#18 Ten Seconds

Compelling research states that when presenting to a group, we have ten seconds to “grab” their attention. If we don’t, we have probably lost them to wandering thoughts or feelings of boredom and restlessness. How do we grab them? With the power of our personality. With the power of music. With something memorable, something heartfelt, something out of the norm, something funny, something odd, something thought-provoking, something that taps into […]


#17 No Better Feeling

There is no better feeling than helping our student have a great rehearsal. And I am sure we can all agree that the more prepared we are, the better it will be. It reminds me of the wonderful sentiment of the legendary conductor Mitropoulos when he stated, “If I were a lion tamer, I would not enter a cage of lions reading a book entitled How to Tame Lions. In […]


#16 Write It and Say It

Recent research tells us that we remember 10% of what we hear. We remember 20% of what we read. But, that if we read it and hear it, we don’t just remember the aggregate 30%, we remember 50% of it! How can we use this in our teaching? The next time we have a list of announcements, a set of directions, a poem that is the basis of a piece […]


#15 They Will

The wonderful old saying prescribes, “Act as if the quality you seek is already within you and it will be.”


#14 Guided Listening

If I had a dollar for every time in a rehearsal I instructed an ensemble “to listen,” I would be writing this blog on my private island in the Caribbean. Sadly, most of those times were the equivalent of asking this extremely bald band director to grow hair. A great concept, but not the least bit helpful. However, by simply adding specifics of what to listen for to those instructions, […]


#13. Believe

As you walk into your classroom today, remember these words of Anatole France, “To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.” We can follow the advice of the remarkable sentiment: “To achieve all that is possible, we must attempt the impossible. To be as much as we can be, we must dream of being more.” Peter Loel Boonshaft, Director of […]