Sunday, July 15, 2012

Help! I need money! What do I do for fundraisers?

Just today a new band director friend asked an important question on the Band Director's Facebook group. Help! I got a new job but I need to make some funds to buy new music, equipment, etc. What do I do?

What do you do? First off I would get in there and get that place cleaned up so you know what you have and what you need! You also need to get cleaned up and organized so you have a space that is yours to make music in with you students (which is the most important thing)

Next you should start making a short term and long term list of what you need (and you will keep adding to and modifying this list). What is daunting about this process is how BIG the number is going to be that you need to fundraise AND how much stuff you probably really do need. Do not panic! That is not the purpose of this exercise!

You need to know what you need and in what priority order because as you build a program you may actually start receiving donations and offers to purchase items. If you don't know what you need you don't know what to ask for. If you don't ask for things how are folks to know what you need? The easiest way to ask is on your website or band facebook group. Post your list of immediate needs. Donations are accepted by the items needed or by financial donations. Its great when you start receiving items and can start thanking individuals or the community for their gracious donations.

This just recently happened to me. After starting my ninth year at my job it became apparent that one of the items on my "long term wish list" were new sousaphones. After nine years and even purchasing some used ones it was time to replace them. So what did I do? I started asking for donations. And you know what happened? People started donating. Some individuals got their employer to match the donation. And even a few community members without students in our program started to offer their support. Some donations were $25 and some were for an entire instrument. We did NO extra fundraising but simply continuing to ask. Then we put a little bit of work into our "used" instruments and are going to sell those to finish funding the project. Done. My sousaphones will be off my long term list and purchased by next year :)

After you have your list comes the hard part. Determining your budget. I believe firmly in having a budget. You can not walk blindly in the world of band funding. Fundraising can get very overwhelming and stressful if aren't careful so knowing what you need in terms of funding is very important. What I do is set my band calendar for the year and then build my budget around that. Where are we going as a program (literally) and what funds do we need to that. I work closely with my booster treasurer and every year it gets easier and easier because we can work off previous years experiences. We even budget in scholarship amounts for our band activities for our less fortunate students etc.

Next my boosters and I put together a fundraising calendar and budget. Knowing how much money is going to go out determines how much money needs to come in. We schedule all of our fundraisers on our calendar and start looking for volunteers to assist in coordinating them. Some are smaller and are designed for students to individually benefit more on them (we have a general fund and band account system meaning some fundraising goes towards the general fund and some towards individual students to go towards jazz trips or marching band expenses etc. Some fundraisers are a split between the two, that's just how we do it....) We also do a fundraising budget so we know what we are going to spend because some of our fundraisers do initially cost us a little.

FYI for every fundraiser we have a fundraising form that our booster board approves that outlines the anticipated expenses, time line, profit, volunteer needs etc. This form is very hand as once my board approves the fundraiser it can then easily get ASB and administrative approval.

So what do we do? Well here's an idea of what we do:

Car washes (4-5 per summer). Parents & students can work. Benefits student accounts. We do these in a "green way" to meet city code.

San Francisco Giants Concessions & Shoreline Ampitheater Concessions (many organizations allow non-profits to get their volunteers trained and work at concession stands at events, concerts, or sporting events)

Fall Fundraisers:
Apple Gift Card Fundraiser, BBQ Dinner & Jazz Concert Event OR Spaghetti Dinner
Car Washes
Coupon Book Sales (County wide coupon books with a custom cover featuring our bands, sells for $20 we make $13.50 profit per book, last year we profited $6,000)
**Ongoing items sales. We sell the items listed below at our football games**

Winter Fundraisers:
We Care Coffee Sales. I can't recommend this company enough. They do OUTSTANDING work and are huge music education advocates. They have top notch product, great profit and are WONDERFUL to work with.

See's Candy Holiday Sales

Spring Fundraisers
Gourmet Apples:
Debrito apples has a fundraising program. They are local to us but there may be other similar companies near you that have a gourmet, unique product that no one else is selling that you might be able to sell

The Play A Thon
Host a big event! Ours this year was our Play A Thon. I blogged about this event in previous blogs. Basically we played music from 8am-12pm (each of my ensembles played during their classes, some local bands played in the afternoon, the junior high groups performed, and then we did a marathon concert in the evening). We had a raffle for the public in which you could buy tickets to win items donated. Students went out in "pledge party groups" to canvas our neighborhoods and solicit donations and advertise the event. We had prizes for the students who collected the most donations and students also earned drawing tickets for the prize drawing for the many items we had donated for prizes for the students. We fed all the kids dinner and the students signed up for jobs like stage crew. The students did the decorations and served on all the committees for the event. Our first event made nearly $10,000!

