In the early 1980s, as an undergrad at the University of Wisconsin-Madison studying music education, Brantley Douglas had his first encounter with a computer. Witnessing the Apple IIe computer and plotter producing full-sized, color-coded drill charts for the first time sparked an enthusiasm for music technology that shaped the course of his career.
After eight years directing and teaching music for the Wisconsin public school system, Brantley pursued a Master of Music Education degree, with an emphasis on music technology, at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Intrigued by the way technology could better serve the marching band space — both artistically and educationally — he dedicated his thesis project to further exploring this correlation. Several software systems were available at the time and Brantley began surveying each of them. In 1992, Brantley scheduled a meeting with Pygraphics owners, Py and Cayleen Kolb, to conduct a survey on the company’s initial product, Pyware Charting Aid.
“When we first met Brantley, we could tell he was a very articulate, knowledgeable, bright young man,” Cayleen stated. “He was in the music field, studied our product, as well as all others available, and knew firsthand what directors might look for and had the knowledge to answer questions they may have.”
One year after this initial interaction, Brantley paid a visit to the Pyware Team to share the results of his extensive research. He explained that Pyware was the superior product available, by far.
After a spirited conversation about his findings and the potential for Pyware in the marching band industry, Cayleen invited Brantley to join the team! As an educator himself, his ability to relate with directors, along with his inherent gift for teaching, helped connect potential users with the software.
Since 1984, Brantley has accumulated considerable teaching and directing experience. After earning his master’s and specialist’s degrees in music education, Brantley joined James Madison University as Assistant Director of Bands, Symphonic Band Conductor, and assisted with the Pep Band. During his time at JMU, the marching band performed at Presidential Inaugural Parades and the famous Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. He also served as the Director of Athletic Bands and Associate Professor of Music at Christopher Newport University.
Brantley currently holds the position as Director of Athletic Bands and Associate Director of Bands at the University of Central Arkansas. He also teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in music education.
Throughout his career, Brantley has served as a chief consultant and clinician for Pygraphics — presenting the software at various conferences and hosting Pyware workshops for groups and organizations across the map. He is also one of the lead instructors for the annual Pyware Retreat in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, along with Craig Harms.
“It’s always special for me when I get a call and I’m asked to present or teach for Pygraphics. I find that I really enjoy helping people with the creative process and teaching them how to use Pyware to bring their ideas to reality,” Brantley said.
Brantley has made a significant impact in music education over the years — among aspiring musicians and avid designers — and he has united the tool of Pyware with directors, drill writers, and students worldwide.
“Brantley has not just a deep knowledge of Pyware but he has an incredible ability to share and teach that knowledge. He is a big part of our Pyware family, and I will always cherish our relationship,” Pyware Founder Py Kolb, stated.
Brantley’s role at Pygraphics has been invaluable and the relationship developed over the years… priceless.
“My association with Pygraphics has always seemed surreal to me,” Brantley said. “It’s been incredible and I’m looking forward to what the future holds for me with Pygraphics.”