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Palen Music Center Quick Note

Monday, December 10, 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.

Palen Music Takes Directors To Midwest Clinic in Chicago
Come to the Midwest Clinic!

Later this month, Palen Music Center will be taking band directors from across the Midwest up to the famed Midwest Clinic in Chicago. It is part of Palen Music's efforts to enrich the lives of the band and orchestra directors we serve and assist them in their professional development.

The international band and orchestra conference is the largest instrumental music education event in the world, annually drawing over 15,000 attendees, dozens of clinics, concerts, and a huge exhibition hall. The 61st annual event, which began in 1946, will be held from December 18-22, 2007.

If you can't attend this year, mark your calendars for December 16-20, 2008.

Midwest Clinic Links
For more information, please visit the following links:

The Midwest Clinic
Midwest Clinic Promo Video
Pre-Register for the 2007 Conference
Conference Schedule
Printable Concert Programs

Director Feedback to Quick Note
This is a letter we received from Craig Finger at Nixa Schools. He took some info from a recent Quick Note article, then improved and developed it into a resource for his students. Be sure to check out the finished product that evolved from an earlier is wonderful! Read on for the info!

I wanted to drop you a quick note to let you know that your Quick Note newsletter is being utilized!

Recently, you ran an article describing four levels of a band student with descriptors for each one.  I thought it looked like a valuable resource, so I decided to brainstorm about how I could utilize that in my own program. 

I looked at each level and decided what activities I wanted to include in order for students to reach each level.  Of the four levels, I made the third level the "expectation" for a Nixa band member.  Why not the fourth level?  The thought process was similar to a teacher's PBTE.  The expectation is a third level and the the fourth level is what we strive for.  I wanted the kids to have a level to reach for.  I also named each level as "Enrolled Member" (Level 1), "Participating Member" (Level 2), "Contributing Member", (Level 3), and "Leader" (Level 4) with each level having a more detailed description given.  I also assigned points to each level (not for grading, but for scoring) so students can look at each activity, give themselves the appropriate points, total the points up and see where they fall on the scale.

Click to downloadOn the reverse side of the document, I gave the kids a growth plan.  It is set up almost exactly like our district Professional Growth Plan for teachers.  I have the kids state their objective, the steps to achieve the goal, their implementation time line and what they are going to do to celebrate their success.  The overall goal was to make their activity point total grow.  We had always done a self evaluation but this made it more substantive and clear.

It is important to note that I developed about five different versions of this and my section leaders serving as an advisory group.  Many of their suggestions made it into the final product.  It was very well received by the kids.  It has been given back to them and they now keep it in their band portfolio and we make reference to it from time to time.  At the end of the year, we will evaluate our progress and build from there.  This student growth plan, along with the practice journals that I have earlier described, has become the cornerstone of our musical growth.  I know that this will take time to see the impact but I am excited to see what the future brings.

I just wanted you to know that your newsletter is a resource being utilized by many teachers.  I hear many good stories about how the Quick Note is spurring ideas that are making programs stronger.  Thanks for your work in bringing this resource to my desktop!

I have attached both the student growth plan (2 pages) in case you would like to share it with anyone.  This is the first year of implementation so I am sure that it will be tweaked as the years progress.

Merry Christmas!!

Craig Finger
Director of Bands
Nixa R-II Schools

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, Jeromy Pope, and Jim Wilson
  Springfield North (417) 862-2700 Burl Williams
  Columbia (573) 256-5555 Robert Pitts
  Joplin (417) 781-3100 Wayne Blades and Zach Houser
  Liberty (816) 792-8301 Ken Crisp and Dick Murdock
  Broken Arrow (918) 770-6827 Mackey Amos and Mark VanVranken
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.