Administrative Project #3: Create a mail merge

Once you have a firm grasp on how to collect and organize information, you should be ready to transform it. One of those ways is through a mail merge. Creating a mail merge is relatively simple, and can save a ton of time on a variety of administrative tasks. For example, if you would like to print off labels for concert folders or part assignments, that is one way to do that very quickly. In addition, if you want to learn all of your students names on the first day of school, name tags or name tents can be created through a mail merge to help speed this process up.

Mail Merge Project Description:

The purpose of this project is to transform an existing roster into name tents like the one here. These name tents contains their first name, last name, and part assignment along with the the name of the choir. Name tents can be super helpful when you need to learn people’s names on the first few days of school or when having guest conductors or honor ensembles. 

In the video below, we walk through how to conduct a simple mail merge. The files that are used in the video below can be found here:

Once learners understand the basics of how to create a mail merge, these skills can be applied in a number of ways. For practicing music teachers, these mail merge skills could easily be used in a number of ways later on such as creating creating reports for student info, grades, and accounts, audition sheets (and results), name tags, instrument check-out, uniform check-out, and part assignments. 

Next Steps

An extension of the project above would be to create their own group of performers (imaginary or real) and enter into a database and then merged into name tags, name tents, account summaries (like this one), or any other example that you can come up with. This Backwards Design Model gives learners the tools to make a mindful connection between the concepts and skills of managing and transforming information to real world applications. An even further extension is described in the next project below.

Administrative Database Project Description:

The purpose of this project is to create one administrative database to rule them all. The database includes rosters with student info, student accounts, instrument inventories, music library, and an auditions sheet. The intent is to give students a framework for how to organize files when they have a program of their own. 

Within Microsoft excel, create a database with the following tabs:

  1. Student Information
  2. Budget
  3. Student Accounts
  4. Attendance
  5. Grades

Within each tab, please create a template with the following information that is formatted in a way is both clear and flexible. In other words, you or anyone else could enter or find information into this database because it is laid out in a way that is both logical and helpful. The details of those tabs are:

Student Information:

  • Last Name
  • First Name
  • Student ID #
  • Graduation Year
  • Primary Instrument
  • Street Addess         
  • City       
  • Zip        
  • Home Phone         
  • Student’s Cell Phone              
  • Parent Name         
  • Daytime Phone      
  • Secondary Instrument            
  • Medical Conditions/Medications            


  • Last Name            
  • First Name            
  • Student ID #
  • Student Fees          
  • Payments              
  • Scholarship            
  • Fundraisers
  • Account Balance

BUDGET SUMMARY (categories)

  • Music
  • Instruments and Equipment
  • Repair
  • Marching Band
  • Clinicians and Staff
  • Office Supplies
  • Entry Fees. (Misc.)
  • Total

Under each category

  • Reference Number
  • P.O. Number      
  • Description         
  • Date Received     
  • Quantity             
  • Price Per Unit     
  • Subtotal
  • Total                  


  • Last Name
  • First Name            
  • Student ID #
  • Instrument            
  • Late (Rehearsal)     
  • Unexcused (Rehearsal)           
  • Excused (Rehearsal)               
  • Late (Performance)
  • Unexcused (Performance)      
  • Excused (Performance)          
  • Attendance Total


  • Last Name            
  • First Name            
  • Instrument            
  • Attendance Grade  
  • Scales Test 
  • Playing Test 
  • Final Grade

A pdf of the assignment details is linked here along with some examples of administrative spreadsheets here. Once learners understand the concepts covered in these projects, many of the administrative burdens of running a music program should be much simpler. Not only should they have the knowledge and skills to organize info in a useful way, but they should also have a better conceptual understanding of what is entailed in music administration, which is an important first step. Additional videos on excel basics can be found below:

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