Marketing music education

I honestly never thought it would come to this.

If you had told me twenty or even ten years ago that I would have to actively fight to ensure my child access to the same music education I enjoyed, I would have thought you were Chicken Little.

Unbelievably, it’s become necessary to market music education to students, parents, administrators, school boards and policymakers. We need to “sell” them on music education.

“To sell well is to convince someone else to part with resources—
not to deprive that person, but to leave him better off in the end.”
—Daniel Pink, To Sell is Human

In marketing music education, we’re convincing students to part with their free time or to give up other activities. We ask them to devote energy to practice, rehearsals, and performance.

We’re convincing parents to part with cash, the time and gas to transport their child to lessons, rehearsals and performances; and furthermore, to assist the organization by volunteering and fundraising.

We’re convincing administrators to allocate time and the school board to allocate funding to music and arts classes during the school day.

We’re convincing policymakers at all levels that music education is not only worthwhile, but necessary. We’re communicating that music education prepares students not to become Grammy winning recording artists, but to be hardworking, productive, resourceful members of a cooperative society.

Luckily, there’s a lot of good news on the benefits of music education out there. The hard part is convincing people to take the attention and the time to share with this who need to hear it.

How can you sell music education today?

Social Media in Music Education: A Cautionary Tale

Last week, I came across this news story about a friendly, neighborhood band director. It seems he’s filling in this year for the school’s regular band director. According to the article, he “appears to have become active online while earning a music education degree at Eastern Illinois University. He graduated magna cum laude in 2012.”

A recent college grad. Active on social media. That’s not surprising. Seems like this band director gig, even if it’s temporary, is a good foot in the door for his budding career.

So what’s the problem?

This guy has a shoe fetish.

Who cares, right? I’m sure it doesn’t affect his work. What he does on his own personal time is irrelevant.


It’s not just ANY shoe fetish. He has a thing specifically for cheerleader shoes.

“I have many fetishes and I think that’s why I can’t stay away. I see a girl wearing cheer shoes, or I just see a sexy girl wearing any piece of clothing or shoes, that gets my blood boiling, and I’m drawn in. High heels, high heel boots, Keds, various athletic sneakers accompanied with leggins and great legs, and I’m hooked.”

uconn-cheerleader-kristen01And he works at a high school. Which, presumably, has a cheerleading squad.

Kind of a sticky situation, yes?

It wouldn’t be an issue at all, I suspect, except for the fact that he let it be known very WIDELY and PUBLICLY via social media that he’s into cheerleader shoes…in kind of a creepy way, if you ask this mom of two girls.

In his own defense, he wrote,

I post about stuff that turns me on. It aint hurting anybody, it’s funny to a lot of people (i.e. almost 450 followers), and I’ve met some cool people thru my Instagram/twitter journey. So, just bc somebody likes something that may seem weird or repulsive to you, don’t judge a book by its cover bc society tells you that you should.”

On the face of his statement, I agree.

On the other hand, he works with kids, some of whom may be sexy girls wearing cheer shoes. His Flickr profile page features sexy photos of women, including a closeup of—how shall I say this?—a woman’s décolletage.

It’s a hot mess. If you don’t believe me, check out the comments. Both sides have valid arguments.

But this didn’t have to happen at all.

Had he minded his own digital footprint, by using some common sense and self-editing, this never would have happened.

Pro tip: If you’re planning a career working with high school kids, it may not be the best idea to splash your sexual attraction to cheerleaders ALL over the internet.

Norwin Area Arts Council


I’ve been working on a side project for a few weeks, and today is a great day to introduce it to you. Over the past several weeks, I’ve been speaking with local artists and arts educators about coming together under the umbrella of a new organization: the Norwin Area Arts Council. My hope for this group is that what we create together will be even more powerful than what we can create separately. We can share ideas, resources, and inspiration, and we’ll work together to make our community an even better place to live. We hope to become a one-stop-shop for all things relating to the arts in the Norwin area.

You can find our website here, our Facebook page here, and you can email us at norwinarts (at) gmail (dot) com.

“The arts are the best insurance policy a city can take on itself.”
—Woody Dumas, former Mayor of Baton Rouge

Fun with Limericks OR How to Mortify Your Sixth Grader in 3 Easy Stanzas

My daughter stayed home with a bad cold yesterday. When I got up this morning, I remembered that we needed to send an excuse note to school with her. We got a little silly with it.

The first is by my husband, the second is mine, and the third is by her 8-year-old sister.

We added a “P.S.” for legitimacy.

Fun with limericks

I tried to get my sixth-grader to write one, but she wasn’t having it. She was mortified. I hope she at least turns it in!

My daughter Katie has been sick.
That’s why I’m writing this limerick.
She will be back today.
She is feeling OK,
And I assure you this is not a trick.

I’m writing this note for my daughter.
To school today, I have brought her.
She was filled up with snot,
She was coughing a lot,
So she stayed home and watched Harry Potter.

My sister Katie is sick.
I think it is all a big trick.
She watched Harry Potter
While sipping cold water,
And I want to hit her with a big stick.

Applebee’s Overnight Social Media Meltdown: A Photo Essay

Check out my response here.

R.L. Stollar //// Overturning Tables

Hell hath no fury like a Facebook scorned. In today’s digital age, most of us assume everyone understands this fact. But every now and again, people surprise us. An ever-increasing element of this reality is that the hounds of Reddit, the Twitter armies, and Facebook vigilantes are more than willing to remind people that we live in a publicized world. You can’t hide behind privacy statements or legal jargon or appeals to company policy to pacify an Internet mob. Once you cross the line of Internet etiquette, the people of the World Wide Web will hunt you down and do their best to ruin you forever.

Applebee’s apparently never took note of this. You’ve most likely heard about their most recent encounter with virality. But in case you’ve been living under a rock, here’s a brief summary:

A waitress at a St. Louis Applebee’s lost her job for…

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