A New Year and a New SBO+

Thomas Palmatier • January 2023Perspective • January 15, 2023

As we look back at 2022 and ahead to 2023, it’s hard to underestimate the changes SBO+ has gone through. Our long-time editor, Mike Lawson, became owner and publisher. Soon after, I was “voluntold” (one of my favorite Army words), I’d be moving from a monthly columnist to editor, and just a few months after that, we made the decision to transition SBO to SBO+ and include all types of school music. Because SBO+ is a print magazine, a digital magazine, and has many web and email versions, the number of places we needed to revise on the fly was daunting. If we err and leave out some members of the now expanded SBO+ family by referring to “band directors” instead of including all teachers of music, please know we are working on it!

This month’s issue features content contributed by the American Choral Directors Association. ACDA is now partnering with SBO+ to bring you insights and advice on all things choral, especially for instrumental specialists who are now teaching choir. Robert W. Smith and his composers will be bringing you singing tips as well as playing tips in future issues. This month we also include articles on musical theater and modern band.

If we weren’t using music technology in our classrooms and rehearsals prior to COVID, we’re certainly relying more on it now. SBO+ reached out to many innovators in the music technology world and asked them to share what they’re working on to better serve you, the music educator. Just to be clear, SBO+ is not endorsing any of these products but wanted you to hear what’s new.

We’ve also announced our annual essay contest with generous prizes for ten student essayists and their music teachers. Last year we asked why students joined and stayed in band or orchestra. This year, we focus on their teachers by asking them to tell us about a music teacher who has changed their life. What was it about them that had an impact on them? How did their teaching, personality, or actions differ from other good teachers?

I’d like to give a shout-out to our sister publication, Musical Merchandise Review (MMRmagazine.com). MMR was established in 1879 and is the oldest publication dedicated to the music industry. As I was reading their latest issue, it occurred to me MMR would be a terrific (and free) resource for educators to stay on top of what music products are coming out. 

I’m finishing this column after returning from the Midwest Clinic where I got to meet many of our “50 Directors Who Make a Difference.” What a treat! Several SBO+ contributors made presentations, there was tons of great music and many frank discussions about how we can do a better job of reaching under-served communities. I attended a powerful presentation about women conductors and was able to introduce SBO+ to hundreds of educators. Thanks to the storms, I also spent a delightful two days in Chicago O’Hare airport enjoying $20 sandwiches! 

Here’s wishing our nearly 40,000 monthly readers a wonderful 2023!

Col. (Ret.) Thomas Palmatier

[email protected]

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