Saturday, March 19, 2011

A Thrifty Way to Help Japan-SOCKS

I am the kind of person who gets really moved when terrible things happen to people. If I wasn't a music teacher, I am pretty convinced that I might be working for a humanitarian relief agency somewhere. But I am a music teacher and so in the wake of this crisis in Japan I have been struggling to figure out what the answer to the question "what can we do to help?" is.  So at my concert, one of my band parents and friends', Robin, suggested that we have donations jars and we can make a donation to the Red Cross. Done.

But I wanted something more. Something that my students, if they choose to, could get involved in. Because, like me, I think many of my students are seeking a way, beyond just posting on facebook that they are troubled by what has happened and want to do something to help.

My friend Nancy Moser (via someone else via someone else) on facebook posted about "Socks for Japan"

Its pretty simple and I read the website, the facebook, the nay-sayers comments etc. I'm doing it. Why? Because socks are cheap & thrifty and oddly enough yesterday I had my own personal mishap with socks yesterday that WAS IN NO WAY COMPARABLE TO WHAT IS GOING ON IN JAPAN BUT MADE ME REALLY THINK ABOUT HOW SIMPLE SOCKS ARE AND HOW IMPORTANT THEY CAN BE TO SOMEONE! 

Everything happens for a reason. So I took my large jazz band program to the Santa Cruz Jazz Festival and it poured. I was dressed in my cute dress and heels and it poured down rain while we were inside as the storm had finally hit us. I went out to the bus and in the walk my feet got soaked. I went in and grabbed my change of clothes, went in the bathroom to change and found that I had everything I needed but socks. We were stuck there for several more hours and our bus did not have heat. And I had no socks. I was frustrated and freezing and I do not live through an Earthquake, loose everything, it was not snowing (like it is in many parts of Japan right now) and I had more pairs at home to look forward to (and I have a home).

So when I got home and saw Nancy's post it resonated with me. This is something simple and easy that we can do to help. Better yet, Jason, who is coordinating this whole thing, suggests and provides resources for writing a care letter to include in the socks.

So here's what we will be doing in my band room. Collecting socks. We will be putting the sock sets in plastic bag to ease their sorting upon arriving in Japan. In zip lock plastic bag of socks we will be including a care letter. If you do donate you can send your own (please follow Jason's instructions on his website) or my student aides (and student volunteers) will do so for you. We will leave our contact information in the letter as the Santa Teresa Band Program/Santa Teresa HS Community.

A simple & thrifty way to help! Socks for Japan :)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Midwest Proposals-Feedback Needed

So the Midwest Proposals are due Friday. I'm trying to have mine done Wednesday.

Here are the three that I'm thinking of submitting
A Thrifty Approach to Running Your Program-Tips & Suggestions to be successful on a budget!
It could also be called "Thrifty Tips for Your Music Program" Suggestions on how to be successful on a budget!
This clinic will summarize sections of my blog "The Thrifty Band Director" as well as discuss additional suggestions of ways that music teachers can run their programs on a budget. While specific fundraisers and products will not be discussed this session will include tips on how to evaluate your fundraisers (for example is the amount of work put into a fundraiser worth the how much revenue the fundraiser brings in). The session will talk about easy and free ways to market your program's concerts, fundraising events, etc. and will also touch on the topic of social media (since its free). 
Other ideas or suggestions for this one? They are all a work in progress....

Another one would be all my tricks and suggestions for running working with your percussion section. 
How do you get your percussion section to do that? 25 tips on how to improve your percussion section. 
My friend Mike suggested these topics:
the bare necessities for a fully functioning section
                             - percussion notation (is there a reason you're at the bottom?)
                            -resources for finding out answers to questions like "what is the proper technique for triangle"
          -what does a percussion section need from a conductor/director to succeed.  
-and cymbal felts will always disappear (there are some other things but these are like reeds or the socks that come out of the dryer and one always goes missing, thanks for the help Reno). 
And social media and education :)
Things like how to set up your facebook and concert advertsing? Twitter etc....
Thoughts everyone ? 

