Episode 139 – Help Beginner Trumpet Players Change Partials

When beginner trumpets have a hard time changing partials, it’s almost always about the air. We as music educators know what we want the students to do, but they often don’t understand what we are asking.

In this episode I share more than six tips to help your trumpet players change partials. It’s also effective with other brass players.

Has this podcast been a help? It’s a labor of love for me. I’ve been doing it for seven years for free. There are some costs involved. Would you consider supporting the podcast for as little as $5/month? Go to www.patreon.com/themusicedpodcast.

Episode 138 – Getting Middle School Students to Quiet Down and Focus

This was my first year back teaching beginning band after a 14 year hiatus while I taught at a suburban high school. My first experience 14 years ago was at a prestigious private school where the students and parents all seemed to care and were on their best behavior. Now I’m at an urban school. My how things are different!

It took persistence and consistency over a six week period, but the students are finally where I want them to be (well, 42 of the 43 are). You’re often going to have an outlier on whom nothing seems to work. He spends most of his time in the hallway. We have a conference scheduled with his guardians. Not saying it as an excuse, but he has had a difficult life thus far.

In this episode I share some strategies that have worked for me. Try them. They may work for you. Just remember, each situation is different. I saw a post on a media site about this same problem. Some teachers answered “All I have to do is threaten to call home.” That was my same strategy when I was at the private school.

It helps if you have a very supportive admin, which I do.

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Episode 136 – 10 Ideas For Creating Traditions

Traditions are such an important part of every band program, and traditions need to be unique to you and your school. When I started at one of my schools, they only had one tradition, and it was terrible! It was hard for me to continue it, but I needed to just for one year.

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Canon City Music and Blossom Festival

Episode 135 – 8 Tips For Dealing With Kids Wanting To Switch Instruments

The dreaded “I want to switch instruments.” Although there are occasionally legitimate reasons for kids switching instruments, most of the time you have to become a psychologist and dig deep to find the “real” reason. You are a coach! Here are ten tips to help you out.

Even more dreaded is when students say they want to switch to drums! I covered that in Episode 123.

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Episode 134 – Interview with Marc Gelfo, Creator of the Modacity Practice App

Join me as I interview Marc Gelfo, musician and creator of the Modacity Practice App – an all inclusive practice aid that also includes a recorder and drone.

Find out more and download the app at www.modacity.co. Questions about the app? Contact the team at hello@modacity.co.

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Episode 133 – Baby Shark by Rote

I had never heard Baby Shark until recently when my six month old grandson came over for a visit. He did not like being in the car so my daughter sang this and many other songs to him. I became an expert at it. It’s a fun – albeit annoying – song that your students may enjoy learning, and it’s easy to teach by rote, incorporating some theory and scales into your lesson. Have fun!

Episode 130 – When Students Misbehave for the Sub

A good substitute teacher will be able to handle the class even if you didn’t leave lesson plans. The best substitute – if you can find one – is a retired music educator you know and trust. In this episode, I share four tips for how to handle the situation after things went band and seven tips for PREVENTION, which is much better. Here’s the link to Episode 75, which explains how to use the Student Led Rehearsal: http://www.jamesdivine.net/2017/01/18/episode-75-student-led-rehearsal/

Episode 127 – 11 Movies Every Band Kid Should See

Disclaimer: View movies yourself before showing them to your students. Check your school or district’s policy on showing movies. In my opinion, movies are best reserved for bus trips or special viewing events rather than replacing a rehearsal, Also, I think they work best when combined with discussion and reflection. I have included some of those ideas in the podcast.

Episode 124 – Should Practice Outside Of School Be Required

Episode 124 – Should Practice Outside of School be Required

We all wish that each and every one of our students practiced two hours a day every day, but is this possible or even realistic? It depends.

In my 21 years of teaching I’ve tried it all. Surprisingly I have found success by trying something different. Perhaps it will work for you.

Episode 123 – Six Responses When Students Say “I Want To Switch To Drums”

Episode 123 – Six Responses When Students Say “I Want To Switch To Drums”

I’ve been teaching for 21 years, but I still HATE it when a student asks me if he can switch to drums. Why doesn’t anyone want to switch to tuba? Can we control the number of drummers in our bands (yes, we can)? Can we shape the culture of our band to minimize this (yes, we can)? Will some students quit over this (yes, some will, but not as many as you think)? Six tips to minimize students wanting to switch.

Find a download of the 40 basic rudiments at The Percussive Arts Society page, www.pas.org.

Episode 122 – How To Properly Use Festival Warm-up Time

Episode 122 – How To Properly Use Festival Warm-up Time

Believe it or not, in my early days of teaching I did not know how to use this time properly. I actually ran out of things to do!

Now I know better.

This is a repost from an episode several years ago in which I share tips on how to use your warm-up time, what to do, what NOT to do, and even preparing yourself mentally.

And remember, performing at a festival is all about getting FEEDBACK. Don’t be overly concerned about your score (be a little concerned, but that’s not your main focus).

Episode 121 – Prepare To Be Judged

Episode 121 – Prepare To Be Judged

In this episode, I bring back Lori Schwartz Reichl from last week. With contest season coming up, we discuss the how to prepare your band to be adjudicated. What are the goals with adjudication? How can directors prepare themselves in the weeks, days and hours beforehand? How can we prepare our students for the experience?

As a music educator, Lori is an active adjudicator, clinician, guest conductor, private instructor, speaker, and writer. She is the author of the series “Key Changes: Refreshing Your Music Program” published monthly in the teacher edition of In Tune Magazine where she provides resources to enhance the music classroom/rehearsal space. She is also a journalist for Teaching Music Magazine.  Visit her at www.makingkeychanges.com

Episode 120 – How To Get Admin On Your Side

Episode 120

In this episode, I interview Lori Schwartz Reichl on getting administrators on our side. We discuss what’s important to admin, the biggest challenge young and old directors face with admin, and some tips on how to handle the relationship if it becomes adversarial.

We also discuss the importance of the three Ps…
Preparedness
Positivity
Persistence

As a music educator, Lori is an active adjudicator, clinician, guest conductor, private instructor, speaker, and writer. She is the author of the series “Key Changes: Refreshing Your Music Program” published monthly in the teacher edition of In Tune Magazine where she provides resources to enhance the music classroom/rehearsal space. She is also a journalist for Teaching Music Magazine.  Visit her at www.makingkeychanges.com

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