ReBand…A New School Year, A New Gig

February 25, 2009

Holy Major Chord Batman, Was That a Musical Moment?!?

Filed under: Uncategorized — reband @ 11:57 pm
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Well the new year is here and has been for a good while now. Recently I passed out some new music in preparation for festival for my 7th and 8th grade groups. For each of the groups I have tried different pieces, trying to find a march, lyrical, and an other piece that would play to my groups strengths. A couple of tunes seemed to work some right away did not and finally I came to some decisions. I’m not sure I got it right, in fact, I’m pretty sure that I didn’t, but I’m not sure that with most bands you will find the magical mix of pieces that will guarantee a Superior at festival. My bands’ instrumentation just isn’t ideal enough. I was kind of disappointed that Travis Weller’s MS band room fire idea didn’t catch on as well as his HS one did. I know that I did learn a good deal about middle school level literature from trying so many pieces in a short period of time. (more…)

October 13, 2008

Trying not to be Bored

Filed under: Uncategorized — reband @ 9:02 pm
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It’s been a little while since I checked in and it seems that everything has pretty much calmed down for the moment, at least as much as it can in middle school.  A routine is starting to set in for the different groups. I’m starting the beginners on the EE2000 book 1 and we’re on #12 after about 12 days. Lots of review, lots of checking to see if pitches are right (and they are not) and lots of checking posture, hand positions, embouchure, etc. I’m hopeful to get to play Merrily We Roll along soon before getting to gasp! half notes. I like that EE doesn’t really start the kids on whole notes that last 4 beats, but instead as long as the director says so. I still haven’t got many of the kids onto SmartMusic. I think it could really help. I miss the art in the music that I have been used to with working high schools. Not that I’d get a lot into music in the HSs at this time with marching band and all, but the monotony of fundamentals is something I am struggling with a bit. I understand that this sounds bad to say out loud (or write) but it’s the way I’m feeling now. (more…)

September 25, 2008

Let the Parent Phone Calls Begin!!! (and they have)

Filed under: Uncategorized — reband @ 10:27 pm
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An explanation is for the title is in order I suppose. In the area that I teach, the beginning band teacher assigns instruments to students, the students and family do not have total choice. I finally finished the 6th grade testing and now have determined and distributed the instrument selections for each student. Obviously I’m not going to make everyone happy. Unhappy (or disappointed) kids equal unhappy or frustrated parents equal parent phone calls and emails to me…and like I said in the title of this little post, they have.

First I’ll freely admit that my testing process and instrument selection method is or may be flawed. Perhaps my reader (thanks mom) would care to weigh in on it as I’ll describe it. Don’t hold back, I want to try to fix it so I have fewer problems in the future. (more…)

September 17, 2008

Pep Rally Tomorrow!!!

Filed under: Uncategorized — reband @ 9:44 pm
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Tomorrow I begin my further indoctrination into the life of a middle school teacher. I have my first MS pep rally. The last place that I taught middle school they didn’t have pep rallies because they thought that the kids might riot. I guess that might be part of the reason I’m not exactly pumped up about ours tomorrow. One of the other reason is that there is not a schedule yet. Yep, the thing is tomorrow. Hopefully I’ll have that, you know, BY THE TIME THE THING IS SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN!!! I emailed the cheer coach who is supposedly in charge of this little horror-in-waiting and got a response back that she was working on it. OooooooooooKay. For these things I have to set up the band chairs and stands and get the 8th grade band to play a few numbers while only the cheer coach seems to know what else is going on. I’m honestly not at all sure what to expect from this little event. Hopefully the rest of the day will allow me to accomplish some things. I can stand pep rallies only slightly better than picture days. (more…)

September 5, 2008

One Cried, Then I Wanted To

The week has ended. This week I survived fire drills and picture day and was in fairly good spirits heading into Friday morning. Today was the second day of introduction woodwind testing and it had gone pretty well to that point. The first period class went pretty well until a sixth grade boy came back to my testing area (not doing his worksheets) just sobbing. I have small children, I understand sobbing, this was worse, completely uncontrollable. After several minutes of him looking at me and sobbing without attempting in any regard to tell me what was the matter or acknowledging my questions, I finally found out that he was so upset because he had forgotten an assignment for a class later in the day. I let that set into my mind a bit, was thankful that he hadn’t been hit by another student or been abused in any way before I became just flabbergasted that it was such a big deal to a 6th grade boy to forget his homework. I finally forced a smile while I wanted to cry because I was so delayed continuing my testing, told the child that it would be OK, and to go back to his seat. He smiled and sat down. I have so much to learn about teaching middle school. That boy will probably play horn. After the delay I got back to testing and only got through half the students I had hoped to. No water works the second 6th grade class…awesome. (more…)

September 3, 2008

I Was Right

Filed under: Uncategorized — reband @ 8:54 pm
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About what I wrote about picture day yesterday, yeah, I was right. I hate picture day.

