Episode 117 – Can I Go To The Bathroom – How To Respond

This is THE question I hate the most as a teacher. I’m very strict with it and my policy is “No/Never.” I also want to answer like my 5th grade teacher did…”Yes you can, but you may not.” Oh how I hated that. Here are some strategies for dealing with this age old question.

Episode 116 – When A Life Is Lost

When tragedy strikes the band room, either through accident, natural causes or suicide, how do you handle the grief? Is it ok to cry in front of students? What about counseling? A few years ago we had several tragic events in a row at my school. Here are some ideas for dealing with it and processing it. And please get help!

Episode 114 – Parents Are 45 Minutes Late. What Do I Do?

Don’t you hate when parents are late picking up their kids? You are ready to leave and go home yourself, maybe to your own family, but you are stuck waiting. Be careful not to react in anger because sometimes the lateness is legit. Follow these tips.

Episode 113 – When Students Are Dating

What should you do when students are dating each other? Ignore it (not completely)? Freak out (no)? Try these band director tested tips and remember that I married my high school sweetheart who happened to be in the guard in our marching band! We’ve been married almost 32 years, raised 4 kids and now have six grandkids.

Episode 112 – HELP! I’m a Band Teacher Teaching Orchestra.

In Colorado, music teachers are certified as K-12 music. But just because we are certified, does not mean we feel qualified.

This year, I transferred to a Title I school and moved from teaching high school band to middle school orchestra. I learned a lot of things the hard way. If you find yourself in the same position, listen to this podcast for some tips on what to do about tuning, when to introduce bowing, how about assessment and many other topics.

Geared for the non-strings player who finds himself teaching strings!

You can do it!

Episode 110 – Getting More Parental Participation

We all wish we had more parents participating in our program. In this podcast, we talk about some tips and ideas to do that. A pitfall regarding email. When it’s ok to let the ball drop. How the process might look different in a suburban versus Title I school.

Example Pledge and Parent Involvement

Episode 109 – Interview with Frank Tracz of Kansas State

In July, I had the chance to meet Dr. Tracz when he presented at The Colorado Bandmasters Association Conference. We carved out a couple of minutes to talk about some tips and challenges for todays band director.

Dr. Tracz talked about burnout in one of his sessions. Although we don’t cover it on the podcast, here is a link to a Burnout Self Test. I took it and was very surprised to find I was burned out this past spring.

You can find many resources by Dr. Tracz on the Kansas State University website, http://www.k-state.edu/band/downloads/index.html

Join me on this informative podcast.

Episode 108 – When To Play (and other tips) for Football Games

When I first started teaching at the high school level, I was totally lost when the pep band played at our football game! Perhaps you feel lost too?

Listen to the podcast to learn some tips and tools of the trade. When to play. When NOT to play. What to play. Who to talk to before the game…and more.

Episode 107 – A Rehearsal Method for Learning Marching Band “Sets”

This is a great technique for learning and polishing marching band sets. I stole it from my friend and colleague Keith Bisaillon. I’ve used it for several seasons.

This will be the last podcast of the season. Lord willing, I will see you back in August. In the meantime, perhaps you are looking to gig over the summer. You may be interested in my online course…

40 Ways To Make Money as a Musician

Episode 106 – Things I Never Thought I’d Say During Rehearsal

This episode is just for fun. Have you ever suffered from foot in mouth disease, when you either say something embarrassing or say something you never thought you would! That often happens to me. Sometimes I get my tirds wisted. Maybe I have a speed impechiment.

Episode 101 – Posting Audition Results

Do you ever just want to RUN AWAY after posting audition results? Hope these tips help to make it less uncomfortable. Try posting this and sending an email to parents…

STUDENTS STOP! Before you discover your placement, remember:

1. We care about you.

2. Sometimes, the lessons we don’t want to hear are the ones we must learn. They prepare us for life.

3. Life is hard. I’m sorry, but it is at times.

4. Reactions should be professional. Celebrate or mourn away from the band hall.

5. Do not tell anyone their placement. Do not take pictures and send them. Everyone deserves the chance to discover the results just as you do.

