NIU School of Music faculty member Tom Bough has been chosen to present at the 72nd annual Midwest Clinic International Band and Orchestra Conference in Chicago.  It is the largest band and orchestra clinic in the world.

Bough is the director of athletic bands and wind symphony conductor at NIU and has served on the faculty since 2005.  His presentation, “Just Intonation: Help Your Ensemble HEAR and PLAY Better In Tune” will be held at 4:30 p.m., Wednesday, December 19.  It’s a tight turn-around for Bough, as his Huskie Marching Band will be playing at the Boca Raton Bowl, in Boca Raton, Fla. the night before, as NIU takes on the University of Alabama-Birmingham.

His session at the conference is presented by Yamaha Corporation of America, and is described as:

Playing perfectly in tune requires more than just a tuner! Setting the length of the tuning slide, neck or mouthpiece or string simply minimizes the amount of adjustments the students need to make. However, literally every note they play will need to be adjusted to some degree. The skill of LISTENING and ADJUSTING while playing is the mark of all great musicians, and can be developed and improved by of any age by tuning against a drone. The ability of the drone to switch between equal temperament and just intonation provides a listening environment more applicable to ensemble performance for the students. Attendees will witness the demonstration of seven different exercises to help their students develop their listening skills while matching pitch with the drone.

Bough says that both ensembles that he conducts (the marching band and the wind symphony) utilize the Harmony Director as part of their regular rehearsal process.  “Basically, I am doing a presentation that describes the great work we are already doing at NIU!”