Getting Organized: Planning Your Year

William W. Gourley

Getting Organized: Planning Your Year

William W. Gourley


Check with principal/department head:

  • What is your teaching schedule?
  • Who sets the teaching schedule for the building?
  • Who schedules music calendar?
  • Who schedules facility use?

Budget procedure:

  • When is budget proposal due for the school year?
  • Who administers the budget?
  • What is your instructional budget?
  • Music
  • Association fees
  • Festival fees
  • Supplies
  • Instrument maintenance/repair
  • What is your capital outlay budget?
  • Instrument replacement
  • Instrument inventory expansion
  • Uniform replacement
  • Uniform inventory expansion
  • Electronic equipment
  • Tuners
  • Recording equipment
  • Hi Fi equipment
  • PA system for fiddle groups/jazz band
  • Is there a budget for textbooks?
  • Technique books
  • Chorale books
  • CDs
  • Instructional books
  • Fiddle club
  • Jazz ensemble
  • Is there a technology budget?
  • Computer software
  • Band camp budget
  • Instructors
  • Transportation

What are your specific duties?

  • Band camp – what are the logistics and budget?
  • Parades
  • Concerts
  • Festivals
  • Jazz band
  • School musical
  • Booster meetings
  • Fundraising
  • Trips
  • Special community functions
  • County/city fairs
  • Holiday events
  • Athletic events

Get a copy of the curriculum and read it
What are the procedures for revision?
Get a copy of the teacher handbook and read it
Get a copy of the student handbook and read it

What is the grading system?
What is the school testing schedule for the year? (MEAP, CAT, AP, etc.)

How are school repairs handled?

Is there a private lesson program?

Get keys for all areas in which you will work

What music company(ies) does the district use?
Who is their representative?
How are companies selected?
How do you request/make purchases?

Is there a schedule for new teacher meetings?

Write your Individual Development Plan

Put your name on the voice mail system

Check physical plant:

  • Instrument inventory & condition
  • Uniform inventory & condition
  • Music library

Introduce yourself to:

Secretary (can tell you the following) –
How much lead-time is needed to process applications, requests, etc.
Office supplies
How are money deposits handled from fundraisers?
Copying machines policies
School newsletter articles
Phone system operation
Get class lists and mailing labels if possible

Custodian –
How do you request facility use? (This may be handled through another office.)
Is your room used for other events throughout the year?
Preferences in cleaning your room
What security problems exist?

Athletic Director –
What events does the band perform?
Specific league rules regarding bands
How are athletic/music conflicts avoided or resolved?

Transportation Director –
How are busses and equipment van requested?
How many chaperones on the bus?

Facilities/Auditorium coordinator (if there is one) –
How is facility requested?
What are the policies for use?

Music Booster Officers –
What has their function been?
What fundraisers are there and who is in charge?
How is the collection of money handled?
Ask for volunteers to inventory instruments, uniforms and organize library

Mentor Teacher –
Set up a weekly meeting time.
Will he/she be available to observe your class?
Is it possible to visit other districts to observe successful instrumental instructors

Other Music Teachers in the Building or District –
What insights can they share regarding the program?
What is the general music schedule?
How can the music department coordinate more efficiently?

MSBOA District President –
Recommend retired directors in the area
Familiarize yourself with the rules in the MSBOA Yearbook

Private Teachers –
Create a list with phone numbers
Are they available during the day to conduct sectionals?

Music Company –
Discuss procedures
Establish recruiting and rental night for beginning band

Previous Director

Building Schedule/Calendar

  • Get a school wide calendar (HS, MS, EL and community ed.)
  • Has a music calendar been created?
  • Send a copy of your calendar to all administrators (AD) and churches
  • Be sure it is approved with the appropriate administrator

Order Supplies

Music, Reeds, Oil, Drum Sticks, Mallets, Grease, Rosin, Strings, Folders, Gloves, Plumes, Buttons, Flip Folders, Lyres, Drum Heads

Prepare Lesson/Shows

  • Assemble music folders
  • Write classroom procedures (be certain they conform to school policies)
  • Give a copy to your principal/supervisor for approval
  • Submit transportation requests for fall
  • Submit/confirm building/facility request forms for the year
  • Plan for musical (if applicable)

Prepare substitute teacher an in car packet

  • How are absences recorded?
  • Where do they find materials?
  • Lesson procedur
  • Seating/Attendance chart
  • Fire drill instructions
  • Tornado drill instructions
  • Emergency procedures
  • List two or three responsible students
  • Phone/intercom operation
  • Telephone number where you can be reached
  • Some kind of nonperformance lesson that relates to your class for the non-musician substitute
  • Video

Put a lesson on tape that you teach and can be presented

  • Classical music in cartoonsOpera in cartoons
  • Classical music in the movies
  • Comparing: musical periods and styles (jazz, rock and roll, hip hop, etc.)



