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Palen Music Center Quick Note

Monday, April 27, 2009


The PMC Quick Note is a service provided to all area directors. It is part of our mission to support the lives of band directors across the Midwest. The 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!

Teaching through the arts motivates children and increases their aptitude for learning.

-- Eric Jensen, Arts With the Brain in Mind, 2001

Where’s My Bailout? Right Here! by Bob Morrison
Palen Music Center would like to thank Bob Morrison and Quadrant Arts Education Research for permission to distribute this article.
You can find more information on Bob's blog.

With literally TRILLIONS of dollars being thrown at various industry sectors, stimulus programs and bailout efforts the resounding course from the American public is this: Where’s MY bailout?

Well I can’t speak to where the bailout is for all Americans... but I can address my favorite topic by asking the question: How does the economic stimulus package impact music and arts education? Well, it impacts these programs in very real and meaningful ways.

To understand the impact of the economic stimulus on music and arts education you have to understand the stimulus law itself.

Economic Stimulus 101

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 was signed into law on February 24, 2009 by President Obama. The overall goals of the ARRA are to stimulate the economy in the short term and invest in education and other essential public services to ensure the long-term economic health of our nation. More than $100 BILLION is going into education. This is TWICE as much as this years current US DOE funding which is $45 billion. Much of this funding is being distributed to states and local districts as you read this.

According to the U.S. Department of Education there are four guiding principals surrounding the distribution of these funds and my translation:

1. Spend funds quickly to save and create jobs. ARRA funds will be distributed quickly to states, local educational agencies and other entities in order to avert layoffs, create and save jobs and improve student achievement. States and LEAs in turn are urged to move rapidly to develop plans for using funds, consistent with the law's reporting and accountability requirements, and to promptly begin spending funds to help drive the nation's economic recovery.

Translation: Funds are to be used to keep schools from cutting jobs and cutting programs. If you have been threatened with a potential layoff this money is available to be used to save your job!

2. Improve student achievement through school improvement and reform. ARRA funds should be used to improve student achievement. In addition, the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund (SFSF) provides funds to close the achievement gap, help students from all backgrounds achieve high standards, and address four specific areas that are authorized under bipartisan education legislation – including the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the America Competes Act of 2007:

a. Making progress toward rigorous college- and career-ready standards and high-quality assessments that are valid and reliable for all students, including English language learners and students with disabilities;

b. Establishing pre-K-to college and career data systems that track progress and foster continuous improvement;

c. Making improvements in teacher effectiveness and in the equitable distribution of qualified teachers for all students, particularly students who are most in need;

d. Providing intensive support and effective interventions for the lowest-performing schools.

Translation: Use the funds to improve student achievement is core content areas (which includes music and the arts) as well as professional development for teachers and a special emphasis on both   students where english is a second language and those students with disabilities.

3. Ensure transparency, reporting and accountability. To prevent fraud and abuse, support the most effective uses of ARRA funds, and accurately measure and track results, recipients must publicly report on how funds are used. Due to the unprecedented scope and importance of this investment, ARRA funds are subject to additional and more rigorous reporting requirements than normally apply to grant recipients.

Translation: Be sure you don’t blow this money on stupid stuff.

4. Invest one-time ARRA funds thoughtfully to minimize the "funding cliff." ARRA represents a historic infusion of funds that is expected to be temporary. Depending on the program, these funds are available for only two to three years. These funds should be invested in ways that do not result in unsustainable continuing commitments after the funding expires.

Translation: Understand that some of these funds will be a “one-time” injection or resources. Don’t spend money on programs the school will not have the resources to maintain once the money from the stimulus is gone. Expenditures that will have lasting impact should be given priority.

Now within the ARRA law there are various categories of funding. The ones most relevant to music and arts programs are:

1. State Fiscal Stabilization Fund (SFSF) $56 Billion - This is the big magilla! SFSF includes:

  • $39.6 billion for elementary, secondary, postsecondary and early education. This is intended to restore the level of state support for public schools and public postsecondary education institutions in fiscal years 2009, 2010, and 2011 to the level of state spending for 2008 or 2009, whichever is greater.
  • $8.8 billion for states to use for public safety and other government services, including education and modernization and repair of public school facilities.
  • $5 billion for state incentive grants for key education performance measures. $650 million of this may be used for Local Education Agency initiatives. This is the fund controlled by the Secretary of Education and has been referred to as the “Race to the Top” fund.

2. Title I $13 billion – This is the Title I funding as you know it and includes $3 billion for School Improvement Grants.

