Click to visit the Palen Music Center website

Palen Music Center Quick Note

Monday, February 17, 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!

Taking the Step -- National Board Certification by AAron Bryan

"People don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care." -John Maxwell

Early on in my teaching career, I tried to be the perfect combination of my high school, undergrad, & grad school band directors & private instructors. I had (and still have) deep respect for my mentors, so I thought I would take the best from each person and BAM - be an amazing high school band director. It would be so fun and easy.... (screeching record sound).

In my first teaching job in Nevada, MO, I remember wanting to be respected for my "great knowledge and ability" in all things music. I tried to convince everyone (myself included) that I was very professorial. I was "pontificating great knowledge upon my pupils," and my conducting - man was I something! (ha) But my bands were not happening. After repeatedly painting myself in corners as many young directors do, I finally came to the realization that I had created a perfect teacher "character" to act out - and it was not working! We'd had a dismal marching season (& I was a drum corps guy!) and my concert ensembles were taking baby steps... sometimes backward. WHY?!?! I didn't get it...

So, I did what came naturally... I complained about my kids and everything else I could think of. It wasn't until someone (I won't mention Dr. Prather's name) had enough of my bickering, did I hear John Maxwell's words differently than ever before. "Don't you know? (They) don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care." (if you know Dr. P - you just read that hearing her voice, didn't you?) It was a slap in the face, duh moment for me. I took it to heart and with only a few months left in the school year, I changed my delivery. I added some AAron into my teaching instead of all Mr. Bryan, all the time. I had more fun, the kids had more fun, and we began progressing... together.

We all remember the great teachers who touched our lives, kindled our interest and pressed us to do our best. We hold powerful images of such teachers. They exhibited a deep caring and love for children. They conveyed a passion for the subjects they taught, captivating their students with that passion. They approached their work with creativity and imagination, striving constantly to improve. As committed professionals, they were proud to be teachers.

As my teaching career led me to St. Louis, MO then to Broken Arrow, OK, I continued to hear those words. I did care about my kids, and my teaching effectiveness, and knew I needed to continue to grow. After some deliberation, I decided to pursue becoming a National Board Certified Teacher. It turned out to be one of the best professional decisions I made.

What Teachers Should Know and Be Able to Do

A glance into National Board Certification

1. Teachers are committed to students and their learning.
Accomplished teachers are dedicated to making knowledge accessible to all students. They act on the belief that all students can learn. They treat students equitably, recognizing the individual differences that distinguish one student from another and taking account of these differences in their practice. They adjust their practice based on observation and knowledge of their students' interests, abilities, skills, knowledge, family circumstances and peer relationships.

Accomplished teachers understand how students develop and learn. They incorporate the prevailing theories of cognition and intelligence in their practice. They are aware of the influence of context and culture on behavior. They develop students' cognitive capacity and their respect for learning. Equally important, they foster students' self-esteem, motivation, character, civic responsibility and their respect for individual, cultural, religious and racial differences.

2. Teachers know the subjects they teach and how to teach those subjects to students.

Accomplished teachers have a rich understanding of the subject(s) they teach and appreciate how knowledge in their subject is created, organized, linked to other disciplines and applied to real-world settings. While faithfully representing the collective wisdom of our culture and upholding the value of disciplinary knowledge, they also develop the critical and analytical capacities of their students.

Accomplished teachers command specialized knowledge of how to convey and reveal subject matter to students. They are aware of the preconceptions and background knowledge that students typically bring to each subject and of strategies and instructional materials that can be of assistance. They understand where difficulties are likely to arise and modify their practice accordingly. Their instructional repertoire allows them to create multiple paths to the subjects they teach, and they are adept at teaching students how to pose and solve their own problems.

3. Teachers are responsible for managing and monitoring student learning.

Accomplished teachers create, enrich, maintain and alter instructional settings to capture and sustain the interest of their students and to make the most effective use of time. They also are adept at engaging students and adults to assist their teaching and at enlisting their colleagues' knowledge and expertise to complement their own. Accomplished teachers command a range of generic instructional techniques, know when each is appropriate and can implement them as needed. They are as aware of ineffectual or damaging practice as they are devoted to elegant practice.

