SAFETY IN THE MUSIC LIBRARY

Standard filing cabinets can be hard on your sheet music. We have all spent plenty of time cramming music into filing cabinets and tearing it to shreds when it gets stuck. So we stack music on top of the cabinets or leave it in an ever-growing heap on the floor. This is a fire hazard and a falling hazard, not to mention a poor way to treat your goods.

If you have a lot of music and a small space, invest in a vertical filing system with rolling shelves, a fabulous modification to any music library. (See figure 3.6.) Such a system saves valuable space and makes the task of finding and filing music more efficient. Vertical shelving is sturdy and easily adjusted to fit oversized or pep-band-sized music.

For smaller collections of sheet music, shelves in a storage room make a great music library space, better than old metal filing cabinets and much better than storage boxes or piles on the floor. (See figures 3.7 and 3.8.)

A vertical library is an effective way to keep your music organized and in good condition

FIGURE 3.6 A vertical library is an effective way to keep your music organized and in good condition.

Old metal filing cabinets can prove difficult for filing oversized scores and can eventually become a safety hazard

FIGURE 3.7 Old metal filing cabinets can prove difficult for filing oversized scores and can eventually become a safety hazard.

Using a storage room as your music library makes sense when you have a small library and lots of storage shelves

FIGURE 3.8 Using a storage room as your music library makes sense when you have a small library and lots of storage shelves.

Make sure your music library has a space for sorting music. A long table, or two or three, is best for this task. Don’t sit on the floor to sort music; that’s a great way to wreck your back.

GENERAL EQUIPMENT MAINTENANCE

In maintaining a music room, you need to keep floors clear of clutter to avoid falls, and you need to keep your shelving and filing systems in good repair. That music shelf constructed by a generous parent 20 years ago may still do the job, but are the edges smooth? Is it sturdy? Are there any nails sticking out? Check the condition of all your durable equipment for dangers of splinters and scrapes, and make sure everything is sturdy and balanced. Avoid painful situations such as Jason’s: “I was moving a gong when the leather string broke. It fell on my big toe and broke it to pieces (my toe, not theng).”

Replace or repair any equipment that is ragged, wobbly, or in any form of disrepair. Check the wheels on carts and percussion equipment. Check the support strings on the gong and cymbals. Always have adequate lighting, and keep emergency exits clear.

MORE SAFETY TIPS

  • • Always wear closed-toe shoes in the classroom. Nothing hurts quite like a baby toe getting caught on an edge.
  • • Take extra care when getting items down from a top shelf.
  • • Always use good lifting technique when picking things up off the floor.
  • • If you have to step over something, it shouldn’t be there. Pick it up, and move it to a safe place.
  • • End the day by cleaning up. Put everything back in its place so you can start fresh in the morning.

One more tip: When making a request to administration for new equipment for your classroom, always mention student safety. They can’t say no to safety. (And neither should you.)

 
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