ABA: Evaluation––The Key to Success and Growth


As we begin another year of teaching music, whether we are on the practice field, in the general music classroom, or the choir room, we need to look at how we do our job.  Evaluation is a necessity in anything we do.  We need to constantly improve the job of teaching music.  Let me encourage you to stop and take a look at the process you go about to achieve your goals.  This is not something that comes naturally to some of us and very naturally to others.  We all have had students that fly by the seat of their pants but always seem to come out on top and those that plan when they breathe, and we appreciate both types of students and their abilities.  As educators we look at our students and evaluate their progress and set goals for them to achieve success.  But do we do this for ourselves?  It can be very difficult to find our shortcomings; places where we are weak and need improvement, but we must for our students.  To become better than we were before is a challenge we all must put before us.

As we start this school year, your ABA Board is working on an evaluation policy that will look at all aspects of ABA.  As an organization as large as ours, it can often become difficult to look at our policies and procedures as the leadership changes every two years.  We must write great policies that will stand through the changes in leadership to continue to move the Alabama Bandmasters into the future.  As a professional organization’s goal, we must ultimately grow as educators and allow our students to receive the best that the ABA has to offer.  As we begin to evaluate, I would like to encourage you to participate in surveys, evaluations, or events and even getting the app for the AMEA conference and rate the conference and clinics you attend.  Please remember the Alabama Bandmasters is an organization that serves its members and we can only do this through your input.  We must strive to improve and if we see policies and procedures that concern us we need to bring it to the attention of the ABA Board. Band directors are great with solutions. Let’s remember there may be more than one solution to any problem.

ABA Summer Conference 2017 was great and very well attended.  It helped that there was a tropical storm.   This year was also a first with joining ASBDA for their conference.  The ASBDA brought in Peter  Boonshaft, who was very motivational.  From the jazz clinics by James Crumb and Lloyd Jones to Smartmusic and Leigh Thomas with a marching band clinic and our own Becky Rodgers Warren with a music literacy clinic and Old Fogey series,  the conference was filled with something for everyone.  Also, the WGI winds clinic by Josh Walker hopefully planted a seed for something new for some of our members.  The conference closed with Southwind Drum Corps at Gulf Shores Middle School.  Hopefully, you were able to attend and get recharged.   The shrimp boil was a great success.  We would like to thank the sponsors:

  • Southern Performances––David Brannan
  • Mouchette Enterprises––Roland Mouchette
  • Group Travel Network––Justin Shuler and Dayna Brannan
  • Demoulin––Jeff Thurber and Frank Godfrey
  • AWB Apparel––Wayne Broom and Chester Bean
  • Art’s Music Shop––Mike Mason and Paul Freehling
  • Burns Tours––Margaret  Burns

The ABA would like to thank these sponsors for providing a great meal and event for our band family to come together and fellowship.

As I mentioned earlier, the ABA Board had a productive meeting.  We will be working toward the AMEA conference to develop a five year evaluation policy.  I am excited that we will be able to see how we are doing as an organization and profession and look at data to develop procedures to improve the organization.  Terry Ownby met with the Music Selection Committee and they were able to look at the All State Survey data.  We look forward to hearing from Terry about how they plan to move forward.  Terry is also working on the AMEA/ABA website with our new recording secretary Joel Henson to post the All State material in a better format.

Finally, become involved.  The AMEA and ABA provide great clinics and concerts.   In addition to those events, just to sit and talk with colleagues about how they would handle a situation is invaluable.  Why do we have to reinvent the wheel when our neighbor band director already has the plan?  Renew your NAfME membership and register for the AMEA Conference at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex.

Remember the board is here for you.  Do not hesitate to contact your chairman or vice-chairman or anyone on the ABA Board.  I hope we all have a great start to school and the best year of our careers.