Some Great Advice for New Music Educators

Back in June I congratulated elementary band directors for surviving another school year taking comfort in their accomplishments achieved with students that knew nothing about the respective instruments they wanted to learn at the beginning of last year.

Now I would like to congratulate all those newly graduated new music educators and future elementary band teachers with limited experience gained under the guidance of a journeyman director. I’m sure you young teachers were well trained in great college Music Education programs but, that was only the beginning.

If you are one of the few hired to be an elementary band director, again “congrats”. Next you might have to plan on developing an entirely new band program in a small town. For starters, you will have an instrumental demo followed by a recommendation to buy a band method book which might have been reviewed in class with your college professor.

Yes that book will work, but plan on researching supplemental materials to enhance your program. That includes finding easy fun songs with limited ranges, simplified rhythms, and in the easiest keys. And oh yes, it would be nice if your students recognize those songs. Off the top of your head, how many easy kids songs can you come up with? What keys would you write them in?

A lot of work? Ohhhhh ya!………… Or you could check out…..wait for it…………….….. “The Yankee Collection” Most of your leg work will have been eliminated.
This makes a perfect supplement to your band method book. Actually, I use “The Yankee Collection” exclusively with my private lesson students.

Try out the band director’s book. If you buy one now in July, you will hit the ground running in September. You may have learned the I, IV, V, I progression on piano with their inversions, but not in the common band concert keys. Chord changes are all included in the director’s book if you choose to accompany your beginner band. Works great! You could consider this advanced co-ordinated real world preparation for the career you have been dreaming of for the past four years. Believe me, you will have plenty of other things to deal with and learn from the first day this fall.

If nothing else, review “The Yankee Collection”. You won’t be sorry.

Here’s a tip for any band director: Make the school custodian your best friend right from day one. He’s the one that unlocks the school for night concerts, and sets up chairs for the audience in the gym. Buy him lunch and maybe even eat lunch with him on occasion and buy him a holiday gift. (Yes it could be a woman as well.)