Working Together

Thomas Palmatier • March 2023Perspective • March 13, 2023

In the past few issues of SBO+ we announced partnerships with the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) and the American String Teachers Association (ASTA). In this issue we feature an article by Scott Sheehan, President of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) that kicks off their partnership with SBO+ to serve you, the music educator. Our partners (more announcements coming in future months!) will be encouraging their members to subscribe to SBO+. Additionally, they will be providing us with great articles to help you do your job better. Why are they doing this? SBO+ helps them deliver great content to their members at zero cost! Why are we doing this? SBO+ is dedicated to serving teachers and students of music, just as these organizations are, and the more of us pulling in the same direction, the better.

Major kudos to NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) for hosting three full days of amazing sessions devoted to music education at their annual show. They are living up to their Vision Statement: “We envision a world in which the joy of making music is a precious element of daily living for everyone; a world in which every child has a deep desire to learn music and a recognized right to be taught; and in which every adult is a passionate champion and defender of that right.” Go to to view the schedule and add the NAMM Show to your “bucket list” of great professional development opportunities.

In this issue we will kick off several multi-article series from several terrific contributors. Your feedback has told me that you have enjoyed Richard Floyd’s excerpts from his terrific book “The Seven Deadly Sins of Music Making.” We’ll be bringing you a series of articles from music educator and author Adrian Gordon about building school music programs. We’ll also feature tips from faculty members of the New England Conservatory of Music on how they approach developing deeper listening with their students.

A few weeks ago, I had a wonderful experience working at a “band camp.” This fabulous veteran director brings in a clinician annually for each of his three bands and has them work on the music they will eventually be performing at festival. Although the band had worked on the music and was fabulously prepared, I was free (and encouraged) to make changes and apply different interpretations. So many directors get protective of their way of doing things, but here was a highly accomplished director with over 30 years of experience encouraging me to teach his students different things in different ways. I was so inspired by a great educator who put his students’ music-making first and who was still actively seeking to learn new things.

I had confidential conversations recently with the mother of a teen whose parents are going through a difficult divorce (are there any other kind?) and another mom whose teen is embarking on the transition to a different gender. Both of them said the one thing that was helping their kid “keep it together” was their participation in the arts where they felt appreciated and accepted. I know many of you are thinking right now of a student who is benefiting from being in your band, orchestra, choir, or other performing group.

Col. (Ret.) Thomas Palmatier

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