Latest Posts

Episode 14: Band Handbook

In this episode we discuss the importance of having a handbook for your program and some of the things that make a handbook work.

Episode 13: Sax Tips – Part 3

The final episode in our series on saxophone.  I hope you enjoy it!


Episode 12: Saxophone Tips – Part 2

This is part 2 of the discussion between Dr. Todd Oxford and myself regarding tips for teaching saxophone.  I’ve decided to extend this recording into a part 3, so look for that next month.

Also, please send any questions for the Q&A episode to [email protected]

Saxophone Tips – Part 1

In this episode the incomparable Dr. Todd Oxford and I talk about some of the common tips and misconceptions involved in teaching young saxophonists.

Episode 10 – Starting a Job To Do List

Once you have a job, how do you get off to a great start? In this episode, I discuss a to do list for starting your new gig with a bang.

Once You Have the Job: a To-Do List



  1. Summer letter of contact (introduce yourself, fire-up the kids, etc.)
  2. Meet with supervising music teacher/principal
  3. Insurance and permission forms for students
  4. Handbook (trips, grading, parties, calendars, etc.)
  5. Scale sheets/Fundamental sheet music
  6. Teaching schedule (who meets when, team-teaching, etc.)
  7. Recruiting dates confirmed
  8. Supplies
  9. Necessary work orders (blanks and turn in dates if available)
  10. Budget information (keep detailed, organized records)
  11. Decorations in room
  12. Chairs and stands
  13. Beginner appointments set-up (if instrument assignment is applicable)
  14. Asessments
  15. Student assignments to correct classes/rosters
  16. Calendar approval
  17. Goals set for each grade level
  18. Select music for grades
  19. Warm-ups/daily drill & method books
  20. Instrument storage (if applicable)
  21. School instrument assignments
  22. Instrument back from summer repair (if applicable)
  23. Inventory checked
  24. Contacts with private lesson staff (if available)
  25. Student officer meeting
  26. Develop a seating chart (especially helpful for learning student names quickly)
  27. Jazz band, Drumline, Twirlers, Flags, Show Choir, any other ensemble with special needs
  28. Office in order
  29. Phone numbers/Email addresses
  30. Uniforms (Band shirts, concert uniform, marching uniform, $$, type, etc.)
  31. Know your IEPs
  32. Travel for Conventions (if applicable)
  33. Grading policies
  34. Attendance policies
  35. Meet with music store rep/owner (if there is one nearby)
  36. Fundraising

Mini-Episode 1: 3 Tips for Festivals/Contests

Welcome to our first mini-episode! In this quick talk I discuss 3 tips for both the concert stage and for the sight-reading room. I also hope to see many of you at TMEA this year. If you’re free, swing by the Texas State University booth in the exhibit hall on Friday between 1-2 or at college night from 5-6 and say hi!

Starting a Job – Part 2

Part 2 of our discussion regarding following a previous band director into a job.


As we mentioned, here are our email addresses:

[email protected]

[email protected]

Starting a Job – Part 1

We have all been there. You have a job, but students, administration, and parents keep talking about the last person who help the position. In this episode, Brian Weidner and I talk about how you can handle this all to common situation.

Intonation – Part 3

Jordan and I tackle the joys of technology, discuss ways to teach your kids good intonation, and wrap up this series on intonation.


3 Note Chorales
Part Assignments (combination 1)

Part 1
Flute/Oboe/1st Clarinet/1st Trumpet
Part 2
2nd-3rd Clarinet/2nd-3rd Trumpet/1st Horn/1st Alto Sax
Part 3
2nd Alto Sax/2nd Horn/Tenor Sax/1st Trombone/1st Euphonium/Bassoon
Part 4
2nd-3rd Trombone/2nd Euphonium/Tuba/Bari Sax/Bass Clarinet

Combination 2

Part 1
Flute/1st Trumpet/Clarinet
Part 2
Oboe/2nd Trumpet/Horn/Alto Sax
Part 3
Trombone/Bassoon/Tenor Sax
Part 4
Euphonium/Bari Sax/Bass Clarinet

Intonation – Part 2

So now that we’ve discussed some of the causes behind poor intonation, how do we help our students build good intonation habits?  In the second part of this series Jordan Stern and I discuss some of the strategies to teach intonation conceptually.  Keep in mind, listeners, that learning to play in tune is a combination of both understanding what it means to hear bad intonation and how to make pitch adjustments on their instruments.  For instance, students need to be taught to hear the acoustical beating between mismatched pitches (check out the podcast for some approaches to this).  Once they have the ability to hear the difference, then the student also need to learn how to properly adjust instrument pitch, which varies on each instrument.  We also discuss so problem areas for achieving pitch consciousness with your students.

Below are some materials Jordan and I reference across this series. I have included some links below to some of these items.  As a disclaimer, I receive a small credit if you purchase the items through the links provided.

Tuning for Wind Instruments

Tuning for Wind Instruments is a great resource for developing intonation and pitch consciousness in your band.  It covers the origins of intonation concerns and provided practical tips for fixing them.

Tuning the Band
Tuning the Band is a quick reference guide for pitch tendencies and idea tuning notes.  For the band director in a hurry, this may be helpful.  I tend to think of the book as analogous to a fingering chart.  I don’t need it all the time, but when I do it is crucial that it be easy to use in a hurry.

Improving Intonation in Band and Orchestra is another great resource.  This book contains not only a thorough discussing of intonation, but offers several practical resources, such as individual tuning tendency charts, for director use.

Yamaha Harmony Director

Finally, we will be discussing the Yamaha Harmony Director in a later episode, but I wanted to provide a link here in case you are either unfamiliar or in the market for one.

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