#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 […]


#29 Marking Progress

Why is it that all too often students feel they have enough time to go back and rehearse something over and over again because they think they will remember the error the next time, but they don’t think they have enough time to mark it the first time they make a mistake? Training students to mark any error – right after they make it – is a game-changer for ensemble […]


#28 Difficult = More

The more daunting the task to be done, the greater number of incremental smaller tasks that will be required. The more challenging the goal to be learned, the more intermediary steps we must provide. Peter Loel Boonshaft, Director of Education KHS America