Podcast

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Episode 117 – Can I Go To The Bathroom – How To Respond (11/14/2018) - 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 (11/7/2018) - 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 […]
Episode 115 – 11 Tips For Managing A Large Group Of Beginners (10/31/2018) - Do you ever feel like you are teaching a STADIUM full of students? There are tips to manage them a little better. Join me as I share 11 tips that I and others have used to make teaching a large group of beginners more manageable.
Episode 114 – Parents Are 45 Minutes Late. What Do I Do? (10/24/2018) - 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 (10/17/2018) - 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 […]
Episode 112 – HELP! I’m a Band Teacher Teaching Orchestra. (10/8/2018) - 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 […]
Episode 111 – What To Do With Too Many Trophies? (9/12/2018) - If this is the problem you have at your school, count your blessings! In this episode I discuss some tips on what you might do. Whatever you do, DON’T haphazardly throw old trophies away. You might be driven out of town, and not in a limo.
Episode 110 – Getting More Parental Participation (9/5/2018) - 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 (8/22/2018) - 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, […]
Episode 108 – When To Play (and other tips) for Football Games (8/15/2018) - 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 […]
Episode 107 – A Rehearsal Method for Learning Marching Band “Sets” (5/23/2018) - 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 […]
Episode 106 – Things I Never Thought I’d Say During Rehearsal (5/16/2018) - 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 105 – Motivating Students to Practice (5/9/2018) - I think the big mistake we make when trying to motivate students to practice is to think they are just like we were when we were their age.
Episode 104 – Teaching the Audience Proper Etiquette (5/2/2018) - We’ve talked about student etiquette in concerts, but how about when it’s the audience members who are the problem! You CAN change the culture. No one said it would be easy.
Episode 103 – Incorporating Special Needs Students in Band (4/25/2018) - I’m not talking about adapting so much in this episode. Most of us can use our creativity and figure out something to make it work. This is mostly about how to incorporate students with severe needs who may never be able to learn an instrument.
Episode 102 – I Can’t Play, My Throat Hurts…How to Respond (4/18/2018) - I strongly dislike this response. Sometimes it comes from ignorance, sometimes from a need for sympathy, and other times out of laziness.
Episode 101 – Posting Audition Results (4/11/2018) - 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 […]
Episode 100 – Instilling High Standards (4/4/2018) - Back in the day, teachers were always believed and respected. Now, many students and parents get their feelings hurt, especially when we are trying to set high standards for our groups. How do we set and maintain those high standards? Get some helpful tips in this podcast.
Episode 99 – Jazz Band Warm-ups (3/7/2018) -   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 […]
Episode 98 – Are Practice Sheets Worthwhile (2/28/2018) -   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 (2/21/2018) -   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 (2/14/2018) - 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 […]
Episode 95 – Leaving or Retiring? Some Communication Tips… (2/7/2018) -   I have only left one teaching position. Telling my students was one of the hardest things I have had to do! It’s never easy, but hopefully these tips will lessen the pain.
Episode 94 – 8 Tips to Consider on Overnight Trips (1/24/2018) -   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 93 – Dealing with Poisonous Students (1/17/2018) - We have all had our share of poisonous students. Do we cut them out like a cancer and get rid of them, or do we try and work patiently with them? The answer isn’t always clear cut.
Episode 92 – Dealing With “I Quit” (12/13/2017) - 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 […]
Episode 91 – Getting Non-Performing Groups to Sit Quietly (12/6/2017) - 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 […]
Episode 90 – Retention and Recruiting Ideas (11/29/2017) - Relationship is really important to retention and recruiting, but you can also plan and organize some fun musical events that will improve retention. Here are 8 ideas that have worked for me and other directors.
Episode 89 – Dealing With Student Profanity (11/15/2017) - What should you do if a student drops the “f” bomb? I’m working on an app that would deliver a strong electric shock to any student who does this, but until that is perfected, here are some strategies to help you deal with them.
Episode 88 – Tuning Tips (11/7/2017) - Tuning is one of the hardest tasks to teach and accomplish, especially for a brand new teacher. You can and will get better at it, but it’s not an event…it’s a lifestyle. Some tips to help you in the process.
