Sunday, June 25, 2006

You've Been Doing It All Wrong!

I admit it, I am a very novice web master. I know a lot about content management systems and databases, but until recently I have not paid a lot of attention to my actual writing. Now I am starting to realize that I could write the best articles in the world for and still no one would notice. In order for me to get people to look at my web site I not only have to write for my viewers but also for the stupid search engines. I discovered on accident last night that the one article that I actually took the time to really optimize for search engine traffic had jumped to number 4 on Google for the keywords I was going after. When i saw that it made me a believer but it also made me realize I need to go back and rewrite all of my existing articles if I ever want people to notice them....

So much for summer break.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

What? No More Halftime Shows?

After months of searching and praying for a new job in the Des Moines area my family and I can finally rest a little easier. Beginning this fall I will make the transition from being a high stress high school band director to being a (hopefully) low stress beginning band director. I was worried at first. It is a big change, especially for someone that has been teaching 9-12 band for seven years. In any case, after much thought and contemplation I honestly can't wait to get started this August. With the new position I will no longer have any extra duty contracts, meaning that I will no longer be obligated to being away from my family two or more nights a week for football games or pep band performances. In a way I will miss it, but the idea of more family time is very appealing to me.

On the teaching side of things, it looks like I need to dig in my library and pull out my old copy of Teaching Music Through Performance in Beginning Band by Thomas Dvorak. It'll take a little adjustment on my part, but the energy and drive of young students really is infectious. Honestly, I can't wait. Only 45 more days till school starts!

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Electronic Pet Peeves

Once again I am off the topic of music, but I have to rant a bit on this. As an Internet based publisher I am constantly aware of the fact that you have a higher chance of being successful if you have a domain name that shares the same keywords as the main focus of your site. For example, my site, is all about music education topics and more specifically about band directing in general. I also went out and bought and both domains point to the same site. Side note: if you are not doing this for your own site you NEED TO! If on the off chance you become a popular site you can bet that every porn site and low rent ads page dealer will be out trying to buy up the domains that sound similar to yours. For example, until recently www.whitehouse.COM was a porn site!

My pet peeve deals with the people that register a really useful domain name and then put up a sucky web site on it. Only slightly better worse than that are the people that buy a domain name and then put up a link farm on it. You have all seen these pages, the ones with the big bold copy of the domain name at the top of the page and under it just a bunch of links to OTHER pages that may or may not be what you need. Now don't get me wrong, the people that make those sites make a lot of money from them, but I personally think it is shameful.

The worst of all offenders in my opinion is the site owner with an incredibly high quality domain name that does NOTHING with it! There are dozens if not hundreds of sites out there with that problem and it drives a webmaster crazy to see those high quality names go to waste. Oh well... Enough ranting... Time to go write some more content.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Freshen Up The Portfolio and Get Your Suit Dry Cleaned

Wish me luck, I have an interview tomorrow for a job down near where we are going to be moving to. I am very confident about it, I got along quite well with the principal on the phone setting up the time and date. Of course, I was down this road once before and thought I had the job locked up only to be disappointed a few days later when I learned the position had been given to another individual.

This whole process has made me really think about who I am and what I want to be. After a lot of thinking and a lot of applications I realize that the only place that I believe I can be truly happy is as a band director, preferably at the high school level. I have applied for other positions, many of them in technology, but I honestly don't know if I would enjoy them. If I get this position it is the best of both worlds, a great job in a great school, plus it turns out the school is right next door to the summer camp that I spent almost fifteen straight summers at both as a camper and as a counselor/program director. Knock on wood... Don't want to jinx it.

By the way, I wrote a few new articles this week on my web site about Drum Corps International and using it to help teach normal high school marching band. Take a look at the articles and let me know what you think:

How Drum Corps Can Help Your Local Marching Band

Drum Corps, The Music of Summer

Blast 2: Music In Extreme