Valentine's & Easter See's Candy

Mixed Bag
We sold these items this spring to benefit the students individual accounts. Many folks really like this fundraiser.

Ongoing Fundraisers:
(we often sell these at football games, school events, concerts etc)
-Store fundraising cards (Save Mart, Raley's etc.) present the card at purchase you get a percentage
-Chico Bags (we bought these in bulk, our school color with our school logo on them)
-School sweatshirts (nice sweatshirts with our school name, some say band some say not)
-Bi-monthly Dine Outs (pairing with restaurants for a night at their restaurant in which our program receives a portion of the profits from that nights purchases)

This is an example of what we do in my program but it won't work for everyone. The biggest thing I would say is that you have to find fundraisers that are WORTH THE TIME that is invested in planning them and participating in them. You will burn out your students and community if all you do is sell things. You also don't want to do too many fundraisers back to back or you will burn out your students and parents. I don't require everyone to participate in all of them but my entire program participates in the Coupon Book Sale and the Play A Thon. Try to find fundraisers that interest your students and can benefit your community. Sell products (like coffee) that people use. Ask parents to help run fundraisers so you aren't always doing it yourselves. 

Make a plan, find a few things to do. Find ways to motivate your students to participate :) Talk about the fundraiser every day while you are doing it. Post how your fundraiser is doing in the classroom, talk it up on email to the parents but keep it "visible" while you are doing it so that you can increase success! Then tell everyone about how well it did and what you were able to do with those funds to build motivation.

Happy Fundraising!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Summer Time Plotting & Scheming

Summer is my favorite season of the year. Always has been. I don't like the cold. I don't like wet. I like warm and I like vacation and summer activities. It usually takes me a few weeks to decompress for the charade that is the end of the school year. Once the dust settles I usually starting thinking about all the things I should do during the summer to get ready for the school that I have all this time on my hands. I also have a bit of a workaholic mentality so its hard for me not to work all the time but I do need to take some down time to prevent massive burnout in the summer. With summer camp now over and my vacation to Seattle over I came up with an idea....

I get overwhelmed thinking about all the things I should to get prepped for the next year that I need to narrow it down to the top 5 things I could do this summer that would really help me get through next year:

#1-Finish organizing my music library

#2-Learn how to use noteflight so I can teach/use it next year

#3-Pick music for next year

#4-Write lesson plan outlines for the first 6-8 weeks of schools

#5-Finish fall materials (syllabus, 2012-13 budget, marching band field trip forms etc)

Tomorrow I launch into....the music library :)

Monday, June 25, 2012

On a musical high

My friend Emily said tonight that I am on a "musical high" and I think she is right. For me one of the most exciting things about music to me is new music. I love hearing newer music (not that I am hater towards old music) but I am so enamored with the compositional process and composers in general that it would be natural that I would be so fascinated by compositions in general. Tonight I unexpectedly had my world rocked. I attend the Silicon Valley Music Festival. It was a free concert of new music composed in the last 50 years and included some truly wonderful works. I found out about the concert via facebook from my friend Jason McChristian who is a composer here in San Jose. We have had the pleasure of working together at the Summer in the City Music Camp that I co-direct the past couple of summers. While we have not formally started working together outside of the camp, I had the opportunity to hear a composition he wrote for brass quintet performed by the Nautilus Brass Quintet at our summer camp last week. Jason also wrote a delightful composition for our double reed ensemble.

What a treat it was to hear his work for solo flute entitled "dashed a tone of light rose." After hearing so much of his music lately I am so excited to begin working with him and bringing in a true composer in residence into my music program. It reminds me of the days of the "Contemporary Music Project" one of my favorite projects in music education's history and if I had unlimited resources it would be one of the things I would bring back to music classrooms across America.

But I of the things that I was told at the MSU Symposium (see my blog, a week in review) was that I needed to go just sit and listen to fantastic music and experience what is going on in the vibrant community that I live in. Between the MSU Sympsosium, the work we did last week with the Nautilus Brass Quintet at our Summer in the City Music Camp, and from the conversations that I had with campers was the importance of chamber music.

