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The West Music Blog presents articles, press releases and other information of interest to our local and worldwide customers.

Blogs by Judy Pine

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Extraordinary Associate of the Month, September 2013 - Kathy Bohstedt
By Judy Pine
9/30/2013 2:08:00 PM  

Kathy is always ready and willing to be a personal shopper for teachers as they call or email from here in our region or across the country. Her knowledge of print materials in our catalog as well as additional materials from other print vendors is vast, perhaps she was a librarian in another life. She also draws upon her career in the public schools as well, teaching for 18 years before coming to West Music, when she taught using Orff instruments, guitars, and percussion.

Kathy was responsible for 95 of the 200 pages of the West Music Catalog this past year as well as in previous years, that's a lot of Navision codes and proofing! She always finds the best of what our vendors have to offer for our elementary music education teachers. She travels to multiple events throughout the school year too, whether it's a Saturday event, summer workshop or state music education convention, Kathy is ready and willing to head out to meet our customers face to face wherever they are!

Kathy is someone I always aspire to be more like. Thanks for your extraordinary effort, Kathy!

- As told by Judy Pine, Vice President & Director of Music Education


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Tags: extraordinary associate of the month, kathy bohstedt, west music coralville
Categories: West Music Coralville, Company Culture, Extraordinary Associate of the Month
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Take advantage of 2013 Summer Workshop inventory deals!
By Judy Pine
8/2/2013 12:52:00 PM  

Did you attend an Orff Schulwerk, Kodaly or World Music Drumming workshop this summer in the US where West Music supplied resource books, recorders, Orff instruments or percussion? Where you just not quite ready to make a purchase then due to the timing of summer?  Well, we are still able to offer you summer workshop pricing on Sonor and Studio 49 Orff instruments, as well as Remo tubanos and frame drums which were gently used at these workshops. What a deal!

Maybe you weren’t able to attend any of these workshops or you have already gone thru the programs in the past – you are still eligible to take advantage of workshop pricing on any instruments left over from summer. Email either Judy Pine at jpine@westmusic.com or Jeanna McGlaughlin at jmcglaughlin@westmusic.com and they will help you put together the package you need for this fall. Contact us soon though as these deals will soon be gone! 


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Categories: Classroom Furniture & Equipment, Drums & Percussion
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Back to School with Soprano Recorders!
By Judy Pine
8/1/2013 12:54:00 PM  
Untitled Document

It’s the time of year to be thinking about when and how you will be teaching soprano recorders to your students. Some teachers use recorders all year long, interspersed with their lessons every day or week. Other teachers use the unit approach, teaching how to play soprano recorders for a certain length of time every year. Choose which way fits your curriculum and teaching style and go for it!

Soprano recorders may be the very first and only real musical instrument your elementary aged students may ever own. This is mainly because the finger reach to cover the holes on the recorder are small enough for a child’s hand and the price is right for tight budgets. Recorders are a wonderful means to teach music literacy, as the reading of music relates directly to reading of the written word. Reading of musical notation while performing on an instrument or singing is a cross-brain activity which builds brain connections and strengthens neural pathways.

Once the fingering of the soprano recorder is understood, this knowledge may be easily transferred to the different sizes of recorders. Here are the five of them in order from smallest to largest, (click for more information):


They all use the same fingering but are set in two different keys as mentioned above. The lowest note on the soprano and tenor recorders is C and therefore they are in the key of C. This same fingered lowest note in the sopranino, alto and bass is an F so they are in the key of F.

Generally for the young beginners, plastic soprano recorders are best as said before, the finger reach isn’t too long and the price is right. Ease of play and consistent tonal quality are two key factors when choosing instruments for your students.

If you need assistance in choosing the right recorders for your classroom or ensemble, give us a call at 800-397-9378 or email us at service@westmusic.com. We’re here to help provide you and your students high quality instruments at an affordable price.


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Tags: recorders, soprano recorders, west music catalog, 2013 west music catalog, 2014 west music catalog, judy pine
Categories: Recorders
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Always have your wish list ready!
By Judy Pine
5/2/2012 3:08:00 PM  

It’s the end of a busy week and your principal contacts you to say he/she has found some funds for your program, but needs your wish list by the end of the day--and it’s already 3:00 pm!  While it’s exciting to hear this financial support has come to your program, what IS your wish list and HOW do you have it prioritized? 

