Category Archives: Uncategorized

Online Orchestra Students Instrument/Supply Return

All online orchestra students who checked out any instruments, supplies, and/or materials from Mr. Brown at the beginning of Quarter 2 and/or Quarter 4 must return them on Monday, June 14, 2021 between 1:30 and 3:00 PM. School-owned instruments must be “prepared for vacation” prior to being returned. This document is also available to students in the “Resources and Materials” section of Google Classroom. Most supplies/materials must be returned, but some should not be returned. Please click here for guidelines on supplies/materials that should and should not be returned.


  • MMS Instrumental Music Mini-Camp participants can keep instruments and rosin (if student received any from Mr. Brown), but must return all other books and supplies
  • Orchestra instrument/material return is taking place on Monday, June 14, 2021 between 1:30 and 3:00 PM
  • If you or anyone in your household are showing symptoms of illness in the days leading up to the instrument/material return on June 14th, DO NOT attend the instrument/material return
    • Should this happen to you, contact Mr. Brown to establish communication for an appropriate date and time for the return of the instrument/supplies
  • DO NOT drive to the main entrance of the school, but turn right at Novak Way, go past the student drop-off zone, and proceed all the way up to the top of the hill where you will see signage instructing you to U-turn
    • If a line forms, please stay in your vehicle as you wait for your turn
  • Mr. Brown needs to ask questions about the instruments/materials being turned in, so please have the student exit the vehicle to facilitate the return
    • Anyone exiting their vehicle MUST wear a face covering
  • The person returning the instruments/materials must do the following:
    • Lift the instrument in its case onto the return table
    • Open the case(s) for Mr. Brown to examine the instruments/supplies
    • Answer Mr. Brown’s question(s) about the instruments/supplies
    • Place all instruments/supplies/materials in their appropriate areas, containers, etc.
  • If something comes up on Monday, June 14th that will prevent you from making it to the instrument/supply return window, please call or text message Mr. Brown at (619) 839-9490
    • PLEASE NOTE: The phone number listed above is my Google Voice number, not my personal cell phone number, and I only use it for school functions when absolutely necessary. That phone number will only be active shortly before, during, and shortly after the instrument/supply return window. After the instrument/supply return, calls/texts made to that number will not be received. Your best method to contact me is always by email.

Mini-Camp Update 6/7/21 (Reg. form and more spots open!)

Good news: If you were able to register for the MMS Instrumental Music Mini-Camp while the form was still open, then by now you should have received a confirmation message via email at the address you listed upon registration! If this is the case, all you need to do is continue to check back here on the blog and/or your email inbox frequently between now and June 21st for additional updates.

Better news: The limited enrollment numbers we were originally instructed to enforce were based on the assumption that rehearsals would take place indoors with all appropriate safety measures and physical distancing in place. Since the beginning of the planning process, I have envisioned conducting all rehearsals outdoors in the interest of COVID-19 safety. Since we aren’t limited by the size of a room in which we would have potentially been rehearsing, I have now been given permission to reopen registration for the camp beyond our original enrollment cap!

Best news: If you attempted to register for the mini-camp but encountered a message stating that “the form is no longer accepting responses,” you may now register for the camp! Please click here to register for the MMS Instrumental Music Mini-Camp. Upon successful registration, you should receive a confirmation email before the end of this week. After that, please continue to check back here on the blog and/or your email inbox frequently between now and June 21st for additional updates.

Mini-Camp Update 6/2/21

First, I want to acknowledge that signing up for this camp has been less than ideal for students, parents, as well as on my end. Our gigantic district that is offering hundreds of free camps to thousands of students in America’s 8th-largest city is in control of the registration process, not me, so the best I can do is update everyone here on the blog. Once the camp actually starts, and I am running the day-to-day operations, I am anticipating a much smoother experience. Thank you for your patience and diligence in checking the blog and taking the next steps when necessary.

Those of you who “pre-registered” through should have received an email on June 1st asking you to fill out a web form with pretty much the same info you entered with Level Up. If you didn’t see this email in your inbox, check your junk/spam folder; I have had several reports of finding that email there. Many pre-registrants are now clicking the link from the email and have been met with a message stating that the “form is no longer accepting responses.” If you have seen this message, all hope is not lost! Additionally, if you were able to fill out the form linked in the email, your student’s registration has yet to be confirmed.

I have been told that, at some point this week, I will receive access to the registration info. I’m sure that there will be some registrants who should be placed in different camps, so some roster spots will be opened up again. At the moment, my mini-camp to-do list is the following:

  • Expand enrollment capacity (this, of course, is not a guarantee that this request will be granted)
  • Gain access to our camp’s registration records
  • Refer errant registrants to other camps that would be a better fit
    • Get permission to reopen registration for the newly-opened enrollment spots
  • Confirm registrations

That’s all I have for today. Again, thank you for your patience and understanding. Keep checking here for more updates!

Mini-Camp Update 5/25/21

I have two important updates to share with you this evening:

Like much of this this school year, I am passing along information as soon as I receive it, and then have to backtrack some or all of it shortly thereafter. The good news is that, if you went to the Level Up San Diego website and “expressed interest” in the MMS Instrumental Music Mini-Camp, you’ve taken the first step towards registration. The bad news is that no one is officially registered as of yet. On June 1st, those who have expressed interest will receive further information via email on how to complete the registration process. If you haven’t yet visited the website and “expressed interest” with your contact information, student’s name, and their student ID number, head to the post below for instructions on how to complete this process as soon as possible. It’s just as confusing to you as it is to me, but we’ll make it through with good communication, patience, and understanding.

