Reactions to News about The Ohio State University Band


Ohio State University Band Updates (August 28, 2014):

Music publishers are reportedly denying performance rights to the OSU Marching Band.

The director is still trying to get his job back.

The Newark Advocate came out with an editorial basically saying that we’d better get used to this new normal, because Title IX is NOT messing around.

OSU’s former Title IX coordinator came out saying that both the university and Mr. Waters could have handled things better. She was not involved in the probe because she left before it began, in large part because the university tied her hands so that she could not do her job effectively. Read about it here and here.


Ohio State vs. Michigan football 2013 01 (Ohio State band)

In this episode of the Promoting Your Music Program podcast, we try a new roundtable format as we discuss a recent headline from the band world: namely, the recent firing of Jonathan Waters, the director of The Ohio State University Marching Band.

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Warning: Education “Reform” is Pushing Our Best Educators Out of the Classroom

education reform

Donna Williams Browning recently read my article on my concerns surrounding education reform. She reached out to me via email, and graciously agreed to supply a guest post. I think you may find her experience all too familiar.

I’d love to hear your take on education reform. What does it look like from where you are?

We have to improve our standardized test scores.

That’s what teachers hear repeatedly in public schools today. Enough times that eventually you begin to groan at yet another training session. Formative assessment, differentiation, test and retest so our AYP shows results. It has become the entire focus of the school year.

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david vandewalker music problem

David Vandewalker, author of Boosters to the Rescue!


Before I recorded this interview with the amazing David Vandewalker, I’d participated in the first half of the Music for All Parent/Booster Institute. It was a hugely valuable experience, and I am so glad that he agreed to sit down with me over our lunch break. The rest of the day was packed with awesome, as well. If you ever get a chance to attend one of David Vandewalker’s sessions, RUN—don’t walk.

In this interview, I feel like we barely scratched the surface, so I hope this interview will be the first of many. Let me know what you think in the comments below!

David VandewalkerDavid Vandewalker is the assistant director of bands at Georgia State University, where his primary responsibilities include conducting the University Band, teaching the Marching Band and directing the Basketball Pep Band.  He is also the music director and conductor of the Metro Atlanta Youth Wind Ensemble (MAYWE), hosted at Georgia State University.

Prior to his appointment at GSU, Mr. Vandewalker taught for 23 years in both middle and high school settings in Texas and Georgia. As a 2006 recipient of the Sousa Foundation’sSudler Flag of Honor,” the Harrison Band (GA) program, under his leadership, was distinguished as one of the strongest, respected, and well-rounded band programs in the United States.

Mr. Vandewalker is the author of the recently published Strategic Plans for a Successful Booster Club and Foundations for a Successful Booster Club Workbook, as well as Boosters to the Rescue101 Ways to Harmonize the Madness for Music EducatorsFoundations for Wind Band Clarity, Foundations for Wind Band Clarity Instructional DVD, and Everyday Stuff Every Director Needs to Know: A Quick Start Guide published by Vision Publications.

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Seth Williams, Advocacy Coordinator for Music for All


On today’s podcast, I sit down with Seth Williams of Music for All. Well, he WAS with Music for All when we talked, anyway—now he’s attending law school!

seth williamsSeth Williams is the former Advocacy Coordinator for Music for All. Seth has been involved with Music for All and its programs for nearly ten years – as a participant, volunteer, event staff, intern and full-time staffer. He recently relocated to Los Angeles, where he attends UCLA School of Law. Seth is an active advocate for music education and the arts. While at MFA, he curated advocacy content, represented Music for All in the state and national arts advocacy community and developed new advocacy and awareness initiatives for the organization.

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Fran Kick


fran kick

Joining me on the podcast today is Fran Kick. He is a renowned author and speaker who has spent time as a band director and in clinical psychology. Fran served on the leadership staff of the Music For All Summer Symposium last month, and that’s where we sat down to talk.

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school schedule

School Schedules: Is Your Kid Making this Common Back-to-School Mistake?

The lazy, hazy days of summer are drawing to a close—much to the dread of kids everywhere.

Once student schedules come out, stuff gets real.

The first thing kids want to know is who will be sharing a classroom with them.