Oh were oh where has the thrifty band director been?

Oh where oh where has the thrifty band director been? Basketball games. Lots of basketball games.
Santa Teresa's Boys Basketball Team just started winning football games and all of a sudden I realized that they were playing in the CCS (league finals) so we took a band to Santa Clara University and had an amazing time!

So in one day I formed a pep band for the boys varsity basketball team (that's right folks we don't have to play basketball games so we haven't been....there isn't an expectation at STHS that we do so). I did when I first got there but then the coaches of both boys and girls basketball didn't really ever get back to me about playing games and then never asked. The boys team completely disrespected me in ways I won't publish online when I repeatedly asked them not to leave all of their trash outside my room during lunch. So I just stopped going and no one noticed. Its not like our band program is busy or anything.

But I digress. Here's us at the CCS Finals at Santa Clara University against Serra HS. This was only our second time in school history that we have ever even made it this far. The last time was 1991 and oddly enough we played Serra and they won. Let's just say that Serra (based on what their parents & alumni were saying to the ST folks) was completely convinced they would shut us out....

Here's the 20 piece pep band that I "hand selected" that I started calling the Elite 35. Yes notice those ties. We purchased them for $6.95 as a set for Jazz Band 3 but they look awesome with the Elite 35 (I struggle with the kids wearing them since they are "Auburn ties"). We purchased them from NeckTies, Inc. you can check them out at NeckTies.Inc. (
We have a pretty awesome and rowdy bunch of boys called the "6th Man" that attend all the games. My lovely student Dallas (in the orange face paint) is in 6th man so I pushed past security and got a quick pic with him. Since I'm standing down a row this picture makes me look a midget and him a giant!
And there's my sign. I'm not sure how this all came to be but apparently at some point I was complaining that no one ever makes me a sign or anything so Melissa my master sign/card maker/trumpet player/trombone player/drum major extraordinaire made this for me! What a nice surprise.

You may already know but you might be wondering....did we win the game?
Heck yes! Here's a video my friend Don Yellum (ST English teacher, alumi, & band groupee) shot.
The Final Seconds

Interested in seeing video of the band at the game? Our band's videographer Marty has some great videos on his youtube channel of us. Check it out Marty's You Tube Channel-mreinders

Then it was hosting the next game Tuesday night at 7pm at STHS to go against the San Francisco Section for a spot in the state California Interscholastic Federation Division 1 State Basketball Tournament. Our band expanded to the Elite 35 and we up-ed our game (and I played cymbals). Here's a few pics from that game.

Well we won that game too! Then it was go time. My friend Ben said to me my first year "Julie do not demonstrate competence. You will only be rewarded by more work". Boy was Ben right. Since I'm really functional and know how to get stuff done let's just say I assembled a small team and organized transportation, field trip forms, etc. for the team, the band, the cheerleaders, and 70 student fans & teachers to attend our next game at Sheldon HS in Sacramento. It was a lot of work but worth it. It was a super fun event. Sure, we did not win the game but hey, we made it to the Sweet 16 and for once, Santa Teresa HS came together to do something positive. In years full of tragedy it was nice to see us rally together. The band in particular had a great time playing back and forth with the Sheldon Band and their entire school were gracious hosts. It was the most fun I have had a high school sporting event probably ever...

And here's a pic of the band that night....The Elite 40 (give or take)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Thrifty Find of the Day

Everyday I park in the same place at work. My parking spot is right out by the trash compactor which means that every morning I see the pile of stuff that is up for grabs.

Today it was the one thing I have been looking for but refuse to purchase. The one thing for 8 years no one has had an "extra of" today I found a cart.

I sent Lauren (2nd period aide) on a mission to retrieve it. Tyler & Lauren cleaned it up and it looks great. We will give it a good home & it was free!

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