Click to visit the Palen Music Center websitePalen Music Center Quick Note

Monday, February 27, 2006


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.

Magical Practice by Jerry Hoover

**This is wonderful material for your students to read and absorb....especially as you begin contest preparation. Printable copies for your students are also available in Microsoft Word (.doc) format or Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) format.


From the moment you take your instrument out of its case, you probably have from 3 to 15 minutes of practice opportunity before band rehearsal begins! Most of the time it is not utilized. Imagine how much you could improve your playing if you seized that 15 to 45 minutes each week (or 1 to 3 hours monthly!!!) Whoa! We're talking some serious musical progress! But, this does not mean trying to hit the highest note you can on your trumpet, blatting the loudest sound possible on the trombone, or ripping a garbled C scale (out of tune, uneven and sloppy) on the clarinet.


Try this formula:

  • Play long slow tones, each with a crescendo/diminuendo, going up the scale and back down...keep your eyes closed so you will concentrate on keeping the dynamics even and smooth...this is great for building good tone production and breath support.
  • Brass players should then run through some breath flexibility (lip slurs) exercises...these, too are excellent for tone, breath support and building accuracy in your playing.
  • Woodwind players should slowly (half notes?) ascend scales (again with your eyes closed for more accurate listening) one note at a time and match the tonal clarity and timbre of each pitch...this can be done by opening the back of your throat, increasing the breath support and checking correctness of your embouchure
  • And finally, slur a scale or two up and down the range of your instrument...concentrate on breath support and not waste time on scales you already can adequately play! one you're needing to conquer, maybe an A or a D it through several times each the end of the week it will be in your repertoire of accomplishments on your instrument!

You will be amazed at how much you can improve your playing by using this short period of time when you're normally goofing off waiting for band to begin.

Jerry Hoover is Director of Bands at Missouri State University, where he supervises a total of eighteen bands, including the 340-member Pride Marching Band. After twenty years in the public schools where he developed award-winning concert, marching, and jazz bands, he accepted the band position at New Mexico State University where he remained Director of Bands for seven years. He has been at Missouri State in the same capacity since 1985. Mr. Hoover is past President of the Missouri Chapter of Phi Beta Mu and is the Music Consultant and Chief Adjudicator for the London-based "Youth Music of the World."

Macon Middle School Band and Choir Festival
The Macon Middle School Band and Choir Festival will be held on May 6, 2006. Seventh and eighth grade bands and choirs are invited to participate, plus sixth, seventh, and eighth grade solos and ensembles. If you are interested in more information, please contact Dan Harbaugh at Macon Middle School at (660) 385-2180.


If you have a band festival that you would like us to advertise on the PMC Quick Note, please submit information to Eric Matzat. We would be happy to help!

Check Out Back Issues of the PMC Quick Note

Be sure to visit our catalog of past issues of the Palen Music Center Quick Note.

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.


(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 Eric Matzat.