I am an early adapter. Without overdoing it, I find the challenge of new things exciting, especially if I have chosen to initiate something new, and if I believe the new thing will be beneficial to my teaching and my students. While there are positive aspects to being comfortable with change, their are also liabilities. … Continue reading Learning New Instruments to Teach
I hated it, others music teachers I know hated it or even still do, and many of our students hate it--we a have all hated to practice our instruments. I find this disturbing and strange. I no longer hate to practice, in fact if I go many days without practicing, I can't stand to be … Continue reading Why Do So Many Music Students Hate To Practice?
My school has four exhibition nights, one at the end of each marking period. The school is a museum magnet school. The museum part of that means that as the students learn about something, they create artifacts that can be displayed in a museum and that demonstrates their learning. Student docents are selected, and parents … Continue reading Front and Center in the Background
There are a handful of orchestral concerts I attended years ago that I still remember, while there are many more I don’t recall in the least. Today, I’m interested in why this is. Why is it that I remember some performances and not others? When I thought about it, I realized that in each case, … Continue reading Life-changing Memories
One of the most daunting tasks for a musician is to make a start at learning a new and difficult work. We all enjoy the ease of playing a well practiced and already performed piece, but starting work on new and challenging music takes an initial burst of will-power and self-motivation. There may be an … Continue reading What Is An Effective Practice Routine for Instrumentalists?
Today I will discuss embouchure. Virtually every wind instrument music teacher uses the word, and teaches students how to form and use one. Yet embouchure can easily become one in a list of things the student must do to produce a pleasing sound on a musical instrument. When difficulties arise, or when obstacles (such as … Continue reading What Does an Embouchure Do?
Recently, I published a post on the correct positions for holding musical instruments. That post was brought to mind today as I was in attendance at a school band concert. It was a recruiting concert, so the director was having each section play the same tune, giving the young audience a chance to see and … Continue reading Nothing Like A Good Band Concert
The clarinet break is one of the most overrated obstacles in all of instrumental music education. Much has been made of this difficulty, so much so that students often are taught they are about to have a problem before they have even tried to overcome it. The clarinet break encountered when the player has difficulty … Continue reading Overcoming the Clarinet Break
If there is one thing a teacher must do it is this: expect change. We teachers are in the business of bringing about changes in our students; changes in their behaviors, attitudes, and proficiencies. Daily, we know this to be true, but the slowness with which change often takes place can easily make it difficult … Continue reading It All Starts With Expectations: What Teachers Do