Palen Music Center Quick Note

Monday, September 12, 2005


The PMC Quick Note is a weekly service provided to all area directors.  It is part of our mission to support the lives of band directors across the Midwest.  The weekly Quick Note will contain helpful tips and suggestions from area directors, spotlights on area college and university band programs, calendars of upcoming events, advocacy articles promoting music education, links to helpful web resources, and much more.  Comments, suggestions, ideas, and articles are always welcome.


In order for our marching and concert bands to sound their best, every student needs to contribute.  The best way to know if your band members can play their parts individually is to test them, but who has the time?  How can we test every student individually and still preserve the precious rehearsal time we have?  During my years in Branson, I was able to test every high school band member individually in a matter of minutes.  We held playing tests nearly every week.  At the beginning of the year, I wrote the testing schedule on the board.  On the day of the test, I would circle up the band and everyone would play the test piece at the same time.  I would walk around the circle with a roster on my clipboard and listen to each kid for a second or two.  If they were playing with confidence, I checked their name off.  If they looked lost, didn’t play out, or fumbled through the music, they didn’t pass.  I would then re-test those students in the same manner the following week.  If a student passed the very first time, they received an “A” for that test.  If they passed the second week, it was a “B”….the third week a “C”.  The point is, I wanted them to continue working on it until they could play it, not just fail them the first time and be done with it.  I also gave the kids a safety net.  If on testing day they didn’t pass the test, they could always come in after school to play for me individually to get a second chance.  This system gave me a way to keep all students individually accountable, it kept them progressing on their music, and it gave me a concrete way to put accurate grades in the gradebook.

Eric Matzat spent the past nine years as Director of Bands for Branson R-4 Schools and now works for Palen Music Center.  He can be reached via email at

Click to visit the Sibelius WebsiteOnline Interactive Scale Sheets from Sibelius Music

The Sibelius website has wonderful interactive scale sheets that you can customize per instrument and print out.  You can listen to the scale online, adjust performance tempos, and transpose for any instrument.  The website will prompt you to install Sibelius Scorch, a free browser plug-in that allows you to view and listen to the notation files.

Click to view the treble clef scale sheets.

Click to view the bass clef scale sheets.

Helpful Web Links to State Music Organizations

Arkansas Bandmasters Association (

Arkansas Music Educators Association (

Iowa Bandmasters Association (

Iowa Music Educators Association (

Kansas Bandmasters Association (

Kansas Music Educators Association (

Missouri Music Educators Association (

Missouri Bandmasters Association (

Oklahoma Bandmasters Association (

Oklahoma Music Educators Association (

Coming Next Week

Marching festival calendar – Check out what special events are coming to your area

District band materials and suggestions – Another helpful article in our audition series

Music advocacy – Information supporting our efforts in teaching children about music

Web spotlights – More wonderful web resources at your fingertips

Contact Your Local Palen Music Center

Can we assist you with anything?  Please contact your local Palen Music Center school road representative for all of your music education needs.


Springfield (417) 882-7000 Bob Hopkins and Mike Brown

Columbia (573) 256-5555 Robert Pitts

Moberly (660) 263-0109 Clint Thompson

Joplin (417) 781-3100 Wayne Blades

Liberty (816) 792-8301 Ken Crisp

St. Joseph (816) 232-4476 Ken Crisp


If you would like to submit material, make changes or corrections, give comments, or wish to be removed from this mailing list, please contact Casey Tillman.


Powered by Mach5 Mailer.