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Palen Music Center Quick Note

Monday, April 15, 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.


Looking for help on a particular topic? Be sure to check out our Quick Note Catalog of back issues!

The Next Five Minutes: Developing Technique by AAron Bryan

This is the sequel to my March 11 article, The First Ten Minutes – the most vital time you have . Developing superior technique in young players is not a “once in a while” kind of thing. It takes daily repetition, over time, for their skills to improve and become consistent & applicable to wind literature. I liked taking about 5 minutes per rehearsal to aid in the development of my students’ technique.

Start With Scales: Two Birds, One Stone.

  • Your kids need to know their scales for a multitude of reasons. Developing technique exercises out of scales felt like enhancing a variety of needed skills at once. I liked using major, minor, & chromatic scales at various tempi to develop finger/tongue coordination, various articulations, muscle memory, range, etc.

    • Start slow & gradually increase the speed ONLY after they are consistently playing all notes correctly.

    • Add a 2nd octave. For scales where range becomes an issue, ask those students to “loop” the first octave of scale. (ascend twice, then descend twice)

  • After playing long tone exercises, scales help wind players “stretch out” their chops.

  • With a daily dose, you will be amazed at how quickly your students develop the ability to play in more keys, thus opening up your literature choices!

Use a Method Book

  • Suggestions

    • Lip Benders by Ray Cramer

      • 11 fantastic exercises that you can twist & turn to fit your daily rehearsals.

    • Tone & Technique by James Ployhar

      • A wonderful book that allows you to switch which section has the melody on each page.

      • Contains sections focusing on Brass technique & WW technique.

      • Also good for Sight-Reading

  • Any method will work if it allows you the ability to help students play with consistent TONE/SOUND while developing their:

    • Flexibility

    • Articulation

    • Rhythm

    • Sticking

    • Volume Control

    • Range

If you question whether your students are developing any given technique, the answer is always in their TONE. The same goes for assessing your group. The answer lies in the SONORITY.

AAron Bryan, Vice-President
Palen Music Center, Inc.
[email protected]

AAron taught band for 13 years, the last 8 at Broken Arrow High School, home of the nationally acclaimed Pride of Broken Arrow Marching Band - the 2006 Bands of America Grand National Champion. AAron holds Master of Arts degrees from Truman State University in Conducting and Trumpet Performance and a Bachelors Degree in Education from Missouri State University.

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