So I went to a new music concert that included solo and small chamber works. And it rocked my world. Not only was experiencing Jason's piece amazing and exciting BUT I found a new composer whose music was epic. His name is Andy Akiho and they performed his pieces Murasaki (Purple) and Kirro (Yellow). On Murasaki he performed on "steel pan" (one steel drum). I was skeptical when I saw it listed in the program but it was no joke. He is playing with the 4 mallet Stevens grip and he makes that pan sound like a hybrid between harp, celeste, and muted piano. It was a sound like none other and I was memorized.

His final piece....modern and hip. I love music that is fresh and new to my ears. Music that makes me think. Music that combines modern sounds. This concert was simply outstanding. I made some connections with some folks running the festival and have some big ideas for summer music experiences next summer and look forward to seeing if I can work them out for the students as I think there could be a great collaboration between Summer in the City and the Silicon Valley Music Festival. If you are local and you get a chance please consider going out and supporting them. If you aren't local then the performances are being recorded and will be video cast. To Ray Furuta, the student from Independence High School who is out in New York studying and on the way to making it big...what an amazing gift this music festival is to the community you came from. Thank-you for sharing your music and your friends with us!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

A Week in Review

It has been pointed out to me by a few readers (which it still shocks me that I have readers) that I have been absent. Every so often you have "one of those school years" where things get more overwhelming than usual. For me I felt like one afternoon I looked up from my desk and it was summer break.

So here I am ending my second week of summer vacation and I find myself at a conducting symposium at Michigan State University. This is my first symposium and it was definitely time to tackle my fear and in the words of one of the symposium clinicians "jump off the deep end". And so I did.

I was nervous. When I get nervous and I mean really nervous my confidence goes out the window. It starts to affect my psyche and then causes me to not be my best self. Day 1 I was a mess. I couldn't keep my head on enough to really even start the piece.

Thank God I got my head back on after that. Part of that is the genuine spirit of the folks running the symposium. For the first time in a long time they truly got the best out of me. It wasn't easy but I was in a supportive place to experiment, start to break bad habits and truly start to take my conducting to the next level.

And there is a clear symbiotic relationship between these changes I am making in my conducting and it's impact on my students music making. I need to let them go and have them be responsible for their music making. That equates to less is more in my conducting. I can't make them play more in time by beating a bigger pattern. If they can't play in time then I need to be their musical coach (like a chamber music coach, which was a big philosophical idea of music making this week) and coach them on how to play more in time. I need to be facilitating their musical selves.

So I am excited to take a step back and re-work my conducting fundamentals this year. In doing do its time to continue focus more on my physical health and deal with my shoulder problems.

I then will be making a shift in the philosophy of music making in my classroom this coming year. Evolving my philosophies. In many ways reflecting on nine years of teaching and what our next journey will be. It's a pretty neat place to be.

How is it thrifty? Because practice is free. Taking the time to focus on my conducting basics requires time, mirror & baton. Sure I came to a fancy symposium but I don't need to go home & get expensive conducting lessons or some fancy method book for my kids.

What my program needs is for me to carve more time for the most important things. I am going to simply see more music, surround myself with more musical experiences and bring that to the classroom.

And this is the most excited I have been to try new things and develop my personal musical self since I left grad school.

Thanks Michigan State for a great time. You got me to jump in the deep end, rethink my priorities in my life & will change my students in ways I had not imagined.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Part time elementary music gig Job Posting

The Indigo Band, STHS Playathon March 2012
Wow I sure have been absent from the blogging this year....I must have been busy being a thrifty band director this school year or something (hahahaha). Well summer is here which means I will be back at the blogging thing. Today I am using the blog to share information. Feel free to share with folks you might know who might be interested.

As you may or may not know I took on ANOTHER gig this year in addition to being the Director of Bands at Santa Teresa HS AND the Summer in the City Camp Director at San Jose State University. My other gig is being the band director to 17 charming beginning band students at the Indigo Program, a K-8 school of choice in my elementary feeder district just blocks from my campus at STHS.

And it has been amazing year! But enough about me...the title of this blog says "part time elementary music gig job posting".

