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Your First 6 days On The Job

Your First 6 days On The Job

Your first 6 days on the job are your most important days ever. This is when you set up relationships, learn and establish systems of success, set your schedule for the year and take control of what is not your program. You need to make these first 6 days count. Here’s how.

Your First 6 days on The Job


Your first 6 days on the job are your most important days ever. This is when you set up relationships, learn and establish systems of success, set your schedule for the year and take control of what is not your program. You need to make these first 6 days count. Here’s how. 


Step 1: Put Your Feet Up

This is important and always overlooked. You have a job! A real Job! You earned a degree, jumped through hoops and won the interview process. You’ve done a LOT to get here. Take a chair to the middle of your new room and sit down…look around…this is where you’re going to change lives. Take a deep breath…and now get up and get to work.


Step 2: Go Meet People

Having good relationships with people will be the difference between your success and failure. 


You must take the time and put forth the effort to get to know people well. You’re no longer in a practice room alone working toward your senior recital, you’re part of a very large team of people who need to know your vision, need to know you, need to feel your energy and passion. You need people to be on your side. 


What To Know About Each Of The Following People

You need to know EVERYTHING about these people! 


Spouse’s name                             Where they went to school
Anniversary                                  Were they involved in music?
Kids’ name(s)                               Favorite Band
Birthdays of everyone                   Hobbies
Favorite Drink                               Political Viewpoint
What they like to do                      Religious?
Places to eat                                 Intra or Extravert?

Who To Meet and What You Need From Them

Each person will have pieces to the puzzle you need. Let’s look at who to meet - in order of importance - and what specific information you need from each of them.


1st person to meet: Janitor

This person is the only one at the school before you and the only one locking up after you. They will let you in to the parts of the building you need into, they know what’s broken and how to fix it, they have resources you don’t and you need all of this. When you come back to school at 6pm for a concert - who’s there? The Janitor. When you leave at 9pm after your concert - who’s locking up for your? The Janitor. 


             Get to know your Janitor first. 



1. What they know about your facilities

2. What their standard hours are

3. “Anything else I need to know, just tell me.” Be humble and ask this question. It’s amazing what you’ll learn when you ask this sincerely. 


2nd person to meet: Finance Agent

Your music program is expensive and you’re going to need to pay for it. This person holds the credit card. If you don’t have a good relationship with your finance agent you’re in trouble. 



1. How many Budgets and the Amounts (balances) of each. They’ll say ‘you don’t need to worry about this, that’s their job’ but I can not tell you how many times the music budgets get sucked away because the director was not paying attention. Ask how much.

2. PO Process. How do you get a PO (Purchase Order) in order to buy stuff?

3. How they’ve done repairs in the past. Each school has their own system, learn that system. 

4. Timeline of process: PO and repair approvals. You need to know what they expect their turn around time to be so you know what you’re dealing with. This will never be as fast as you expect it to be.

5. “Anything else I need to know, just tell me.”


3rd person to meet: District Finance Agent

That’s right, there’s a hierarchy of finance agents and you need to know them all. This probably requires you get in the car, drive to the district office and introduce yourself. Sound like a lot of hassle? It’s nothing to do this one time a year in comparison to sending email after email and call after call to someone you don’t know who holds the credit card to your programs success. Go make a friend. 



Same as your schools Finance Agent but for the district.


4th person(s) to meet: Your Fine Arts Team

These are the people in your part of the building…which is separated far off from the rest of the building (troublesome noise makers)…and together you can take over the arts world. You need to be friends with each of these people - even if you don’t come to like them, you need to be friends. Start this off by introducing yourself. 



1. Calendar of Events already scheduled and particulars of your district timing.

2. Their opinions of Janitor, Finance & Athletic Director

3. “Anything else I need to know, just tell me.”


5th person to meet: Athletic Director

Yup, you need to go introduce yourself to the school Athletic Director, but don’t worry, this is the easiest person to go meet. You walk in, introduce yourself as the new music director and then ask this one question: “What can I do to help your programs out?” They will have a stunned look on their face and say, “What?” Just repeat it, “What can I do to help your programs out?” Whatever it is they say, no matter how crazy, just say, “Ok. See you soon.” and walk out. 


Sounds crazy I know, but if you can just be direct, brief and open to listening you will earn this persons respect. It’s only day one, you have plenty of time to deal with any requests if they happen to be crazy. 



1. “What can I do to serve you and your program?”

2. “Anything else I need to know, just tell me.”


6th person to meet: District Fine Arts Person

You will never have a stronger advocate than your District Fine Arts Person. Only your mother will be more enthusiastic about your success. Be sure to make this person a supporter of your program. 



1. Yearly District Schedule

2. School History - Don’t ignore or fester on this

3. Other teacher’s contact info in the district


7th person to meet: Music Store Representative

Your success is the music store’s success. If you have a thriving active program your area music store has students to sell to. When you need equipment for your program, quotes, something fixed, a cookie…whatever, your music store representative is your go to person. Make a phone call and introduce yourself and start a solid relationship. 



1. Frequency of visits

2. Contact info sharing

3. Book Needs - tell them what you need your program to have. 

4. Repair Technician Availability

5. School History

6. Rental Contract Copy - Differences? The parents of your students are expecting you to be the pro, read the contract so you know what’s being expected of them. 



What’s next?

Now that you’ve met people and started those very important relationships it’s time to dig in on your program and sorting things out. 


Get Your Inventory Working For You


Do you have an inventory list available? If not, call your music store rep for help and start making one. The purpose of this is to know what you have and the condition of that equipment. What needs fixed, what’s working great. 


Student Roster

If you do not already have one, get it from the schools registrar. Depending on the time of year, this person is stressed out so be persuasive, you NEED this roster to know who’s coming in to your program. 


Only after you have both your inventory list (which should tell you what needs fixing) and your student roster (which should tell you what instruments you need) will you know what needs to be fixed. Why fix an Eb soprano clarinet if you don’t need it? The only question is do you have the budget for it and this is why you’ve made friends with your Finance Agent. 


More Considerations

1. What level of music are you going to play? Do you have it or do you need to buy it - can you afford it?

2. How much time do you have until school starts? This will help you decide if you’re only working on priorities or if you can make things look good too. 

3. What routines do you want to implement and how are you going to get those in place?


In the first 6 days of getting on your new job you can create relationships that will set up your success, organize your inventory and students and establish the routines that will make this program yours and allow you and your students to reach your full potential. Make these days count. 


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