New Beginnings

Thomas Palmatier • April 2022ChoralPerspective • April 2, 2022

Some friends of mine expressed what a leap it must be to dive into the publishing world after such a long career in military music. However, over my almost four decades in uniform, I had lots of “first days” in new jobs, often in different countries. Luckily, I have help from Mike Lawson and all the great folks at SBO and our sister publications under the artistpro umbrella.

Over the next few years, we will be featuring various themes in our monthly issues to ensure we address all the aspects of what music educators and musicians young and old need. Every time I arrived at a new Army job, the challenge was to identify what’s working and make sure those things are sustained (don’t try to fix what isn’t broken!). We’ll continue to provide informative articles to help you better leverage all types of technology and equipment to support your teaching. We will also be bringing you articles from leading experts in band, orchestra, marching arts, and the world of education research. This issue is dedicated to the health and welfare of music educators everywhere. Dr. Bob Morrison shares with us “The Big Myth” that arts education is a career dead-end and addresses our educator shortage. The indefatigable Dr. Tim Lautzenheiser offers a fantastic article on how we can rediscover the magic of being a music educator.

My experience in classrooms has taught me we are no longer band directors or orchestra directors. We teach guitar, keyboards, choral music, vocal jazz, musical theater, and drama. We teach music and SBO will focus on helping us all to be better teachers of music in all its forms while still being your go-to source for band and orchestra information.

In talking with instrumental music teachers, the area they most want help with is selecting great literature, especially for younger musicians.  I invite everyone teaching band or orchestra in the grade 5 to grade 3 levels to consider submitting a music review to us. This doesn’t need to be new music – it needs to be great music! Tell our readers why this piece worked for your students, what skills it helped teach, how you got the most out of the music, and how you would do it better next time.

Colonel (U.S. Army Retired) Thomas Palmatier concluded a long career in military music as commander and conductor of The U. S. Army Field Band and leader and commander of The U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own.” He is an active music educator, clinician, conductor, and adjudicator. Send him your suggestions and ideas to

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