BASSIST EDUCATOR CLINICIAN
2022 GRAMMY Music Educator Award Finalist and Yamaha Performing Artist Bethany Robinson is currently the Jazz Band Director at Noblesville High School.
In 2011, Bethany received her first Lilly Teacher Creativity Grant, and traveled to New Orleans and New York City, exploring the current trends of jazz in those two cities. She experienced dozens of jazz shows, attended the Band Director Academy at Jazz at Lincoln Center, composed her first piece for big band, and came home with a whole new concept of jazz pedagogy at the secondary level. Since her return from this experience, her jazz program has expanded from 1 to 6 high school big bands, and the top band has made four appearances at the ISSMA Indiana Jazz State Finals, an event created in 2016, placed 2nd at the 2021 & 2022 National Jazz Fest Large School Jazz Ensemble Category, and is a 2-time finalist for the Jazz at Lincoln Center Essentially Ellington Festival and Competition.
In 2014, Bethany was named "Indiana Jazz Educator of the Year" by the Indianapolis Jazz Foundation. In 2015, she was named "Teacher of the Year" for Noblesville Schools, the 11th largest public school district in Indiana. In 2016, Bethany was a Semi-Finalist for Indiana Teacher of the Year. She is a 2022 Grammy Music Educator Award Finalist, and was named one of the 2022 Jazz Heroes by the Jazz Journalists Association, which honors advocates who have had a significant impact in their local communities. Bethany was also recently named the 2023 "High School Music Educator of the Year" by the Indiana Music Educator Association.
Bethany currently serves as Chair of the National Association for Music Education Jazz Council (NAfME), Jazz Education Network NAfME Liaison Board Member, and President of the Indiana Jazz Educators Association. During her time as IJEA President, she spearheaded efforts to create the All-District Jazz Program, a Junior All-State Jazz Ensemble, began a partnership with Jazz at Lincoln Center, and partnered with IJF Artistic Director Rob Dixon to feature the Indiana All-State Jazz Combo at the annual Indy Jazz Fest.
In 2018, Bethany was a part of the inaugural Indiana Jazz Girls Day, traveling around the state playing bass at concerts and workshops with New York City Musicians Leni Stern, Jamie Baum, and Indiana-based Monika Herzig. She continues to travel with this group annually in the spring, playing bass and serving as a clinician at workshops around the state of Indiana, inspiring young jazz musicians to be leaders on the bandstand.
Bethany received her second Lilly Teacher Creativity Grant, and spent the summer of 2019 exploring the Brazilian cities of Salvador and Rio de Janeiro, taking in the sounds of chorro, Bossa nova, and samba. Exploring her mother's childhood home, creating music for her students, and collaborating with local Brazilian musicians was the gift of a lifetime.
Bethany has been a featured presenter for music education students at Ball State University, Butler University, for community members at the Center for Performing Arts/Palladium (Carmel, Indiana), and has adjudicated several jazz events, including the Western Australian Schools' Jazz Festival. In September 2021, Bethany was a keynote speaker for the Australia National Band and Orchestra Conference, speaking on topics like building jazz culture, teaching jazz for those new to jazz, and building leaders through the Jazz Girls Day Event. Bethany was also a presenter at the 2022 Indiana Music Educators Conference, and at the 2022 International Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago, IL. She is looking forward to presenting at the 2023 New York Band Directors Association Summer Music Conference.
Bethany spends her time outside the classroom playing bass in several groups in central Indiana including legendary vocalist Everett Greene, Irish singer-songwriter Katherine Nagy, and in-demand singer-songwriter Sarah Scharbrough. She also plays in event bands and big bands, enjoying a wide-variety of musical genres.
JAZZ EDUCATION NETWORK CONFERENCE
Presider, Board Member
Opening Session Band
All-State Jazz Ensembles Coordinator
Fort Wayne, IN
CLARK TERRY JAZZ FESTIVAL
Cape Girardeau, MO
THE MUSIC OF SINATRA
NAfME/JEN TOWNHALL CROSSOVER EVENT
KATHERINE NAGY TRIO
Studio Theater, Center for the Performing Arts
KATHERINE NAGY TRIO
JAZZ GIRLS DAY
Noblesville HS, IN
ESSENTIALLY ELLINGTON REGIONAL FESTIVAL
JAZZ CAFE W/ SAMMY MILLER
Noblesville HS, IN
Bassist, Private Event
BUTLER UNIVERSITY JAZZ ACADEMY
Monika Herzig's Sheroes-Video
Katherine Nagy Trio
Kokomo Park Band Big Band
Carmel Symphony Orchestra
Anderson Symphony Orchestra
(Jazz Legend/Civil Rights Leader Dr. Marvin Chandler)
(Women In Jazz, Indiana Girls Day)
Music for your event-
Jazz combos, jazz duos, instrumental, vocals, and a variety of requested genres comprised of the top musicians in Indianapolis can play for your event!
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04 jazz education
Whether teaching one of her school's 6 big bands, or serving on state or national jazz organization boards, Bethany has a passion for jazz education. She spends her time working with and bringing in professionals to work with her students, sharing the stories of her classroom with the community and around the world through conferences, and lending resources to anyone interested in having a higher comfort level in front of a jazz band. She has developed an extensive warm-up package including engaging students in singing, dancing, long-tones, different scale modes, tuning, quoting blues vocabulary, and a variety of options integrating improvisation into the first part of each rehearsal.
In addition to her own classroom, Bethany has enjoyed partnering with Monika Herzig to organize the annual Indiana Jazz Girls Day, a series of free concerts and clinics for girls grades 7-12 around the state with other guest musicians from Indiana, New York City, and California. She has contributed articles to publications including the Indiana MEA "INform" Magazine (Vol 75, Issue 3), the NAfME "Teaching Music" Magazine (January 2022), and was featured alongside other jazz educators in the April/May 2022 edition of the "Instrumentalist" national publication. In the "Play Jazz" method book series by Josh Weirich and Ryan Fraley, Bethany contributed the chapter on bass tips for young players.
Bethany is a Lilly Teacher Creativity Fellow, and has the distinguished honor of earning 2 coveted grants. Her grants took her to New York City & New Orleans in 2011, and to Salvador & Rio de Janeiro in 2019. The experiences during both grants have transformed and propelled her teaching with new approaches, genres, techniques, and even renewed love for the craft of teaching.
As a result of her 2011 New York City grant, Bethany discovered the Band Director Academy at Jazz at Lincoln Center, where she discovered a new world of jazz pedagogy, and returned to Noblesville High School to build a jazz band from 1 to 6 bands, 4 time qualifier for the Indiana Jazz State Finals, placed 2nd at the 2021 & 2022 National Jazz Festival, and was a 2021 & 2022 Essentially Ellington Festival Finalist.
Bethany is looking forward to working with the ILMEA Honor Jazz Band this fall and sharing her stories and teaching techniques at 2022 International Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago, IL.