The day was a waste mostly. Picture day included all the non core class teachers spending most of the day in the gym hoping that the kids wouldn’t hurt themselves as they bounced off the walls while waiting for their group to be called to stand in line for pictures. I did get to play a bit with 7th and 8th grade. In 8th grade, some progress was made. In 7th grade, progress was also made, but mostly in learning what the kids didn’t know. For instance, all the clarinets in the 7th grade who were in a different school last year know zero fingerings above the break or below C below the staff. The flutes are apparently immune to key signatures and the saxes aren’t sure of fingerings such as the very tricky (rolled eyes) Bb. The first order of business tomorrow morning will be to get fingering charts printed for that 7th grade woodwind class. It seems that this is going to be every bit the challenge that I thought it would be.

September 2, 2008

Tomorrow is Picture Day!!! (I hate picture day)

Filed under: Uncategorized — reband @ 10:10 pm
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Day 6 has come and gone and things are beginning to settle. That being said, here comes picture day. Before I get to that though, today should at least be discussed. Introducing the instruments to the beginners has been a lot of fun so far, but it sure has taken longer than I had hoped. Again, I’m sure that my expectations are uneducated. This is the first time I have done this. The kids (about 40 in a class) have so many questions and take such a long time looking over the instruments when they are passed around that I haven’t been able to do more than one in a day. Today was clarinet day. It was fun showing them how the embouchure should basically be and playing a little bit for them. It was great seeing their eyes light up as they tried to figure out where their fingers were really supposed to go. I feel like I want to get this stage of introducing and selecting instruments over with, but I know I’m going to miss that wonder and anticipation in their eyes. (more…)

August 29, 2008

Week One: It’s So Over

OK, I’m glad that’s over. An update to my check predicament, bottom line, I fixed it and it looks like I’ll be fine, but I did mess up. In a totally unrelated subject, today I signed and turned in my union membership papers. Last year I went union free as an assistant, but now that I am the head of a program again, I’m paying the fee. It does give a little more sense of security. Most teachers (I’m told) never have to use it, but I have more than once (twice actually), albeit all for non-student reasons and being deemed in the right in both cases. I personally don’t like the whole union idea, but they can be useful. Now back to the first week.

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August 25, 2008

Day 1

Filed under: Uncategorized — reband @ 8:27 pm
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Well Day 1 is now over. Just like many first day’s this one started off the night before by not sleeping real well. I’m sure I was snoozing by 12:30, but I went to be before 11:00. All and all, better than most years I suppose. I got to school and got some things read and then came the 6th graders. Many questions, but also timid with my class being the first or second of their entire middle school careers. Then came 8th grade. I knew some of them from visits from my last job and I think that I got the message across about my level of expectation. It’s going to be a challenge for me to know where they should really be after not doing MS in this area or for so long. The 7th grade have the most instrumental issues, but common ones. Too many clarinets and trumpets. I’ll take the clarinets, but the glut of trumpets I could do without. Hopefully I can get a couple of baritones or tubas out of them. All in all the ensembles (at least 7th and 8th grade) look to be in pretty good balance shape if I make a couple of adjustments. (more…)

August 22, 2008

The Calm Before the Storm

Here we go. It’s the weekend before first day with kids. Monday is starts a new year with students and this weekend I’m taking it easy…mostly. After a week of in-service (which amounted to one faculty meeting, time in the room and 15 hours of open houses). We are apparently ready to start the year. I have done some things to try to prepare for the new things that I have felt unprepared for. I had a few meetings/phone calls with other local ms band directors and picked their brains and materials as clean as I could. Monday shouldn’t be a big deal as I’m sure I’ll be going over rules, procedures, policies, and doing some get to know you stuff. That being said, I am sure that not everything will go as planned. Already I have 2 invoices that have come it from the previous year that will most likely have to come out of this year’s rather small budget. (more…)

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