#31 Our Own Best Critic

I recently conducted an All-State Band on the exact same stage, in the same school auditorium, as the very first honors band festival I ever performed in as a 10th grader. It was awesome. It was surreal. I had so many flashbacks to that event when I was 15 years old, which was close to five decades ago. But I had one nagging, constant thought: I kept wondering whether “10th […]


#30 Getting Administrators Involved

Too often administrators don’t understand the process of what we do in band. Help them understand what we do and how we do it. Make them a part of a performance. Obviously, if they play an instrument, that’s easy, have them sit-in with the band on a piece for your next performance. If they don’t play an instrument, feature them speaking in a work for narrator and band. Or even […]


#29 Marking Progress

Why is it that all too often students feel they have enough time to go back and rehearse something over and over again because they think they will remember the error the next time, but they don’t think they have enough time to mark it the first time they make a mistake? Training students to mark any error – right after they make it – is a game-changer for ensemble […]


#28 Difficult = More

The more daunting the task to be done, the greater number of incremental smaller tasks that will be required. The more challenging the goal to be learned, the more intermediary steps we must provide. Peter Loel Boonshaft, Director of Education KHS America  


#27 Take A Trumpet Out For A Walk

As we look toward recruiting students for next year, try simply walking through the halls before and after school, or during lunches, with different instruments. I know it sounds crazy but if you start teaching instruments in 6th grade, walk around the 5th grade hallways with a different instrument as often as possible. And not just walk around, sell it, show it off, channel your inner cheerleader! Milk it for […]


#26 One Moment

Graham Greene stated, “There is always one moment in childhood when the door opens and lets the future in.” When you think about these simple yet profound words, the awesome responsibility of our work is made clear. For many of our students, that doorway to who and what they will become, opens in our rehearsals. I try to remember that every time I look into those faces. That I am […]