"In the weeks leading up to his arrival I had at least one "When is Scott Watson coming"? question per rehearsal. Needless to say, my students were already thrilled with his music. Dr. Watson opened our eyes to the creative process of composition and to the interpretation of his music. He treated my young musicians like professionals but was also able to connect on their level using interesting analogies and meaningful stories. My music tech students learned the basics of orchestration and I learned new ways to teach compositional techniques using a DAW. We're looking forward to learning more of his music and possibly commissioning a work."
Jesse Tennyson, Upper and Lower School Bands and Music Technology, Greenwich Country Day School, CT
"Dr. Watson created a unique experience for our students when we commissioned a piece from him. In creating "Music Is..", he took writing samples from our students that answered the question "What Does Music Mean to You?" and wove them into a musical explanation of that question. Throughout the entire process he involved the staff and students closely, explaining what he was trying to accomplish and taking in our feedback to further the commission. The end result was an incredible performance by all of the music students in the district singing and performing on instruments the answer to the question above. It was a one of a kind experience that our students will never forget."
Jonathan Friedhoff, Band Director, Wilson Area High School (Easton, PA)
"It was our pleasure to host Dr. Scott Watson as a clinician at our 2018 [Mississippi State University] Band Director Workshop. Dr. Watson led a full day of clinic sessions and each of his presentations was filled with innovative and helpful teaching tips and techniques. One only needed to be around Scott for a short time to recognize his passion for teaching and his genuine interest in helping others in our profession. As a veteran teacher, he has had a wealth of experience in a variety of musical settings and he enthusiastically and generously shared his expertise with us all."
Dr. Elva Kaye Lance, Director of Bands
Mississippi State University (Starkville, MS)
"Thank you so much for taking the time for our virtual rehearsal using Google Hangouts Meet yesterday. My students have been excited to work on "Awake the Iron" over the last several weeks and have learned a lot preparing the piece. However, their reactions after our time together were priceless - they were thrilled with the compliments you gave them, appreciated hearing your thoughtful answers to the questions at the end of the session, and we all loved that you mentioned many of the same things we're currently working on!
Additionally, my vertical teaching team of band directors and administration were all impressed with this unique opportunity we were able to provide our students. Thank you again for such an awesome experience for all of us!"
Mrs. Shannon Perrone, Band Director, Eisenhower Middle School (Roxbury, NJ)
"It was absolutely wonderful to have Dr. Scott Watson come out and work with our bands for an entire day in Colchester, CT in May of 2018. This was the first time in my career that I had the composer of songs we were playing in band actually come work with the students playing them-and we could not have been happier with the results. Scott and I had communicated with each other several times, months ahead, to develop a plan for composing and rehearsing with my students on his visit. Scott was enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and articulate. Scott was able to connect with the students immediately and help them to improve musically in a very short amount of time. He also has some wonderful stories to share that helped the students understand who he was as a composer and as a person. I truly found this experience for my students invaluable and I know it is something they will remember for years to come.
Michael Gowdy, Director of Bands
William J. Johnston Middle School (Colchester, CT)
"Dr. Watson was commissioned in the spring of 2017 to compose a piece of music for the Orefield Middle School Concert Band in spring of 2018. Last night was the premier performance of that piece ["Balkan Seven" (Alfred, Grade 3)]. From beginning to end I could not be happier with the experience I was able to share with Scott. The importance of communication was evident...we spoke regularly to ensure the piece was going to work for my group. The timeline Scott and I agreed to in the begin was upheld throughout every portion of the process, and the quality of his writing was obvious in last night's performance. The true reward was the genuine smiles on my student’s face knowing they accomplished something truly great. Dr. Watson was integral in providing my students with this opportunity. He is a true professional and I would highly recommend him to anyone seeking to commission a piece of music for their ensemble."
Pete Zimmer, Band Director
Orefield Middle School (Orefield, PA)
"Dr. Scott Watson was a pleasure to have as our guest band conductor for the PMEA District 10 Elementary Band and Orchestra Fest-West on April 27, 2018. During the planning process, we communicated and collaborated to prepare an exciting program with a variety of music. Scott programmed “Awake the Iron,” one of his own compositions, which gave him the opportunity to share his joy of composing with the young musicians. During the one day event, he was professional, efficient, educational, enthusiastic, and demonstrated outstanding musicality during the concert. Thank you for sharing your talents and making special memories for our students.