I would recommend you have two lists at your fingertips at all times.  The first is an inventory list of the type and condition of instruments and resource materials in your classroom.  Do those 10 pair of maracas (that were in the room before you took this job) need to be replaced and if so, do you really need 10 pair moving forward?  Here’s an example to get you started!

South Elem. Inventory List (May 12, 2012)

Qty. Type of Instrument Condition More Needed? Approximate Cost?
2 Pair of finger cymbals Need new elastic straps No  
15 Pairs of rhythm sticks 10 pairs ok, 5 pairs to replace 5 to 10 pairs $1.50 each
2 10" frame drums New in 2009 10 more would be great $13.50 each x 10=$135.00
2 12" frame drums New in 2010 10 more would be great $16.75 each x 10=$167.50
10 PR maracas 4 pairs broken, 6 more than enough    
1 Soprano glock? Not sure if it's an alto or soprano, missing F#'s 1 new one with all bars $195.00 for an alto
1 Alto Xylophone Bars sound flat, maybe needs new tubing?   $26.00 for 4 yards of cording
1 Conga drum New in 2011    

 

With the inventory list above, you’re ready to spend that $200.00 from your principal within five minutes, as you know the condition and quantity of your instruments!

 

Then the 2nd list to have ready to go is your Wish List!  This is the list of all the instruments and materials you wished were in your classroom(s) in order to really give your students the music education experiences they need.  Be sure to find approximate costs so that when time is limited you’re able to put together your wish list in order of preference with reasons why all of these items are important to your student’s education.  Here are a couple of ideas to get you thinking about how additional instruments and materials can help you and your students achieve their goals in your classroom. 

Option #1:

South Elem. Wish List #1 (May 12, 2012)

 

Qty.

Type of instrument

Brand

Cost each

Extended cost

Vendor

 

2

Soprano glockenspiels

Sonor

$185.00

$370.00

West Music of course!

#3

2

Alto glockenspiels

Sonor

$195.00

$390.00

West Music of course!

 

2

Fiberglass soprano xylophones

Sonor

$545.00

$1,090.00

West Music of course!

#1

2

Fiberglass tenor/alto xylophones

Sonor

$745.00

$1,490.00

West Music of course!

#2

1

Fiberglass bass xylophone

Sonor

$1,850.00

$1,850.00

West Music of course!

 

1

Tenor/alto metallophone

Sonor

$795.00

$795.00

West Music of course!

       

Total

$5,985.00

 

Additional thoughts…

Or maybe call West Music and ask if they will help us with a custom package of the above instrument for even greater savings!

Rationale for this wish list.

In the summer of 2011, I was able to take Level 1 Orff Schulwerk training at ABC University.  The above list of instruments would allow those new skills to be incorporated into every classroom. With an average of 26 students per class period, this assortment of instruments in addition to what is already in the classroom, allows every student the opportunity to play something every week.

Or perhaps you are interested in adding some drumming to your classroom…this is what your wish list might look like:

South Elem. Wish List #2 (May 12, 2012)

Qty.

Type of instrument

Brand

Cost each

Extended cost

Vendor

3

10" tunable/tubanos

Remo

$169.25

$507.75

West Music of course!

4

12" tunable/tubanos

Remo

$190.20

$760.80

West Music of course!

3

14" tunable/tubanos

Remo

$227.85

$683.55

West Music of course!

     

Total

$1,952.10

 

Additional thoughts…..

OR, would it be better if I purchase the West set of 12 Remo tunable tubanos and a Ngoma for $2392.35.  Let's go for that one!

 

Get your lists together now, so you’re always ready when anyone approaches you with some new source of money for your classroom! Remember the knowledgeable staff at West Music is ready and willing to create your ideal classroom any time. Just give us a call or send an email. We look forward to hearing from you!

To create your West Music Wishlist, please visit us online.


