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Palen Music Center Quick Note

Monday, April 18, 2011


The PMC Quick Note 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!

Quick Tip -- Three Levels of Listening
Today in rehearsal, talk to your students about the three levels of listening. Experiment with the following:

"Level One Listening" - As the ensemble plays, listen carefully to yourself.
Evaluate your own tone, expressiveness, dynamic contrast, and note accuracy. Most entry-level musicians never go beyond this level because they are simply hanging on to their own part. There is little eye contact with the director, and no effort to hear what other sections in the ensemble are performing.

"Level Two Listening" - As the ensemble plays, listen carefully to your entire section.
Work to match pitch, blend, and balance. Is each member of the section audible? Is anyone covering up "softer" players? I like to use the bed of nails analogy. A circus performer can successfully lay on a bed of nails without getting injured because all of the nails are the same height. If one nail is too high, or if random nails are too low, the results will be obvious -- BLOOD. To avoid a bloody sounding section, make sure that all members are contributing to the sound with no individuals sticking out. Kids love this bed of nails analogy and can understand the musical application.

"Level Three Listening" - As the ensemble plays, listen across to another section.
Identify a group or even an individual across the ensemble and listen carefully for other parts. Identify other sections within the ensemble that are playing a similar or identical part to your own. Work to match their style, articulation, note length, breathing, and releases. Blend and match pitch. Play "inside" each other's sounds. Groups that talk about and execute level three listening will play better in tune and with a homogenous sound. The increased awareness will get the individual musicians "out of their own stand" and into the ensemble as a whole.

Discuss these terms with your group and play through a passage with level one, then level two, then level three listening. This exercise, if repeated and reinforced regularly, will shift the focus of even your youngest musicians up from level one and two into level three listening. The results will speak for themselves.

Two Big Moves for Palen Music

Thanks for helping us grow!! Palen Music Center in Joplin is expanding. We are moving 50 feet down the road into our new, larger facility located in the Crown Plaza and will be open on July 1st, 2011. We will be in our current Joplin location until July 1. At that time, our new address will be: 1202 S. Range Line- Suite 5,6 & 7 Joplin, MO . We can't wait! Thanks again for helping us grow! More lesson studios, more showroom floor, ability to do Performance Week in our own facility. Giddy up - let's go!


Also -- Coming May 1st -- New location and expanded lesson facilities for our Broken Arrow location. We are moving to 929 N. Elm Place (71st and Elm) where we will have eight lesson studios and more room in the repair shop. Construction has started and we are excited to make the move.


The existing locations in Joplin and Broken Arrow are open and happening! Thank you so much for helping us continue to expand. We appreciate your support!

Contact Your Local Palen Music Center Representative


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, Wayne Blades, Brett Palen, Eric Matzat, Jason Moore, and Paul Bowen (417) 882-7000
Columbia Jake Herzog (573) 256-5555
Liberty Ken Crisp and Harlan Moore (816) 792-8301
Joplin Dave Coble (417) 781-3100
Broken Arrow Mark VanVranken and Bryan Snyder (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.  

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