Knowledge Bank

The Knowledge Bank is a library of helpful articles written by professional teachers, players and key people in music education. Browse through the headlines and read about their experiences.

You too, can now benefit from their success as they share their tricks of the trade!  
Perhaps you have something to contribute that may be helpful to other people. Tell us about it - it could be suitable for inclusion in our Knowledge Bank. We'll always be sure to acknowledge you as the author.

The Missing Millions
Hundreds of Items Missing
At Optimo we constantly work with high quality prestigious schools and universities that are keen to find where the 'Mi$$ing Million$' of instruments and equipment have gone from their Performing Arts/Music Department. These organisations usually start off in denial and yet are highly motivated to ensure that no ...
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Three Key Areas - a Must for Online Solutions
 by Yvonne Lang Get it Right - Up Front!
There are three key areas that you must get right when deciding which resource management program will provide the best solution to your needs. They are:
Hardware and Infrastructure - We all own computers, but that doesn't make us all computer hardware experts. ...
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Getting started is easier than you think!
How do I get my existing data into Optimo?
When we meet with the Heads of Department and key people who will be working with Optimo, we usually find one of two circumstances. Most often there is some sort of list of, usually in multiple spreadsheets with varying degrees of detail and ...
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How working smarter makes good cents!
Sharing the Work-Load
We all know the saying - 'Many Hands Make Light Work', and we would all agree that sharing the load makes the job easier and gets it done faster. However, the question of whether the job is done to our satisfaction can be a matter of diverse opinions.
Control Freaks
Frustration is often a result ...
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Standardisation, Consistency & Streamlining
What does that really mean and why?
The work of a music teacher can, over time, become very repetitious. It's kind-of natural that we continue to do the same tasks in the easiest and most familiar way. However this is not necessarily the most efficient way. By considering alternatives we may even find that it's also not the easiest way.
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Can Optimo work with our school Admin program?
Of course it can!
Schools, institutions and large organisation use specialised administration programs to enable them to run efficiently. The functions of these programs are focused on accounting, managint student information, plus a multitude of tasks relevant to the daily needs of the school.

They have a sophisticated level of access permissions and provide ...
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Performing Arts Library & Academic Library
Why they are so different and should be kept separate
by Yvonne Lang We all agree that the Performing Arts is an incredibly vibrant part of any school, college or university and as such, encompasses a unique set of talents. As professionals in our field we understand the intricacies of our  chosen profession. We also appreciate the variety of skill sets ...
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Repertoire Development Program
Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail. Don't leave it to chance!
This is based on what I called my ‘Repertoire Development Program’ when I ran my own music programs. When I had a music program that had multiple bands that required multiple conductors, each conductor was expected to develop a similar RDP which I oversaw to ensure that it ...
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Good Tuning or Good Intonation?
 "The first thing I do is tune the band!"
That's what most band directors do - but what does that mean? Everyone plays a Bb (that's not so good for the flutes, alto saxes, oboes, bassoons and a few others) and then we hear the Bb major scale.
That's what happened last week (or yesterday) and the week (day) ...
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The True Value of Competition
by Dr Tim Lautzenheiser
Why are you REALLY competing?
If you are in the game of COMPETITION to 'win a trophy', or 'come first', then you may find yourself sensing a great deal of frustration as you go through the process of preparation, production and performance, particularly if (after all that) you end up 'without a trophy' or without 'first ...
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Clarinet Reeds
How to care for them and how to improve their response
by Floyd Williams - Senior lecturer in clarinet at Queensland Conservatorium - Griffith University, Australia. Floyd is also the editor of 'Australian Clarinet and Saxophone'.

The purpose of this article is to provide some simple, but effective procedures that will make more reeds respond better and last longer. ...
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Single Reed Adjustment
Balancing the Tip of the Reed
by Jerry Nowak In order for the reed to vibrate well and 'speak' with an immediate response, the tip of the reed must be the same thickness from edge to edge. Any variations in thickness will inhibit a quick response and it may be stuffy when sustaining.

The following procedure should be followed during ...
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Target Practice
An article for Missouri School Magazine, August 2007
by Steve Williams, Fine Arts Consultant, Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, email:
When I was in high school, band was fun and I could get by without working too hard. In fact, in my junior year I didn't even play in a jazz band because at that time we ...
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"I cannot teach you music, I can only help you find it in your heart"
Some thoughts by Russell Hammond

In the early 80s, while on a conducting assignment to the United States I had the privilege of attending a performance by the New York String Quartet.

I sat in the front row of a rather intimate auditorium ...
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You're Re-creating Yourself!
A short observation from Russell Hammond

I work with a band from time to time the flute teacher (tutor) of which sits on a desk while teaching private lessons to students. Her feet are on a chair and her legs are crossed.

Guess what the flute players' posture is like - well it would be if ...
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Concepts - The Untapped Goldmine
by Russell Hammond
We've all got concepts - lots of them - and they can be a very useful teaching tool for music teachers and particularly for conductors of school groups such as orchestras, bands and jazz ensembles. The trouble is that most of us don't recognise their value and our concepts remain virtually unused. ...
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Scrambled Eggs
Part of a real conversation
On our first visit to a new school a little while ago, the Director of Music (DoM) said to us:
"When I came here 4 years ago the place was in a dreadful mess. I couldn’t find anything I wanted – not music, instruments or equipment – it reminded me of scrambled eggs. Four ...
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Careers in Music
What's the reality of a career in music?
Every year literally tens of thousands of young people begin to learn a musical instrument. Some start off just wanting to 'see what it's like', while others have developed quite a strong passion for music at an early age.

Some parents push their children very hard, insisting on long periods of ...
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Electronic Tuners are useful but
The Mis-Use of Electronic Tuning Device Electronic tuning devices (tuners) are only used by conductors (and teachers) that have no ears and seem intent on teaching their students to never use theirs. Electronic tuners are the main cause of bad intonation in your bands and orchestras ...
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