How NOT to Celebrate Music In Our Schools Month

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 bless your heart

Bless your heart.

The Texas Classroom Teachers’ Association TRIED to help celebrate Music In Our Schools month (MIOSM).

It just didn’t quite work.

Here is the story of the MIOSM Sax Fail of 2015.

 

The post

miosm sax no mouthpiece

Whoever was tasked with sourcing that image for MIOSM was clearly never a band kid. Nor was the either stock photography site, the photographer, nor the model.

For the record, the sax is missing its mouthpiece and neck strap altogether, and her hands are holding the instrument incorrectly.

Ouch.

A few people noticed, apparently, and down came the post.

TCTA apology screenshot clean

 

The response

Imgurians were largely amused.

Facebook took it more seriously. (Most of them, anyway.)

trumpasax comment

As you can see, some of the replies by teachers are borderline vitriolic. And really, it was a mistake that got fixed (arguably—some commenters feel that a new, correct image should be posted in support of Music in Our Schools month).

So why all the venom toward the Texas Classroom Teachers’ Association?

Perhaps it all boils down to disrespect.

Teaching, as a profession, is not well respected in our current political climate. Music educators are respected even less. Programs are getting slashed.

The unenlightened feel that music isn’t a “real” or an “important” school subject, that kids enrolled in music are “just having fun,” which of course they should be doing on their OWN time, not on the taxpayers’ dime.

Music educators have to fight these biases and misinformation EVERY DAY. And to have an organization—whose sole purpose is to support educators—post an image that propagates music education illiteracy? It’s too much.

It’s not fair that music education has to advocate so ardently for their existence, in a way that math or English never will. An image like this practically advocates AGAINST music education.

I think THAT’S why this makes music educators so mad. It makes a mockery of their life’s work.

 

How to avoid—or handle—a situation like this

As a social media manager, I’ve been in the same shoes as the unfortunate TCTA admin who created and originally posted the image. It’s not fun.

If you see something off about a social media post, privately message the account and let the admin know. They’ll be so grateful that you did. Try to be gracious about it—there’s enough hate on the internet already.

If you’re the one posting the offending content, time is of the essence. Where possible, react quickly and apologize.  Make it right to the best of your ability.

To TCTA’s credit, they’re not deleting negative comments. Deleting comments just escalates things. You look like you’re not willing to acknowledge your mistake, and commenters feel they’re not being heard. That makes them want to step up their efforts and let more people know not just about the original offense, but your disappointing response to it.

 For more on handling a social media meltdown, read this and this.

Mistakes happen. We can turn them into teachable moments, like the music educator who posted the unfortunate saxophone image on a bulletin board, and invited his students to find “What’s Wrong With This Picture?”

We’ll laugh about this one day, TCTA. I promise.

Jacksonville State University celebrates Music in Our Schools Month.

Jacksonville State University celebrates Music in Our Schools Month.

 

Want to sound off about this? I’d love to hear what you have to say!

 

miosm sax fail

Tim Hinton MME

Tim Hinton

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In this episode of Marketing Music Education, I speak with Tim Hinton. He is one of the hosts of the Marching Roundtable podcast, which I’ve listened to and enjoyed for years. Hi background as an educator is readily apparent, as he schools me about the benefits of hiring an arranger, the pitfalls of burnout, and the need to educate not just marching arts judges, but the entire marching arts community—and beyond!

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#MIOSM Instagram Challenge

March is Music In Our Schools month!

Let’s celebrate with the National Association for Music Education. They’re celebrating 30 years of MIOSM this year!

So remember how I’m always going on about “marketing music education?” MIOSM is a wonderful reminder to do that. And it’s much better than mourning Music NOT In Our Schools Month.

