Will Schmid, Author/Director

In Memoriam:

Dr. Will Schmid passed away Sunday, July 1, 2018.  He was preceded in death by his life-partner and sweetheart, Ann Schmid (May 18, 2018). Both Will and Ann shared a zeal for life, a passion for a better world, and energy that fueled their image of students and teachers ignited through joyful music engagement.  Their gift to music education, and to humanity, will remain strong for generations to come.

After a two-year $140,000 national pilot project in twenty schools nationwide, Dr. Schmid launched the World Music Drumming curriculum (included in Drumming Units of Making Music grades 6-8) which brings the excitement of African and Latin drumming and singing to schools throughout the United States. This curriculum is now in over 20,000 schools worldwide. Additions to the World Music Drumming publications (Hal Leonard) include New Ensembles and Songs, More New Ensembles and Songs, Peanut Butter Jam, BeatBox, Global Grooves, and 24 original compositions and arrangements in the World Music Drumming Choral Series.

Will held a B.A. from Luther College and a Ph.D. from the Eastman School of Music. His public school teaching included general music, choral music and band, and he taught at Winona State University, the University of Kansas, and the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. Will was a past-president of the National Association for Music Education (formerly MENC).

Schmid was a program author for Pearson’s Silver Burdett Making Music series (2008). He was the principal author of the world’s #1 selling Hal Leonard Guitar Method and over one hundred other books/folios/CDs/ DVDs for drumming, guitar, banjo, strings, and choral. Dr. Schmid was also the principal author/editor of an 8-volume high school choral textbook, Something New to Sing About (Glencoe/G. Schirmer). He presented workshops throughout the United States and in Australia, Canada, Japan, Mexico and Europe.

Dr. Schmid received the 1996 Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Eastman School of Music. In 2002 he was named a Lowell Mason Fellow by NAfME and given the Distinguished Service Award from the Music Industry Conference (MIC). In 2006, he was named the inaugural winner of the DeLucia Prize for Innovation in Music Education by the Mockingbird Foundation. In 2011, Will was given the Weston H. Noble Award at Luther College.

During his presidency of MENC (1994-96), Dr. Schmid worked to reestablish the importance of active music making in schools and in America at large. MENC created new partnership initiatives in the areas of guitar, keyboards, strings, drumming, and singing as exemplified by the Get America Singing . . . Again! campaign and the GAMA/NAMM/MENC-sponsored Teaching Guitar Workshops.


Photo Credit:  Mitya Ku

Photo Credit: Mitya Ku

Ann Schmid, Founder/President

Ann Schmid passed away May 18, 2018, a short 6 weeks before her beloved partner of 50+ years (Will) passed (July 1). Ann was a constant presence for all involved with World Music Drumming -- even when she wasn't literally there.  We share a vision of the union Ann and Will are now experiencing, forever.

Ann was the founder/director of the nationally known Stringalong Weekends — acoustic music and dance retreats for the general public. Ann was autoharp author for the Silver Burdett World of Music, and The Music Connection as well as autoharp books for Hal Leonard Publishing. Ann has given folk music and autoharp workshops from Georgia to Wyoming. With husband, Will, she performed on Garrison Keillor’s Prairie Home Show, radio, TV, fests, colleges and schools throughout the country.