Click to visit the Palen Music Center website

Palen Music Center Quick Note

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


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.

Excuses, Excuses
Recruiting for next year's beginning band students is a critical component of your spring responsibilities. In order to attract the top students into your band or orchestra, there are often excuses that must be overcome. Here are some common objections to participation in music programs, and ways to address those obstacles. The content of this article comes from the Conn-Selmer website, which contains tons of advocacy material, parent and director resources, and other wonderful content. Check it out!

Excuses, excuses
A musical instrument is a key that unlocks a bounty of treasures: self-respect, cooperation, understanding, resourcefulness, pleasure, escape, family harmony, and on and on. Why, then, do some parents deny this experience to their children? Do any of these reasons sound familiar?

My child has no talent.
How do you know until he or she is exposed to a learning situation where music is involved? Shouldn’t all children be offered a chance at such an enriching adventure? Furthermore, if only the highly talented become musically literate, who will support our symphonies or appreciate our musical heritage or simply enjoy all the music that surrounds our lives?

My child is not the type.
There is nothing to be gained if we label and pigeonhole everyone. It’s natural to hope that our children will carry out our unfulfilled dreams for us, but it’s risky to put our own dreams before theirs. Maybe you call Johnny the “athletic type” because you want him to be a sportsman. But does that mean he can’t be an athlete who also enjoys music? No career is an alternative to music, but each is enriched by music’s rewards.

My child shows no interest in music.
Are you sure? Almost all young people respond to life with sound and song. Sing a lullaby to an infant, and the baby coos in return. Hand a stick to a toddler, and he or she will beat out a fascinatin’ rhythm. Kids spend a good part of life humming, strumming, tapping, whistling, swaying, rocking and rolling. By its very nature, the world of childhood is saturated with music.

My child hasn’t asked for musical instruction.
Does your child beg permission to go to school or church or scouts? You normally assume responsibility for these decisions as part of parenting. Children can’t know what experiences will be meaningful for them. They need you to make choices, set directions and open up new horizons for their growth.

My son should be out playing ball.
In an era of dishwashing fathers and working mothers, we can no longer stereotype interests and activities as feminine or masculine. And why would we want to? Both sexes should feel encouraged to experience life in all its richness. Music and the arts help nurture every child as a well-rounded person.

My child will take years to learn . . . and he’ll probably quit.
Children begin mastering simple tunes very early in their instruction, which leads to an early sense of achievement. But even if your child tries and quits—or tries and fails—is that a valid excuse for denying the experience in the first place? A friendship with music, even if brief, can add a new dimension to your child’s growth, reaping enormous benefits in later life.

Okay, parents. Let’s face the music.
Parents can contrive lots of excuses for denying music to their children, yet music education is one of the oldest, most readily available and probably least expensive routes available to family solidarity. It’s one of the few hobbies that can last for life and improve with age. Take a look at your friends whose lives have been enriched by music over the years. Think of your own child’s future. Remember that music is "the food of love" and that you can become a better parent by helping a new generation to "play on."

1. Knowing and working with the band or orchestra director
2. Buying or renting an instrument
3. Helping your child learn
4. Some common misconceptions
5. Glossary of Terms in Instrumental Music
6. Do's and Don'ts of Instrument Care
7. Choosing a Music Store
8. Consider Private Lessons
9. What Else Can I Do?

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 Jeromy Pope
  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.