A Music Teacher’s Balancing Act

One of the greatest challenges I face as a music teacher is balancing two important influences. These influences are student interest, student confidence, and curriculum. Many of my students love to listen to music, but aren't interested in learning about music, or learning to perform it, even the music they listen to. Just the fact … Continue reading A Music Teacher’s Balancing Act

Two Questions Every Student Asks and What To Do About Them

I find that there are two critical questions that most students ask themselves at the beginning of my music classes. One is, “can I do this?” and the other, “is this going to be worth my time and effort to succeed at?” Many students would rather not try than for it to be seen that … Continue reading Two Questions Every Student Asks and What To Do About Them

What Is An Effective Practice Routine for Instrumentalists?

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?

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?

Duke Ellington Had It Right

Duke Ellington once said, “The wise musicians are those who play what they can master.” There is a lot for music educators to think about in that statement, especially because an enduring understanding for performing includes “knowledge of musical works,” and “understanding of their own technical skill.” Learning, motivation, and satisfaction are always tied to … Continue reading Duke Ellington Had It Right