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Palen Music Center Quick Note

Monday, May 12, 2014

Palen Music Center is dedicated to helping children experience excellence, personal growth, and joy through involvement in music. We carry out this mission by supporting area band directors through weekly service, support, educational programs, and quality products. This weekly Quick Note newsletter strives to highlight topics that are immediately helpful in the classroom. Comments, suggestions, ideas, and articles are always welcome.


Looking for help on a particular topic? Be sure to check out our Quick Note Catalog of back issues!

Thank You!!!

The staff of Palen Music Center would like to take a moment to simply say "thank you"! We love what we do and it wouldn't be possible without the support of the many wonderful directors we serve. We appreciate the business very much and hope to continue the partnership for many years to come.

This will be the last Quick Note until the fall, which will be here before we know it! I hope that you have a restful summer with some well-deserved time off.

Getting Organized: Planning Your Year by William W. Gourley
For the original source article, please visit this link.

We ran across this helpful school-year planner on and we thought we would pass it along. There are great ideas to keep you organized, sane, and one step ahead of the chaos.


Check with principal/department head:

  • What is your teaching schedule?
  • Who sets the teaching schedule for the building?
  • Who schedules music calendar?
  • Who schedules facility use?

Budget procedure:

  • When is budget proposal due for the school year?
  • Who administers the budget?
  • What is your instructional budget?
    • Music
    • Association fees
    • Festival fees
    • Supplies
    • Instrument maintenance/repair
  • What is your capital outlay budget?
    • Instrument replacement
    • Instrument inventory expansion
    • Uniform replacement
    • Uniform inventory expansion
    • Electronic equipment
    • Tuners
    • Recording equipment
    • Hi Fi equipment
    • PA system for fiddle groups/jazz band
  • Is there a budget for textbooks?
    • Technique books
    • Chorale books
    • CDs
    • Instructional books
    • Fiddle club
    • Jazz ensemble
  • Is there a technology budget?
    • Computer software
    • Band camp budget
    • Instructors
  • Transportation

What are your specific duties?

  • Band camp – what are the logistics and budget?
  • Parades
  • Concerts
  • Festivals
  • Jazz band
  • School musical
  • Booster meetings
  • Fundraising
  • Trips
  • Special community functions
  • County/city fairs
  • Holiday events
  • Athletic events

Get a copy of the curriculum and read it
What are the procedures for revision? 
Get a copy of the teacher handbook and read it
Get a copy of the student handbook and read it

What is the grading system? 
What is the school testing schedule for the year? (ACT, AP, etc.)

How are school repairs handled?

Is there a private lesson program?

Get keys for all areas in which you will work

What music company(ies) does the district use? 
Who is their representative? 
How are companies selected? 
How do you request/make purchases?

Is there a schedule for new teacher meetings?

Write your Individual Development Plan

Put your name on the voice mail system

Check physical plant:

  • Instrument inventory & condition
  • Uniform inventory & condition
  • Music library

Introduce yourself to:

Secretary (can tell you the following) -
How much lead-time is needed to process applications, requests, etc.
Office supplies
How are money deposits handled from fundraisers?
Copying machines policies
School newsletter articles
Phone system operation
Get class lists and mailing labels if possible

Custodian -
How do you request facility use? (This may be handled through another office.) 
Is your room used for other events throughout the year? 
Preferences in cleaning your room
What security problems exist?

Athletic Director -
What events does the band perform? 
Specific league rules regarding bands 
How are athletic/music conflicts avoided or resolved?

Transportation Director - 
How are busses and equipment van requested? 
How many chaperones on the bus?

Facilities/Auditorium coordinator (if there is one) - 
How is facility requested? 
What are the policies for use?

Music Booster Officers - 
What has their function been? 
What fundraisers are there and who is in charge? 
How is the collection of money handled? 
Ask for volunteers to inventory instruments, uniforms and organize library

Mentor Teacher - 
Set up a weekly meeting time. 
Will he/she be available to observe your class? 
Is it possible to visit other districts to observe successful instrumental instructors

Other Music Teachers in the Building or District - 
What insights can they share regarding the program? 
What is the general music schedule? 
How can the music department coordinate more efficiently?

MSBOA District President - 
Recommend retired directors in the area 
Familiarize yourself with the rules in the MSBOA Yearbook

Private Teachers - 
Create a list with phone numbers 
Are they available during the day to conduct sectionals?

Music Company - 
Discuss procedures 
Establish recruiting and rental night for beginning band

Previous Director

Building Schedule/Calendar

  • Get a school wide calendar (HS, MS, EL and community ed.)
  • Has a music calendar been created?
  • Send a copy of your calendar to all administrators (AD) and churches
  • Be sure it is approved with the appropriate administrator

Order Supplies

Music, Reeds, Oil, Drum Sticks, Mallets, Grease, Rosin, Strings, Folders, Gloves, Plumes, Buttons, Flip Folders, Lyres, Drum Heads

Prepare Lesson/Shows

  • Assemble music folders
  • Write classroom procedures (be certain they conform to school policies)
  • Give a copy to your principal/supervisor for approval
  • Submit transportation requests for fall
  • Submit/confirm building/facility request forms for the year
  • Plan for musical (if applicable)

Prepare substitute teacher packet

  • How are absences recorded?
  • Where do they find materials?
  • Lesson procedure
  • Seating/Attendance chart
  • Fire drill instructions
  • Tornado drill instructions
  • Emergency procedures
  • List two or three responsible students
  • Phone/intercom operation
  • Telephone number where you can be reached
  • Some kind of nonperformance lesson that relates to your class for the non-musician substitute
  • Video

Put a lesson on tape that you teach and can be presented

  • Classical music in cartoons
  • Opera in cartoons
  • Classical music in the movies
  • Comparing: musical periods and styles (jazz, rock and roll, hip hop, etc.)