  • Association Memberships (MSBOA, ASTA, MENC, etc.)
  • Marching Band Festival Entry
  • Notate deadlines for the year on your daily calendar

Recruiting beginners (if applicable):

  • Letters to all students in the fifth grade
  • Posters to elementary classes
  • Schedule recruiting concert
  • School newsletter article
  • Include beginning band information

Book band camp for next year (if applicable)

Secure chaperones for fall events

Announce auditions for local youth bands/orchestras

Plan for open house

Request professional days for music conferences

Prepare progress reports

Set up pep bands for fall (if needed)

Permission slips for marching festival (if required)

Send Band/Orchestra Newsletter:

  • Music booster meetings
  • Fundraising information
  • Fall concert information
  • Volunteers list
  • Events through November


Organize ensembles (if applicable):

  • Fall concert
  • Programs
  • Decorations
  • Recording
  • Ushers
  • Send a reminder letter to parents

Prepare marking period grades

Find accompanists for Solo & Ensemble Festival


  • Elementary/Middle School Workshop MSBOA
  • Middle Level String Clinics MSBOA
  • Register for “Survival Camp” MSBOA


Parent Teacher Conferences

Performance (if there is a fall musical)
Spring musical begin planning

Set up pep and for basketball games

Registration for Midwestern Conference

Pass out concert uniforms & turn in marching uniforms

Familiarize yourself with the solo & ensemble festival rules
Give a copy of S&E rules to students

Send Band/Orchestra Newsletter:

  • Solo & Ensemble
  • Winter/December Concert
  • Music booster updates
  • Events through February
  • Music booster meetings
  • School Newsletter Article
  • Concert review
  • Festival article
  • Beginning music classes
  • Students selected to youth groups
  • Band Days
  • Clinics
  • MSBOA Survival Camp


Progress reports due

Winter Concert:

  • Programs
  • Recording
  • Decorations
  • Ushers

Band & Orchestra Festival:

  • Begin filling out applications
  • Schedule clinicians for January and February for festival preparation

Prepare semester exam (if required)

December break:

  • Secure petty cash in the school safe
  • Store equipment

MSBOA Conducting Symposium


Familiarize yourself with Band & Orchestra Festival Rules
Double Check the required music list
Request busses and equipment truck for festivals (B&O and S&E)
Get chaperones for festivals
Permission slips for festivals (if required)
Order or borrow scores for festival

Check exam schedule
Semester grades due

Start budget for next year:

  • Uniform replacement
  • Instruments
  • Replacement
  • Maintenance
  • Percussion
  • Heads
  • Mallets
  • Music
  • Textbooks (technique books, chorale books)
  • Stands
  • Chairs

Solo & Ensemble:

  • Review rules
  • Give schedules to students and accompanists
  • Check students’ preparation

Send Band/Orchestra Newsletter:

  • Festival information (B&O and S&E)
  • Music booster information
  • Spring musical information (if applicable)
  • Events through April
  • Check State Solo & Ensemble Date for spring break conflicts

Prepare next years music calendar
Clear with administration & AD

MSBOA Music Technology Day
MSBOA Midwest Conference


Deadline generally one week after district festival
Give proficiency requirements and rules to students
Secure accompanists

Organize recruiting for spring (if applicable)
Announce summer music camps

Confirm next year’s calendar

Progress reports due

Pre-Festival Concert:

  • Programs
  • Recording
  • Decorations
  • Ushers
  • Include next year’s calendar as a handout

Register for summer degree classes

Order end of the year awards

Hire band camp staff

State Regional Jazz Festival entry deadline


Order medals/plaques after festival

Registration for State Band & Orchestra Festival (if applicable)
Usually one week after district festival
Order busses and equipment truck for state festival

State Solo & Ensemble Festival

Notification of Youth Arts Soloists and Honors Ensemble

Third marking period grades


Budgets are probably due by now

Send Band/Orchestra Newsletter:

  • Festival information
  • Awards night
  • Next year’s calendar
  • Band camp registration
  • Music booster information
  • Events through end of year

Order uniforms replacements
Order new instruments

Start to select music for next fall

State Band & Orchestra Festival


Supply orders may be due

Spring Concert:

  • Programs
  • Recording
  • Decorations
  • Ushers

Memorial Day Parade (if applicable)

Contact band camp to confirm details
Contact band camp staff to confirm details

Set up summer activities:

  • Lessons
  • Camp
  • Parades

Facility repair lists

Progress reports due
Prepare semester exam
Prepare graduation music

Collect concert uniforms
Collect outstanding debts

State Middle School Band & Orchestra Festival
Youth Arts Festival



Instrument inventory
Uniform inventory

Return borrowed music & scores

Clean and lubricate instruments and vacuum cases