24 July 2010

On Inventorying A Music Room

Some quick thoughts, after inventorying the musical instruments in my new office:
  • This band must have had some unusual instrumentation in the past. We counted
    • three trombones
    • two baritones
    • two bass clarinets
    • a sousaphone (an ANCIENT Martin sousaphone)
    • a tenor sax
    • an alto sax
    • two partial clarinets
    • several cornets
    • one concert bass drum
    • one pair of cymbals
    • some auxiliary percussion
    • and the toms and bass drums from two and a half different drum sets.
    For those playing along at home, this means a complete lack of snare drums, flutes, and very little in the way of treble instruments at all (alto saxes, clarinets, trumpets, flutes, etc.).
  • Where did all of the music stands go?
  • There are two different marching band uniforms and majorette uniforms to go with them, but where are the rest of both sets? There are shakos aplenty (yuck).

JoElle helped me out a lot by putting together a database in OpenOffice.org, but it unfortunately won't save to any other format and we can't find any database software that can be shared freely without making PDFs. We've looked at Google Docs, but they don't have that software at all, and also at Grubba, but they require all users to register, so I can't exactly share this file easily. My goal is to have a file that I can share with administrators and other local teachers so that everyone knows what I do and don't have available, and to do the same for my sheet music. Ideally, this would make sharing with colleagues far more easy and would make repairing and replacing instruments easier, too. Any thoughts would be very appreciated.


  1. the first thought that comes to mind is give sarah a call and see if she can get you an appropriate set of instruments to start the new job with. or the money to take care of it yourself. after all, there was that bridge to nowhere...good luck.

  2. Funny thing is, the "bridge to nowhere" (which she was for before she was against it) was actually very useful. One of the biggest cities in Southeast Alaska and one of the biggest tourist ports is Ketchikan, and its airport is on a different island than the city. The bridge was going to connect the two, and the state and city even built new roads on the airport island in preparation. Then the feds pulled the carpet out from under everyone and they were back to using ferries.

    As far as budget goes, I have a very nice budget for instruments right now and we've already ordered about $10K in new stuff. This is just figuring out what old stuff was there and how much of it is usable or quickly repairable in the near future.

  3. I think that google docs might do what you want actually. My understanding is that you are trying to make an excel spreadsheet that is visible online without the need for others to have an account.

    Here is a sample spreadsheet I made for you:

    I set it to public and not editable, so everyone should be able to view and download but not edit without any special software. I need to login with my google account to edit the spreadsheet.

  4. Thank you, William. After several conversations with friends and family, I've learned two things.

    1) I really don't know much about databases, although I'm really proficient at all other "office suite" software.
    2) We should be able to easily accomplish what we want either as you say, in Google Docs in a spreadsheet, or by creating a database and exporting it as a CSV. Unfortunately, the goal of having a searchable database that could be maintained in real time by several users (or updated in one step and accessed by several users) seems undoable.

    As it is, we'll probably create a spreadsheet for the sheet music inventory that we need to do and make it accessible online through Google Docs. Although it'll be downloadable and sortable, it still won't have the search function that I was hoping to include in this document (unless that's a feature of Docs that I haven't found yet). I find that to be pretty ironic.

  5. doesn't access have searchable functions and went sent to multiple users, allow a "realtime" aspect for updating?

  6. a) Don't know, as I don't use Microsoft Office.
    b) I want to host it online so that I can give people access to it via a link that I send out once, rather than needing to send out the newest version to a distribution list every time it's updated.

  7. i still think access might have what you want, but since you won't run microsoft product, i guess you won't find out, right?

    does your new school have an IT person you could talk to about this- sometimes those guys know more than just software installation you know...

  8. The school has two such people, but I've already had conversations with three different people who are every bit as much in the know as any IT person I'll find here and we've figured out what we'll do going ahead.