Directors' Toolbox

Managing Your Music Ensembles with Cut Time

January 22, 2018

There are many moving parts involved in managing music ensembles. Between keeping track of inventory, communicating with students and parents, coordinating volunteers, planning trips, and keeping track of finances, music teachers often need a variety of tools to keep their groups running smoothly.

The good news is that it’s not necessary to have so many different programs and files to stay organized, because a group management tool can bring together all these functions into one platform. We’ve developed a music ensemble management tool called Cut Time that’s geared specifically for music programs.

The decision to create Cut Time was a natural progression of Pepper’s mission to support music professionals. For teachers especially, we know time is a precious commodity. That’s why we decided to focus on a product that has the tools to make accomplishing all the extra tasks music teachers face faster and easier. After all, less time spent on the administrative side of teaching means more time to focus on the music.

To make Cut Time a reality, Pepper partnered with Trigon Road, a company that has been creating cloud-based services for performing arts groups for over a decade. Trigon Road has created data management and communication services used by many drum and bugle corps in both North America and Europe. They also created an event management service that is used by over 800 ensembles. By combining their expertise with our own, we were able to create a tool that helps teachers complete many of the time-consuming tasks that get in the way of making music.

There are a number of specific challenges that can arise in managing a music group. Here are just a few of these challenges and how Cut Time can help make conquering them easier:

Keeping track of the group’s music is maddening!
Music groups have a lot of items to keep track of. Every piece of music needs to be cataloged every year. Instructors need to know what music they have, what level each piece is good for, and whether or not they have enough copies to perform each piece. Cut Time makes maintaining your music library easy. Plus, you can also inventory instruments, stands, and other necessary items that belong to your program.

Getting word to all the students and parent volunteers you need to reach is challenging!
Whether it is a vital piece of information for an upcoming performance or a quick notice that just a few people need to know about, Cut Time has a way to get the word out. The Cut Time administrator can assign members to overlapping groups, so specific information only goes to the people who need it and general updates can be sent to everyone at once. Plus, communicating with parent and volunteer groups through Cut Time means no more relying on students to share information with their parents. Nothing gets lost in translation!

There are too many moving parts involved in planning a trip!
Taking a group of young musicians on a trip can be a handful. Music teachers have to be part chaperone, part travel guide, and part accountant while still preparing their students to play. Cut Time makes it easier to set deadlines and create itineraries for trips. Plus, you can easily keep track of who has paid and how much. Speaking of which…

Accounting wasn’t included in the Music Education curriculum!
Keeping track of financial obligations is not what most music teachers got into education to do, but it’s an unavoidable fact that money has to be moved through a music program. Between trip payments, fees, and donations, music teachers have to handle a lot of money. Cut Time makes that easier by including tools that keep track of financial obligations, help teachers send reminders to students, and create statements that can be emailed or exported as PDF files. This way, music teachers can monitor every dollar that comes into and goes out of their program.

These are just a few of the features that can change the way music teachers run their groups, but there are many more. The best way to see everything that Cut Time can do is to sign up for a free trial.

Know someone else who could benefit from Cut Time? Share this with them!

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