Saturday, May 27, 2006

Free Music For The Classroom

Napster has changed the way it does business. They are the first site to offer almost all of the music in their multi-million song library for free. Now there is a catch, but for music educators it isn't too bad a deal. In fact, I will probably use it almost every day in my classroom.

You can click and listen to any song in the Napster database via streaming audio. This means the quality won't be very good, but at least you get the entire song. This is a great opportunity for teachers that want to play representative music to demonstrate a concept or technique in class. The big catch is that you can only listen to a piece five times before you have to pay for it. Check out for more information.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

It's Nice To Know You're Loved

Not loved in the love sense, but still highly respected.

Last night my students threw me a surprise going away party. My wife totally pulled the wool over my eyes to the point I did not even see it coming. After eating out with the kids for dinner my wife begged me into stopping at school to pick up something for her. I had a feeling something was up when she insisted that the kids (and her) come in with me. When we went in the school about half of my band was there waiting. I have to say it felt really good. I am going to miss these kids something fierce. Up to this point this is the longest job I have had as a band director, and I finally had hit my stride and felt like I was really doing a good job.

I guess I was.

They made a book with personally written pages to say goodbye. On one page in particular the student hit the nail on the head and let me know that besides a love of music I had also instilled many important values and pride in my students. I am honestly thinking of adding that student's letter to my resume file. It hit the nail on the head and more importantly it helped me to get ready to move on to the next phase of my career, wherever that may be at.

Friday, May 19, 2006

The Sunday Ritual

For the last three months it has been the same every Sunday. Get up, get dressed, and go across the street to pick up a Des Moines Register. Give the coupons to my wife, the comics to the kids, and I keep the classifieds. The thing that has bummed me out since March is the total lack of music education openings in the area of the state my family is moving to. Today was the same thing. Only one opening and it was over eighty miles from town. Discouraging...

Normally I am the positive one in the family (I always tell my wife she is too much of a pessimist). These days the roles are reversed. On the plus side there were a few more technology director positions available, but I still am not totally certain that I want to go in that direction. I know I would be great at it, but the idea of giving up teaching still bugs me.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Next Step In The Process

We put our house up for sale ... The next step in our families move. I really hope it sells quickly. My gut feeling is that we are priced very fairly for how much space and how newly remodeled the house is, but to look at the other listings it scares me a bit. Part of our whole plan for this big move is to get enough out of the house to pay off a few bills with the profit from the house and thus be able to afford a bigger mortgage in the new town. I really hope this doesn't take long because my health can't take all this stress.

Still no job. I interviewed for a technology coordinator job this week but nothing came out of it. I had a really good feeling when I left but I guess they liked someone else better. I am really starting to regret my graduate degree decisions. I did not go after a masters in music, instead I went for my other passion, technology. I loved every minute of the program and learned an immense amount of information in the process. Now, however, I fear that this master's degree in a field other than music might be holding me back from getting a job in music again. Since schools pay based on your education level having a band director with a master's degree in technology is not the most cost effective use of their money. Hell, I'd take bachelor's wages at this point just to have a contract in my hand...

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Is There Life After Teaching?

Can a band teacher really quit the profession and then get back into it? How hard is it for a teacher to leave the profession he or she loves?

After seven years teaching band I turned in my resignation. I did not do it because I wanted to. In truth I always thought I would be there until I retired. Instead I made the move for the betterment of my family. We are going to be moving to another city where my wife has been offered what can only be described as her perfect dream job. But while she has a contract for next year I don't. To top it all off I am getting more and more concerned in the fact that there have been so few band director vacancies in the area of the state we are moving to. I think I am going to turn my site blog into a band director in limbo blog for a while. I hope it will help me to think things through a little bit more and who knows, maybe it will help some of you as well.

As for me, I can't see myself doing anything other than teaching. I love it, and the thought of working behind a desk doing the same thing every day scares me. Plus, over the last several months I have done so much to improve my knowledge in my content area that I have started writing to share my knowledge and experiences so that others might not make the same mistakes that I have in the past. I even started a web site to house all of my new found knowledge and share it with other teachers and music students. Of course, at the moment no one is looking at it, but that will change in time I hope.

So to use a line from Evita, so what happens now? Everything will work out I am sure, but in the meantime I think I will be using this blog as a place to vent my frustrations as well as tout my successes. I have had plenty of both, but I must admit that the good tends to outweigh the bad.