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Program Administration

Program Administration

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Published by: professoraloha on Nov 01, 2008
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Program Administration

As you noticed in the extensive job description, an active instrumental music program involves a variety of organizational tasks. You will be expected to manage all of the facilities, equipment, uniforms, libray, as well as the instruction, performances and other activities associated with an active instrumental music program. All successful programs share one thing in common--their directors are well organized. This includes communication, fundraising and budgets, inventory, uniforms, supplies, setting and enforcing policies, travel and transportation, etc.. These can be overwhelming to an inexperienced teacher as they attempt to create a successful "system" for each task. If you think of your band/orchestra program as a large box which contains many empty squares/cubicles representing the hundreds of tasks you will manage each year. Your first few years will be spent trying out various strategies to see which are successful and which are not. Unsuccessful strategies or empty squares perpetuate chaos/disorganization and create numerous problems and extreme stress. As you find a successful strategy, that "square" is filled for your program and chaos is eased. With each square filled, your program runs more smoothly, your stress is eased, your organizational time is less, and you have more energy to devote to making great music. This is how a "super" program is built---and the extent of your success often depends more on your ability to organize than on your musical abilities. This is a paradox for our profession since almost your entire college education has been spent working on your musical and intellectual abilities NOT your business and organizational skills. A sad but true fact about your future career. For example, let's look at one issue--uniforms. You find a position as a high school band director. The program has a large storage room filled with various uniform parts. You have many questions to answer...and each answer diminishes chaos and improves program administration on this issue: What uniform(s) is/are required--concert, marching, pep band? How will we communicate the information about uniforms to the students? How will you get those uniforms assigned to students by size? How many students do we have? How many uniforms do we have? When will we pass out uniforms? When will the uniforms be turned in? Who will pass out uniforms? How will we keep track of who has what? How will they be cleaned/maintained? What is the cost to students? What needs to be replaced each year? Where do I buy replacement items (t-shirts, gloves, spats, buttons)? How do we pay for those replacement items? Who collects the money that students pay? Where is the money deposited? How do we keep track of money? Do the students keep the uniforms at home or check them out each event? How will uniformity be maintained (inspections--when, etc..)? What happens if a student loses/damages a uniform? What if we need all new uniforms?

As you can see, this single issue could consume a tremendous amount of your time and energy. It's clear that you need to fill this gap in your "administration box" with a "system" and related policies as well as enlist some additional manpower to eliminate chaos and preserve your uniform inventory. Being well-organized means answering every question--in advance and anticipating any new questions that may arise. Two key principles to successful music program administration are:


You must get help--from students and parents with almost every aspect of your program. Look at the list of questions above about uniforms. Which are those are - decisions? actions? If they are decisions, then in most cases--you must make them. Consult with both parents and students. Find out what happened in previous years. Determine if you agree or disagree-- or if it was a successful system. Decide which of the actions must be done by you and which could be accomplished by a trustworthy student or parent. Find those people.

Every program will depend on many policies and procedures for smooth operation. How will you handle: Taking attendance Use of your telephone Lost/forgotten/damaged instruments Lack of appropriate supplies Room set-up and cleaning Storage of instruments and materials Use of facility during lunch, after school, etc.. Conflicts with sports, church, work, etc.. Broken or damaged equipment Damaged or lost music Use of practice rooms Seating/challenges Behavior/seating on busses

What will you do about: Advertising for concerts Communicating with parents Awards and incentives Keeping track of grades Keeping track of money Showing support for other teachers, activities & programs Communicating with administrators Decorating your room Setting up a budget Deciding whether you should travel out-of-state Setting concert dates, sites, times Concert ticket sales Printed programs for concerts Contest fees Arranging for busses Chaperones

How will you:

File and store music Store and distribute uniforms Coordinate booster activities with class goals Conduct recruiting Store and distribute school owned instruments Sell supplies (reeds, oil, etc..) Schedule your professional development activities Arrange for music-friendly school scheduling Find & schedule private lesson instructors

The more decisions you can make during your education and student teaching semester, the better off you will be. One word of caution---develop policies (especially those that are more stringent than your predecessor) carefully. Changing everything all at once could result in an all-out rebellion from both students and their parents. Parents also notice when you eliminate successful systems that worked in the past-- So be cautious and get ready AND organized for a wonderful career.

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