Episode 87 – Italian Pronunciation of Music Terms (11/2/2017) - It drives me crazy when I hear weird pronunciation of the Italian terms we use in music! Maybe because for many years I mispronounced them. Here’s a quick guide to help you on your way. Ciao.
Episode 86: 7 Things Your Middle School Director Wants You To Know (10/4/2017) - Many times, High School band directors are quick to put the blame on their middle school. Often they have not even met their middle school director. I am fortunate to work with an outstanding director who is also my assistant director for the high school marching band. We collaborate often. I started my career as […]
Episode 85: How To Organize Your Music Library (9/20/2017) - When I started at my current position in 2005, I inherited a stack of music three feet tall that was mostly SINGLE sheets of music that had not been filed. The school was first opened in the 1970s. It seemed like nobody had organized the library ever! It took me the entire school year, but […]
Episode 84: 5 Performing Groups in 62 Minutes (9/5/2017) - Have you ever wondered how to get a bunch of groups to perform in a short amount of time? I remember when my two oldest kids were in high school. The concerts were great, but they seemed to drag on as the stage crew set each chair exactly in place between each group. I didn’t […]
Episode 83: How To Be a Great Guest Clinician (8/21/2017) - Being a great conductor does not make one a great clinician. Besides having a lot of music knowledge, a great clinician will be a people person, adaptable and have the ability to inspire. Join me as I share some tips on how to be a great  guest clinician.
Episode 82: Create a Yearly Task List (8/9/2017) - I learned a long time ago that there’s no way my brain can remember everything I need to do. I created what I call a “Yearly Task List” to help me remember what I need to get done and WHEN I need to get it done. This list gets revised each year as I add […]
Episode 81: Make Your Marching Band Rehearsal More Efficient (7/31/2017) - Did you know many of our top marching bands in the country are under what’s called the 8 hour rule. They are only allowed to spend 8 hours a week practicing their marching band show. How do they do it? With efficiency! In this episode I interview marching band judge and clinician Andy Brady. Find […]
Episode 80: Getting Sax Players To Play With Good Tone (4/26/2017) - As a professional sax player myself, I am sometimes deeply disturbed by what I hear coming from the sax section, even in my own band! But it doesn’t have to be that way. In this episode I share 8 tips that will help your students to have a better sax sound.
Episode 79: 14 Tips on How To Get Better At Fixing The Music (4/18/2017) - The main thing we do…fixing the music! How do we get better at that? In this episode, I share 14 tips that I have learned over the years, including an acronym from the Army Band (DIAC) and what NOT to use as a rehearsal technique, a technique used frequently by one of my band commanders. […]
Episode 78: Answers to Listener’s Questions (4/12/2017) - I take a slight turn in this podcast and answer a few listener questions. I hope to do more of these. If you would like to submit a question, please go to the contact page at www.jamesdivine.net and send your question. Joel writes…I’ve been teaching awhile with the program growing stagnant. Do I need to […]
Episode 77: How and Why You Should Start a Tri-M Chapter (4/4/2017) - Like me you probably think you don’t have time to run a Tri-M chapter. I’m here to tell you you don’t not have time! A 2-hour investment per month can yield hundreds of hours of influence. It’s simple and not expensive. Go to the Nafme website to find out how to start a chapter in […]
Episode 76: What to do (and eat) the night of a concert (2/22/2017) - In my younger days, I didn’t have a plan for preparing myself for a concert (besides the music). It ultimately led to a few – shall we say – uneasy rumblings while on stage. I have developed a routine that works for me to prepare me physically, mentally and emotionally for each concert.
Episode 75: Student Led Rehearsal (1/18/2017) - What is a teacher to do when he has to be gone and the sub knows nothing about music! Have the students lead the rehearsal…after all, they probably know more than the sub. A student led rehearsal is different than having a student conduct. Nobody conducts in a student led rehearsal. The students collaborate. I […]
Episode 74 – Teaching Guitar Effectively: Interview with Bill Swick (1/4/2017) - Join me as I interview Bill Swick – master guitar teacher. We dig into several strategies for how to effectively teach guitar, especially if you are a band teacher. When I started at my current school 12 years ago, I had no experience as a guitar teacher. I must confess that in the back of […]
Episode 73: Creating a Marching Band Schedule and Plan (11/29/2016) - In this episode, I share some tips regarding when I schedule marching band related dates. Our first one – to pick our marching show for next year – is already coming up!
