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Palen Music Center Quick Note

Monday, February 10, 2014

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 Power of Four Little Words by Eric Matzat


I still vividly remember a day that changed my life. After making a spot in our area junior high honor band, my band director pulled me aside. He took a private moment, looked me straight in my eyes, and with a smile said "You know Eric.......I'm proud of you." The feeling I got at that moment was one of sheer joy. The power of words is truly amazing. How many of our students have never had that feeling?

As a teacher, we hold tremendous power in the words we choose every day. We have the opportunity to change someone's life with a positive comment, or crush their spirit with a harsh remark. Often times, we aren't even aware when we have impacted someone (either positively or negatively). Think what would happen in our band programs if we really took the opportunity to connect with our students with a warm smile, or an unexpected compliment.

Many of our students are starving for attention and affection and may be in total lack of a mentor or role model. I urge you to try this experiment this week: Select one kid each day that normally gets overlooked or is sometimes in trouble. Find a reason to surprise him or her with an unexpected compliment or better yet, give her a smile and say "You know.....I'm proud of you."

Several years ago, I made the decision to call four or five band parents each week of kids who normally don't get much praise. I would make a quick call and just say how proud I was of Jim for doing a great job on his test this week, or getting his practice card signed, or holding the door for the rest of the class, or helping set up for a concert. I'll never forget the day that I called Austin's mom to tell her what a great kid Austin was and that he was doing a great job in band. She wasn't at home, so I just left the message on the answering machine. She called back late that night literally crying on the phone. She simply said "You have no idea how much I needed that phone message right then. We've never gotten a call from a teacher like that." After that week, Austin's mom was totally dedicated to the band program and ensured that he practiced at home and got his practice card signed and turned in. It took two minutes to change a least for that moment.

We truly have the power to impact lives. Make the most of it.

"Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and you help them to become what they are capable of being." -- Goethe

Eric Matzat has a Bachelors in Music Education and Masters in Music from Missouri State University. He served nine years as Director of Bands for Branson Schools prior to coming to Palen Music in 2005. Eric coordinates the various departments within the company, especially focusing on the band side of the business. You can reach Eric by email at [email protected].

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