Donnasue Thompson – 2018 PMEA District 10 Elementary Band and Orchestra Fest Coordinator
Wilson School District (West Lawn, PA), Music Department Co-Chair
"One of the wonderful things about our age is the ability to get our students connected to living composers. It was a pleasure hosting Scott Watson for the 2017 PMEA Freshmen Band Fest held at Mercer High School. Scott brought to the students engaging programming that helped them grow as musicians, and as people. It was wonderful to see a passionate and dedicated educator, who happens to be a polished composer, bring life lessons that matter through the music they were rehearsing. I have long been a fan of Scott's music and had the privilege of including a number of his pieces with honor bands which I have conducted. With every piece, he continues to provide a fresh, imaginative, and unique voice to the concert band repertoire. To any director looking for recommendations on a commission or clinician that will leave a lasting impact on your program, look no further than Scott Watson."
Dr. Travis J. Weller - Advocate, Composer, Conductor, Educator
2017 PMEA District 5 Freshman Band Festival Host (Mercer, PA)
"Dr. Scott Watson guest conducted the Berks County 6th Grade Elementary Band Festival in March 2017. From the beginning of the process of booking the guest conductor, I could tell he would pay attention to every detail. He put great thought into choosing appropriate repertoire by researching past programs and talking to past conductors. He selected a program that balanced rhythmic and technical challenges with pieces that were accessible and enjoyable by 6th graders. He put great detail into creating percussion assignments, seating charts, schedules, and all aspects of the festival. The students performed well and felt very positive about the day."
Neal Lutz, Vice-President and 6th Grade Band Festival Coordinator
Music Educators of Berks County (Pennsylvania)
"This year, Scott Watson composed Terracotta Warriors for the 2016 Albemarle County (Middle School) Honors Band. He was a pleasure to work with. The music was delivered early and he asked for the input of the five county directors. No changes were needed because the piece was perfect. Terracotta Warriors has interesting and challenging parts for everyone. You will not have to worry about bored percussionists during this piece of music! Dr. Watson understands the middle school musician and wrote a piece that they enjoyed playing and that the teacher will enjoy teaching."
Janelle Ellis, Bobby Greg, Rebecca Bauer, Andrew LaPrade and Jeff Melton
Band Directors, Albemarle County Schools, Virginia
"Rave reviews are still coming in following our opening concert of the season. In a segment titled, "Behind the Pen," composer Dr. Scott Watson shared stories and lessons from four of his recent commissions before leading the ensemble in their performance. Fresh, fascinating, enlightening, profound and humorous best described his 30-minute glimpse at artistic energy and creativity. Watson's wit and charm took audience and players alike on a delightful journey into the world of composition and performance that most concert-goers have never even imagined. And while the larger program contained the music of several other well-known composers, it was Watson's "Behind the Pen" segment and along with his beautiful music that appears to have won the day."
Dr. Kenneth Laudermilch, Music Director
The New Holland Band (Lancaster, PA)
"Each year, Plymouth State University hosts the All New England Band Festival, with over 200 high school musicians from all 6 New England states. This year (2015) Scott was invited to guest conduct one of the two bands and did a wonderful job. He picked an excellent program of his music and music of other composers. The students and their directors had a great experience, and I enjoyed watching Scott work with the students. The band he conducted performed better than it has in my tenure here, and I would highly recommend Scott as a guest conductor and clinician. Scott also guest conducted the Plymouth State University Symphonic Band and the band reacted very well to his rehearsing and performed very well under his baton at the concert."
Mark Stickney, Director of Bands, Plymouth State University
Coordinator, All New England Band Festival (Plymouth, NH)
"On behalf of the Bristol Township School District I would like to thank you for your tremendous work our students this past Friday and Saturday. You were a great addition to our annual middle school honors band festival. Your demeanor and attention to detail was a perfect fit for our students. I cannot tell you the number of positive comments I have received in the days following the concert, but it is the positive feedback from the students that affirms your selection as our guest conductor this year. The students have had nothing but praise for the time they spent with you. Bravo and much continued success."
Chris Gerhart, Festival Host
Bristol Township School District, Pennsylvania
"Working with Scott Watson on a commission has been one of the highlights of my 33-year teaching career. His sincerity, knowledge, communication skills, and attention to detail are exceptional. Scott was genuinely interested in composing a piece of the highest musical integrity while meeting the specific needs of the Shepherd Middle School band. He made extensive revisions to his original draft and still completed the piece, Race Car, by the agreed upon date. During a Q & A Skype session with my students, Scott shared stories, thoughtfully answered the students' many questions, and encouraged them in their musical endeavors. My students were excited to meet a real, live composer who they found out was also a very nice guy!"
