One of many challenges of being a band, orchestra, choir or normal music instructor is the right way to handle every little thing within the classroom.
Conserving monitor of devices, uniforms, lockers, gear, funds, the music library, ensembles and a lot extra may be overwhelming. It’s so much for one particular person (or perhaps a employees) to course of.
Once I first began educating band, I used to be the assistant at Topeka Excessive College, the pinnacle director at Robinson Center College, and I additionally taught starting band at Meadows Elementary College. My co-director at the highschool had been educating for greater than 35 years and stored monitor of every little thing on sticky notes, observe playing cards and on papers in a number of binders and on quite a few clipboards. A lot paper! There was no recognized stock at any of the faculties for something.
Over the following a number of years, I buried myself in spreadsheets to attempt to carry some form of organizational construction to the band packages at my three colleges. With about 300 college students per day and nearly 200 devices to stock, plus uniforms and every little thing else, it was very time-consuming.
It was inconceivable to do the mandatory legwork through the college 12 months, so my husband, Kris Antonetti, and I labored within the buildings through the summer time when the air-con was not turned on. On the time, we solely had desktop computer systems — no laptops or tablets — so we began within the sizzling storage room, writing down instrument mannequin numbers and serial numbers on a yellow authorized pad. Then we went again to my workplace to enter this data on my pc. We spent hours doing this.
A few weeks after we had completed every little thing at my center college, our district IT employees “cloned” all the computer systems — that’s, they deleted every little thing to ensure that academics to have a “recent begin” in the beginning of the brand new college 12 months. Our stock data have been misplaced — I used to be devastated.
A Higher Approach
Kris stated, “There should be a greater approach to do that.”
Whereas music classroom administration software program packages can be found, the price is prohibitive due to the variety of ranges of subscriptions I would wish primarily based on educating at three colleges with about 10 totally different ensembles.
We brainstormed choices and determined to create an answer that was primarily based on the director, not colleges or variety of ensembles. That approach, administrators may take their subscription with them after they switched jobs.
Fortunately, Kris has a background in software program improvement. He may additionally relate to the scope of what was wanted as a result of he was a band child and performed trombone in school whereas getting levels in aerospace engineering and pc science.
We began with the issues I confronted after which gathered concepts from different administrators to see what was wanted most. Lots of our music schooling mates confronted comparable challenges of their school rooms. We wished to concentrate on the stock facet of group, so we began creating instrument and uniform administration in addition to the flexibility to verify this stuff out to college students and to prepare college students into ensembles.
Kris and I spent many afternoons on the public library, utilizing a workspace with wall-sized whiteboards to brainstorm the very best methods to implement our concepts — we made and color-coordinated lists, drew diagrams, designed circulate charts and extra.
We lastly procured a large whiteboard for our storage and continued our planning and designing from residence.
Assist from Our Community
We determined to name our new program BatonSync. We wished to maintain every little thing easy within the design, however we had no concept the right way to run a enterprise. The extra we talked to folks, the extra questions we had, and the extra we realized that we would have liked assist with what we didn’t know.
We met with Dave Gnojek, the affiliate design director at The College of Kansas’ Workplace of Public Affairs — and somebody I knew from the saxophone studio at KU — to assist us construct a model package deal with colours, a emblem and a normal concept of design and structure for our web site and advertising supplies.
We additionally met with lawyer Jade Brown, one other saxophone participant, to assist us with our enterprise paperwork, privateness coverage, phrases of use and logos. For assist with enterprise accounts and monetary teaching, we went to Scott Holloman, CPA, a mum or dad of a few of my former band college students.
Working with our community of connections and different native small companies was a necessary a part of our technique of constructing BatonSync.
Testing Part, Changes and Additions
BatonSync’s first stage stored monitor of devices, uniforms, ensembles and college students. At this level, this system was able to be examined, so we requested a number of of our mates who’re band, choir and normal music academics to strive it out.
This was a important time for us as a result of we obtained direct suggestions from administrators about what they wished in an organizational program. We added many new options primarily based on their ideas, equivalent to:
- Gear and locker monitoring
- A monetary part for journeys, charges, fundraising, vendor funds and extra
- Bulk including uniform parts
- Add templates for all inventories
- A music library for sheet music and digital music
- Notes and histories on particular person stock gadgets and college students
- Restore notes for devices
- Reporting in order that administrators can provide stock printouts to principals and constructing leaders
The feedback, opinions and recommendation we obtained throughout BatonSync’s beta stage have been invaluable.
The Way forward for BatonSync
We launched BatonSync in 2019. This system is easy and intuitive — no coaching is critical. Most customers simply have to learn the person information.
We wished to make this system reasonably priced. The present subscription worth of $20 every month ($240 a 12 months) is predicated on educating one personal lesson per 30 days. We plan so as to add a district subscription degree for bigger districts with centralized instrument inventories, music libraries and every little thing else.
At present, administrators in 15 states use BatonSync. We proceed to develop organically primarily based on the suggestions of administrators who use this system. Right here’s what some folks have stated about BatonSync (from our Fb web page):
Our purpose is to construct a neighborhood of administrators who use BatonSync and share concepts — please observe BatonSync on Fb, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. We plan to attend extra conferences and speaking to extra administrators about BatonSync.