#35 Roses

I guess it’s all in how we look at things. The renowned philosopher Ziggy – you know, the cartoon critter – profoundly counseled, “You can complain because roses have thorns, or you can rejoice because thorns have roses.” The truth of those words cannot be overstated. Peter Loel Boonshaft, Director of Education KHS America  


#34 Right Versus Wrong

Try simply writing this remarkably perfect quote in giant letters on the board before band. Don’t say a word about it. However, just before you start to rehearse, after the band is quiet and focused on you, simply stare at it in silence: “Students practice until they get it right. Professionals practice until they can’t get it wrong.” Peter Loel Boonshaft, Director of Education KHS America  


#33 An Open Door

“When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us.” Those words of Helen Keller might be the best I know for how we deal with frustration as teachers. I so often stare at that “closed door” so long – wallowing in frustration – that I miss wonderful opportunities […]


#32 Trumpets, Your Pyramid Is Upside Down!

So you’re listening to your band and their corporate or overall balance is good but the balance is still unsatisfying. When that happens, section balance is usually the culprit. For example, the trumpet section is appropriate in the context from piccolo to tuba, but the first trumpets are louder than the seconds who are louder than the thirds! Instead of the exact opposite. In those instances, maybe it’s not that […]


#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 […]