Music educators from Indianapolis Public Schools and central Indiana schools recently traveled to Chicago Heights, Illinois, for a professional development site visit at Marian Catholic High School. Veteran music educator Greg Bimm leads the band program at Marian Catholic, having served the school since 1977. During his 45-year tenure, the Marian Catholic band has grown from 70 to over 280 members, earning hundreds of local and national awards and honors, including seven Bands of America Grand National Champion titles.

“Having Music for All offer the opportunity to take a day to observe Greg Bimm, one of the all-time greats in music education, was an eye-opening, uplifting experience,” said Matthew Skiba, Band Director at Tipton High School.

During the site visit, teachers in attendance observed Bimm teaching the marching band and engaged in a roundtable lunch discussion to debrief on the rehearsal and learn from Bimm. Student leadership building and student-led instruction are foundational elements of the Marian Catholic bands success. Participating teachers saw upperclassmen leaders modeling exemplary behavior and music and visual fundamentals for each other and their younger band members. This peer teaching and servant leadership model is integral to the healthy culture Bimm has developed at the school.

”The lessons and observations I took away from the day will stay with me for a long time. I cannot wait to implement some of what I learned with my own program,” added Skiba.   

As a non-profit scholastic music education advocacy and events organization, Music for All provides programming and resources throughout the country and remains committed to supporting the growth and development of music education in the local Indiana community. This day trip for Indiana teachers to observe the band at Marian Catholic helps allow for immediate and practical application of proven teaching methods and strategies for their students.

“The professional development visit was absolutely groundbreaking for me and the other band directors of the Indianapolis Public Schools All-City Band team,” shared Irene Guggenheim-Triana, Assistant Band Director at Arsenal Tech High School. “As we lead the All-City Band through its first season in 10 years, we are looking to exceptional programs such as Marian Catholic High School as a framework to build a program that will last many seasons to come.”