#97 You ARE Good At It!

Why do our students quit instrumental music?  Well, we have all read studies that outline a vast number of causes, and I am sure they all contribute to the large number of students who leave our programs.  But I believe when we drill deep enough into each case, and distill the information to its core, one glaring sentiment would be found, that is in part, if not completely the reason:  […]


#96 Impossible

At the start of your next class or rehearsal, simply write the following old Chinese proverb on the board: “Every truly great accomplishment is at first impossible.” Maybe one of the best things we can teach our students is that though learning can be a long, sometimes frustrating road, it is also a path that leads to wondrous things. Peter Loel Boonshaft, Director of Education KHS America


#95 The Moments We Live For

We each strive to create an environment that is pleasant for our rehearsals. One that is safe and comfortable, where they sense those moments of success. A place where they are free to feel emotion or fail at a task without fear of ridicule, where students know they can try, confident in the knowledge they will be told when it is wrong, but that they will be praised when it […]


#94 Hammer and Nails

I’m sure we have all heard the wonderful quote of Abraham Maslow: “I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.” How much more creative could our teaching be, how much more variety could we bring to our rehearsals, how much more nuanced could our conducting be, how much more productive and artistic could we be […]


#93 The Wood-Cutter

One of my dear friends shared this story with me. It perfectly describes what all too often happens to students when practicing or rehearsing. Sadly, left unchecked, the problem it portrays can cause our students to believe they can’t succeed. Once upon a time there was a very strong wood-cutter. He asked for a job from a timber merchant and he got it. The pay was very good and so […]


#92 Worry

If there were an Olympic Worrying Team, I would be the star! Look up worrying in the dictionary, and you will find a picture of me! So, I am no one to give advice about it, but I question how much mental and emotional energy we waste worrying? How much of our worrying do we pass on to our students, so they worry too? Does it help? Is it the […]