Clay Middle School, Carmel, Indiana
Chris Grifa has been teaching since 2004 and began teaching in the Carmel Clay school system in Indiana in 2010. He is currently the director of Bands at Clay Middle School and was previously at Creekside Middle School. His bands continually receive Gold Ratings at their state contest, also while performing at the Indiana Music Educators Conference and serving as a session lab band at both the IMEA convention and The Midwest Clinic. The Creekside Wind Symphony was honored to be accepted and perform at the 2013 Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic.
Mr. Grifa has served as a clinician, guest conductor, and adjudicator for concert bands and marching bands across the country. He presented sessions on teaching fundamentals and teaching students how to practice at the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic in 2015 and 2019. Additionally, he has presented these sessions at numerous state music conferences including Texas, New York, Arizona, Oklahoma, California, Iowa and Virginia. He had the honor of serving on the Music for All Summer Symposium faculty as a director of the middle school concert band track in 2019. In 2016, Mr. Grifa joined the Conn-Selmer Division of Education team as an Educational Clinician and has been on the faculty of the Conn-Selmer Institute.
In 2021, GIA published “Foundations: The Essential Elements for Building a Successful Middle School Band Program.” This book was edited and complied by Chip De Stefano and Chris Grifa, who also contributed individual chapters for the book. Mr. Grifa has written several articles that have been published in The Instrumentalist magazine as well as contributed an entry for the “Conductor’s Companion: 100 rehearsal Techniques, Imaginative ideas, Quotes and Facts,” a book published in 2016 by Meredith Music and compiled by Gary Stith.
Invite a Conn-Selmer Educational Clinician to conduct a rehearsal, honor band, or All-State Festival to engage your students and help your community reach new musical heights.
By understanding and working on basic sound fundamentals daily, students can develop skills that will improve the balance, blend, intonation and clarity of your ensembles. Understanding the difference between “warming up” and “teaching fundamentals” can change the way you and your students think about sound. The fundamentals of posture, breathing, tone quality, articulations, and releases will be discussed, including ways to practically use these fundamentals in learning performance literature.
This session will provide steps that a director can take from a student’s very first day of class to help set up a strong fundamental foundation that will set up your groups success for years to come. Topics of discussion include daily fundamental routines that work posture, breath control, articulation and release techniques, as well as music reading strategies, various classroom set ups, and available technology that help to reinforce fundamental development.