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Julie Bounds of Santa Teresa High School in San Jose, Calif., is a band director always on the lookout for the thriftiest ways to run her band program.

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With MusicFirst, Bounds not only found an affordable solution for her bands’ needs, she also found an extraordinarily convenient tool that allows for more student accountability and flexibility for busy music teachers.

“MusicFirst is the one-stop website for all the music teachers’ needs. With all of our classrooms being so diverse, I believe that each teacher can find easy ways to enhance and improve what is already being done in their classroom through the use of MusicFirst,” said Bounds. “The program is a fantastic way to take your assessments and student accountability to the next level that is also achievable for the busy music teacher. Having everything easily accessible in one place is key,” she added.

Bounds has 13 years of teaching experience, all of them at Santa Teresa High School. Throughout her tenure, Bounds has tried many resources, but MusicFirst is the tool that has actually allowed her to implement her curriculum exactly as she’s wanted to.

“I have always had ideas of things that I have wanted to do in my classroom but MusicFirst actually makes it possible,” she said.

Students and teachers alike are fans of the product, especially of how intuitive it is and the convenience of accessibility through multiple platforms.

“Overall students have found the program to be very user-friendly and easy to access on their devices. I know that many of my students enjoy the ability to use the built-in software like Noteflight and Sight Reading factory at the leisure,” said Bounds.

With diversity ever-present in today’s classrooms, Bounds likes the fact that MusicFirst caters to students of all levels and backgrounds, and gives everyone an equal opportunity to succeed.

“I have a student who is special needs. I created a set of short playing tests to be completed using the record task. He has been systematically going through the exercises and completing them. I am able to evaluate them and provide him with comments on his progress. Because this back-and-forth feedback becomes like a private lesson this student has not only learned how to read music but has a real sense of pride and accomplishment. MusicFirst has the tools to make this kind of success possible for all kinds of students,” she said.

Learn more about Santa Teresa High School at

To check out the Santa Teresa Band online, visit And be sure to visit Julie Bounds' blog, The Thrifty Band Director.