6. Both the number of auditioning students and the quality of the players within the program have been increasing. This is making it increasingly more competitive to get into the wind ensemble.

7. If you did your best, that is all you can do. You can only control your level of effort.

8. If you have questions, you can come talk to us in a composed manner. No emails will be addressed unless you have spoken with us personally. We will be honest with you because…

9. We care about you.

PARENTS – I would ask for the following considerations upon learning your child’s’ placement. Having a discussion with your child BEFORE results are posted often helps what can be a valuable learning experience.

1. We are all here for the betterment of your students. We care about them deeply.

2. We are hired to give them the best musical advice and experience we can possibly give. We must assess them as best we can.

3. Many are working hard and taking private lessons.

4. Emotions can cloud judgment.

5. Students’ careers in music are always in a state of flux. We must take a snapshot through auditions to capture their progress in that moment. We are considering many factors in addition to the audition including our prior experience with them in rehearsals. Seniority in the program is not a factor in our decision. We are selecting the best 9th through 11th grade musicians to fill out the Wind Ensemble for 2018/19.

6. More students will NOT be accepted than will be accepted. For that, it is important to have the conversation with students regarding the best reaction to news that may not be the news you wanted.

Parents, we would ask that you allow students to advocate for themselves with face-to-face contact with us should there be any questions. If after that direct communication, parents would like further information please feel free to contact us.

Episode 99 – Jazz Band Warm-ups

 

If your jazz band is like mine, it’s filled with some of the most creative and ENERGETIC students in the school. They never get in serious trouble, but if I don’t keep them occupied and doing something, they can tend to get in a little bit of “teen goofy” trouble. I like to start class with one of these warm-ups to get them focused right away.

Episode 98 – Are Practice Sheets Worthwhile

 

I started my career utilizing practice sheets, but dropped them shortly after arriving at my current position. Are they useful? Are they a waste of time? In this podcast, I share some thoughts from fellow band directors on both sides of the debate. Ultimately you have to decide what’s best for your program.

Episode 97 – Thoughts on Marching Band Philosophy

 

We all know directors who have burned out teaching marching band. Some flee from the thought of ever teaching it again. However, I think with a few changes in our philosophy, we can have successful marching bands that don’t destroy our life. I share a few of those thoughts in this podcast.

Episode 96 – 5 Tips for Dealing with Bullying Colleagues

It’s bad enough when we are bullied by a boss or superior, but what do we do if a fellow teacher is bullying us? This is a difficult situation to deal with, especially if you are a young teacher and the one doing the bullying is more experienced. Here are 5 tips to help you deal with the situation. Also check out Henry Cloud’s book Boundaries

Episode 94 – 8 Tips to Consider on Overnight Trips

 

Trips can be fun and educational. The secret is to over plan and plan early. Follow these 8 tips to make your overnight band trip more successful and reduce the risk of something going wrong.

trip behavior agreement

Parent Educational Leader Guide

Link to Travel 101 by Andrew Yaracs

 

 

 

Episode 92 – Dealing With “I Quit”

I’m not talking about you the teacher, but the student. I personally want to quit at least once a month, despite having spent 20 years in this wonderful field. If we have this desire (and get over it), don’t you think the same can apply to students? You do have to learn to develop a hard shell. Here are some strategies that will make it easier – but to be honest – the pain never completely goes away.

Episode 91 – Getting Non-Performing Groups to Sit Quietly

In my early years of teaching, it was chaos with my students who were waiting their turn to perform. I knew something had to change, so I developed a strategy that has been effective for 10 years. No strategies are foolproof, but this has worked for EVERY student I have had, except for three stubborn knuckleheads who I get to use as an example from seven years ago. Make your concerts into even happier events.