Self-expression is at the heart of the musical experience. In instrumental classes, especially, it is easy to forget that the hard work we do to improve our technique is intended to enhance our creativity, not limit it. Students should, at times, be called on to perform composed works with precision and detail, but they must also explore the world of music through composition, improvisation, musical experimentation, and active listening and discussion. These musical explorations can happen in isolation, but collaborative study heightens the creative experience and helps reinforce a sense of community among members of an ensemble.
Many students are excluded from receiving a comprehensive music education; one that incorporates student creativity in multiple genres. Every student should be invited to improvise and compose, regardless of their skill level, aptitude, or instrument of choice. Additionally, we must find creative solutions that keep students that are struggling academically and families that are struggling financially part of the music community. In many ways, these are the students and families that will benefit most from music education.
Brad Carman enjoys an unusually diverse musical career. He began his professional career at age 14 playing with a blues, jazz, and R&B band out of Green Bay, WI called the Juggling Penguins. Since those early days, he has worked with wind ensembles, orchestras, jazz combos, big bands, and with numerous chamber ensembles, including the University of Wisconsin System Woodwind Ensemble, and Quattro Formaggi Saxophone Quartet which he founded in 2005. He was a charter member of the award-winning 9-piece Madison R&B and funk band, The Big Payback, played principal woodwinds with the Janesville Armory Dinner Theater for several seasons, and has worked as a performer and arranger for Carnival Cruise Lines, sailing out of New Orleans, Miami, Mexico, and the Caribbean.
Earning his degree in Music Education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and chosen for the first ever Gerald B. Olson Award for Excellence in Music Education, he has held positions at Beloit College, Madison West High School, Ward-Brodt Music and Music & Arts Education Departments, Stoughton High School, Madison Music Foundry, and is a regular instructor for the University of Wisconsin Summer Music Clinic and UW High School Honors Jazz Ensembles. Brad is frequently called upon as a master class instructor, ensemble coach, and clinician for middle schools, high schools, universities, and community ensembles, and has maintained one of the most active private studios in Madison, WI for over 17 years.
Brad Carman and his family moved to Central Florida in 2015, and teaches as part of the Windy Hill Middle School Band Staff while composing new music and materials for beginning and intermediate band students.