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Palen Music Center Quick Note

Monday, April 16, 2007


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 contains 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.


Looking for help on a particular topic? Be sure to check out our Quick Note Catalog of back issues.

Summer Music Camp List Coming Next Week

We are compiling and extensive list of area summer music camp opportunities for junior high and high school students. The list will be complete with links, applications, camp dates, fees, and camp descriptions. If you would like us to include a camp in your area, please let us know.
Have a Successful Clinic by Alan Raph
Redistributed by PMC with permission from Conn-Selmer. This article may also be viewed on the Conn-Selmer Keynotes Online website.

Your clinician may have a lot to offer and never get it across. This might be YOUR fault!

You're having a clinic session. You've set up the time and place, secured the audience, and introduced the clinician. You've done your job.

An experienced clinician will do his best to get his points across and reach the largest number of people using those points. He may talk in general to the audience, or go technical if there seems to be enough people interested directly in his field. At any rate he'll do his bit hoping to reach his audience.

That's not quite the idea of a clinic, however; hence, the following:

Why Have a Clinic?

The purpose of a clinician's visit is not to show off his ability, hawk some brand names at the kids, criticize existing methods, toss out a few catch-all cure-alls, and walk away with a bundle of money. A good clinician comes with:
An expert knowledge of this field.
The ability to impart this knowledge to groups and individuals, clearly, entertainingly, and concisely-within a specific period of time.
A high level of performance ability, and the readiness to demonstrate various aspects of his skills.
Flexibility in time and attitude to hear special problems; and the experience to help solve them to an appreciable degree.

His main reason for being at your school, remember, is to support you and to get your people to do what they do better.

Director's Guide to the Clinic Session

1. Know what you want from the clinician. He's there for your benefit to do things you can use. Make sure he does them. Meet with him beforehand, talk with him. Point out where you feel he can be effective in helping you, listen to his ideas. Spend a few minutes this way. Don't expect the clinician to read your mind.

2. Ask for his support. Often when students hear the same thing that you've been telling them come from an outsider, they listen harder. Ask him to demonstrate specific things which will help your situation.

3. Suggest special concentration on a general area that you may be trying to arouse interest in, (i.e., Percussion Clinic-mallet instruments)

4. Ask him to work with a specially talented youngster with a "problem" student-wherever you feel he will be able to do some good on an individual basis.

5. If you feel that he can do better to size up your situation and make his own move, tell him. Let him see your situation as completely as possible.

6. If you want a "show," ask for it.

7. Use the time carefully, don't over-expose or under-expose your guest. If he is there for the day, it would be as bad to have him always "under foot" as to never know where he is except for when he "holds court." Strike your own balance here, and schedule his time accordingly.

8. Prepare the students. Tell them who he is, where he's from, and why he's coming. Have them think of questions to ask; orient the students towards asking questions.

9. Let him hear you. Your ensembles, your soloists, your thoughts, your problems. Don't spend all your time and energy impressing him with your school's achievements; use him for your purposes. His first and foremost job in giving a clinic is to get your people to do what they do, better-by introducing them toward greater achievement. He's there to do a job. Get the job done.

10. Linger a while. If the clinician is there for a very limited time and must move on, try to schedule things so that he can stay a little while after his presentation to meet and talk with specially interested individuals. This need not be more than a few minutes. It will be very meaningful and effective.

A clinician is an expert in his field. Your job is to select, program, and incorporate "experts" to your own advantage. Get what you want by saying what it is you want. Beware of being passive, you could "blow the whole thing."

Alan Raph is a composer, arranger, conductor, instrumentalist, author, educator, clinician, lecturer, soloist. Present affiliations with Conn-Selmer Inc. Musical Instruments (clinician/soloist), Carl Fischer Publishing Co.(author), The Joffrey Ballet Co.(composer), Teachers College Columbia University, Queens College (instructor, assoc-prof.). Member of ASCAP, NARAS (present holder of the "Most Valuable Player" award), ITA, AFM.

Help Us Promote Summer Music Camps!
We are interested in putting together a list of summer music camps, dates, costs, and information. If you have a summer camp to recommend, please let us know and we will publish the list on Monday, April 23rd.

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, Mike Brown, and Zach Houser
Springfield North (417) 862-2700 Burl Williams
Columbia (573) 256-5555 Robert Pitts
Joplin (417) 781-3100 Wayne Blades
Liberty (816) 792-8301 Ken Crisp and Dick Murdock


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