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Music distribution for large choirs

Thank you to everyone who replied! Any further suggestions or comments
are welcome.

Stephen
-------------------------

ORIGINAL POST:
Hello List,

I am in the process of revising how I hand out and collect music for next
season. I have a large number of students in 8 different choirs, grades 3-
8. Each choir learns approximately 3-5 songs for two concerts a season.
I would like to learn the most efficient ways that you distribute and
collect music for large numbers. I am also interested in the way you
collect money from students who do not return their music after the
concerts. All suggestions and experiences are welcome!

Thank you,

Stephen Sands
stephen (at) sands.net

---------------------------------------------

RESPONSE 1:

Each choir has a different color folder. (the 10 cent kind)
Each child has a number in that choir. You mark their choir music with the
numbers, and keep the music in that folder.
At the end of the year, (they have previoulsy signed a contract to make
them aware) they are charged for any music that is missing. At our
school, grades are held until all debts for missing books and other
equipment are paid.

With my large choirs, I have parents sign the music back in on a check
sheet.

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RESPONSE 2:

Each singer is assigned a number. All octavos are numbers. As music is
distributed in number order, each singer signs for his/her copy. When they
are collected, whoever doesn't return there copy is charged. Students who
lose octavos are charged for extra copies. Good Luck

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RESPONSE 3:

I'm in a large adult community chorus west of Chicago, but who says adults
act like adults at all times? Music collection is a perpetual problem.
I've belonged to this chorus for almost 20 years, and procedures have
changed numerous times. The current situation is, we sell the music to
the singers in an amount added to the annual dues. Since that isn't
practical in a public school situation, I would suggest that you give each
student a number, and number their music with the same number (stickers
keep the covers from looking messy with multiple use).
Send a note home to the parents announcing that such and such music has
been issued to your child on this date, and is to be returned by such and
such a date - if not, the parents must pay to replace it.
That will at least get the parents to be more concerned.
We distribute music at the beginning of the semester (we're based at a
community college, and receive some in-kind benefits, though we are
independent organizations), and collect it when we need to in boxes
outside the performance area immediately after the concert. For music
that we borrow (from the local symphony, for example) - If you know in
advance you will miss the concert, you turn in your music at that time; if
you become suddenly ill and don't participate, it is expected the next
rehearsal you attend.

Good luck - and how marvelous to hear that you have that level of
participation - at my local elementary school, they share the music
teacher with other schools, and have music once a week - they only have
one chorus for each grade, composed of all students, regardless of their
abilities - the tone-deaf get the Orff instruments, I guess. That makes
our outreach efforts even more compelling.

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REPONSE 4:

We have a sheet that we call a "title sheet" for each title. On it are
listed every child in the choir, in numbered alphabetical order. The
music is numbered, and there are two columns beside the children's
names....music out and music in. If more than one choir is receiving the
same title, they have a separate title sheet.

Every individual title has a title sheet, and at the top is listed
information such as how many copies were available, were they owned by
our choir or borrowed, any copies that were damaged on going out, any
numbers that were missing before going out, missing copies on return,
etc. Beside the child's name is written any substitute number that they
are given, if they don't get their own number. The title sheet is copied
after distribution and the copy is put into a separate binder. The
original is kept in a hanging file with the extra copies. If an extra
copy goes out later, it's noted on the title sheet.

One of my choirs collects a music deposit at the beginning of the
year...a cheque that is post-dated to the end of the season. The cheque
is returned after all music is returned.

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RESPONSE 5:

I buy a whole lot of pocket folders in the summer when the school supply
sales are on. I can get them for about 8 cents each. Each choir gets its
own color. Music goes into the folders so there is only one distribution
per rehearsal. Music and folders are numbered.

For the distribution itself, each row has an assigned range of folder
numbers. One person for each row is responsible for distributing and
collecting the folders. Obviously folders have to be put away in number
order, or the next distribution is chaos.

With this system, forty to sixty kids can have their music in two minutes
or less. The choir is working on warmups during that time. Collection time
seems to go even faster. I don't rotate the job assignment. The kids seem
to get used to each other and figure out a system that works for them.

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RESPONSE 6:

I'm in a university, but the same thing applies! With students, I don't
take money, I have the registrar hold their grades if they don't return
music, as if they had a library book. However, w. the Choral Society (non-
students) I take a deposit and hold it against music return. They do it
all throught the comptroller's office, I never touch money. They present
a receipt, and I present a voucher upon return of the music post-concert.
Uncollected funds go into the choir kitty.

RE distribution: Get yourself student assistance any way you can. Ask
for pre-school volunteers, or draft a willing few. All of you working
together assembly the folders and assign numbers. Then you assign using a
database: Microsoft Access is fine for this - you can sort by folder
number, first, last names, sections, e.mail, phone, or any other category.
Trust me: this database will change your life, if you haven't done it
yet. Let me know if you want to see what I did.

Coach one or two computer loving students, then have them help the
singers enter their info one at a time at the first rehearsal /
meeting. This way you don't take rehearsal time, and they are responsible
for the accuracy of their info. If everyone is registered, the office can
prob. send you an Access or Excel file w. info.

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RESPONSE 7:

All of my music is identifiable by number. When I
purchase music I number each octavo before I do
anything else with it.
My students store their folders in music cabinets in
my classroom. Each slot has a number and each student
is assigned to a particular slot.
When I pass out music, sometimes I place it in their
slot, and sometimes I place it on their chair along
with their attendance card (that's another story). In
any case, I make sure to record which student gets
which number.
In collecting, I simply place a box in my classroom
where they are to put the music. I check it in by
number and list any that have not been turned in on
the board. I also email those parents. I've had
great success in getting back music!
It also helps that the administration will hold the
report cards of those students who do not turn in or
pay for music, library books, text books, etc.

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on September 28, 2007 10:00pm
I am the librarian for a symphony chorus. Each year each member is assigned a number and receives that number for all music. Members also give a $30 deposit for their music. At the end of the year when they turn their music in they receive their $30 back in the form they gave to us (cash or check)