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Palen Music Center Quick Note

Monday, October 8, 2012

 

Palen Music Center is dedicated to helping children experience excellence, personal growth, and joy through involvement in music. We carry out this mission by supporting area band directors through weekly service, support, educational programs, and quality products. This weekly Quick Note newsletter strives to highlight topics that are immediately helpful in the classroom. Comments, suggestions, ideas, and articles are always welcome.

 

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Note Name Recognition
By Amanda Meyer

After teaching for several years I was shocked to realize that many of my 8th grade and freshman students did not know the names of their notes.  I always stressed how important knowing the names of notes was and made sure to teach the note names to the students.  About seventy-five percent of students knew all the names of their notes, so why did the remaining students struggle with it when they received the same instruction?  The obvious answer is that students are different learners.  Some will pick up the note names easy as they learn each note, but many will struggle without some extra help. 

I read several ideas about giving extra quizzes on note names and making flash cards for the students that have trouble.  The problem with this is that many of these students will not put in the extra time required to work with the flash cards and study for tests.  I finally started incorporating the names of the notes into daily practice and most importantly on our weekly chair tests.  The results were amazing!  Nearly all of the students knew the names of their notes and the ones that already did could recall them much more quickly.

The idea is pretty simple.  Every time a new song is learned we would first sing the names of the notes while fingering through the piece.  We would play the song, then repeat with the names of the notes.  For every chair test that we did there would be a repeat.  The first time the students performed they would sing the names of the notes in rhythm while fingering through the piece.  The second time through they would play.  Later in the year when they are playing longer songs, I would have them say the note names for half and then play the other half of the song.  I would have the students do this for every chair test for the entire first year.  I found that after this time most of the students were excellent at recognizing note names.

This concept is one that does not take a lot of extra time for student or teacher preparation and does not take away from rehearsal time.  If it is followed through for the entire year it will really help all of the students excel in note recognition and will help strengthen your overall band program. 

Amanda Meyer graduated from Southwest Missouri State University with a Bachelor of Science in Music Education in 1997 and a Master of Science in Education in 2000. She has been teaching 6-12 grade band for 14 years. Amanda was the assistant Band Director in Cassville for three years, and the Assistant Band Director at Nevada High School for eleven years. She has also maintained a very successful private studio teaching flute, oboe, bassoon, clarinet, and saxophone lessons for the last 14 years. She is currently serving as a road representative for Palen Music Center and can be reached by email at ameyer@palenmusic.com.


Middle School Band Tryouts
By Amanda Meyer

I would like to take this opportunity to talk about encouraging your young students to try out for district honor band.  I feel that the process of preparing and auditioning for district band is a very important thing for young players to undertake.  Many students do not take advantage of this opportunity because they don’t think they are good enough or because their parents do not want to pay the entry fee.  In order to curtail these problems I began signing up all of my students for the tryout and paying the tryout fee out of my budget.  While this ends up being costly, I feel the benefit to the students is worth the cost.  The audition process is very similar to experiences they will have later in life like job interviews or performance evaluations, so the experience gained by the audition has many real life applications. 

In order for the students to have a positive experience, you must help prepare them for the audition.  Make sure to hand the music out as early as possible.  Have chair tests over the music in class so that the students have already performed the music in front of others.  Use the scales as part of your every day warm-up in class.  After integrating the tryout music into our curriculum we had about five times the amount of students make the band as in previous years.  Because of the positive experience the students have at Middle School with district band, we have a lot more students that chose to try out for district band in High School.

Amanda Meyer graduated from Southwest Missouri State University with a Bachelor of Science in Music Education in 1997 and a Master of Science in Education in 2000. She has been teaching 6-12 grade band for 14 years. Amanda was the assistant Band Director in Cassville for three years, and the Assistant Band Director at Nevada High School for eleven years. She has also maintained a very successful private studio teaching flute, oboe, bassoon, clarinet, and saxophone lessons for the last 14 years. She is currently serving as a road representative for Palen Music Center and can be reached by email at ameyer@palenmusic.com.


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 Chuck Appleton and Rob Goade (573) 256-5555
Liberty Ken Crisp, John Bell, and Victoria Clymore (816) 792-8301
Joplin AAron Bryan (417) 781-3100
Broken Arrow Jeff Lawless and Mary Ann French (918) 286-1555

 

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