"Race Car is exactly the piece I had hoped for when I chose to work with you on a commission. Your use of musical palindromes throughout the piece is very clever. Race Car is challenging, yet attainable for the students. It is rhythmically and harmonically interesting. Thank you for sharing yourself with the students during our Skype session on Tuesday. I appreciate how you affirmed the students' questions and answered them with such great care. The students loved hearing your stories and getting to know you as a person, fellow musician, and composer. Watching you interact with my students and seeing their genuine interest in you and your music filled my heart with gratitude. As my colleague, Sarah R., has said repeatedly since Tuesday: 'The Skype session was terrific. I don't think it could have gone any better.' This project has been one of the highlights of my teaching career."
Donna Martin, Band Director
Ottawa Elementary Schools, Shepherd Middle School (Ottawa, Illinois)
"Working with Dr. Watson was an engaging and educational experience. When discussing the details of his guest conducting of our All-County Elementary Band, his communication was always prompt and informative. Dr. Watson was flexible in the face of inclement weather postponing a performance, and rearranged his schedule to accommodate ours. He kept the students focused and detail-oriented, and he was an enthusiastic and effective conductor. There was much positive parental feedback, and the experience is one that the students will never forget. Thank you for working with our ensemble!"
Maggie Shorb, Elementary Band Director
Washington County Public Schools, Maryland
"MusicAlliance commissioned Dr. Scott Watson to compose two pieces for Concert Band for our 2014 Summer Honor Band Camp and to come in and rehearse the music and conduct the premiere performances. It was truly a great experience for all involved! Dr. Watson was very well prepared for all aspects of this project and had great communication with us. Before he wrote the compositions, we were able to discuss with him the particular needs our middle school/junior high honor band groups had and what we were looking for in the pieces. The music that he composed for us was absolutely wonderful and very well liked by the students and staff alike. Dr. Watson is fantastic music educator, communicator, and guest conductor. He is very personable and able to relate to the kids at their level - our students loved him! He is truly a consummate professional.
We asked Dr. Watson if he could do an in-service session for our teaching staff while he was in town, and the information that he shared with us was very eye-opening and helpful. I'm sure that our teachers benefited greatly from having attended the session. If you are looking for a very talented, experienced, and upbeat music educator and a creative composer of exciting accessible music, look no further, contact Dr. Watson before someone else does. We think that you'll be glad you did."
Debra Blechman and Franklin Adams, Executive Directors
MusicAlliance (Cleveland, OH)
"Northampton Area School District hosted the 2014 PMEA District 10 Elementary All-Star Festival, where Scott Watson guest conducted. It is from this event that I highly recommend Dr. Watson for your event. Every interaction I had with Scott prior to the festival was incredibly professional. His program was well thought out and perfectly matched to the student's abilities. His rehearsals were planned and executed flawlessly, as was the performance. Even the piece of music he composed was well done. I cannot speak highly enough about Dr. Scott Watson. If you have the opportunity to hire Scott for composing or as a guest conductor, I suggest you do it. You will not be disappointed!"
James J. Sansone, Director of Bands
Northampton Area High School (Northampton, Pennsylvania)
"Scott Watson served as our guest conductor for the 2014 Conestoga Valley School District spring band concert. He conducted several pieces at all grades levels (elementary through high school) and was commissioned to write a piece (El Cid) for our 5th/6th grade band. Scott was a true professional from start to finish. Communication prior to the event was excellent! I highly recommend Scott Watson to anyone looking for a guest conductor or looking to commission a piece!"
Jared M. Daubert, Co-director of Bands
Conestoga Valley High School and Middle School (Lancaster, Pennsylvania)
"Recently Dr. Scott Watson worked with my students in rehearsal (we are performing his original composition Aquatica). His manner and interaction with my students was flawless...My students have been talking about his visit ever since...Many thanks for your professionalism and kind-hearted way of teaching Dr. Watson!"
James Lykins, M. Ed., Director of Bands, Music Department Chair
Northwestern Lehigh High School (New Tripoli, Pennsylvania)
"On behalf of all the band directors in PMEA District 12, I would like to thank Dr. Scott Watson for being our guest conductor for the 2014 5th and 6th Grade Band Festival (PMEA District 12). Besides being a wonderfully talented composer, Dr. Watson brought energy and enthusiasm to all of our students. To measure the success of a musical experience all you need is to watch the students who are involved. As I watched I saw excited, enthusiastic faces who were experiencing a new level of musicianship, and Dr. Watson fostered in them the importance that music plays in the enrichment of the human soul. Thank you to Dr. Watson for a wonderful fest!"
