Luck is not chance, it’s toil. Fortune’s expensive smile is earned. ~ Emily Dickinson

Mr. Ahrens teaches band & choir at Bear River High School in Grass Valley, CA.


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Score Study or How I Became Inspired

Dr. Anthony Maiello at the American Band College

Something incredible happened. I was excited. Not in a professional way. Not because I was expected to be excited. Not because I wanted to kiss up to the director. Mr. Maiello simply made our rehearsals fun, passionate, musical, and real. He authentically emanated enthusiasm and optimism. We had been acquainted with the man for less than 5 minutes and we knew that he cared for us and for the music deeply. Not just because he told us, which he did, but because he lived it. It was obvious. . . . → Read More: Score Study or How I Became Inspired

Blogging November

DCF 1.0

I really enjoy writing. And I dread it.

It can be one of the most enjoyable things for me to do for myself, but I seldom have the requisite time to dedicate to it or toward daily reading. It frustrates me when I don’t have the time to do things correctly. So, I just . . . → Read More: Blogging November

Quick Melody Composition in Band Class

For now the plan is for a rising tide of theory competence to lift all students, regardless of grade level, to what will be our starting point standard for next year. I will then have a differentiated plan in place to continue the advancement of the older kids while starting the process over for the new member. Of course, this is how it should have always been, but I have been more focused on performance outcome and this segment of the curriculum has received short shrift. . . . → Read More: Quick Melody Composition in Band Class

Finding the Musical Balance

I am resolute to better reflect all of the national music standards in my bands. I am making the time to teach theory away from the rehearsal; in desks with pencil and paper. My students are or will be listening to, analyzing, arranging, and composing music in my ensemble classes. Our performance level may suffer for the shortened rehearsal time but I don’t think it will. My leap of faith is that I believe my students will become more engaged, more aware, and will be better musicians. . . . → Read More: Finding the Musical Balance

Time Management, Focus, & Vision Key to Maintaining Sanity

So, it’s not just selecting repertoire and rehearsing the band?

I’m not going to say that I was ever so naive as to think that being a high school band director was just about the music. However I certainly never imagined the actual amount of non-musical work that . . . → Read More: Time Management, Focus, & Vision Key to Maintaining Sanity