#11. Practice More

What got you hooked on music? Was it practicing scales in a practice room? If it was, you are a sick individual in need of professional help. It was performing music! Sadly, I don’t think our beginners perform enough. My hope is that as soon as beginners can play “Hot Cross Buns,” they are in front of people performing it. Whether it be in the school’s main office, the faculty […]


#10. Change

At a music education symposium last week, I was asked a question that really gave me pause. Actually, it stopped me dead in my tracks. Ready? Here it is: “Dr. Boonshaft, if you could change one thing about yourself as a teacher, what would it be?” See why I was floored? So, I responded with a cute, “Oh my, there are so many things, do you have a few hours!” […]


#9. The Best Time…

One of my favorite sayings is the wonderful African proverb that reminds us that “The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago, the next best time is today.” I know of no better – or more true – advice.


#8. Scatter

The next time you see your band, tell them that you are going to do a “scattered” rehearsal. Explain that they can sit anywhere in the room they want, as long as they are not in the same location, or next to the same people as usual. Preferably, they should not even be next to someone who plays the same instrument as they do. I suggest giving them two minutes […]


#7. Repeating Directions

I got into a routine, well, more like a rut. During rehearsals, after stopping to correct something. I would identity the problem spot, state what was troubling me, and what I wanted them to try. Then I would say something like: “Let’s go back to Letter G.” The rut was that I would then continue to repeat the spot we were going to start from several times. So it sounded […]


#6. Where Are We Headed?

“If we don’t change the direction we are going,” a Chinese proverb suggests, “we are likely to end up where we are heading.”