Indigo is a rare school in many ways. The school and the PTA believe in offering music and art to the students and pay for this. So we are looking for someone to teach K-5 music. You only see the students once a week and you are paid hourly (one rate for credential one rate for non-credentialed). You have a classroom and LOTS of supplies (Orff instruments, drums etc). You are supported for your creativity and flexibility. The program has TONS of room for growth. We are looking for someone to be a team player in our positive discipline/whole child curriculum model (which for me has truly been a joy to embrace) and I have loved every minute of working with these teachers and students. We do want someone to bring structured curriculum with the use of our Orff instruments, singing, teaching of basic music skills (music notation etc). Below is the info I received from the school site. If you know someone who lives in the South Bay Area who might be interested in the gig forward this to them. If you are interested CONTACT ME!!!

We are looking for someone to teach 9 classes from kinder to fifth at 5 ¾ hours per week of direct instruction.  Each class gets 30 minutes of prep time to set up and take down.  Non-credential rate is $25 per hour credential rate is $42 per hour.  Hours will between 8:30 AM and 11:50 AM.
Music Vision Statement
Music at Indigo will provide your student with a variety of constructivist experiences including exposure to different rhythm instruments, movement, music styles and cultures.  The Orff method of music instruction is our primary methodology. This is integrated with classroom instruction using whole, small, and cooperative learning groups.  Students are encouraged to support each other in their effort to explore and create in a student lead, teacher supported environment.  Your child is encouraged to participate in public, community performances.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Music at last!

My most recent post was about my music selection process. For some reason this concert set has taken a lot of time and energy out of me. I have been hard at work on picking music for all three of my concert bands and our Hawaii band for the last week. I have probably spent 2-3+ hours a day on this project. Finally on Friday I got out the post it notes and started putting potential songs up on the wall. Yesterday and today I started to narrow it down and today I have spent most of my time narrowing down the selections. The good news (besides being very close to being done) is that I found a TON of great music to use for other future concerts (including the end of this year). While I still may switch things up, the post it notes have come off the wall in my apartment and will make their way back to work to live on the wall in my office. Tomorrow music will get what we are playing you ask....well here it is!

Listed next to each selection is its JW Pepper number if you want to look it up (ok for most of them I got lazy and didn't post the stuff I already own). I have selected multiple numbers for some of the ensembles because I plan on mixing up their set between our Play-A-Thon concert (or in the case of the wind ensemble the Chabot Band Festival) and our CMEA performance at the end of the month.

Concert Band:
Where the Sun Breaks Through the Mist, Michael Sweeney 10015777
April, Aaron Perrine 10052173
Urban Scenes, Andrew Boysen 2382992
**An American Fanfare** (not sure when I will use it for sure) Rick Kirby 10072345

Symphonic Band
Joie De Vivre, Gary Gilroy 10276523
Expression, Craig Andrew Fitzpatrick 10279436
Motion, Brian Balmages 10008950
**Nevermore, Brian Balmages (don't know if I am going to use this for SB or CB and where I'll use it in the set and when we will perform but I'm buying it for sure) 10279442

Wind Ensemble
Shine Mike Markowski 10191910
Elegy, James Barnes Chance AND/OR Silence Overwhelmed Brian Balmages
Symphony No. 4 Andy Boysen
Always With Grace Gary Gilroy 10276499 (again don't know where this is going in the set)

Hawaii Band 2012 (I won't know how much of this we are doing until I time the pieces and also start rehearsing the group but here's what's on the list right now. You will see some cross over from the above list AND we are bringing back a few things from earlier this year from different ensembles)
An American Fanfare
Jungle Dance, Brian Blamages
Joie De Vivre
Temple of the Murals, Brian Balmages
The Beatles Love, arr. Bocook 10052948 (music from the Cirque du Solei show)
Always with Grace
Trombone Tiger Rag, arr. Chris Sharp 10279423
And a slow piece to be determine....

So there's my week's work summed up in a blog. I still need to tweak the Hawaii set list. Next up ordering some music for Jazz Band 3 & 2, picking clarinet choir and flute choir music and trying to make a dent in my to do list before returning back to work on Tuesday....and trying to enjoy the end of my vacation still a little. This little band director is going to get back to reading my book now "The Girl Who Played with Fire" :)

PS Stay tuned more often this year as one of my New Year's Resolutions is to blog more :)