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National Teacher Appreciation Day – May 8, 2012

History of National Teacher Day

The origins of National Teacher Day are murky. Around 1944 Arkansas teacher Mattye Whyte Woodridge began corresponding with political and education leaders about the need for a national day to honor teachers. Woodridge wrote to Eleanor Roosevelt, who in 1953 persuaded the 81st Congress to proclaim a National Teacher Day.

NEA, along with its Kansas and Indiana state affiliates and the Dodge City (Kan.) Local, lobbied Congress to create a national day to celebrate teachers. Congress declared March 7, 1980 as National Teacher Day for that year only.

NEA and its affiliates continued to observe National Teacher Day in March until 1985, when the NEA Representative Assembly voted to change the event to Tuesday of the first full week of May.

Source: National Education Association

National Teacher Appreciation Day this year is May 8, 2012 and some of you may be looking for just the right gift for your child’s music teacher. Here are a few of my suggestions:

A Band Director's Guide to Everything Tuba - Andrew Hitz

A  tuba education blog would be remiss not to include a book about tubas for the band director:  “A Band Director’s Guide to Everything Tuba: A Collection of Interviews with the Experts” by Andrew Hitz

“Andrew Hitz’s first eBook fulfills an important need and often overlooked area of the band.  He de-mystifies the tuba for the high school band director.” ~Susie Ahrens

” In my 11 years on the road with Boston Brass, I’ve been asked a lot of questions from band directors about the tuba and I finally got an idea. What if someone were to ask all of the best tuba players and teachers in the world about all tuba related subjects? And what if the questions were specifically catered to the needs of band directors? That inspired me to write this book: ‘A Band Director’s Guide to Everything Tuba: A Collection of Interviews with the Experts’.”

There is much to be learned for both the non-tuba playing band director and the tuba player.  Andrew interviews tuba experts and assembles them together in this fantastic eBook.  Interviews included in this book:

Pat Sheridan on Breathing, Anatomy, and Pedagogy. Sam Pilafian on Improvising, Chamber Music, and Mouthpieces. Dr. Tim Lautzenheiser on Keeping Tuba Students Motivated and Engaged. Dave Porter, Retired US Air Force Band, on his 30 Years as a Private Teacher and Starting Kids on Tuba. Gregory Biba, Middle School Band Director for 25 years, on Tuba Repair. Andy Bove, Recording Engineer and Freelance Tuba Player in New York City, on Recording Tuba and Equipment on Any Budget. Tom Holtz, President’s Own Marine Band, on all things Sousaphone. Steve Dillon, owner of Dillon Music, on Tubas, Sousaphones, and Accessories. Kelly Thomas, Tuba/Euphonium Professor at the University of Arizona, on Switching Kids to the Tuba from Other Instruments.

Andrew Hitz Publications website

Nominate your Child’s Teacher:

Classroom Superheroes:  Classroom Superheroes a is a project of the National Education Association. It allows parents, students, and community members to show educators the support they deserve.

My Teacher, My Hero: Everyone has been inspired by a great teacher. Exceptional teachers open our eyes to the world and provide us with the knowledge necessary to succeed.  Now, Teaching Channel presents My Teacher, My Hero in order to celebrate teachers across America. Together, we give thanks to inspirational teachers and hope to inspire new teachers to join the profession. Teachers in our society should be recognized for the integral role that they play in shaping our future. Further, we hope to inspire a generation of young, intelligent, and passionate people to take pride in their desire to teach.

Gift Cards: Gift cards are a great way of saying thank you to your child’s teacher.  They can be purchased for many different businesses and dollar amounts.

JW Pepper is a sheet music company for Choral, Band, Orchestra and Piano and has been supplying sheet music for 130 years.  JW Pepper has a huge online catalog of sheet music, available for order and delivery.  Their gift cards are available in  denominations of $15, $25, $50, $100 and will arrive in an elegant envelope. There is no shipping or processing charge for gift cards if you select Ground Delivery (7-10 business days). Rush delivery is available upon request.

On a Tuba related side note:  In Sousa’s words, “the Sousaphone received its name through the suggestion made by me to J.W. Pepper, the instrument manufacturer in Philadelphia…I spoke to Mr. Pepper relative to constructing a bass instrument in which the bell would turn upwards and be adjustable for concert purposes. He built one and, grateful to me for the suggestion, called it a Sousaphone. It was immediately taken up by other instrument makers…

JW Pepper Gift cards

A gift card to a local music store: If they don’t have gift cards, the store may be able to add money to an account for your child’s teacher.

Office supply store: Chances are that your child’s teacher probably spends at least some of their own money in their classroom each year, especially with budget cuts.  Teachers want what is best for their students, regardless of budget cuts, and will often supplement their classroom allowance with their own paychecks.

Local Coffee Shop: Music teachers often work long days and weekends and some turn to coffee or tea as a way to help them make it through their day. Saying Thank You to your child’s teacher by buying their morning cup of Joe will be a welcome treat.

Saying Thank You in little ways: Buy them lunch. Circulate a card through your child’s group for the kids to sign, thanking their teacher.  Help out in their class; offer to sort music, make copies, anything that your child’s teacher may not have time to do during their normal day.

A Thank You card: Just saying “Thank You” to your child’s teacher on a simple card, letting them know that you appreciate their hard work can make a teacher’s day.

Gifts I do not recommend:

Batons: For many directors, their baton is a personal choice. It may have been chosen over hours of research and experimentation. There are so many different kinds of grips, lengths, and materials that they are made from (making them lighter or heavier). Unless your director has asked for a specific baton, I would stay away from purchasing one.

*Sheet Music for band/choir/orchestra: Your music director is the most qualified person to select music for their group.  S/he knows the level of music that they will be able to play, and can look at the score and assess the individual parts and determine if their musicians can play it.  There may be a song you would like to hear your child’s group perform, but it’s always best to check with the director first.

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