Palen Music Center Quick Note

Monday, December 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.


Maintaining Your Instrument Inventory’s Health by Marvin Manring


Nothing derails a band rehearsal faster than an instrument that doesn’t perform properly. When it happens, neither the student nor the band director is 100% into the process of making music. Plus, unless you’re accustomed to performing in front of your students with a screwdriver, jeweler’s pliers or pad glue to make an on-the-spot repair, instruction time—the ‘golden hour’ that we work with students--can evaporate very quickly.


You can minimize the need for school year repairs by establishing a repair schedule for 2006 as a standard part of your music budget. Take stock of your instruments and form a systematic plan to ensure that your inventory gets professional attention on a consistent basis.


Summer repair programs usually don’t start without some investment of time and effort on your part, and your investment might be more significant than the school district’s during the first couple of years. If you’re confident that you can deal with a particular family of instruments, send off the group that would be better serviced by an experienced repair technician. You might choose to designate a particular group of instruments each summer based on need or amount of use, and then rotate in another group the next year.


Also, your students need to take advantage of this opportunity as well for their personal instruments. Ask your field rep for information and materials. Sending a contact letter about the repair program and a response form for students to return with their instrument in the last days of the school year can pay a lot of dividends. (Think in terms of the reduction in ‘down time’ and reduced band director stress!)


Establishing a repair schedule is also a very important part of the overall creditability of your program with administrators. Your ability to create and execute a careful plan of maintaining inventory goes a long way when you request instrument upgrades or additions. To your credit, you have shown that you are willing to put in the time and effort to maintain what you have. You may also be able to show a consistent problem with a particular instrument over a longer period of time and make a good case for replacement or upgrade.


Often it involves bringing some aspects of band budget management into the mainstream budget process, in the same manner that schools purchase music through free textbook funds or pay for trips through a district-wide travel budget. If you don’t budget instrument repairs through your school’s repair/maintenance/upkeep category, start now!


Your music store’s field representative can assist you in creating a plan of action to resuscitate, rejuvenate, and reenergize your instrument inventory. December and January are prime months to plan for the next budget year. Minimizing repairs through the year is a significant way to ensure that the kids keep playing during the ‘golden hour’ that you have them in the room—and isn’t that what it’s all about?


Marvin Manring is a 1985 alumnus of Central Methodist College in Fayette and was a student of Prof. Keith House. He taught in the Missouri school districts of California and Slater before coming to Stockton in 1993. His bands at Stockton have consistently earned Divison 1 and 2 ratings for several reasons--not the least of which is the fact that all the school instruments were in good repair and didn't break down on contest day!

See You In January!

The staff of Palen Music Center would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas.  This will be the last edition of the Quick Note for 2005.  We will resume our weekly e-newsletter in January.

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


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.