Rehearsal times have been finalized for the mini-camp, and they are as follows…
Orchestra: 1:00 – 2:30 PM
Band: 2:30 – 4:00 PM
As you plan your child’s activities for the summer, please consider the following…

Orchestra families should plan to arrive at E.B. Scripps Elementary School 15 – 30 minutes prior to the start of the 1:00 PM rehearsal. Not only will students need the time to store their case and prep their instrument for rehearsal, but we will need help setting up the outdoor rehearsal area before the it begins so that we can start right at 1:00 PM (or at least very shortly thereafter).

Band families should also plan to arrive about 15 minutes prior to the start of the 2:30 PM rehearsal. Percussionists should plan to arrive even earlier to assist with the set-up of percussion instruments and equipment. All band parents should also plan to pick up students between 4:15 and 4:30 PM as we will need help cleaning up the outdoor rehearsal area each day.

Announcing….MMS Music Mini-Camp!!!

Did you not get enough of, or miss out entirely on, rehearsing with your fellow musicians this past school year? GOOD NEWS! We are offering a summer instrumental music mini-camp from June 21st through July 16th (Mondays through Fridays)!  The camp is open to band and orchestra students finishing 6th, 7th, and 8th grades in June 2021 and will be held at E.B. Scripps Elementary School. Mini-camp will feature four weeks of daily 90-minute rehearsals every weekday afternoon and a live, in-person end-of-camp performance. Oh, and if you weren’t already excited for this opportunity, the camp is being offered at no cost to students/families!

Enrollment will be limited to 25 band students and 25 orchestra students, so when registration is open, be sure to secure your spot as early as possible! In keeping with our district’s very thorough COVID-19 prevention protocols, all rehearsals will take place outdoors, students will be sufficiently distanced from one another according to current scientific recommendations, and all wind musicians should expect to use PPE on their instruments (which will be provided to students free of charge). The live performance on the final day of the camp will also be outdoors (BYO lawn chairs, blankets, etc.), and audience members will be asked to distance themselves from others outside of their household.

At this time, the online registration portal is yet available, but I will most certainly share it here on the blog as soon as it goes live. Check back here for more updates on the summer mini-camp in the near future!

P.S. Upon announcing the camp during classes, a common question amongst students was, “What if my family is going to vacation during that time?” I am okay with students missing a few days here and there, maybe even up to five days of the camp depending on the circumstances. However, I would discourage enrolling in the camp if the student knows that they will be missing five or more days due to the limited number of participants allowed.

More information to be posted soon….stay tuned!

MMSIM 2021 Band Festival Concert!

Greetings MMS Instrumental Music students and families,

I’m proud to present Marshall Middle School Instrumental Music’s 2021 Band Festival Concert! The performance can be viewed at the following simplified/shortened link: Please feel free to share the work that our band students have done over the course of their distance learning with family and friends!

I do still plan to release the 2021 Band Pops Concert, but the current convergence of planning/prepping for in-person learning, the start of in-person learning next week, the end of a semester/school year this week, and the beginning of another semester for my other classes next week has my current plate of responsibilities beyond full. I’m hoping (not guaranteeing) to release it by the end of April. Check back here on the blog and on your band class’s Google Classroom for updates.

Thanks for making the best of a different and challenging school year, band students and families!

Until next time,
Mr. Brown

MMSIM 2020 Winter Concert!

Greetings MMS Instrumental Music students and families,

I’m proud to present Marshall Middle School Instrumental Music’s 2020 Winter Concert! The performance can be viewed at the following simplified/shortened link: Please feel free to share the work that our orchestra students have done over the course of their distance learning with family and friends!

Like the band students in Quarter 1, the orchestra students have also responded with tremendous effort and dedication to great music during difficult and unique circumstances. Additionally, I am incredibly proud of the work they’ve done to keep our performance traditions alive during distance learning! Bravo, orchestras!

I’d also like to take this opportunity to wish all music families a restful and joyous Winter Break! I’m looking forward to seeing students again when we “return” to (virtual) school on January 4th. Until then, enjoy the show!

Mr. Brown

MMSIM 2020 Fall Concert!

Greetings MMS Instrumental Music students and families,

I’m proud to present Marshall Middle School Instrumental Music’s 2020 Fall Concert! The performance can be viewed at the following simplified/shortened link: Please feel free to share the work that our band students have done over the course of their distance learning with family and friends!

I am very pleased with the work our MMS band students have done under such strange and unique circumstances. Thank you for all of the hard work and dedication you have displayed despite the challenges we’re currently facing! I have one more blog post to write in order to wrap up this first quarter/rotation that will include ideas for what to do while on “intermission” from your band class, as well as some thoughts on the district’s reopening plans and the significant risks and challenges MMS Instrumental Music classes will still face regarding the safety and logistics of in-person rehearsals. I am aiming to have that published here on the blog in the next few days. Until then, enjoy the show!

Mr. Brown

Food for Musical Thought


If you find yourself bored and needing a good article or two to pass the time, here are a few from my good friend, Dr. Noa Kageyama, a.k.a. “The Bulletproof Musician.”

What to Ask Yourself After a Failure or Setback

8 Things Top Practicers Do Differently

“Perfect” Practice May Be Preventing You from Learning that Tricky Passage

Why Listening to Reference Recordings is an Important Part of Practicing

The Importance of Writing Notes in Your Music (one of my favorites!)

For more delightfully thought-provoking articles about music and becoming a better musician, feel free to browse Dr. Kageyama’s blog, and feel free to email me with any articles you don’t see above that you found to be applicable to middle school musicians.