Wanted: Dead or Alive
Featuring music from "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly," Bon Jovi, and Luke McMillan.
We are telling a classic spaghetti western story, a bank robbery and the hunt for the criminals!
I'm going through the process of converting some negatives from the Eastland County Museum Archives. These are all school photos from the Dabney Photography Studio collection. They are really interesting photos and I have no context for them. Please let me know if you can help me identify the people in these photos or the year. There will be more of these to come in the future!
I've had a few people asking about the "Homemade Instrument" contest rules/rubric/lesson plan. I'm taking this opportunity to share it.
Basic Idea - Summary
Students make homemade instruments and submit a 1 minute or less video of themselves demonstrating that instrument. I was not more specific about the rules, but I did provide a basic rubric.
Instructions to Students
I provided a video to my students and the following instructions on Google Classroom (where I also provided a google form for turning in projects):
This is an optional assignment that is a contest.
1. Make a homemade instrument. There are several links attached with examples.
2. Record a video, (less than one minute) of you introducing and performing on your instrument.
3. Submit the video using the form below by Thursday April 2nd.
4. Your performances will be shared in a YouTube concert scheduled for 7:00PM on Sunday April 5th.
5. A group of 3 judges will use the attached rubric to score and rank the submissions.
6. 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place will receive a prizes. (they will be gift cards to restaurants that are serving takeout / delivery)
I made this project optional for the benefit of my introverts. I also didn't really want 79 submissions. This is a crazy time and I wanted this to not be stressful for the students and myself. I provided an alternative listening assignment and the vast majority decided to do that. I'm honestly fine with that. I did have a majority of my students watch the finished product and encourage their peers.
Examples - links
I shared the following examples with my students:
I thought it would be really neat to have guest judges that could encourage my students. I picked people of significance to the program - a former student teacher, our show writer, and a composer that we collaborated with (Grant Shane, Luke McMillan, and Willy Owens respectively).
I compiled and sent them these submissions ad had them send back a ranking and a short video encouragement. There were amazing!
Winners and Prizes
Local businesses are very generous to our band boosters. We thought it would be good to send just a little of that money back during this very rough time. 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners received gift cards to some of those businesses.
I took the rankings and totaled them deciding winners based on lowest totals.
Trailer and Youtube Premieres
We did a Youtube Premiere. Basically, it allows you to air a video on youtube as though it were a live event and people can tune in and comment live. This made the whole contest seem like an event and it was so encouraging to see my students and community commenting live as surprise judges and winners were revealed. I highly encourage you to check out this feature.
I also created a trailer with the time of the premiere and a link to where they could find the link (this blog!)
Editing and final product
I edit with Adobe Premiere Pro and I do a lot of fancy tricks that I've been learning to do for over a decade. All of that "polish" is pretty unnecessary. Just having the clips put together in order will get the job done and you can do that with any video editor.
I recorded introductions, titles, and put all of the clips in order. This took a long time, prepare to edit for a long time, especially if this is new to you.
After I finished editing I send the link through text messages, Facebook, and Google Classroom. At 7:00PM on April 5th we had a premiere. It was very encouraging to see the students commenting and getting excited.
Have questions? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Eastland Band is doing a homemade instrument contest this week. There will be a link provided here sometime Sunday afternoon for the 7:00PM Sunday premier!
Here is the link:
So, there has been this slide projector reel that has been sitting in the band hall for about 20 years. I took some time this extended break to scan all the slides and it was worth it!
If you were in the band in these years, please comment and tell me your stories!
Click in the Gallery Below to View the Image
This post is intended for a group of North Texas Students in Mrs. Tucker's Class. Anyone can read it, but that might clarify this post to any of my confused students that stumble upon it.
Hello all of you displaced college students. The world is looking a little strange isn't it? We'll it's my privileged to try and distract you with a little optimism and share a little about my job with you.
My name is Stephen Cox and I am the director of bands for Eastland High School in Eastland, TX. It is a really amazing place and an amazing job. I'd like to tell you about it and share the few things I have learned in the last decade of teaching. With any luck I can save you some of my mistakes.
As a quick aside, I don't have this all figured out yet. I completely change what I am doing every semester. I know I have a lot to learn and I'm okay with that. Once you have it "all figured out" that's when you stagnate. So, take from this what you can, but not everything works for everybody.
In order for you to get to know a little about the Eastland Band, I'm going to share two videos.
This last January I was privileged to be selected as a Grammy Music Educator Award Finalist. These are two of the video submissions that describe a little about our program and students here at Eastland:
Small School Vs big School
When I was in college I was convinced that I wanted to teach in a big school. The bigger the better. I grew up in a 3A school and saw the amount of responsibilities vs the amount of resources and decided I wanted nothing to do with that.
Those eventually became the reason's I wanted to teach in a small school. What a challenge right?
As a small school director I have the following advantages:
1. My commute is 2 minutes.
2. I get to work with students 6th grade through 12th grade.
3. My program is an integral part of the community. Everyone in my town is directly connected to the band program in some way.
