#75 Overwhelming versus Manageable?

One of the hardest aspects of being a teacher is remembering the difficulty of first learning something that now comes so easily to us. Something that we probably found so difficult when we first learned it. Breaking down a technique we have mastered, a skill we do without even thinking about it, or recalling a set of facts we know like the back of our hands, into the small – […]


#74 In Honor Of Greatness

On October 28, 2018 the world lost a great treasure with the passing of Richard Gill, Australia’s world-renowned conductor, teacher, and advocate for music education. But that description of this remarkable human being doesn’t even scratch the surface of who he was or what he did. The immeasurable good he accomplished in his life, the enormous heart he shared with all those he met, the dedication he embodied, the sincerity […]


#73 The First Time

Before your next rehearsal, write this wonderful old saying on the board: “Why is it that there is never enough time to do things right the first time…but always enough time to do them over.” Ask your students to think about those words, really think about them, before they play a single note. Peter Loel Boonshaft, Director of Education KHS America


#72 Irrigation

On those days that I become frustrated, and heaven knows they come as sure as kids who will forget to bring their instruments, or that a fire drill will happen during the last dress rehearsal for a concert, I often sit quietly and read these words of C. S. Lewis: “The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles, but to irrigate deserts.” Peter Loel Boonshaft, Director […]


#71 Biography

The word biography is often defined as an account of someone’s life written by someone else. For us as teachers, our biography, in great measure, will be written by those we teach. Our students – each of them – will contribute to that imaginary tome, that account of our life as a teacher. As I ponder that thought, I realize that quite simply – and profoundly – every day we […]


#70 5 Minutes

At your next rehearsal, try saying nothing but positive things for 5 minutes straight. It sounds easy, but once you try it, you realize just how hard it really is to do. We are so used to saying positive things and then following those words up with a prescription for making it better. Can’t you just hear it: “That was great, and this was so much better, and I loved […]