  • Association Memberships
  • Marching Band Festival Entry
  • Notate deadlines for the year on your daily calendar

Recruiting beginners (if applicable):

  • Letters to all students in the fifth grade
  • Posters to elementary classes
  • Schedule recruiting concert
  • School newsletter article
  • Include beginning band information

Book band camp for next year (if applicable)

Secure chaperones for fall events

Announce auditions for local youth bands/orchestras

Plan for open house

Request professional days for music conferences

Prepare progress reports

Set up pep bands for fall (if needed)

Permission slips for marching festival (if required)

Send Band/Orchestra Newsletter:

  • Music booster meetings
  • Fundraising information
  • Fall concert information
  • Volunteers list
  • Events through November


Organize ensembles (if applicable):

  • Fall concert
  • Programs
  • Decorations
  • Recording
  • Ushers
  • Send a reminder letter to parents

Prepare marking period grades

Find accompanists for Solo & Ensemble Festival


  • Elementary/Middle School Workshop MSBOA
  • Middle Level String Clinics MSBOA
  • Register for “Survival Camp” MSBOA


Parent Teacher Conferences

Performance (if there is a fall musical) 
Spring musical begin planning

Set up pep and for basketball games

Registration for Midwest Clinic

Pass out concert uniforms & turn in marching uniforms

Familiarize yourself with the solo & ensemble festival rules 
Give a copy of S&E rules to students

Send Band/Orchestra Newsletter:

  • Solo & Ensemble
  • Winter/December Concert
  • Music booster updates
  • Events through February
  • Music booster meetings
  • School Newsletter Article
  • Concert review
  • Festival article
  • Beginning music classes
  • Students selected to youth groups
  • Band Days
  • Clinics
  • MSBOA Survival Camp


Progress reports due

Winter Concert:

  • Programs
  • Recording
  • Decorations
  • Ushers

Band & Orchestra Festival:

  • Begin filling out applications
  • Schedule clinicians for January and February for festival preparation

Prepare semester exam (if required)

December break:

  • Secure petty cash in the school safe
  • Store equipment

MSBOA Conducting Symposium


Familiarize yourself with Band & Orchestra Festival Rules
Double-check the required music list 
Request busses and equipment truck for festivals (B&O and S&E) 
Get chaperones for festivals 
Permission slips for festivals (if required) 
Order or borrow scores for festival

Check exam schedule 
Semester grades due

Start budget for next year:

  • Uniform replacement
  • Instruments
  • Replacement
  • Maintenance
  • Percussion
  • Heads
  • Mallets
  • Music
  • Textbooks (technique books, chorale books)
  • Stands
  • Chairs

Solo & Ensemble:

  • Review rules
  • Give schedules to students and accompanists
  • Check students’ preparation

Send Band/Orchestra Newsletter:

  • Festival information (B&O and S&E)
  • Music booster information
  • Spring musical information (if applicable)
  • Events through April
  • Check State Solo & Ensemble Date for spring break conflicts

Prepare next years music calendar 
Clear with administration & AD

MSBOA Music Technology Day 
MSBOA Midwest Conference


Deadline generally one week after district festival
Give proficiency requirements and rules to students 
Secure accompanists

Organize recruiting for spring (if applicable) 
Announce summer music camps

Confirm next year’s calendar

Progress reports due

Pre-Festival Concert:

  • Programs
  • Recording
  • Decorations
  • Ushers
  • Include next year’s calendar as a handout

Register for summer degree classes

Order end of the year awards

Hire band camp staff

State Regional Jazz Festival entry deadline


Order medals/plaques after festival

Registration for State Band & Orchestra Festival (if applicable) 
Usually one week after district festival 
Order busses and equipment truck for state festival

State Solo & Ensemble Festival

Notification of Youth Arts Soloists and Honors Ensemble

Third marking period grades


Budgets are probably due by now

Send Band/Orchestra Newsletter:

  • Festival information
  • Awards night
  • Next year’s calendar
  • Band camp registration
  • Music booster information
  • Events through end of year

Order uniforms replacements 
Order new instruments

Start to select music for next fall

State Band & Orchestra Festival


Supply orders may be due

Spring Concert:

  • Programs
  • Recording
  • Decorations
  • Ushers

Memorial Day Parade (if applicable)

Contact band camp to confirm details 
Contact band camp staff to confirm details

Set up summer activities:

  • Lessons
  • Camp
  • Parades

Facility repair lists

Progress reports due 
Prepare semester exam 
Prepare graduation music

Collect concert uniforms 
Collect outstanding debts

State Middle School Band & Orchestra Festival 
Youth Arts Festival 



Instrument inventory 
Uniform inventory

Return borrowed music & scores

Clean and lubricate instruments and vacuum cases

For the original source article, please visit this link.

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