Palen Music Center Quick Note

Monday, December 5, 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.


Have Fun At Your First Concert! by Eric Matzat

Many of you are getting ready for that very first concert with your 6th grade beginning band.  Here are several tips you might want to try:


Tip #1:  Preach to the Choir.  Speak to the parents as they wait for the concert to begin.  If you have the luxury of having more than one director working with your beginning band, have one director warm up the group in the band room while the other director has a “parent meeting” in the gym or auditorium before the concert.  Most directors require the students to show up a half-hour before the concert, so use that time with your captive audience.  Go over upcoming events, describe what you are doing in class, instruct the parents how to encourage their children at home, and even tell them what to look forward to in junior high.  Don’t miss this opportunity to “set the hook” and build that parent support.


Tip #2:  A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words.  A week or so before the concert, take a bunch of digital photos of your kids in rehearsal.  Dump the photos into a looping PowerPoint to create a slide show for the parents.   Every ten slides or so, insert a “news flash” about the spring concert date, practice card reminders, or other pertinent information.  Set up a big screen next to the band and start the slide show an hour before the concert.  You can even choose to let it run throughout your program.  There is nothing more exciting for a parent than to watch that screen waiting for a picture of their child to pop up.  It keeps the parents interested throughout the concert and makes the kids feel important.  I usually show the slide show to the band students the next day following the concert.


Tip #3:  Give Some Solos.  The repertoire list for the first concert is always very limited, so I had fun with some solos.  Pick a line out of the method book that has a soli or solo part.  A week before the concert, ask the group “who would like to do a solo?”  Put each name on a slip of paper and put them in a container.  Each rehearsal, practice drawing a soloist’s name out of the hat and play the line featuring that student.  Repeat this many times with different soloists.  At the concert, explain that you will be playing the line of music six or eight times….each with a different soloist chosen at random on the spot.  Make a big production out of pulling the name out of the hat, having the randomly selected soloist stand up, then play the line of music.  Repeat this as many times as you like.  The audience doesn’t care that it is the same line of music….they are just excited to see who gets drawn out of the hat next.  This has become a big tradition at our concerts and it is always talked about for months to come.


Have fun and good luck at your first beginning band concert!

Click for some free staff paperFree Sheet Music

This site contains links to printable staff paper for almost any need.  You can choose from the following options: basic 9 staffs on a page, basic 12 staffs on a page, measured staff paper, grand staff paper, grand staff with vocal, staff paper with treble clef, staff paper with bass clef, bass & treble clef, wide rule staff paper, student rule staff paper, guitar tablature, guitar fret board, bass tablature, bass fret board, and the ever-popular tin whistle tab.

Southwest Baptist University Music Department

Last week, we printed a list of area college music department websites.  We neglected to include the music department at Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, Missouri.  Please visit their website for more information.

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

Springfield North (417) 862-2700 Martin Probstfield

Columbia (573) 256-5555 Robert Pitts

Moberly (660) 263-0109 Joe Brown

Joplin (417) 781-3100 Wayne Blades

Liberty (816) 792-8301 Ken Crisp


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