They know how to engage groups of students to ensure a disciplined learning environment, and how to organize instruction to allow the schools' goals for students to be met. They are adept at setting norms for social interaction among students and between students and teachers. They understand how to motivate students to learn and how to maintain their interest even in the face of temporary failure.

Accomplished teachers can assess the progress of individual students as well as that of the class as a whole. They employ multiple methods for measuring student growth and understanding and can clearly explain student performance to parents.

4. Teachers think systematically about their practice and learn from experience.

Accomplished teachers are models of educated persons, exemplifying the virtues they seek to inspire in students -- curiosity, tolerance, honesty, fairness, respect for diversity and appreciation of cultural differences -- and the capacities that are prerequisites for intellectual growth: the ability to reason and take multiple perspectives to be creative and take risks, and to adopt an experimental and problem-solving orientation.

Accomplished teachers draw on their knowledge of human development, subject matter and instruction, and their understanding of their students to make principled judgments about sound practice. Their decisions are not only grounded in the literature, but also in their experience. They engage in lifelong learning which they seek to encourage in their students.

Striving to strengthen their teaching, accomplished teachers critically examine their practice, seek to expand their repertoire, deepen their knowledge, sharpen their judgment and adapt their teaching to new findings, ideas and theories.

5. Teachers are members of learning communities.

Accomplished teachers contribute to the effectiveness of the school by working collaboratively with other professionals on instructional policy, curriculum development and staff development. They can evaluate school progress and the allocation of school resources in light of their understanding of state and local educational objectives. They are knowledgeable about specialized school and community resources that can be engaged for their students' benefit, and are skilled at employing such resources as needed.

Accomplished teachers find ways to work collaboratively and creatively with parents, engaging them productively in the work of the school.

*If you would like information on how to become a National Board Certified Teacher, please contact me. I'd be happy to talk you through the process.

AAron Bryan 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. Mr. Bryan was an 8-time Oklahoma Band Director Sweepstakes winner and his Wind Ensemble performed as one of three Oklahoma bands selected to OMEA’s Friday evening Honor Concert in 2009. AAron was a lead soprano soloist and brass instructor for the Madison Scouts Drum & Bugle Corps and later served as Brass Caption Head for the Colts Drum & Bugle Corps. 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. He is in demand as a clinician, conductor, and drill writer across the midwest. Mr. Bryan’s professional affiliations include Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers, Oklahoma Music Educators Association, Oklahoma Bandmasters Association, Northeast Oklahoma Band Directors Association, MENC, Phi Mu Alpha, Phi Beta Mu, and he is certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. You can reach AAron by email at [email protected].

Palen Music Center is proud to announce plans to open a store in Oklahoma City!

Charlie Bartrug and Kirby Swinney are finishing distinguished teaching careers and are excited to bring their years of experience into your classroom. Beginning this summer, they will be available for clinics, assistance with beginner recruiting, instrument testing, student retention, and program development. They join an already seasoned team of educators serving educators. This experience, coupled with the best student instrument rental plan available, will help you develop your program to its full potential. We understand that it takes a strong partnership between music dealer, educator, and family to provide the best possible musical experience for the student.

The store will be centrally located in Oklahoma City to allow for easy access for all area programs. Details on the location, including address, repair staff, and timeline will be coming soon. We will be providing road service and support for band and orchestra programs once or twice per week. We have a full-feature website that allows directors to view invoice history 24-hours per day, reprint invoices, check the status of orders, and even make payments. We offer custom school web stores to simplify accessory ordering and a simple online instrument rental portal for your parents. Our student instrument rental plan allows for families to get started without any interest, long-term committments, or hidden fees. We have a step-up program that allows students to easily move up to intermediate or professional instruments, and a seamless transition between students graduating between fractional orchestral instruments.

We are excited to visit with you! If you would like more information, please drop us a note:
[email protected]

We are ready to listen and learn. We are ready to serve. We are ready for OKC!

Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Facebook