Neil A. Kjos Music Company
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The Neil A. Kjos Music Company is an American music publisher based in San Diego, California. They have published a large number of books used to teach music, most notably the Standard of Excellence series of books and software.
In the early 1930s, Neil A. Kjos, Sr., pursued his dream to go into the music publishing business. After working for several publishers, he was encouraged by Howard and Bill Lyons of the Lyons Band Instrument Company, to start a sheet music service of his own. Thus in 1936, the Neil A. Kjos Music Company was born. For the next two decades, the company grew, and published and distributed numerous successful choral and band curricula. During this time, the band music of Paul Yoder and Forrest Buchtel became known the world over.
By 1956, the Neil A. Kjos Music Company had outgrown its premises rented from the Lyons Band Instrument Company and undertook the construction of a 20,000 square foot plant in Park Ridge, Illinois. Neil A Kjos, Jr., soon began working for the company after receiving degrees from St. Olaf College and Columbia University Teachers College, and serving in the 524th Air Force Band. During his studies, Neil Jr. met Jane Smisor Bastien, future author of the best-selling piano methods around the world. Neil Jr. acquired the title of president when his father retired in 1969.
In 1973, Neil Jr. determined that the company should expand to a part of the country with a more reasonable climate. A location in San Diego, California, was selected for the construction of a new plant. After completion in 1975, the Neil A. Kjos Music Company operated from both San Diego and Park Ridge. In 1985, the Park Ridge location closed, and all operations were transferred to the newly expanded facility in San Diego.
Neil Jr.’s two children, Mark and Tim, joined the company in the mid-1980s. Upon Neil Jr.’s retirement in 2000, Mark and Tim, with their strong business and music backgrounds, continue the legacy established by their grandfather and father.
Since its inception in 1936, the Neil A. Kjos Music Company has pursued the goal of publishing the most effective methods and compositions for music teachers and students. Kjos Music continues to set the standard in all areas of the educational music publishing industry.
Standard of Excellence series
The most popular books in the series are the Standard of Excellence Band Method volumes. Among the band titles and three volumes for nearly every instrument used in a band.
Each of the books comes with Standard of Excellence's IPAS software. The software has every piece from the book and a program where the user can play along, receiving guidance as to whether the note was done properly or not. It is claimed by some to be the most comprehensive band method ever (Dylan Meyer).
Bastien Piano Basics series
Bastien Piano Basics is a collection of piano instruction books targeted to children ages 7–11 from the primer level to level 4. This series is authored by James Bastien and Jane Smisor Bastien. There are many supplementary books within the series.