It's back to school and back to a MIXTURE of the OLD normal and the NEW normal! Congratulations on being able to return to singing and playing - teaching and learning in the most engaging ways: in person WITH INSTRUMENTS.
Thanks for stopping by the Fall update page.
Once again, I am honoured to have had the privilege of working on Harknett's Annual New Band Music promotion - the orders are already flying in! check it out!
As always, I am here for band and string directors who wish to discuss repertoire, programming, and class instruction methods/publications for their students and ensembles. I've done a fair amount of talking below! ENJOY!!!
WORK-LIFE BALANCE FOR MUSIC EDUCATORS: A COMPLETE RAMBLING BY S. RAMU
Okay...bear with me. This will be quick.
HOW MUCH is TOO MUCH? I'm going to use my life as an example (as a realtor who casually teaches private music live and virtually, volunteers with a provincial music association, consults for a music store, and plays instruments himself). (oh, one more, CANT STOP LISTENING TO BAND MUSIC, recreationally, for 35+ years)
Sometimes, my immediate sanity gets lost in the fold. I'm surrounding myself by it, instinctively. I don't stop and think about doing it. It just happens.
But, I am not in front of students in class , rehearsal, and extra curriculars all day every day. I am not running musicals. I am not producing concerts. I am not dealing with permission slips, cashless fee payments, hotel and tour company negotiating, parent and leadership committee coordinating, and BATTLING with athletics and academics for face-to-face time before a big performance. I am certainly not navigating day to day life as a school music teacher in a worldwide pandemic.
I'm just a realtor now, with a bunch of music stuff all over the house and all over my brain.
But even still, I feel like I need to STOP sometimes. I need to turn OFF the band music. I need to LOGOUT of the publisher sites and JWPepper/Stanton's listening labs. I need to actually CLEAN MY TROMBONE SLIDE and put it away in it's CASE.
I need to stop BUYING SOLO REPERTOIRE. Its a SERIOUS problem. There's too much of it, without the CHOPS to go with any of it LOL. I just ordered a piano, and my flute is on it's way here from Winnipeg.WHY? what the hell is happening??
I feel like I need to think about things other than creating, rehearsing, performing.... (and yes ok, my next house and condo listings).
OR DO I???
Have you noticed that all of us NEED to be surrounded by music 24/7. Even during rest. We dream about it, we think about it constantly. And, all of you have the instinct built in - when you see or hear or experience something, you immediately want to share that with your students and you find ways to do so.
How many times have you gone to a big POP music artist/group concert and you've stood there, doing a full harmonic and rhythmic ANALYSIS of every single song. YOU CAN'T HELP IT, CAN YOU? It's hilarious!
How many of you can admit that you will sacrifice BALANCE in your life (especially your day to day routine) in favour of making MORE music and passing along MORE knowledge to your students.
Where's the middle? When do you STOP and say...THIS is WORK.....and THIS (over here) is LIFE??
I don't have the answer, because I'm not entirely sure that the question is even valid or necessary....
But I AM SURE that.... I told you it was a ramble..... 😎
This year's Harknett list is comprised of brand new released titles.
This is a smaller (28 titles) list, from Grades 0.5 - 3.
The genres covered are Concert/Festival/Lyrical/
Programmatic and Canadian Content.
Equity Diversity And Inclusion In Band Music: A few GREAT resource sites
As time permits and you are looking to diversify your repertoire library - and if you haven't seen these - Go Check Out A Few Resources:
The Composer Diversity Database - Wind Band, Orchestra, And Vocal/choral! Check It Out!
Alex Shapiro's Composer Directories: Databases for Women composers, Black and Persons of Colour
LGBTQ Composer's project/directory: LGBTQ+ composers specifically for Concert Band
Diverse Composers of Wind Band Music Database: This is a working SHARED database file - note the TABS at the bottom for women, people of colour, and LGBTQ
Music Teachers...... do YOU even INSTAGRAM?
To be fair: many teachers far and wide have been using social media as part of their teaching. I have seen so much creativity, especially since March 2020. But, have you considered using all of IG's features to not only supplement your teaching, but to market your music program?
It is somewhat important for a music teacher/ensemble director to think of a few goals: Do you want to share your knowledge and assist in educating others, who are outside of your program? Do you want to use this as an assignment and assessment tool for your students? Do you want to use it as a network to communicate with your students about the program and announcements? Or do you want this to become a community venue for your performances, demonstrations, recruitment, fundraising, and parent engagement?
INSTAGRAM LIVE (as well as Facebook and Youtube's live feature) has turned into a fantastic way to create a performance goal. Now that live classes and rehearsals are back with instruments - consider producing an instagram live feed showcasing your band , as a dress rehearsal alternative or a pre-dress rehearsal "vessel" for performance-practice.
