A new school year is almost upon us

Band Camp 2013 starts in just six short days. Six days of rest and relaxation (and finishing up a grad school paper!) before the circus that is band camp begins. And for me, band camp is the Calvin & Hobbes autumn Sunday of the summer (just click the link, that analogy totally works). So with the end of summer imminent, it only makes sense to reflect on some goals that I’ve set for the upcoming school year.

  • Improve communication. This has been a yearly thing for me. I always want to get better at reaching out to students, parents and colleagues. Last year, I made an effort to keep an updated website. This year, I’m going to add Remind101 into the mix. I’ve been in the habit of sending home paper notes to remind students and parents about concerts, but I know roughly 90% of those never make it home. This is a quick and easy way to improve that communication hiccup.
  • Chamber music. Traditionally, my building has done four band concerts per year. That’s fine with me, but it doesn’t really leave a lot of time for students to explore one of the most enjoyable things in music: chamber music. This year, instead of our usual March large ensemble concert, I’ve scheduled two nights in a small auditorium for chamber music concerts. To prep for the concert in class, we’re going to have clinics, chamber music rehearsal time, and hopefully a couple of guest artists. Hopefully this will provide an injection of enthusiasm at a spot in the calendar when we most need it.
  • Avoid burnout. Last year was rough, especially the final few months. Several factors combined to make for a very stressful school year. This year, I hope to deal with those issues a little more effectively this time around.
  • Collaborate. During my Master’s coursework this summer, a few of us came up with some ideas to collaborate during the school year. Skype rehearsals, composition projects between schools, things of that nature. The goal here is to not be so overwhelmed by the school year that I’m actually able to follow through on these things.
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