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Palen Music Center Quick Note

Monday, November 21, 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!

Clarinet Pinky Chart - Feedback

Thought we'd share some feedback from last week's article on the Clarinet Pinky Chart. Have any other feedback or article suggestions, please let us know.

Thanks for the picture of the clarinet pinky chart. We've been using something like this for 4 years and get small stick-on dots from Office Depot to mark the colors on the clarinet. They like the "sticker" day in beginning clarinet and we all teach using the same color system. Left green, right yellow, left red. Works great and I'm glad someone else is using this too!

Mark Blackmore
Washington High School

The Easiest Instrument To Play....Badly
Check Those Beginning Saxophone Embouchures

The excerpt below is from a Yamaha handout written by Dr. Carolyn Bryan, saxophone instructor at Georgia Southern University. Click here to view a printable version of the handout including Keys To Success, Embouchure, Hand Position, and other tips.

A firm but cushioned embouchure is crucial for good tone quality and intonation.

Whistle or pretend to sip on a straw. This will draw the lips into a circle with a bit of cushion in the bottom lip.

Roll the upper part of the lower lip over the bottom teeth. Only the tough, thick part of the lip should roll over the teeth, not the tender inner flesh.

Place the upper teeth firmly down on the mouthpiece. Test this by gently trying to wobble the mouthpiece from side to side or by pulling it out while they are playing. A plastic stick-on mouthpiece patch will help students maintain a better grip.

Seal the corners of the mouth around the mouthpiece. Think of hugging it with the lips or of sipping a milkshake through a straw.

Have the students hold a mirror so they can see what the embouchure looks like. In the first lesson, the teacher should place the mouthpiece for the student. Emphasize how the embouchure should look and how the tone should sound.

Demonstrate both visually and aurally.

For a complete handout of this article, including additional information, click the image to the right.

Harrison Student and Director Heading to Carnegie Hall

Kayla Keirsey (HHS senior euphonium at Harrison High School) has been selected as a member of the “American High School Honors Performance Series” at Carnegie Hall. She was nominated per her membership this past summer as a participant of the Arkansas Governor’s School and as a semi-finalist for the Army All-American High School Marching Band.

The dates are February 9-13 and as part of the membership package, she may select a parent to accompany her and includes: travel, accommodations, meals and admission to all series activities. She will be rehearsing with world renowned conductors and performing a formal concert in Carnegie Hall along with other high school band, orchestra and choir students from across the United States. Randy Mealer, Director of Bands for the Harrison School District has been selected for a staff position as well.

Congratulations to Kayla and Randy!

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, Jason Moore, Mike Steffen, AAron Bryan (417) 882-7000
Columbia Paul Bowen (573) 256-5555
Liberty Ken Crisp, Harlan Moore, and Victoria Clymore (816) 792-8301
Joplin AAron Bryan (417) 781-3100
Broken Arrow Mark VanVranken and Bryan Snyder (918) 286-1555


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