It’s so easy. Here’s how:

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Gary Doherty, author of The Ignition Point

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Ignition_PointGary Doherty is spearheading a conversation that is long overdue, particularly in the field of music education. We were introduced at Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic by mutual friend Cam Stasa (who gets an associate producer credit for this episode). After just a few moments with him, I knew that Gary Doherty could speak with authority to the importance of self-care and wellness for music educators (and volunteers!) as someone who had spent thirty years in the trenches of music ed and performance, and paid the price.

In this episode, Gary talks about his own personal “ignition point,” how to recognize your own, and even how to create one for yourself or someone you love. He talks about what came next on his journey, and how his relationship with food has changed. We cover the paleo lifestyle, the slow food movement, and his adult beverages of choice, influenced by his secondary career as a mixologist.

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meryl_gif_oscars.gif.CROP.original-original

Wage Equality: Patricia Arquette and her Oscar Acceptance Speech

As she accepted her Academy award last night, Patricia Arquette of Boyhood (and one of my favorite shows, Medium) surprised everyone by using her speech to advocate for wage equality.

 

“To every woman who gave birth to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else’s equal rights,” Arquette said.

“It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all, and equal rights for women in the United States of America.”

Her words were met with enthusiasm from the live audience.

 

 

 

By the next morning, though, the blowback had started. Not from those objecting to equal pay, but from those advocating “intersectionality.” I had to look it up.

Other feminists were openly condemning her for—not going far enough, I guess?

Look, the only way there will be progress on this issue is if the issue is talked about. By slamming a woman who chose to use a few seconds of her time on the world’s stage to discuss this issue, it gives the whole movement a bad name. This is why “feminism” is a four-letter word.

By vilifying Arquette for not saying it the way YOU would have said it, it makes millions of supporters less likely to speak out.

I do not at all dispute the existence of intersectionality. On the contrary: it’s insidious. But we can only speak from our own experiences. Arquette’s perspective, like my own, is that of a white woman. We can’t change that. But it doesn’t mean that we can’t begin to empathize with women of color, or that the struggles of white women are somehow more important than anyone else’s.

The way I took her statement, she was calling out everyone who has ever had a mother (HINT: that’s everyone) to pitch in to fix wage equality.

Ladies, we can’t spend our energy shouting one another down for “doing it wrong.” We all have to pull in the same direction.

practice slowly

Practice slowly to learn fast!

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If you want to learn something quickly, practice that thing S-L-O-W-L-Y. Because your brain is like a fresh snowdrift.

Obviously.

Listen to find out why musicians should practice slowly.

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Search a Facebook group

Yes, there IS a way to search a Facebook group! Watch this video to find out how to search the posts within any given Facebook group from your desktop.

Keep in mind, Facebook’s search algorithm is better than it used to be, but still not comprehensive. I often go looking for a post I know exists in the group, yet the search results fail to turn it up.

 

 

More social media tips

Facebook’s News Feed: Ask Me Anything

christopher bill photo credit scott streble

Christopher Bill

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In my travels to Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic in December, I sat in on a session presented by Christopher Bill, a YouTube artist who recently hit it big with his cover of Pharrell WilliamsHappy. He agreed to talk with me about his background, how he approached his college education and why he wouldn’t recommend it, and working as a musician in the 21st century.

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MME Cam Stasa

Cam Stasa

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Cam Stasa is one of my favorite people on the planet. And if you’ve met her, as so many music educators have, I’d bet she’s one of yours, too.

In this conversation, we talk about:

  • her role at VanderCook College of Music in Chicago
  • how students and their families should approach applying to college
  • the unique way VanderCook prepares future music educators for the reality of today’s economy
  • the high burnout rate of music educators, and how to combat it
  • recruiting parent volunteers to save your sanity
  • the surprising fundraiser many programs are using
  • Cam’s reaction to the events of New Year’s Day Continue reading
Marc Whitt

Marc Whitt of the Association of Music Parents

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About Marc Whitt

Marc WhittFor 32 years, Marc Whitt has devoted his professional career to nonprofit public relations and marketing, and has long been an active advocate for education, economic development and the performing arts.

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