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Organizing Your Information


As the new school year gears up it comes time to review the methods in which we as band directors gather and organize the massive amount of information needed to successfully get the year rolling. This can include anything from preparing for band camp and getting mailings out to verifying your inventory and instrument issuance, to name a few.

On my search to find that standard way in which directors organize this massive amount of information I have found that there is no standard. It seems that with each director comes his/her own unique way of staying organized which may include massive piles of papers on you desk or boxes of papers cluttering your office floor.

Here are a couple of the most popular ways directors around the nation use when it comes to organizing their information.

Do-It-As-It-Happens Method (Paper)

In this method directors keep folders, each with a different topic for the current season, in their desk and as the year progresses they contribute to the files with the information and handouts that have been gathered. As the director passes from, for instance, marching season to concert season then they move the marching folders out of the desk and into a cabinet and bring the concert season folders into their desk.

This method while not the most efficient works well if you want to ensure paper copies of all you information, but does require quite a bit of space. One positive that a few directors have mentioned is that throughout the year they will jot down little notes and put them into the respective folders so that the next time they visit that particular folder they have information for themselves such as, “don’t do that again” or “this worked really well.” So it can be a good way for evaluating your season as it happens. This process can require a lot of work due to the maintenance of several spreadsheets and programs.

Charms Music Office Assistant (Electronic)

Several band directors have found a relatively new system that amasses all of your information in an easy to navigate program. Charms Music Office is a internet based program which means that it is accessible from any computer that is connected to the internet and also allows for parents to access certain materials (such as handouts) from their own homes. Charms stores everything from names and addresses to uniform numbers and folder numbers and also allows you to keep track of student financial information such as student accounts and payments for trips. Charms even allows parents and students to make payments via the internet and allows for credit card transactions through PayPal. All of the student and parent features are available for free!

One very interesting component of Charms Office Assistant is that all student information is transferable to other schools. For instance, when an 8th grader graduates from middle school to high school the middle school director can simply transfer that students files to the high school and then the high school director will have up-to-date information on all incoming students. Charms also allows for you to track your inventory. Directors can print barcode tags that they attach to each uniform to ease issuance and collection. This is an excellent way to keep track of student information, your library catalog, practice charts, and other necessary information!

For More Information about Charms Office Assistant call (214) 556-1912 or visit