Drew Reynolds, Director, Band Director and Festival Co-host
Octorara Intermediate School (Atglen, PA)
"Thank you to to Scott Watson for his work with the Salisbury High School Concert Band on the commissioned piece, Aquatica (Grade 3, Alfred). From initial consultation to the finished product, Scott provided professional and personal support every step of the way. He quickly answered questions and took care of requests and accommodations so that my band would have a high level of success with the piece. He guided me through the process in a manner that made sure any and all possible questions were answered--even those I might not have thought of myself...
...I highly recommend Scott Watson for any band looking to commission a piece of music and look forward to working with him again."
Rachel Reinecke, Salisbury High School Band and Chorus Director
Visual and Performing Arts Department Chair (Allentown, PA)
"On behalf of all the musicians in the 6th Grade Band of Hershey Middle School within the Derry Township School District, Hershey, PA, I would like to congratulate Dr. Scott Watson for writing a fantastic musical composition for our ensemble entitled Regal Fanfare and March. This piece was commissioned by Mrs. Melissa Ott, Director, 6th Grade Band in the Hollidaysburg Area School District and myself for a performance in May, 2013.
From the very beginning of the commissioning process Dr. Watson made the procedure very easy with template forms detailing all aspects of the process. He was also eager to communicate with me at any time throughout the year to answer questions or to check on the development of the musical selection. One of the highlights of the school year for the students and I was speaking to him via Skype before the composition was rehearsed. This opportunity allowed the students to ask the composer many questions about "their" piece and allowed Dr. Watson to explain his creative process. I would recommend any director of any type of ensemble at any level to commission a musical composition from Dr. Watson.â€
John M. Gabriele, Director, 6th Grade Band
Derry Township School District Middle School (Hershey, PA)
Carol Free, PMEA District 10 Band & Orchestra Fest Host,
Director of Bands, Saucon Valley Middle School (Hellertown, PA)
"Scott - you were terrific with our ensembles today. The input you provided was PERFECT and will really help the kids shine tomorrow night. I hope this was a fun experience for you as well!"
Chris Bernotas, Director of Bands
Mountain Lakes High School (Mountain Lakes, NJ)
"Thanks again for guest conducting the PMEA District 12 Delco 5/6 Band Fest. I have received nothing but glowing remarks and comments about the festival from parents and participating directors… Directors have shared with me how much their students liked practicing and performing the selections you chose...an ideal match for the instrumental proficiency of the students. Some even stated that they thought the music selection was at the top of the Band Fests we have done since 2000 when we started...The success of any one-day event such as this is directly related to the interaction of the Guest Conductor and the student musicians. You hit the ball out of the park! During rehearsal, your descriptions of your own compositions gave the students an additional viewpoint about the music and provided greater meaning to the selections. It was evident that the students were most responsive to your direction. Your manner and musicianship combined to motivate the students to give you what you asked for through their performance. In reviewing the comments the other participating directors included on their Act 48 evaluations, many stated that through their observation of you working with the students in rehearsal, they gathered additional insights in technique and pedagogy that they intend to implement in their own programs. Overall, I'm extremely pleased at how well everything went during the Fest and want to express my appreciation for your efforts in contributing to that success."
Roger Morgan, Host, PMEA District 12 Intermediate Band Festival (BandFest),
Band Director, Radnor Middle School (Radnor, PA)
"Scott Watson came to the East Stroudsburg School District as a guest conductor and composer. His interactions with every level of ensemble, from fifth graders to high school students, was impressive. All students were able to easily respond to his respectful and age-appropriate guidance. His energy and encouraging demeanor had students still talking about the experience many days after his visit. Each band played a piece by the composer and we were all impressed with how well the pieces worked for each level. As a side note, Dr. Watson was also very thorough and timely in his email replies as various directors asked him questions in preparation for his visit. That was greatly appreciated. I can, with no reservations, recommend him as a great guest conductor for any level of instrumental ensemble."
Katye Clogg, Director of Bands, High School-South
East Stroudsburg Area School District (East Stroudsburg, PA)
"Please accept a heartfelt thanks for a great experience for our students. From the commission piece to the manner in which you worked with all of our bands, it was very rewarding all around. I have since received MANY positive compliments about the quality and excitement of When Men and Mountains Meet (the commission), your interaction with the listeners in the audience to convey insights and ideas of your compositions of all levels, and the diverse styles of your pieces for the younger bands through to the high school level. You are one of the few composers to possess the outstanding ability and expertise to "teach from the podium", enabling the students to express the meaning and message of your compositions with a more in-depth perspective."