Depending on the visibility and reach of your profile/page - and exactly WHO your audience is (ie: students themselves, other non-music students from within the school/board, and/or everyone's parents) this LIVE video can be short, concise and act as a "teaser" for your live concert. A warm up chorale, ONE movement of a multi movement piece, or one short introductory (opening) piece.
Last year, I saw a couple of directors use the LIVE feature as a recruitment tool prior to course selection. The class on film went through a live feed of a typical rehearsal (except they were playing pop/holiday tunes and laughing a little bit more then they usually would)...The director also turned to the camera a few times to address the elementary (grade 8) students at the area feeder schools who were watching (also, in class at the time and in conjunction with the elementary feeder music teacher)
It became common, moreso in between 1st and 2nd/3rd waves for virtual band videos and at the time, directors were posting these as "In-feed" long form videos (formerly known as IGTV). While in-feed video posts are still available as an option, they have become less and less used , in favour of Instagram Reels.
Reels were created as a direct form of competition to TikTok. The platform has many of the same in-app editing capabilities, bells and whistles, and networked royalty-free sound file libraries. Instagram is focusing HEAVILY on the Reels platform now. Their algorithms are set up to give Reels preferential treatment as far as overall reach and exposure goes. And, the algorithm loves *original*content. What could be any more original than......a band or choir performance in 90 seconds or less??
Now, the caption and hashtags are just as important as the video itself....the hashtags , when used correctly , will capture those non-followers and the more "likes" (and engagements) a Reel gets, the more reach it gets. My personal experience with reels is: if you don't average about 1 like per every 10 views, you're not really going to get catapulted into the Instagram metaverse too quickly.
So, the summary of this paragraph is...make sure that your students , their parents, and all of your colleagues are "liking" your REELS videos and they get a GOLD STAR if THEY share you Reel to their IG Story!
So, what about IG stories? It sure is tough to say or play or do ANYTHING in 15 seconds, right? THEN DON'T.
If you have 40 seconds worth of content which you want to put in IG stories, then post your 40 second video, and the app will split it into 3 stories and place them in sequence. MAKE SURE that you edit all three stories before it goes to posting. Add hashtags, tags, use IG's emoji/image/illustration library - add a music clip if applicable - add a POLL or Question box. All of these things are available within the story posting/editing screen within the app. The more you use, the more times your IG story will appear higher in the list on someone's feed and once they click and engage with your stories, they are stuck with you in a high position again the next time and the time after that.
I LOVE static posts. Before Reels came along, these WERE the basis for the entire "photo sharing" platform...
On my feed , you will still see more static posts than anything. I love brainstorming and "idea-banking", I enjoy the illustrating and designing aspect and/or photography if needed, and I love captioning and hashtagging them.
Some are extremely successful - and it is some of these that I decide to "sponsor" either through a Meta business ad campaign or through a "boosted" post (both of these are paid services).
In my opinion...There is no real need for a music teacher to PAY for instagram exposure. A steady flow of content, heavy on the Reels/shortened video side of things, with short concise messages and hashtags which are on-point - this will help your program's digital footprint and online presence.
Just remember that Instagram is based on user interaction. If you don't follow, engage/like/view peoples stuff, then they actually WON'T SEE YOURS AT ALL. Therefore, they won't have the opportunity to engage with yours, and you'll be stuck in a circle. Many teachers have their student leadership group manage their marketing page for the program, while the teachers use a generic teacher (personal/locked) profile for assignments and updates. There are MANY options!
If you are already using IG in your program, in any of the ways above (or in ways which I have not mentioned) LET ME KNOW! I'd love to hear from you!! And, if you are new to all of this or you are curious about how to make this platform work for your classes and your school's music program - please contact me ANY TIME. www.instagram.com/humberbayrealestate @humberbayrealestate
OMEA BLUE MOUNTAIN / COLLINGWOOD - REGISTER HERE RIGHT NOW, STOP PUTTING IT OFF!
Why haven't you registered for the conference yet? It's in 2 months! And be careful, the hotel rooms are filling up.
This is our first year since 2019 - we all need to CATCH UP. There's a great line up of sessions with a current focus. I'm looking forward to seeing everyone at the resort, sessions, hangs, meals, evening parties, and (I think) I am one of the first Real Estate companies to have a BOOTH in the Industry hall! Come say hi and get COOL FREE STUFF!!
I thoroughly enjoy working with the Ontario Band Association. It is such an amazing group of passionate band educators and it keeps getting better!
We're quite excited that LIVE events will be returning (FINALLY!).
If you have been interested in incorporating SMALL ENSEMBLE PLAYING into your program, and you're curious about the UTSC/OBA Small Ensemble Festival: PLEASE HELP US WITH OUR PLANNING BY COMPLETING THIS SHORT SURVEY!
Below is a quick image-plug for the October 1 Beginning Band Symposium with Brian Balmages. CLICK HERE FOR THE REGISTRATION WEBSITE AND TO JOIN THE OBA!