Preparing yourself to manage a music program.
October 8, 2012 at 4:13 pm #13420
Most music training programs prepare you well for teaching music but how much do you know about program management? NAfME has many programs designed to help you with this besides books they’ve published for all types of music education. One of the most recent things is the launching of the eLearning network. On Thursday, October 17 at 7:00p.m. I’ll be doing a free webinar on building a successful band program but most of what I’ll be discussing can be adapted for choral or instrumental programs. It’s a free webinar but you must sign-up in advance. Join me and have your questions ready!November 7, 2012 at 10:34 pm #15087
This is is very true – I am a Senior Music Education major and so far, I have learned to play and teach all band and orchestral instruments, and even learned the learning sequence, adaptive learning, and educational psychology – but never has there been a class on program management. I am disappointed I didn’t read your post sooner – or else I would have tuned in for your webinar!
However, I am hoping you can give me insight to a couple of questions.
What do you recommend for a brand new educator out of college in regards to managing an already established program? How do you know what to adopt, change, or alter without upsetting the ensemble/booster club/parents/administrators? And how soon are these changes appropriate?November 8, 2012 at 2:38 pm #15118
I devote most of my book, Quick Reference for Band Directors to this starting with chapter two. The first thing you’ll need to do is come up with a five year plan for where you want your program to go and then determine what resources you’ll need. Develop a budget, organize a support system (boosters group), plan events by developing a calendar, etc. Once you’ve come up with a clear mission then you can work toward achieving specific goals. It all comes down to advance planning. My book is located in 120 college/university libraries so check your library. You can also get a discount from your NAfME membership should you desire your own copy. I give detailed plans. There’s really not much difference from starting a program and maintaining an existing one. The one advantage is having equipment and materials in an existing program. The webinar I did for eLearning is being archived so you’ll be able to listen to it for free with some of the strategies I detail in the book.March 17, 2013 at 2:59 pm #21839
For those who may have missed this free webinar mark your calendars for Part Two coming up April 9, 2013. Check eLearning for registration information. Part Two is free also.October 12, 2013 at 11:11 am #30611
I like the idea of having a five year plan. As a junior education major, I am in the middle of my methods courses and observation hours, and I have been able to observe some really amazing music educators. One thing every teacher has in common is that they all have a plan. However, all of these teachers have been teaching for several years in the same building/district, and they all come from wealthy school districts. I am curious as to what you suggest for new teachers in districts that have little-to-no-money. Maybe I’m too blindsided by the fact that everything (or almost everything) costs money, but I am having difficulty seeing how one can build a program without a budget, or a very small one for that matter. Do you have any suggestions for how one can get around difficult financial tasks they may be faced with during their first year, or first five years of teaching?October 15, 2013 at 4:30 pm #30682
My first ten years I taught in inner-city Baltimore, MD. My budget was $60.00 a year. Besides fund raisers, when I was asked to perform for private events I asked the sponsors of the events to contribute an honorarium to my program (it was legal in my district). I also found creative ways to partner and provide services in kind to others. Simply, that means when we played for businesses they helped us in non-monetary ways. Think outside of the box. Solicit donations of funds, services or materials that meet your district’s rules. I had former students contribute services and materials. They helped with equipment repairs, etc. The community shared in our success and took ownership of our program. I devoted an entire chapter of my book about organizing parents, former students and the community members to help financially strapped programs and how to develop a budget. You may contact me directly at email@example.com if you want to brainstorm.October 21, 2013 at 10:58 am #30896
Wow! What an amazing way to overcome such a low budget! Thank you so much for your response! I will definitely keep you on my contact list for the future. I really appreciate all your help!October 23, 2013 at 11:23 pm #31665
I am a music education major. I have had one professor that talked about the management aspect. My interpretation was there are too many different variables from school system to school system. Schools whether public or private are there for students to learn, but the rules vary on what’s appropriate. That’s why I think the college curriculum in this area is so weak.
This makes me think about my oboe methods class. I hated my assigned oboe. The oboe had two holes in bell that had to be covered with your legs to play (low Bb). The other students all had a (low Bb) key. The musical piece I had to play for the test had low (Bb) in it. It was a challenge. The question is where do we set your quality of instrument standards? Will this be strictly dictated by your band budget? Where do you draw the line? Is it fair to the student?
I do have a response to one of jkrieder’s questions. A retired band director told me in an established program changes may take years to successfully implement. Students may not be receptive of changes being made to a program they were already a part of. The students/ parents you will have 3 years will have no knowledge of the previous program. The present student’s will be much easier to transition.
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