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Palen Music Center Quick Note

Monday, May 16, 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!

A New Way To Daer Thgis (Sight Read) by Todd Johnson

With large ensemble competition winding down for a lot of us, it is time to look to next year and at some ways to improve what we do for contest. I would like to share a fun way I try to get my students prepared for the sight reading part of competition. Yes, one must practice the 6 minutes and what you can and cannot do, but one also needs to practice counting. As one sight reads, it is easy to fall into that since of someone else counts for me, and hearing some other parts like yours and listening to it.

Click for a link to the Audacity website.How do you get students to count for themselves? Here is my solution. There is a free program called Audacity, it allows you to record, or import audio to your computer and manipulate it. To practice counting and sight reading, I have my band play a song from their folder, backwards. Yes backwards. Start at the end and play forward. So how do you know it was done correctly? This is where Audacity comes in. Record the band playing a song backward. Highlight the song and select Effects from the menu and click on Reverse. Now play the song back for the band. Yes it will sound strange as cut offs become attacks and cymbals whoosh to a crash, but you will be able to tell if students were counting and playing or not. After a few attempts of this, you can then add in the need to look at dynamics. My students love when I talk about sight reading because they know, we will be playing something backwards for fun and learning.

Todd M. Johnson is the Director of Bands at College Heights Christian School in Joplin, MO. He can be reached via email at Click the image to visit the Audacity website where you can get a free download of the software.

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 (417) 882-7000
Columbia Paul Bowen (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) 286-1555


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