The Tension Between Expediency and Rigor

Realizing that the world isn’t perfect, and that music directors sometimes do things they feel they have to do but don’t really want to do, I thought it would be useful to explore the tension that often exists between expedient and rigorous. First, I should define my terms. Expedient is training an ensemble to play … Continue reading The Tension Between Expediency and Rigor

Why Do We Have Students Play Musical Instruments?

Today, I want us to think about a question that most of us have either overlooked or taken for granted. I want to explore why we teach people to play musical instruments. This is a deceptively important question, because how we answer it affects everything we do with our instrumental students; it affects what we … Continue reading Why Do We Have Students Play Musical Instruments?

Conduct More, Talk Less

In my July 16, 2014 post, I described a music conductor. That description was drawn from the great maestros of the twentieth century; men like Reiner, Koussevitzky and Bernstein. There is always value in studying how the greats in any field go about their business, and trying to emulate them. Everything I mentioned is relevant … Continue reading Conduct More, Talk Less

What are Ways to Handle Performance Anxiety in Student Musicians?

For anyone who performs music in public, or directs music ensembles, performance anxiety is something that must be dealt with. Different people experience performance anxiety differently, and to different degrees, but the person who has no anxiety when performing in public is rare. Last Friday, my 5th grade chorus participated in a choral adjudication. My … Continue reading What are Ways to Handle Performance Anxiety in Student Musicians?