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
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
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 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?
Why do you do anything the way you do? If your answer to this question is “because I’ve always done it that way,” or “because it works,” then you may be missing out on much greater success. Being a New Englander all my life, I have been very happy with the mantra, “If ain’t broke, … Continue reading Is There A Better Way?
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