Great Beginnings

Posted by Darrin Krug on

The first thing that probably comes to mind when you hear American School Music Institute is American music, right?  That's because American music is the reason American School Music Institute came to be.


With the introduction of more and more contemporary and world music into school band literature, students had less opportunity to hear and play traditional American music.  Friends Bob Philbin (living historian, musician and elementary band director) and Bruce Cavendar (living historian, businessman and musician) saw the need to bring American music back into the classroom.


In 1984, Mr. Philbin was an established elementary band director with a limited budget who had been writing his own arrangements for his bands for years.  Bob had met Bruce through various band and living history events and they found that they shared a common passion for traditional American music and decided to collaborate to publish some of Bob's arrangements.


Great Beginnings - a very easy set of children's songs that Bob had arranged for his newest students - was chosen as the first arrangement to publish.  Bruce used his business and marketing skills to promote and distribute it.  The initial response to the music was extremely positive because at the time, there were very few choices in early elementary band music that were as playable, flexible and sounded as good as Bob's arrangements.  Bob and Bruce were being asked to provide more arrangements by many band directors.  They made the decision to focus on mostly traditional American music, and edited and revised  Bob's works to provide arrangements that provided a standardized instrumentation with optional solo parts that could be used with any size band, and always be musical and enjoyable to both play and listen to.  As the demand for these great arrangements grew, Bob and Bruce decided to form the AMERICAN SCHOOL MUSIC INSTITUTE.  Bob continued to compose new arrangements for both bands and small ensembles while Bruce made them available to band directors across the country.


In 2016 the ownership of the AMERICAN SCHOOL MUSIC INSTITUTE was passed on to Darrin and Sarah Krug - Darrin is an accomplished musician and performer as well as an experienced business owner. Sarah is an accomplished musician, composer, and educator. Bob Philbin continues with ASMI as our head composer, arranger and editor and Bruce Cavendar as our business and marketing consultant.


Through the years ASMI has grown to a catalog of over 300 arrangements, tailored specifically for elementary band.  We still, and will always, feature traditional American music arrangements that are not available anywhere else. We have also added many more wonderful arrangements of classical music, holiday favorites and sacred hymns to name just a few.  Every one is thoughtfully arranged with great attention to detail to make them perfect for any elementary band.  Band directors will find them teachable and flexible for any size band, students will find them fun to play while building their musical skills and confidence, and your audiences will find them enjoyable to listen to.  All of this has made ASMI be the go-to source for music educators for more than 30 years.

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