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Palen Music Center Quick Note

Monday, October 15, 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.

Three Tips For Cleaning Drill Efficiently
These simple steps can maximize your rehearsal time and help your marching band achieve new levels of excellence.
By Rob Stein,

Many educators have varying viewpoints on how to clean drill. Most instructors teach in the same process they were taught. After being instructed in many groups with various teaching methods, I apply these key aspects and find them to be the most efficient for a clean, crisp end result. Although some of these steps may seem to be "wasting time," remember that doing things correctly is the top priority, and will sometimes take more time than rehearsing in a hastened, more inefficient manner.

1. Break down complicated sets into groups of students and rehearse by rotating the groups.
Example - There is an ensemble box rotation. Break down the set by assigning group numbers to each line of the box. The most outside line is "group 1," the next line, "group 2," the third line from the inside is "group 3," etc. For the first rep, the only members running the set are those in "group 1." This will benefit the students in numerous ways; the most obvious being that there is more attention to the individual since the staff only has to concentrate on a small percentage of the band. Students will always perform better when they know they are being watched and analyzed. Another benefit of this method is the students will better learn where the key dress points are during the move, allowing them to better understand their path and step-size while simultaneously ingraining the move in their muscle memory. After "group 1" has successfully performed the move a few times in a row, rotate to "group 2." Repeat the process until each line has performed the move successfully. After that, start adding in more groups; this can be done in numerous ways. For example, rehearsing the two most outside lines, then gradually adding from the outside-in, or vice versa. The more time there is for the project and the more ways the move is rehearsed, the better understanding your students will get and the cleaner the overall product will be. Although this step is somewhat time consuming, if implemented correctly, you will notice immediate results and improvement with your band's visual execution.

For tip #2 and #3, read the full story on

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
Broken Arrow (918) 770-6827 Mackey Amos and Mark VanVranken


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