#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 […]


#12. Time To Teach

When I start to feel the weight of all that we have to teach our students, and the tiny amount of time we have to do it in, my pace starts to get faster and faster. Often the casualty of that haste is my doing less review, practice and reinforcement, all in an effort to have the time to “teach” more. When I start to feel that way, I remind […]


#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.