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Palen Music Center Quick Note

Monday, November 25, 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!

Genius Parent-Teacher Conference Idea

Mike Steffen ran across this cool idea for Parent-Teacher conferences on a band director discussion board. The post as written by Steve Nendza from Hille Middle School in Oak Forest, IL. Enjoy!

This year I went with one-on-one private lessons for conferences instead of the traditional format. They were amazing, I had more parents than ever sign up. One family even came back for a second lesson. It was great to see how into the conferences the parents were. We do three days of conferences and the first two days I was booked solid from 1pm-8pm (with a dinner break). I had sent out a SurveyMonkey to my band parents and the feedback has been great and they loved the new format.

Here is the format I used:

  • It was an 8-minute conference (school set the time on these) in the band room
  • Conference starts with an ultra-quick hi, and how the kid's behavior is
  • We started by playing a call and response on the cycle of fourths with various rhythm and dynamics. Buzzing for brass. Some kids played some scales.
  • Some worked on adding vibrato to their sound.
  • Then we moved onto parts of their band music that the students wanted to work on.

Some things to think about:

  • Space set up
  • Time goes by so very fast
  • Presenting it to your admin to support it
  • Communicating with the parents about the new format
  • Have kids set up their instrument outside the band room while they wait for their turn
  • The lesson format is a great way to educate the parents on what the instrument should really sound like when we model them.

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