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Palen Music Center Quick Note

Monday, April 1, 2013


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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June – August: Keep ‘em playing! by Mary Ann French

It is getting close to the end of the year and your students are finally sounding much better than they did those first few weeks of school . However if they don’t practice over the summer, you will be right back where you started come next fall!

Here are a few ideas that can keep your students engaged and progressing over the summer:

  • Band camp, string camp, music camp! Get your kids to go to a summer music camp. There are numerous possibilities – almost all colleges have a summer music camp. If you can get even a few of your students to go, they will come back energized and interest will be sparked in other students for the next summer. There are even special camps for select groups of instruments. Bocal Majority is a camp for only oboes and bassoons. They also have a director’s boot camp where you can learn the intricacies of the double reeds.
  • Give out new music before school ends. If your students will be using a new book in the fall, pass it out at the end of school so they will have something new and challenging. If you will be using pep tunes in the fall, pass them out in the spring so the learning process will have already begun. Pass out the music to the marching show if possible. They can learn and memorize it before school even starts.
  • Have a 2-3 day beginner camp where you start the students early on their instruments. Work on basic things like assembly, care and maintenance, and tone production. When school starts, the students who attended the camp will be able to help those who didn’t. It’s amazing how much faster and easier things can go during those first few days of beginner band!
  • Encourage your students to get Smart Music!!!!!!!! It has all kinds of music available as well as sight reading, rhythm lines, solos, fun songs and band/orchestra music. You could also hand out hard copies of “fun music”. Kids will really practice on music they like!
  • Have your younger students give a “Summer Concert” to family and friends. Students can make a program and have the audience members sign it. You might start off the next year with extra credit. You might also have them keep a record of their practice during the summer for fall bonus points.
  • Encourage your students to take private lessons over the summer. If they are very advanced high school students, have them give lessons to younger students as well as continuing their own private studies. For super serious players, summer is a great time to take some lessons from a high level teacher that may not be available during the school year.
  • Have a once-a-week band rehearsal through the summer months. Make it a fun learning experience. Kids get bored in the summer-they will come.

All of these ideas will take some extra effort and organization from you directors but it will pay off BIG TIME in the fall.

Mary Ann French is a road representative for Palen Music Center and works out of the Broken Arrow, Oklahoma location. She graduated from Arkansas Tech with a music education degree and has been active in music education for many years. She has taught in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Maryland, and Texas. Fifteen of her years were spent with the Pride of Owasso in Owasso Oklahoma. Mary Ann is an active clinician with bands as well as flute students. Mary Ann can be reached by email at [email protected].

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