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

Monday, March 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.

Playing With The Big Kids! by David B. Knight

Several of our smaller area schools perform with a combined membership of students in grades 7-12. Most people don't give it much thought, but think what it must be like to be a 7th grader in a class with juniors and seniors! You have left the relative comfort of an all 6 th grade band and whammo! Suddenly these young players have graduated from a 2 concert year, and are sitting next to a junior or senior who has been playing for 7 or 8 years.

Numerous concerts, basketball games, contests, parades, and other activities loom before them. It can be somewhat intimidating due to the wide age and experience level of the students. Imagine what it would be like if the varsity basketball team, or the volleyball team, or the math league, or any other high school competitive group used 7th grade members. In many small schools, the 7th graders are a very necessary and integral part of the whole band. Without the 7th grade class, it might be hard for some schools to field a somewhat full, competition band on the street in parade competition, or a concert band with some depth getting ready for contest. And to top it all off, these groups are judged with other groups that consist only of members in grades 9-12.

Once the 7th grade class adjusts to the new surroundings, they can be a very beneficial addition to the group. When they get over their initial shock and settle into a routine they feel comfortable with, they can add quite a bit to the sound and look of the group. Getting settled and into a routine is not as easy as it sounds. Suddenly these kids are in a new line-up, playing new music, doing some marching and playing they have never done before, and everyone wants them to do it right now! It is a lot to ask of these young kids. Directors and the older students really have to keep things in perspective as to how these younger kids fit in. The new 7th grade musicians need to realize that they will struggle on some things. As long as they are aware of how they fit into the scenario, and realistic and attainable goals have been set for them, they will do fine for the year.

David B. KnightThe next time you see a 7-12 band, do a double take with the younger kids. They are there working hard to learn what it takes to be a working member of the high school performing organization. These kids will grow up to be successful band members in future years, and will eventually become leaders in this group. Plus, being a member of the performing organization will help these kids get experiences that they can only get from being in the band. So give them a pat on the back. They are doing a tough job and doing it pretty well. Put yourself in their shoes, walk a mile, then smile. So goes the life of a 7th grade band member in a 7-12 band.

David B. Knight is in his sixth year as the K-12 music instructor in the Billings R-IV School District. He has taught band and vocal classes at all levels in several schools in Missouri for the past 20 years. His current competition band consists of 49 students in grades 7-12. David holds a music degree from Missouri Southern and administrative degrees from Missouri State University and Central Missouri State University.

Jump On That Rudiment SheetVisit the PAS rudiments website
All advancing percussionists should have a copy of the 40 PAS rudiments for snare drum. An easy-to-read chart can be found on the Percussive Arts Society website (page 1 and page 2).


You can also find a wealth of helpful hints on the Vic Firth website on rudiments. The site contains playalongs, videos, and a progress chart. Look at the example below:


Example -- Rudiment #22: Flam Tap
Click the example below to go directly to the Vic Firth page for this rudiment. You can select a high quality or low quality video of John Wooton performing the rudiment. Try this with different rudiments and try giving a "web assignment" to your students. Select a rudiment, give them the web address, and have them determine whether they are at the bronze, silver, gold, platinum, or diamond level.

Switch Clocks On April 2nd

It's time to spring forward! Be sure to move your clocks ahead one hour when you go to bed this Saturday. Daylight Saving Time officially begins at 2:00am this coming Sunday, April 2nd.


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


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