Performing Music is a Lifelong Passion

Thomas Palmatier • July 2023Perspective • July 16, 2023

During the past month I was able to witness how music can be something that comforts, inspires, and brings added meaning to people throughout their entire lives. I was honored to be asked to be a Conductor/Clinician for the Midwestern Music Camp held at the University of Kansas. This camp has an 88-year history. Indeed, one of its early conductor-clinicians was Percy Grainger!

The Midwestern Music Camp is just one of many wonderful summer experiences for young people. It has an orchestra week and a band week that both include high school and middle school ensembles. I sat in on rehearsals with the middle school bands to watch experienced teachers of young musicians at work with some musicians who had just finished their first year in band. Patience, good humor, expert modeling, and more patience made these rehearsals memorable for these kids just starting their musical journey. As I worked with one of the high school bands, I saw hard work, great attitudes, a willingness to try new things, and impressive progress in just seven hours of total rehearsal time.

During the week I had the pleasure of spending time with current music teachers getting their graduates degree in KU’s program that has resident instruction only in the summers. Every one of them was “in the trenches” and brought that experience with them to the classroom. Their enthusiasm and determination to be better teachers was inspiring.

So, I experienced music making by novices, by more experienced students, by their teachers, but wait; there’s more! I was invited to conduct the Lawrence City Band in a summer park concert and saw musicians from their teens into their 80’s making great music together. Some of those members had been in the band for most of their lives.

Like many of you, I will be performing on the 4th of July. After over 37 years in Army bands, that’s nothing new for me, but I will be doing it with my wonderful community band of young and old members, engaging in the lifelong passion of making music together.

This issue features the Best Tools for Schools that were demonstrated at this year’s NAMM Show. We also introduce you to some products that will permit students to practice silently.  Check them out!

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