A Method for Improving Rehearsal Efficiency and Enjoyment

One of my most often used phrases when teaching musical works to students is that a right pitch played at the wrong time is still a wrong note. While pitches, rhythm and beat are all important, it is often advantageous to teach the rhythm first, separated out from the pitches. This gives the student less … Continue reading A Method for Improving Rehearsal Efficiency and Enjoyment

What Happens If Your Student Makes A Mistake?

There are two things that ought to be closely related, but often are not. Those two things are practice and excellence. I don't mean that practice doesn't lead to excellence; we all know that it can and often does. But what I'm talking about is a growing belief among people of all ages that somehow … Continue reading What Happens If Your Student Makes A Mistake?

Using New Learning to Focus and Structure Music Lessons

One of the risks of begin an arts teacher is that my lessons will be perceived as unplanned and lacking in structure. While I always have both plans and structure to every lesson I teach, the highly interactive nature of a music class sometimes gives the illusion that we are only responding to the moment … Continue reading Using New Learning to Focus and Structure Music Lessons

What Idle Students in Music Ensembles Should Be Doing

Classroom management in large music ensemble rehearsals can look a little different from that used in conventional classrooms. The number of students is larger than an academic or general music class, and the nature of what we are asking students to do—make sound—is also different. If everyone were always playing or singing, there would be … Continue reading What Idle Students in Music Ensembles Should Be Doing

What Can You Do With A Free Piano Keyboard App?

For several years, I have wanted a piano lab in my general music classroom for my seventh and eighth grade students. Many of them want to play piano, and with just one acoustic instrument, I just don’t have the resources to teach many of them, and certainly not during a class with only one instrument. … Continue reading What Can You Do With A Free Piano Keyboard App?

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?

What Can L.A. and Math Teachers Learn from Music Teachers About Practice?

It is always good to read that researchers have found ways in which music benefits brain development, spatial reasoning, language acquisition, and other areas of learning. Such studies have often been sited by music education advocates in defense of maintaining or even expanding music programs in schools. Work has also been done on integrating common … Continue reading What Can L.A. and Math Teachers Learn from Music Teachers About Practice?

The Basics of Lesson Planning

Lesson planning is one of the most important things teachers do. Many methods and formats for lesson planning have circulated within teacher preparation programs and professional development seminars. Today, I’d like to reduce them down to the most essential points, and show you how I go about planning my music lessons. The best place to … Continue reading The Basics of Lesson Planning

It All Starts With Expectations: What Teachers Do

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