Back in my day (she croaked, rubbing ointment into her aching old-lady back), that was done with a series of 12 or more long, dramatic telephone calls that involved stretching the mustard-yellow telephone cord from the kitchen all the way around the corner to the avocado green dining room so that your parents couldn’t hear EVERY word that was said.

Crude by today’s standards, but effective.

Now technology makes it possible for our kids to share this information with the entire world in about two clicks. Much more efficient!

But the whole world doesn’t need to know your kid’s personal details. You never know if it might come back to bite them.

Your child’s schedule can show details like their full name, birthdate, student ID number, school (including mailing address and phone numbers, and sometimes staff contact information). One photo I spotted even showed this knucklehead’s locker number, and for bonus points, his combination.

So if your child is going to share his or her schedule (and he or she probably is), make sure your kid is smart about it.

  • If you get the schedule online, they can copy & paste the pertinent information (period, class, teacher) into an email or text.
  • If you get a paper printout, they can snap a photo, but be careful by blurring or blocking out any identifying information. There are a zillion photo apps that do this (I like Skitch), and your child probably has at least six of them on her phone right now.
  • Share the photo in a less-public way, via email or text. But be mindful of the fact that one of their friends can share it publicly with a click.
  • I believe that all kids under 18 should have private Twitter & Instagram accounts if they have them at all. That’s not to say that these networks are evil, but it does give you and your child control over who can see their posts.
  • For the love of Mike, don’t make your easy to search publicly by hashtagging it! #schedule

Thank goodness the days of harvest gold corded telephones are gone, but make sure your kids’ personal data stays as private as would have if your house was still decked out in avocado green.

Image credit: flickr user alamosbasement

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Erin Fortune of Music For All


I was lucky enough to attend the Parent/Booster Institute at the Music for All Summer Symposium this year at Ball State University. I showed up a bit early, hoping to talk with a few of the people who make Music for All tick, and whose secrets we might steal to be able to apply to our own music programs.

Erin Fortune is the Senior Marketing Coordinator for Music for All. She spearheads a lot of their digital marketing efforts, so I knew she’d have some tips and tricks to share. Check out some of the highlights here, and find out how you can win a $30 gift card to Erin Condren to snap up one of Erin Fortune’s favorite products!

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Facebook page tip: Reduce friction to make it easy to do business with you!

I was cruising Facebook today, and came across this:

ice cream hours aatna

A few thoughts:

  1. She wants to buy from a small local business? Cool!
  2. He called to find out their hours for her? That’s really kind!
  3. Their Facebook page didn’t list the hours for BOTH locations?!?
  4. Their website doesn’t list the hours, either?
  5. They didn’t even mention National Ice Cream Day in a Facebook post? THAT’S a missed opportunity.

Had this kind samaritan not picked up the phone so that he could post the answer for her, the ice cream shop probably would have lost a sale.

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Podcast: Promoting Your Music Program


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I’m proud to announce that I’m launching a new podcast called Promoting Your Music Program! This episode is a taste of what’s to come. I hope you enjoy it and find it useful! Look for new episodes every Wednesday, beginning July 30, 2014.

This podcast will help music educators, parents and boosters work smarter, not harder using the same methods that marketing professionals use so that you can take your music program to the next level. If you’re looking to increase participation in and awareness of your music program so you can reach more students and improve their music education experience, you are in the right place!

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9 Ways to Entice More Volunteers, Backed by Science

Originally published here.

One of the questions I got most frequently at the Association of Music Parents was “How can we get more people to volunteer?”

I totally understand why! So often it feels like the same small core of people always does the heavy lifting for the organization. By putting some forethought into recruiting volunteers, and perhaps building some of these ideas into your yearly calendar, your organization can reap the benefits for months and years to come.

Make a great first impression.

Be intentional about designing an opportunity to engage with new parents. Many organizations just expect parents to turn up, without intentionally inviting or encouraging them. Specifically plan an event to meet new parents, and put your best foot forward!

And don’t forget that almost ANYTHING your organization does, whether it’s a fundraiser, a parade, or taking your kid’s uniform to the cleaners, may be SOMEONE’S first impression of the organization.

“The findings indicate that getting off on the wrong foot has devastating long-term consequences. Although later breaches seemed to limit cooperation for only a short time, they still planted a seed of distrust that surfaced in the end.”

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