4. My students are every bit as good as the students anywhere else.
Yes the staffing and resources look different. The pay is less (though when you factor in cost of living not much less) and there is a lack of access to private lessons and certain services. However, there are challenges in every situation and these are just ours.
I recently presented about small schools at the Texas Bandmasters Association. I asked a number of people around the state to share something they like about their small school. this is the resulting video:
Big Picture Advice
1. The students are people. So are you...
Figuring out the mechanics of making good music it very hard. In the end it boils down to playing in tune, playing in time, and playing with emotion. While quite challenging, this is the easy part of being a music teacher.
The hard part is doing all of that while guiding developing minds through adolescence. You will have students of different races, socioeconomic backgrounds, a religious backgrounds, and students with disabilities. There are also students who a) are being forced to be there by their parents or b) had to beg their parents to support them being there.
Navigating this enormous mix of values, goals, and (let's face it) teenage hormones, is no easy task. I would argue that motivation and discipline are the most important factors for individual success. If the students are motivated they will learn no matter how good the teacher is and discipline will push them through the many times that motivation waivers.
Teaching self sacrifice, leadership, and teamwork are a massive challenge. I would spend a great deal of my time focusing on these ideas before I got in the classroom!
Seek to understand your students, let them know you care, explain the logic behind your decisions, and let your true self shine though. That's the best start I can suggest.
2. Get out of the band (choir, orchestra, elementary) room and into the community.
Find places that you will encounter a new audience. Go to nursing homes, city parks, and civic events. Get those kids in front of an audience and watch the student's and community pride grow.
3. There are no rules (I mean there are, but not as many as you think).
Please go for the crazy ideas you have. I had so many ideas when I started teaching. Many of them turned out to be bad, admittedly. However, all of the things I tried changed the way I taught for the better. Please experiment.
4. Finally, please go learn from all the really smart people out there.
Go to the internet and just search every question you have. It's so easy now! There is so much for learning how to teach. You could spend days watching rehearsals on youtube. Please, just go do it. Don't wait. I still do this anytime I'm having trouble. STEAL STEAL STEAL teaching ideas, that's how the craft has flourished and grown.
Bonus: Have some fun.
Here is a little something we do for our students every year. It's targeted for our 6th graders, but every student in the band program looks forward to it:
I'd love to get your questions in the comments below. I'd be happy to give you whatever advice I can! Good luck.
We'd like to extend a big congratulations to Pete Jameson and Joshua Karki on an excellent all-state concert this February in San Antonio, TX.
Joshua Karki received all-state honors after a number of auditions starting with regionals in Graham, TX last December and then Area in Argyle, TX in January. This highly competitive contest consists of performing scales and musical etudes intended to challenge the strongest students musicians in Texas. This was Joshua's third consecutive year to make the ATSSB All-state band as a clarinetist. Joshua will be graduating in May.
Pete Jameson is an alto saxophonist and junior at Eastland. He qualified for the ATSSB all state jazz band after competing at regionals in September and recording a state audition at that event after the announcement of results. Only two alto saxophnist in class 1A-4A are accepted into the ATSSB all-state jazz band. This is his first time to make the all-state band. Pete studies weekly with Dr. Andrew Stonerock at Tarleton State University.
The students who make the all-state band perform a concert at the Henry B. Gonzales Convention Center in San Antonio, TX at the Texas Music Educators Association yearly convention.
Left to Right: Front Row:Braydon Sparkman, Kiya Hernandez, Meleny Rojas, Leslie Palacios, Catherine Hernandez, Taylor Clark, Braeden McDonald, Hallie Hagan Back Rows: Daniela Coyote, Joseph Trent, Selena Rubio, Lance Tinkle, Colton Henry, Ariel Hernandez, Trenton West, Heath Slavens, Joshua Karki, Laisha Marentes, Pete Jameson, Macey Fortenberry, Bryson Lear, Joel Hernandez, Justice Dove, Ryan Jameson, David Smith, Randa Light
The Eastland Band had great success at Regional Solo and Ensemble Contest on Saturday February 8th. Every Eastland student that attended the contest left with a 1st division rating. The contest consist of high school and college level musical selections. Eastland had multiple soloist on many different instruments as well as a percussion ensemble under the direction of Juan Hernandez and three woodwind ensembles.
In total the Eastland Band students left with 28 first division medals with 22 students advancing to State Solo and Ensemble Contest which will happen on June 1st in Pflugerville, TX.
The ATSSB Region 7 Jazz Concert will be at the Majestic Theatre this Saturday, February 1st at 4:00PM. Two bands made up of the best area high school musicians will come to Eastland for two days of rehearsals before performing this concert. The bands will be directed by Mike Rogers of Abilene Christian University and Stephen Goacher of Howard Payne University. the Abilene Christian University band will also perform following the student groups.
The concert is open to the public and everyone is welcome to attend! This will be the second year that Eastland has hosted this event in recent history. The event was also held here in the 1980's when the band was under the direction of Phil and Joyce Hewitt.
This past weekend 19 students from Eastland High School performed in the All-region Concert at Tarleton State University in Stephenville, TX. These students earned a spot in the band through head to head competition with other 1a - 4a students in the surrounding area.