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Tags: wish list, classroom wish list, financial support, inventory, new instruments
Categories: Band & Orchestra, Orff, Classroom Furniture & Equipment, Pianos, Digital Pianos & Keyboards, Drums & Percussion, Guitars & Folk, Kids & Movement, Live Sound & DJ, Music, Books & Resources, Recording & Software, Recorders
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A History of the West Music Catalog
By Judy Pine
9/8/2011 5:00:00 PM  

West Music Company is celebrating 70 years strong this year!  Here’s some background on how the West Music Catalog Department started.

As we look into our archives the signs of a West Music catalog date back to 1967.  It was called the “Educator’s Catalog of Music Teaching Tools” for Elementary and Junior High Schools.  The main objective was to “Bring each child into full and active participation in the music program according to the level of his abilities.”  This objective is still true today! 

Products featured back then were resonator bells, melodicas, metronomes, song flutes, music staff paper by the roll, ukuleles, guitars and my favorite – the Prelude Xylophones.  The xylophone bars were made of Alcoa aluminum and weighed only 4 ½ lbs, very similar to the melody bells we sell today.

The next catalog we still have is from 1971 with the selection of rhythm instruments and drums increasing now.  Soprano recorders were available in wood and “Cycolac” a nearly indestructible material.  This substance was used to make telephones and the Pro’s football helmets, so surely these recorders were tough enough for the music classroom, too.  Autoharps of all shapes and sizes were promoted, ranging in price from $34.95 to $54.95.  Sonor Orff instruments were also introduced in this catalog with a Deep Bass xylophone selling for $150.00.

The first catalog I remember as a teacher was back in May 1979.  Only 10 pages long, it included general music education publications written by Grace Nash, Isabel Carley, Jane Frazee, Arvida Steen, Konnie Saliba, Lois Choksy and Gunild Keetman.  I remember calling in on the 800 number and ordering recorders that year, which were promptly delivered the very next week.

The spring of 1980 was the first time the West Music Catalog was mailed outside of the state of Iowa, reaching the surrounding states of MN, WI, NE, MO, IL, and SD.  The book expanded to 56 pages cover-to-cover with the inclusion of Sonor and Studio 49 Orff instruments, Remo Roto Toms, Latin Percussion and an ever expanding library of teacher resource materials.  Each year the catalog grew and changed, and in 1991 the first full color catalog was printed.  What a great response we had from our customers that year!  Each year brings new products and materials to our valued customers, with this year’s edition being 185 pages strong as well as a digital version.

As West Music marks its 70th year of providing quality music education materials and services to teachers in the US and the world – we want to take this opportunity to thank you for your support and comments through the years.  We’re not done yet!



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Tags: West Music catalog, catalog background, catalog history
Categories: Company Culture
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Last Minute Budget Opportunities
By Judy Pine
5/3/2011 3:05:00 PM  
Has your principal ever contacted you on a Friday at 1 p.m. with the good news of money for your program – BUT they need your wish list of materials by the end of that day? Or a dollar amount is actually spoken of, just the idea that monies may be available to you?  I remember that happening to me once when I taught school so I always encourage teachers to have a wish list ready just in case!
 
First evaluate the instruments in your room.  Do any need to be repaired or replaced?  Do you wish there was enough unpitched percussion for every student to play all at once or at least enough for ½ or 1/3 of them?  Look at the variety of unpitched in your music room.   Do you need anything to round out your assortment of woods, metals, shakers/ shakers, jingles and skins?
 
Now move to your larger percussion and or Orff instruments.  Is it time for new drum heads on the tubanos, are there bars missing on your Orff instruments?  Do you wish you had a new set of temple blocks or a gong to round out the ensemble?  How are the mallets with any of your unpitched or pitched instruments?  Is the yarn wearing out or are the wooded headed mallets wearing down to the nub?
 
Now look through your favorite catalog – West Music of course, and see what we have to offer for you.  Give us a call at 800-397-9378 or email us at service@westmusic.com and we’ll do our best to quickly provide a quote for you yet that day. 
 
Think about what you really need to help your student’s value from learning about music in your classroom.  Plan for the future and have your list ready, as the end of the year money has to be spent soon!

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Tags: Budget, Tips for Class Budgeting, Tips for Classroom Budgeting, Classroom Budgeting, Class Budgeting, Tips, School, West Music, Orff
Categories: Band & Orchestra, Orff, Classroom Furniture & Equipment
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