Brandon Duras is the Director of Instrumental Music at Brunswick High School (BHS) in Brunswick, Maine—a NAMM Foundation Best Communities for Music Education—where he conducts the two jazz bands, Symphonic Band, Honors Wind Ensemble, and teaches piano and music theory, and serves as the District 3 Chair for the Maine Music Educators Association (MMEA), and the Maine State Chair for the National Band Association (NBA). He received his Bachelor of Music Education in 2017 and Master of Arts in Wind Conducting in 2019 from the University of New Hampshire.
In his short career, he is already a decorated conductor with several national and international recognitions being named a semi-finalist in the NBA’s Young Conductor Mentorship Program (2019), and the Warsaw Wind Ensemble Conducting Competition (2021). Duras was awarded third place in the 2021-22 American Prize Competition for Wind Band Conducting. Under his direction, the BHS Honors Wind Ensemble received third place for the American Prize in Wind Ensemble Performance and a finalist honorable mention for the American Prize Ernst Bacon Award for American Music. Duras was named MMEA’s Outstanding New Music Educator in 2022 and selected as one of forty educators to be featured in Yamaha’s 2023 “40 Under 40.”
Now it’s starting to sound like music: rehearsal techniques for a high school classroom
“Now it’s starting to sound like music” is a phrase I say to my students when we finally transition from playing organized pitches and rhythms to music that can make the players and audience feel something. Music has purpose and meaning that can take a while to get to the core of it. Oftentimes in rehearsal we get hung up on things like notes and rhythms which leaves less time for the more expressive qualities. How do we get to the heart and soul of the music? How do we teach students how to give the music meaning through musicality? I believe students of any age are capable of this level of communication. In this session I will share rehearsal techniques that I use in my high school classroom to bring the students to the next level of musicality from the beginning of and through the rehearsal process instead of the end.