How Students Learn Self-Efficacy Through Instrumental Music Instruction

As a parent, one of the best things that I can hope for is that my children have the wherewithal to make their way through life armed with a wide variety of skills and a “can-do” mindset.  As a teacher, school leader, and professor, I have seen way too many young adults who are incapable of navigating their way through “real world” problems, and need someone’s help (usually mine or their parents’) — […]


How Parents Can “Reboot” Their Child’s Interest in Playing a Musical Instrument After Taking Summer Off

Most parents and students start the summer with the best intentions as far as instrumental music practice is concerned.  Some families choose to rent their instrument for the summer months and not return it to the store/school.  Some even buy a new instrument at the end of the school year as a gift to their child, hoping it serves as a motivational tool for the upcoming summer months.  And many families […]


A Beginning-of-Year Welcome Letter to New Music Parents

Dear Parents: It is with great excitement that I welcome your family to our instrumental music program! Learning to play a musical instrument and acquiring the unique habits of mind that come with it is one of the most incredible opportunities that our school can offer your child.  The instrument that will be placed in your childs’ hands has the power to transform their lives in ways that no other […]


Why the First 2 Months of Being a Music Parent are the Most Important

I often observe that many parents hold some age-old assumption that musical talent is God-given or inherited, but let’s be clear:  everyone possesses musical talent to some degree.  I believe the high attrition rate of students between the first and second year of musical instrument study in school music programs is partly due to parents who are unsure of how to help their child develop their talents. Regarding these beginner students who only have one lesson per week […]


7 Easy Things Parents Can Do Right Now to Extend Their Child’s Musical Life

Many parents find small ways to help their children with school homework each day.  They also may know the basics of how to help their children with things like swinging a baseball bat, throwing a football or swimming.  But when it comes time to playing a musical instrument, many students quit too early because their parents have no idea how to help even the slightest bit.  Whether your child has just come […]


Instrumental Music Education and the Power of Play in Our Schools

I have spent many years visiting public schools throughout our nation, and most times I see the same thing:  students hard at work.  There is always lots of work going on in our schools, and with the increased emphasis on meeting national and state standards there is more work coming.  My Kindergarten-bound daughter will get right to work when she goes to school next year on what used to be […]