3. Special Education (Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act) $12.2 billion – Funding includes:

  • $11.3 billion for students ages 6-21.
  • $400 million for preschool children with disabilities.
  • $500 million for families and infants.

4. Education Technology $650 million – Funds here may be used to upgrade educational technology.

5. Impact Aid (School Construction) $100 million. Help for immediate construction needs.

An important point to understand is that Governors need to apply for the SFSF funding by describing how the funds will be used and making five required assurances (Allocation Assurances) to the Secretary of Education that, in accordance with various other statutes, the state will:

  • Maintain fiscal support of elementary, secondary, and higher education through 2011 at pre-crisis levels
  • Improve teacher effectiveness and equity in teacher distribution.
  • Establish a longitudinal data system.
  • Enhance academic standards and assessments.
  • Support struggling schools


Here’s the big point: Most of the funds are to be used for purposes as designated by the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). This is the law that governs public education in the United States. Since Music and Arts education is recognized as a core subject in ESEA, these programs are eligible for support through the ARRA and particularly in the Areas of the SFSF, Title I, IDEA and the technology grants. Ask yourself… how might this apply to me?

The big mistake many people make is to search for explicit listings of funds dedicated to the arts. Don’t look. You won’t find any. With the authorizing language of ESEA music and arts educators should be looking for how these broad categories could support their programs. A few thoughts:

  • Money to Save Your Job – If your job is threatened with being cut the  SFSF funds is your first stop to help save your job!
  • Professional Development – Teacher training to improve skills, conferences, summer workshops, etc.
  • Capital Improvements – This may include thongs like musical instruments, sound reinforcement, methods and supplies.
  • Technology – keyboard labs, midi studios, computer music stations, and learning software.
  • School Improvement – classes that are developed to support educational goals like student retention and cross curricular integration.
  • Data Gathering (my favorite) – support for better data gathering and longitudinal analysis. Maybe we will finally figure out who has music classes and who doesn’t.

The point is we, as music and arts educators, need to look at everything through the lens that this funding applies to our subject area just as much as it applies to any other core subject area - unless there are specific qualifications that would exclude us from a funding pool.

More than $50 billion is being pushed into the education system RIGHT NOW… with the remained being pushed out in the next 12 months. For many states this is a windfall of money. This is because the formula that is being used to allocate the money to states school districts IS NOT BASED ON NEED! Most of the funds will be allocated based on the current Title I and IDEA funding formulas as well as school aged population in a community Even though this is the formula the SFSF funds are “are not subject to Title I program requirements.” No budget shortfall in education in your state? No problem! Here’s hundreds of millions of dollars for you anyway! This means in many districts administrators are going to be looking for ways to utilize the money in appropriate ways.

If I were you… whether your job is at risk; or you are interested in outfitting your department with new method books, instruments, technology; or you want some new training to sharpen your teaching skills… I would be ready to make the case for our how these funds could impact you and your program.

As an educator… this is YOUR stimulus! But it is not going to be handed to you. You have to go get it!

Reprinted with the permission of the author and
Quadrant Arts Education Research

Copyright 2009 Quadrant Arts Education Research
All Rights Reserved

Summer Music Camp Opportunities

There are a growing number of choices for summer music opportunities throughout the Midwest. If you know of any additional camps, please let me know and we will post the information!

  Missouri State University Bands Alive Summer Music Camp
The Auxiliary Camp runs from June 16-19. The Concert Band Camp runs from June 15-19. Fees for the concert camp are $309 and the auxiliary camp costs $259. Campers will be housed in the University residence halls. Meals will be served in the University dining centers. Campers will receive a Bands Alive 2009 t-shirt. Breathing Gym creators Pat Sheridan and Sam Pilafian will be special guests duing the camp. Registration deadline is June 1, 2009. For more information, view the MSU Band Website, view the camp brochure or camp application, or call (417) 836-5454.

Click to go to the MU Band Camp website

University of Missouri-Columbia Summer Band Camp
The Mizzou Junior High Band Camp will be held on June 7-12 and the High School Band Camp will run June 14-19. Ninth graders may attend either or both camps. Residential cost includes tuition, a camp t-shirt, rooming in the residence halls, and all meals. Commuter cost includes tuition, a camp t-shirt and lunch. Fees are $415 for JH residents and $275 for JH commuters; fees are $465 for HS residents and $275 for HS commuters. Click for the application. Application deadline is May 25, 2009. For more information, visit the Mizzou Band Camp website.
Click to view the UCM summer band camp website.
University of Central Missouri Music Camp
The 50th Annual UCM Music Camp runs from June 7-12. The on-campus fees are $375 and commuter fees are $200. A UCM Music Camp t-shirt is complimentary. Enrichment classes in music technology, music fundamentals, theory, conducting, and more are available. Private lessons are also available. For more information, visit the camp website or view the online registration form.
View the Drury Jazz Camp brochure

Drury University Jazz Camp
The Drury University Jazz Camp runs from June 14-19. It is the oldest jazz camp in the state of Missouri and is celebrating its 22nd anniversary. Tuition is $295 and room & board is $240. Room and board includes five nights of lodging on campus plus 15 meals in the Findlay Student Center. For more information, visit the camp website or view the camp brochure.

