April 2013


Scholarship Application Deadline is May 1

Find criteria and application on our website.

What's New...

It's time for membership renewal and convention registration!  And don't forget to make those hotel reservations ASAP.  The discounted rates are only guaranteed until June 27 and with a limited number of rooms available at these good rates, they go quickly.  All of this info can be found on our website.

From the President...
by David DeVoto

Convention will be here before we know it and we are in full planning mode!
Be sure to renew your membership and register early to take advantage of hotel and registration discounts.  A few teasers to tempt you include:

  • Kjos Featured Composer Clinicians Deborah Baker Monday and Jeremy Woolstenhulme
  • Dr. Clifton Evans, UT Arlington String Dept
  • Clinicians including: Moises Llanes, Abel Acuna, Chad Dempey, Kevin Pearce, Ron Gilbert
  • BBQ at Sunset Station in the beautiful old SA Depot

The entire TODA Board looks forward to seeing you all there!


The Barbara Eads Memorial Scholarship

Applications being accepted now.  The deadline is May 1, 2013.  Please go to our website for more information including criteria and application form.


Come To TODA Convention and meet Deborah Baker Monday!
by Sandra Vandertulip

Deborah Baker Monday currently teaches in the Logan City School District Orchestra Program in Logan, Utah. She is a cello/bass specialist who works with 4th through 8th grade students in several schools. Deborah received her B.M.E. magna cum laude from Florida State University with an emphasis in string education.  She was awarded an academic fellowship to attend the University of Alabama where she received her M.M. in composition.  She continued her studies at Louisiana State University where she received the Chancellor's Award to participate with the L.S.U. Symphony Orchestra under the direction of James Yestadt.   Deborah has studied theory and composition with Harold Schiffman, John Boda, Frederic Goossen, Paul Hedwall and Dinos Constantinides.

After moving to Utah, Deborah continued to be an active bass performer.   After completing all course work and passing the written and oral portions of the doctoral exams, she was hired to teach in the Logan City School District as a low string specialist.  During her tenure with Logan, Deborah pursued her interest in composition and arranging for educational strings.  This has been a rewarding part of her career while she and her husband, Bill, have raised four amazing children.

Deborah is a frequent presenter at state music conferences throughout the U.S. as well as national ASTA conventions and the Midwest Clinic.  She is an active guest conductor and adjudicator and her awards and commissions are impressive. Her studies in composition and experience in string teaching make Deborah one of the leading contributors to the repertoire for young string players.   Don’t miss this opportunity to meet Deborah Baker Monday!

TODA Board of Directors

President, David DeVoto, Allen ISD
Past President, Margaret Brown, McKinney ISD
VP/Treasurer, Pat Leaverton, Arlington ISD
Secretary, Jason Thibodeaux, Northeast ISD
Member-At-Large, Sandra Vandertulip, Round Rock ISD

Executive Director, Sharon Lutz
Director, Member Services, Beverly Schlegel

7900 Centre Park Drive, Suite A
Austin, TX  78754

Nominations for Orchestra Director of the Year
by Jason Thibadeaux

Most schools are finishing their UIL performances, and it’s now time for us to look back and evaluate rehearsal techniques to find ways to improve for next year.  I asked Kathy Fishburn, our 1999 Orchestra Director of the Year, to name three key characteristics of a successful director. Here is Kathy’s response, words from the wise:

I think a successful teacher is:

  1. Very Organized
  2. Plans Long Range
  3. Has a plan for every day

Please give some thought to the colleagues working with you every day, and consider nominating a deserving individual for TODA Orchestra Director of the Year.  Many of us are orchestra directors because of another director.  Maybe you had an outstanding director in your youth or perhaps someone helped you during your teaching career.

Behind every great orchestra director is a great mentor! Please take a few minutes to nominate your mentor for the TODA Orchestra Director of the Year.

The deadline for nominations is May 1, 2013. You can find the application and more information at www.todaweb.org under the “AWARDS” tab. You may find a list of past award recipients at todaweb.org. Click Awards tab.  Thank you for supporting your association.

Teaching String Players to Listen
Member Contribution by Teresa Nguyen, Clark High School, San Antonio, TX

One of the most common problems I face as a high school director is getting my students to listen to each other as they play.  Solving this problem is a process that requires daily attention.  I begin each class with something simple:  playing a scale with the metronome at a slow tempo.  At the beginning of the year many of my students struggle staying with the metronome even at this slow tempo, but they quickly learn to listen to the metronome and stay with it or we will spend a good portion of the class on scales rather than repertoire. 

Two common mistakes that I see conductors make are: 1. allowing students to continue playing while they are off from the metronome beat; and 2. conducting the orchestra while the metronome is on. Students should never be allowed to continue playing with the metronome if they are not staying with the beat because that defeats the purpose of using the metronome.  By allowing this practice, the conductor is actually teaching them NOT to listen.  Similarly, by conducting along with the metronome the conductor gives the students visual cues and undermines the aural skills lesson.

Another simple tip to check for listening is to ask students what is going on in different sections of the orchestra.  When students can explain or sing what other instruments are playing, they learn important ensemble skills. Another tip for having fun with the students is to mix up seating. Let students sit in any section other than their own with a different instrument as a stand partner.  Students can hear other parts better, and learn to listen better.