Web Spotlight: Special Edition

Mike Lawson • April 2002 • April 1, 2002

Requests for us to review school music Web sites have been pouring in to School Band and Orchestra magazine. With so many creative, innovative and fun sites out there, it made sense to review more than one site in the annual Technology Issue of SBO. Without further ado, here are three outstanding sites that have been sent in during the past few months that can serve as models for more outstanding sites.

J.P. Taravella High School
Band and Orchestra
Coral Springs, Fla.
Nikk Pilato

This is a comprehensive site with nothing left out. The main page greets visitors with a rotating G-clef at the top (all pages have this simple unifying element). This page features a Quote of the Day, the program’s Latest News, a Congratulations section that recognizes recent student accomplishments, and contact information. Along the left side of the main page, other important categories are listed: history, calendar, directory, orchestra, audio vault, links, lessons, fundraising, parents, alumni, message board and guest book. Each of these sections is worth visiting. The history page is quite detailed, with background on the music program’s offerings, a history and evolution of the music program, a chronology of directors past and present, and accomplishments over the years as well as individual honors and photos. The eye-catching calendar is color-coded according to ensemble and marks rehearsals, events and birthdays.

Other impressive portions of the site include: the lessons page, which lists area private lessons teachers and their phone numbers, by instrument; the fundraising page, which outlines the program’s need for funding and explains methods of contribution; the alumni page, which allows former music students to connect by posting current information about themselves and an e-mail address; the message board, which lets members, parents and alumni post messages to each other; and the guest book, which gives visitors a place to sign in and leave messages or comments for the program.

Pleasant Valley High School

Bettendorf, Iowa
Drew Anderson

The home page of the Pleasant Valley High School Band department is a very welcoming site that wants to share information with its visitors (but doesn’t force it upon them). First, a word about the intro page: unlike other long, drawn-out intro pages, this one cuts right to the chase. A collage of photos and the Pleasant Valley ID let visitors know they’re in the right place. An unobtrusive “click here to continue…” appears and remains, allowing visitors to linger over the photographs or move quickly ahead to the main page. The main page welcomes visitors and invites them to explore the site. The directors’ names, the school’s mailing address and the phone numbers for the main office and the band room are found easily on the left-hand side of the page. Underneath the welcome paragraph, an italicized message informs users that some files on the site are Microsoft Office files, and offers users a link to download a viewer if they encounter trouble opening files. Below that, a box invites visitors to listen to the Spartan Marching Band playing the school song and also offers the words to the school song. (Again, these are not forced.) While all of these points may seem simple, they make this site extremely user-friendly for the Web-savvy and non-Web-savvy alike.

The main page continues with announcements, band notes, information about the band’s trip to Florida, What’s New, and the Music Advocacy Fact of the Day. Across the top of the main page are links to the calendar, communications, ensembles, boosters, arts advocacy and miscellaneous information.

Branson High School Band

Branson, Mo.
Eric Matzat

This Web page is a clean, well-designed site that’s packed with information and easy to navigate. The main page has several attention-grabbing elements, including large photos of students playing in recent competitions (the top photo on the main page changes each time you visit). Down the center of the main page, the band’s latest news is on display. A pull-down menu on the left side of the page is a clutter-free way to give visitors quick access to 36 inside pages in a “retractable” space. A narrow bar on the right side of the main page offers easy links to the Missouri Music Educators Association, the Web site’s guest book and photos of all the different ensembles in the program.

The pull-down menu and its destinations are particularly notable. Among the 36 options, this menu will take visitors to view the band staff page and marching band leaders’ page; the home pages for the marching band, jazz band, concert band, drum line, colorguard, junior high band and beginning band; festival recaps and lists of students who participated in the all-district and all-state bands; repertoire and ratings history for the different ensembles, and more. Every page follows the same, symmetrical format and showcases photos of music students in action.

Web Spotlight ( a.k.a. Internet Sitings) appeared on pages 14 – 16 in the April issue of School Band and Orchestra.

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