Bob Phillips

Bob Phillips

Bob Phillips (B. 1953), pedagogue, composer, teacher trainer, and conductor, is renowned as an innovator in string education. Bob brings a wealth of knowledge and a sense of humor to his clinics, drawn from his 27 years as a public school string teacher. He is an expert in the use of large group pedagogy and in the development of alternative styles for strings. One of today’s leading educational authors and composers, his books and pieces are performed by thousands of string students each year. He has served as president of the American String Teachers Association and, in 2013 Bob was inducted into the University of Michigan School of Music Hall of Fame. Bob has authored over 25 book series for use in the classroom including the ground breaking series of books Fiddlers Philharmonic, Fiddlers Philharmonic Encore!, Jazz Philharmonic, Jazz Philharmonic: Second Set and Latin Philharmonic, the String Explorer method books, Fiddle & Song, and the revolutionary Sound Innovations method series, all published by Alfred Music. He has had over 200 works published for orchestras and bands and is an award winning ASCAP composer. In Saline, MI, Bob built a string program with over 700 students that is a national model of excellence in both classical and alternative music. After leaving Saline, Bob began a new string program in Tecumseh, MI. Bob’s groups have performed at national and state conferences and including the Midwest Clinic. He founded the nationally renowned folk-fiddling ensemble, Saline Fiddlers Philharmonic, which under his direction gained an international reputation annually performing more than 80 shows. Bob has served as conductor for a variety of youth symphonies, all-state and honors orchestras and camps including the All-State Orchestra at Interlochen, Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp Orchestras, Oakland Youth Orchestra, the Georgia All-State, the Kentucky All-State, South Carolina All-State, Tennessee All-State, California All-State, and the Queensland Honour Ensemble Program and serves as resident conductor for the Wintergrass festival in Seattle. As a graduate of the University of Michigan with both Bachelor and Master Degrees in Music Education, Phillips studied with Lawrence Hurst, Elizabeth Green and Bob Culver. Bob’s students have been successful as string educators, as well as professional performers in both classical and alternative styles. He has been elected "Teacher of the Year" nine times by national, state, and regional associations and has been invited to present clinics in more than forty states and eight foreign countries. He has done educational tours in most major cities of Australia eight times. Recognized as Citizens of the Year by the City of Saline for their work in arts education, Bob and Pam were also honored in special ceremonies by both the House and the Senate of the State of Michigan for their in string education. In 2013 Bob was inducted into the University of Michigan School of Music Hall of Fame.

Clinic Offerings

Beginning Strings: The First Two Years are Critical

Learn ideas and tips for teaching technique, aural skills, musicianship, and reading to young players from a master of large group instruction. Also to be covered: pedagogy, classroom management, group process, and delivery skills. What are the factors of success that ensure your students will play well, be engaged and, most of all, continue in music?

Bowing Fluency: Developing String Orchestras that Play with Artistry

How to teach the skills they need! Students can play with artistry at every level by developing fluent bow strokes and the ability to intelligently play in all parts of the bow. Learning how to control tone and properly start and release notes in combination with bow choreography results in artistic playing. This is a must see for all band and choir teachers teaching strings.

Differentiation in the String Classroom

Learn and discuss how to address the needs of all students at every level. Using the same lesson plan, aimed at the same techniques, customize the delivery for students who need more challenge and those who need additional time. Special emphasis will be given to the early years of instruction.

Fiddling, Jazz, Rock, and Beyond

The use of fiddle, jazz, rock, and improvisation, as well as other styles of music in the string classroom, is a great way to create excitement while developing right and left-hand technique. Explore how to use these styles effectively even if you are not an expert and how to include strategies for creative music making.

Staying on Fire without Burning Out

The highs and lows that make up a successful career in teaching: Create balance in your life. Avoid the pitfalls of burnout. Know the signs of burnout. And best of all, the solutions to burn out!

Strategies for Introducing and Developing Shifting

Teaching shifting, vibrato, and scales has never been easier. Specific strategies are presented for teaching students to shift with ease throughout the range of the instrument from early instruction to advanced.

Strategies for Teaching Creativity and Improvisation in the String Orchestra

Teaching students to be creative in the string orchestra setting can be easy, fun, and meet standards. Strategies that can be used at all levels to develop response to music, composition skills, and improvisation using many genres of music will be demonstrated. Start using these concepts immediately!

Successful Recruiting and Retention by Design

Unlock the secrets of success for recruiting and motivating students that result in high retention rates and large programs. Who, what, why, where, when and how for all levels. Applicable to band, orchestra and choir.

Teaching Intonation Creatively in the String Orchestra

A demonstration of very specific strategies to refine intonation in string orchestra or private studio settings. Participants may be used as a lab orchestra to demonstrate techniques, games, and exercises if they have access to instruments.

Teaching Rhythm: How Do I Count It and When Do I Play It?

Creative solutions to teaching rhythm, super-charging your delivery, and energizing your students’ rhythmic understanding and performance. Free flashcard materials will be available.

The Basses Rock – Secrets for Creating a Great Bass Section

What makes the basses different? The secrets of the bass unveiled for orchestra teachers. How to feed and care for your bass section in a way that develops technical skills equal to the upper strings

The Total Tone Transformation

Totally transform the sound of your orchestra on Monday. Easy strategies to create an exciting sounding orchestra at every level. Improve your retention by giving students the tools to create better sounds and more expressive playing. This is also a must-see session for band and choir teachers teaching orchestra.


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