Melodie Shamp, Music Department Chairperson
East Stroudsburg Area School District (East Stroudsburg, PA)
I am writing this letter on behalf of Scott Watson, a composer with whom I have the honor of commissioning a work...I found Scott's approach to working with our project to be very refreshing...Once we finally settled on a text, Theodore Roethke's “Night Journey,” Scott got to work very quickly and was finished well before the deadline...The directors of our two ensembles who premiered the piece were very proud to have their students work with Scott. They both believed that Scott was truly an educational composer and they were very proud to have worked with such a professional in his field. They felt that the most important piece of the work was having Scott come in to the rehearsal to really give the students a chance to understand how the piece worked and what it may be like to be a composer...The piece was premiered at the annual Massachusetts Music Educators Conference in March of 2007. This was one of our most successful commission projects and I would happily recommend Scott Watson for other projects.
Tom O'Toole, Commissioned Works Chair,
Massachusetts Instrumental & Choral Conductors Association
"Dr. Watson completed a composer-in-residence program here at Southern Lehigh School District...The residency included time for Dr. Watson to instruct middle school instrumental music students in beginning compositional and improvisational techniques and culminated with the commissioning of a piece for concert band...The students worked hard to produce a stellar performance of their new piece. The parents and school still speak with pride when this program is discussed. When the piece was picked up by a publisher this past fall, the school board again affirmed that this is the type of program that is beneficial for students....Dr. Watson's professional demeanor and wonderful interaction with the students of Southern Lehigh brought about an experience long to be remembered by school personnel, students, and their parents. I would highly recommend Dr. Watson."
Dr. Nancy Beitler, Instrumental Music Director
Southern Lehigh Middle School (Coopersburg, PA)
"I had the pleasure of meeting and working with Dr. Scott Watson during the 2005 PMEA District 10 Elementary Band & Orchestra Festival (West), which I co-hosted...Dr. Watson showed enthusiasm and initiative, contacting the co-hosts on a regular basis, and easily meeting all deadlines that were given to him. Dr. Watson's professionalism and good rapport with our elementary band students impressed me. I saw Dr. Watson interacting with the children, and they seemed to be very willing to work hard for him. Several of the students' band directors made similar comments to me throughout the day and after the concert."
Ashley B. Crust, Band Director
Shenandoah Valley School District (Shenandoah, PA)
"Dear Scott, On behalf of the four middle school band directors, I would like to express my gratitude for the outstanding job that you did at our annual "Bands In The Round" concert last month. Your talents, both conducting and composing, were an integral part of one of our most successful and memorable concerts...Your determination and interaction with the students was unparalleled as they learned many aspects of being a fine musician in just the few hours that you spent with them."
Paul T. Recker, Instrumental Music Director
Harrison-Morton Middle School (Allentown, PA)
"Dr. Watson...was easy to work with at all times. He provided us with the score and parts to his music well before our deadline, was quick to make the few corrections that any new piece needs, and was available whenever we needed him to speak at a concert or workshop...at all times he displayed both a sense of absolute professionalism and a warmth of spirit. We were very pleased with the work that Dr. Watson wrote for us. He did an excellent job of capturing some of the most important elements that make the Twin Falls area what it is, and his piece was a pleasure to perform. As a conductor, Dr. Watson came to the podium well-prepared, and he made very efficient use of rehearsal time. His conducting was easy to follow and contributed much to the successful performances of his music. In short, Scott Watson has my highest recommendation as a composer and conductor."
Dr. George A. Halsell, Associate Professor of Music
College of Southern Idaho (Twin Falls, ID)
"The Delaware Valley Middle School hosted our Middle Grades Music Festival this past April 22nd and we had the distinct pleasure of having Dr. Scott Watson as our guest conductor...Dr. Watson made it a very pleasurable and exciting experience....Right from the start Dr. Watson had the students' focus and attention, which can be very difficult at the middle school level. The group played two original compositions...which was very rewarding and exciting for the students as well as for myself. I would highly recommend Dr. Watson to anyone considering hosting a festival and I look forward to the next opportunity we get to work together."
Ryan S. Curchoe, Band Director
Delaware Valley Middle School (Milford, PA)
"The enthusiasm for the work [Hymn and Declaration] from audience, orchestra and press was quite remarkable. In addition to participation in rehearsals, Scott contributed program notes, presented a pre-concert lecture prior to the premiere performance and spoke to an audience for an "Open Rehearsal" on the preceding evening...Scott was a pleasure to work with for the year preceding the premiere, always meeting deadlines and working in a most professional manner...I urge you to consider him a candidate who would not only write a wonderful work but would also make a most important impact on the people with whom he works."
Donald Spieth, Music Director
Lehigh Valley Chamber Orchestra (Bethlehem, PA)