About the Podcast

Source Material started as a segment on the Illinois Bands podcast One More Time, but quickly outgrew its time allotment. The popularity of the segment led the creator, Sean Smith, to spin-off the short spot into an independent podcast.

Every two weeks Sean sits down with a composer of music for wind band to discuss one of their compositions. The composer provides background information on the piece and a "light analysis." Listeners hear the work as the composer talks about the piece during the analysis.

There is no "level" of music the podcast will focus upon. Listeners will hear composers discuss all grades of music from one to six. The composers will be diverse. Some will be the pre-eminent writers for the medium, while others may be new to the scene. And this will not just focus on large ensemble works, chamber wind literature interspersed.

The episodes provide a look into the composers process, their thoughts on the work, and interpretational insights. Each offering can last anywhere from fifteen minutes to an hour depending on the length of the work. 

Source Material is part of the MuTeD Podcast Network.


About the Host


Sean Dennison Smith is pursuing a doctorate in conducting at Ball State University. He previously served as the Assistant Director of Athletic Bands at the University of Illinois. He became very involved with the integration of marketing into band programs and exploring innovative concert programming. He created the Illinois Bands podcast One More Time during his tenure.

Growing up in the Chicago suburbs, he has strong influences from his Puerto Rican heritage with a Midwestern personality. Sean almost quit music in eighth grade. Presented with a choice between marching band and football in high school, he selected marching band. It was the best decision he ever made.

He completed his Master of Music degree in Conducting at the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign, IL). Before attending Illinois, Sean completed a year of coursework at Ithaca College (Ithaca, NY). He has six years of public school teaching experience as Director of Bands in the Conneaut Area City Schools (Conneaut, OH). Sean taught bands from fifth grade through high school and directed the Conneaut High School Marching Band. To reach a broader student population he developed music technology, guitar, and piano courses at the high school.

Sean earned a Bachelor of Music Education from Baldwin Wallace University Conservatory of Music (Berea, OH). He received conducting experience there as the Conducting Apprentice for the Symphony Orchestra and Symphonic Wind Ensemble. He was student conductor for the Brass Choir and the l(a Contemporary Ensemble. 

Sean has been published in The Instrumentalist magazine. He has presented clinics at the Ohio Music Education Association conference and New York State Band Director’s Association summer conference. His professional experiences include being Music Director of the Euclid Civic Orchestra and National Director for Bugles Across America.

Please visit his website

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Sean's Favorite Podcasts

I am an avid podcast listener. They are a great way to spend a few minutes learning something new and allow me to create connections with music across disciplines—some a just entertaining.

My absolute favorite podcast is The West Wing Weekly. I loved the TV show and the podcast is equally fantastic.

99% Invisible is my favorite stand-alone podcast. Through listening I have learned not only about design, but also how to produce a quality podcast.

If you are a musician, you absolutely must listen to Andrew Hitz's podcast The Entrepreneurial Musician. It will change your life and your career.

My remaining listening is an ever-rotating stable of shows, including:

The Soundtrack Show with David W. Collins
Akimbo with Seth Godin
Here's the Thing with Alec Baldwin
Part-Time Genius from HowStuffWorks
Revisionist History with Malcolm Gladwell
Ridiculous History from HowStuffWorks
The Allusionist with Helen Zaltzman
This American Life from NPR
What Say You? with Brian Quinn and Sal Vulcano