Episode 72: Incorporate Writing & Math WITHOUT Giving Up Band Time (10/27/2016) - In this episode, I share a quick strategy that will give you up-loadable evidence to show that you are incorporating writing and math into your curriculum. The best thing about it is that it is probably something you are already doing!
Episode 71 – How To Practice, with Professor Jimmy (10/5/2016) - Professor Jimmy, James Divine’s twin music teacher brother, gives you tips on how to use your practice time wisely. Professor Jimmy is much more fun to watch rather than listen to. Watch him here.    
Episode 70: Interview with Greg Martin, author of “Marching Band Techniques” (8/23/2016) - Order the book on amazon This book can be used as an accompanying text for the collegiate marching band techniques course and to help build a successful marching band program at a high school. Topics include everything from developing a program handbook to student leadership and adult staffing, budgets, rehearsal techniques, sample forms, and basic […]
Episode 69: What To Do The Last Two Weeks Of School (5/18/2016) - You just had your final concert but there are still two weeks left at school. What do you do now? Don’t make the mistake I made early in my career and have no plan. Now is the time to try a few different things while still holding the students to high expectations. Listen to find […]
Episode 68: Successful Differentiation In The Music Classroom (4/27/2016) - Many of us have learned to differentiate for special needs students, but did you know gifted students also need differentiation? In this episode, experienced music educator and music supervisor shares a few strategies for differentiation. Does this whet your appetite for more? Earn college credit and learn more this summer when Samantha teaches a 4-day […]
Episode 67: 5 Tips For More Efficient Rehearsals (4/12/2016) - Have you ever felt like you stunk as a teacher? I have 18 years experience and recently I felt this way. One of my colleagues came for a visit. He gave me some tips afterwards and pointed out some things that I should know better about! I was embarrassed (but glad he pointed these things […]
Episode 66: The Joy of Teaching in a Rural School 2; interview with Karen Gregg (3/17/2016) - Where can three degrees in bassoon performance take you? Sometimes to exciting and unexpected places like teaching music in a rural public school. Join me as I have a conversation with Karen Gregg about the joy of teaching in a rural school, where Karen has a ton of community involvement, more flexibility, gets to know […]
Episode 65: How To Properly Use Festival Warm Up Time (3/2/2016) - When I was a young director, I thought the thirty minutes they gave us to warm up was too long. I just didn’t know what to do. Now I fill those thirty minutes quickly and wish I had more. I share my warm up process for festival and for most days in band. Link to […]
Episode 64 – Interview with Jane Church (2/24/2016) - Have you taught for 30 years or have you taught your first year 30 times? There is a difference! Jane and I discuss the importance of longevity in a band program and how you can stay fresh in a 30 year career.
Episode 63: 11 Ways To Lose A Band Student (and 11 Ways To Keep Them) (2/10/2016) - It’s the little things that make the difference. In this podcast I share 11 things we sometimes do (or fail to do) that cause us to lose a student. We often get the music right, but fail at the relationship. Incorporate these ideas and you will find yourself keeping more of your students. 
Episode 62: What To Do If You Don’t Have A Bass Player For Jazz Band (1/28/2016) - A Bass Player and Percussionist are absolutely essential to making a jazz band or combo sound good. You can make almost any combination of instruments work. There are good percussionists almost everywhere, but what do you do if you don’t have a bass player? In this podcast I share several strategies for obtaining a decent […]
Episode 61: Get Organized and Save TIME (1/21/2016) - Would you believe me if I told you my work area is clean and clutter free? What if I told you it was easy (it’s not)? Putting in some time on the front end to get your work area organized can save you precious time later, giving you more time to devote to what you […]
Episode 60: Proper Eating and Fitness for Band Directors (1/6/2016) - If you’re like me, you have often struggled with eating properly while teaching. About 10 years ago, I weighed 30 pounds more than I do right now. Did the two packages of M&Ms every day have anything to do with it? In this episode, I share tips that helped me maintain my weight, which enables […]
Episode 56: Stop Comparing (10/28/2015) - Download (I’ve been away for a few weeks…end of marching season). It’s easy to fall into the trap of comparing what you do with what other band directors are doing. Are you doing that? Take Newhart’s advice…Just Stop It!