MILWAUKEE--7/5/18--Hal Leonard announced the passing of one of their bestselling and prolific authors. Dr. Will Schmid, lead author of the iconic Hal Leonard Guitar Method and dozens of other titles, died on July 1 in Milwaukee, WI.
Schmid has author credits on over 100 titles in the Hal Leonard catalog. The Hal Leonard Guitar Method has sold millions of copies since its initial release in 1977 and has been translated into over a dozen languages.
"Will's effect on millions of beginning musicians can't be underestimated," said Jeff Schroedl, Executive Vice President of Hal Leonard. "His passion to bring the joy of making music to everyone continued right up until the very end. The music education world has lost one of its most dedicated advocates."
Schmid received a B.A. from Luther College and a Ph.D. from the Eastman School of Music. His teaching career included general music, choral music and band. He taught at Winona State University, the University of Kansas, and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Schmid won many awards over his lifetime, including the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Eastman School of Music, the DeLucia Prize for Innovation in Music Education, the Distinguished Service Award from the Music Industry Conference, and more.
In addition to writing, Schmid was a tireless advocate for music education. He was a past-president of the National Association for Music Education (formerly MENC). Schmid presented workshops throughout the United States and in Australia, Canada, Japan, Mexico and Europe. After a two-year national pilot project in twenty schools nationwide, Schmid, with his wife Ann, launched the World Music Drumming curriculum 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. During his presidency of MENC (1994-96), 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.
Making music right up until the end, he posted a composition called "Leukemi Blues" on his Facebook page when he announced to his friends his battle with Acute Myeloid Leukemia last month. His wife Ann had just succumbed to multiple myeloma in May.
Service arrangements have yet to be announced. Will is survived by his two sons, Schuler and Thacher.