Toolkit: Grammy Award Nominee for Music Education Brandi Jason

Making music and musicians in Carroll County

Brandi Jason and her clarinet.

Brandi Jason is the instrumental music director at Liberty High School in Carroll County. She’s also the 2019–2020 Carroll County Teacher of the Year and a four-time Grammy Music Educator nominee — a 2016 and 2018 semi-finalist and a 2017 finalist!

INVEST IN SMALL UPGRADES Not all programs can afford intermediate or professional level instrument upgrades, but we invest in a small inventory of upgraded items for students to try. Parents are more apt to invest if their student has great results with an upgrade.

FROM PAST AND PRESENT I decorate our rehearsal room with inspirational posters, photos of current musicians, busts of classical composers, and ensemble photos, championship flags, and trophies documenting our program’s rich history.

PODEMSKI’S STANDARD SNARE DRUM METHOD WITH DR. BEAT METRONOME I use Podemski to increase skill sets on reading various notations, appropriate sticking choices, ornamentation, and more. We begin at a slow to moderate tempo using our metronome and increase as skills improve.

WIRELESS EARSET SYSTEMThis is a game changer in the classroom and saved me from overusing my voice. I am easily heard in all large ensemble settings and can give ongoing feedback in the moment during performance repetitions.

BINS ’N’ THINGS In the front of my classroom I keep several bins of tuners, metronomes, mechanical pencils, valve oils and greases, polishing clothes, cello rock stops, violin/viola shoulder rests, and mouthpiece brushes for student use. Although I expect students to be prepared, it’s nice to provide them in the classroom just in case.

THE BREATHING GYM These are exercises that strengthen the diaphragmatic breathing mechanism for increased breath control for wind players and vocalists.