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Palen Music Center Quick Note

Monday, February 24, 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!

Shape Up The Band by Amanda Meyer

One of the problems that many band directors face during marching band season is the ability for students to make it to the end of the show without running out of gas.  This is largely due to the fact that there are more and more students every year that are out of shape.  There are several things as a director that you can do to help this problem.  First of all, start motivating the students to get in shape now!  If they have little to no physical activity leading into band camp, then they will really struggle with sore muscles and fatigue when the date arrives.  Encourage the students to join a gym, take some classes, or just get outside and run or ride a bike.  Remind the students weekly to get active and make sure to give ideas of ways that this can be accomplished. 

Once band camp arrives, start each day with an hour of calisthenics followed by breathing block exercises.  Make sure you are incorporating calisthenics that specifically target areas that will directly help the students in marching basics.  A strong core is very important for great posture.  Arms and shoulders must be strong for good horn angles, and cardio strength is important for stamina and breath support.  Beginning and ending each rehearsal with 10 minutes of stretching helps to alleviate sore muscles.  If you have no idea what sort of exercises and stretches to do, then hire someone to come in each day for an hour to run through the stretching and calisthenics.

Make sure that the students are aware of the reason behind each exercise.  When executing any ab work, remind the students that a strong core is essential for good posture.  Then when you are in basic block, if the posture is poor tell the students there will be a lot of core work until the posture improves.  As you do arm circles or pushups, let the students know it is to make their horn angles better.  If horn angles are not good, make the arm exercises harder the next day.  This lets the students know that there is a reason behind all of the exercises and that you aren’t just doing it to torture them!  The students will also respond to the exercises better if you do it with them.   Don’t just tell them what to do and watch them do it.  Execute as many of the exercises with them as you can and get as many staff members involved as possible. If you approach it as a team building effort students will be much more likely to put forth their best effort.  Building cardiovascular health will not only help students with marching band, but will help improve many other aspects of their lives.

Amanda Meyer serves as a Palen Music Center road rep out of the Springfield location. She graduated from Missouri State University with a Bachelor of Science in Music Education in 1997 and a Master of Science in Education in 2000. She has been teaching 6-12 grade band for 14 years. Amanda was the assistant Band Director in Cassville for three years, and the Assistant Band Director at Nevada High School for eleven years. Amanda has certifications in CPR, AED, First Aid, Group Fitness, Indoor Cycling, and Cardio Kickboxing. She has also been teaching fitness classes for the YMCA for the last 11 years. You can reach Amanda by email at [email protected].

Cool New Product -- Gator School Spirit Cases

One of the interesting product lines we found at last month's NAMM Show in California was the Spirit Series of lightweight band instrument cases from the Gator company. If you are interested in putting together an order for your school, we can create a flyer, provide some demo cases, and then order for interested students. This would be a great way to protect your instruments, have some fun, and show some school spirit! Check out the display below for an idea of what the product looks like. There is a multitude of color combinations....see your Palen Music Center road rep for more information.

Flute $40 | Clarinet $50 | Alto Sax $100 | Trumpet $90

Visit with your PMC road rep for more details.

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