starting beginners properly is paramount to the success of a band program. This can be quite challenging here in New York City, as beginners are most often started in large ensemble settings, with mixed instrumentation. Ms. Schecter will share a multitude of strategies that were designed for teaching beginners in such situations. Topics will include: instrument selection, embouchure formation, basic sound production, instrument set-up, the role of solfege, and letter-name singing and the gradual introduction of method books. The session will culminate with a brief reading session covering a few staples of beginning band repertoire.

Please bring an instrument!

Composition Games for the Modern Band Classroom (Band and Orchestra too!) (by Kris Gilbert)

Bring an instrument! All instruments are welcome as this will be a hands-on workshop focusing on how to incorporate composition into your classroom through the Modern Band/Popular Music lens. Ideas and projects will be tested and shared so that you can feel confident to try composition with your students “on Monday morning.” All participants will receive reproducibles that they can use immediately.


Ms. Jennifer Schecter has directed the instrumental music program at Marie Curie Middle School 158 since 2004. Under her tenure, the MS 158 Band has been called upon to perform for former DOE chancellor Dennis D. Walcott and was honored with a special visit by singer/songwriter Josh Groban, who came to MS 158 to donate instruments and hear the band play. The band has achieved numerous gold, and gold with distinction, ratings at NYSSMA level III - and was featured at the 2018 Borough Arts Festival. An avid grant writer, Ms. Schecter has amassed over 500,000 dollars in grants for musical instruments, as well as materials and facility upgrades for the Arts Department. Schecter’s leadership activities at MS 158 include coordinating the College Access for All Assembly and the Band Buddies Music Mentoring Program. One of Ms. Schecter’s fervent passions is to inspire other educators to build successful music programs in New York City Schools. Ms. Schecter has taken on twenty student teachers and has mentored young band directors all over Queens. She currently serves as a mentor through the NAfME mentoring program. Schecter has presented workshops on urban music education in: Columbus OH, Chicago, IL and Rochester, NY. She has been recognized as a Big Apple Awards Finalist in 2017 and 2019. As a Big Apple Ambassador, Schecter initiated the District 26 Music Professional Learning Committee where she facilitates professional learning activities for music teachers in the district. She also coordinated the first ever District 26 Night of Music, which involved over 300 students in grades 1-8, representing 12 schools across the district. Schecter is a DOE Music Professional Development Facilitator and recently served on the Music Standards Writing Team and the Chancellor’s Strategic Arts Planning Committee. Ms. Schecter is the associate conductor of the Queens Borough Wide Band program and has recently conducted regional band festivals in Nassau and Rockland counties. Additionally, she teaches music education courses at CUNY Hunter and Queens colleges. In her spare time, Ms. Schecter plays French horn in the Brooklyn Wind Symphony, is an active black belt member of her Taekwondo school, is a wife to a middle school social studies teacher and is a mom to a vibrant five-year-old named Mikayla.

Kris Gilbert received her Bachelor's of Music Education from the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam and her Masters of Music in Composition from Binghamton University. She has been teaching for 22 years in upstate NY, with her last 20 years in the Whitney Point Central School District. She has taught high school band, marching band, jazz band, AP theory, Music Technology, General Music and Modern Band. Kris is an active clinician and has presented at NAfME All-National, NAfME All-Eastern, Little Kids Rock Modern Band Summit in Colorado, NYSSMA All-State, OMEA All-State, TMEA All-State, and TNMEA All-State. In addition to teaching, Kris is a music director for several local theater companies in the Binghamton, NY area, where she has music directed over 135 shows. She is an active conductor/composer/arranger and recently was awarded a commission with the Binghamton Community Orchestra that was performed in May 2018.


This workshop satisfies 4 hours of CTLE Credit (forms available at Workshop)

  • Pre-registration cost for current MEANYC members is $15 online and $20 at door.

  • Cost for non-members is $25.

  • Collegiate members can register for free.

  • MEANYC professional members get one free workshop each school year. If you are a member and haven’t claimed your one free workshop, please visit your member dashboard and fill out the form.

  • Registration is non-refundable.


Earlier Event: February 29
Music Technology
Later Event: March 28
High School Honors Festival