Click to view the Midwestern Music Academy website.
University of Kansas Midwestern Music Camp
The Midwestern Music Camp offers many different tracks of study including junior high band and orchestra camp from June 14-19, senior high band and orchestra camp from June 21-26, and the KU jazz workshop from July 12-17. Elective classes including music theory, music appreciation, rhythm techniques, conducting, and improvisation are available. Private lessons are also available. Early bird deadlines are May 25th for the junior high camp, June 1st for senior high camp, and May 25th for the string camp. For more information, check out the detailed camp website or jump directly to the registration forms.

Click to view the U of A camp application.
University of Arkansas Summer Music Camp
The 52nd annual Arkansas Summer Music Camp will be held this summer featuring a junior high band camp from July 12-17, a senior high band camp runs July 19-25, and a junior and senior high orchestra camp from July 19-25. Regular resident rates are $365 for the junior high camp, and $395 for the senior high band and orchestra camps. Regular commuter rates are $270/295. Earlybird discounts apply for applications postmarked before May 22nd. For more information, view the camp application.
Click to view the UMKC Summer Jazz Camp website.
University of Missouri-Kansas City Jazz Camp
Designed for instrumentalists and vocalists from middle school through adult, this day camp features bass player and bandleader, Jim Widner, and UMKC Conservatory jazz faculty. Participants will be exposed to all aspects of jazz through master classes, ensemble work, theory and improvisation training and concerts. The camp runs from June 21-26. Tuition runs $400 and the deadline is June 5, 2009. UMKC room and board is available for a reasonable price. For more information, view the camp brochure.
Jefferson College Viking Band Camp
Jefferson College is located in Hillsboro, Missouri is hosting a band camp from July 6-10, 2009. The cost for resident campers is $235, which includes four nights lodging in the residental complex, all meals, activities and everything in the commuter option. The cost of commuter campers is $135, which includes master classes, instruction, music education classes, lunch, recreation, t-shirt, and the concert. For more information, view the camp website, the camp application, contact the camp office at (636) 797-3000, ext. 372 or email the camp director at

Click for more information on the Inspiration Point Fine Arts Colony.
Inspiration Point Fine Arts Colony String and Piano Camp
The Inspiration Point Fine Arts Colony String and Piano Camp is located in beautiful Eureka Springs, Arkansas and runs from July 19-26. The camp is for grades 7-12 plus graduating seniors. The cost is $275 and more information can be found on the camp website. For additional information, contact Jim Swiggart, General Director, Opera in the Ozarks at (479) 253-8595..

Arkansas State University Jazz Workshop
This summer, jazz musicians from throughout the Delta will gather in Jonesboro as Arkansas State University hosts the Delta Jazz Workshop from July 7 -10.  This intensive training institute offers daily classes in improvisation, jazz history, arranging, theory, combo and traditional big band performance. Nightly concerts by Giant Steps, Rob Alley, the Jazz Alliance and the Workshop Big Band precede the gala Final Concert on Friday evening.  The Workshop fee of $175 includes room and board, all classes and concerts, and the Workshop T-shirt.  The Workshop is available to musicians of all ages and backgrounds.  Continuing Education Credits are available through Arkansas State University for educators.  For additional information/registration materials, contact Dr. Kenneth Carroll, Workshop Coordinator at or 870-972-3763.

Back by popular demand, we will be featuring a list of upcoming summer music opportunities. If you have information on a summer music camp for band, orchestra, leadership, or marching, please let us know!

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.


Springfield Bob Hopkins, Mike Brown, and Jeromy Pope (417) 882-7000
Columbia Robert Pitts and Stephenie Algya (573) 256-5555
Liberty Ken Crisp and Dick Murdock (816) 792-8301
Joplin Wayne Blades, Scott Frederickson, and Zach Houser (417) 781-3100
Broken Arrow Mark VanVranken and Tiffany Hanson (918) 770-6827


If you would like to submit material, make corrections, give comments, or wish to be removed from this mailing list, please contact Eric Matzat.  

Click to view the Bands Alive flyer Click to view the Bands Alive application