#91 A Wonderful Lesson

If you are looking for a book that is inspirational, validating, thought-provoking, and heartwarming, I sincerely recommend The Music Lesson, by five-time Grammy award winning musician Victor L. Wooten. It is a joy to read and will fill your mind with as many questions as answers. A wonderful lesson indeed. Peter Loel Boonshaft, Director of Education KHS America


#90 Don't Share

Though the life-lesson we all learned as children that states that “sharing is caring” is sage wisdom and a great message for most of life, when it comes to sharing stands in band rehearsals, nothing could be less true. I am a firm believer that players should not share stands. To explain why, let’s imagine two flute players at the end of the row on our right as we face […]


#89 Make Sure You Cut Off The Ends

How many times have we been confronted with the sentiment that goes something like this: “But that’s the way we have always done it!” Though sometimes that can continue wonderful traditions – or justify following a tried-and-true path for success – it can also very easily be a great excuse for keeping things the same, for not challenging our current approach, thus limiting our growth. Is it the way we […]


#88 A Lofty Goal

The remarkable twentieth-century cellist and conductor Mstislav Rostropovich said, “You must play for the love of music. Perfect technique is not as important as making music from the heart.” Maybe one of the hardest lessons we must help our students learn is that their technique must be developed so it can serve the expressive qualities of the music they make. I find we almost always do that while our bands […]


#87 Stands Up

One of the first things I do when first rehearsing with a new ensemble is to ask them to raise their stands up, often almost as high as they will go. I tell them that all I want to see are their eyes peering at me just over the top of the stand. For many this may seem odd. For me, it is a requirement. Why? First, when students have […]


#86 A Good Teacher...

I was recently part of a question and answer panel discussion at a music teachers conference. The questions were really terrific and thought-provoking. But one of them really made me think. Ready? Here it comes: “What is the single hardest part of being a teacher?” It wasn’t that I didn’t have an answer, it was that my mind was flooded with millions and millions of “hardest parts” vying for the […]