Monday, October 19, 2020

by Mike Steffen
Educational Representative, PMC Liberty

My friends, each of you reading this has a different set of circumstances presenting you challenges this year. Whether you are the director with a brand new rehearsal space who only gets to see half of your group at a time, or you're in a school that is 100% virtual (and internet service for your students is spotty), or you're at a school with 5-day in-seat instruction and you're dealing with the stresses that presents--you are not alone. Please continue to lean on your Palen rep, your friends and colleagues, your family, and (healthy) Facebook groups to carry you through this time. None of us can do everything to solve your dilemmas, but every one of us can do something.

For example, as you are continuing to gather resources to share with your students, check out this set of Distance Learning Resources. Your Palen reps have been compiling these resources since the spring. You can also find it by going to and clicking on Educational Resources under the Band & Orchestra menu. In it you will find an ever-growing list for you to draw upon. There are 24 tabs at the bottom of the page, dividing the resources into different areas of interest. We welcome new ideas and links - please send them to your PMC rep so we can add them.

If you're looking for some inspiration, I encourage you to watch this video produced by Lani Fernandes-Bata, who teaches in the North Kansas City School District at a school with a high free/reduced lunch percentage. Purchasing no new software (using QuickTime, a PDF editor, PowerPoint, and a bluetooth speaker), she created an engaging video for her students to view. I share this not to make you feel guilt if you aren't making videos like this, but rather to inspire you with another idea. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did and can steal some ideas! If you want to reach out to Lani, please shoot me an email and I'll connect you.

We are all walking a path and continuing to blaze a trail. It is not easy to go forward when there is no path, but I know that you are all doing good work in leading your students through this time of uncertainty and confusion. Thank you for all you do!

Finally, to all the Liverpool FC fans, Madison Scouts alums, and fans of Rodgers & Hammerstein musicals, I leave you with the lyrics to the always poignant song, You'll Never Walk Alone! Be well, my friends!

When you walk through a storm
Hold your head up high
And don't be afraid of the dark.
At the end of a storm
There's a golden sky
And the sweet silver song of a lark.
Walk on through the wind,
Walk on through the rain
Though your dreams be tossed and blown.
Walk on, walk on,
With hope in your heart
And you'll never walk alone.
You'll never walk alone.
Walk on, walk on,
With hope in your heart
And you'll never walk alone.
You'll never walk alone.

Mike SteffenMike Steffen joined the PMC team as an Educational Representative in 2011, and has since traveled all over Missouri serving directors and their programs. He is a KC native and a graduate of Grandview High School, and holds Music Education Degrees from University of Missouri - Kansas City and Missouri State. He served as a band director in the Lee's Summit R-7 & Pleasant Hill R-3 School Districts where he taught band in grades 5-12. His main passions are teaching jazz at all levels and working with middle school band programs. Groups under Mike's direction consistently earned top ratings, and his students regularly achieved success in honor bands and at solo/ensemble festivals. Mike is married to his high school sweetheart Miranda, and is the proud papa of three beautiful girls - Melody, McKenna, and Mae! Mike was named MVP of Palen Music Center in 2016.

Here's some inspiration--a new twist on Bartok! Click on the image for video.


Contact Your Local Palen Music Center Representative
Can we assist you with anything? Please contact your local Palen Music Center school road representative for all of your music education needs.
(417) 882-7000 (573) 256-5555 (816) 792-8301
(417) 781-3100 (405) 896-8111 (479) 464-8877
(918) 286-1555 (636) 229-1904 (417) 882-7000

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