#52 Confidence

James Russell Lowell asserted that “More men fail through ignorance of strength than through knowledge of their weakness.” That is probably true, but I would contend even more people fail from a lack of confidence in their ability than through ignorance of strengths. In the words of Ralph Hodgson, “Some things have to be believed to be seen.” Peter Loel Boonshaft, Director of Education KHS America


#51 Be A Turtle

As teachers, we often find ourselves wrestling with whether to “stick with the old tried and true” or “try something new.” But it’s scary to try the untested or experiment with the unfamiliar. The next time you have those feelings of fear at the thought of going out on a limb, remember the words of Frank Scully: “Why not go out on a limb? Isn’t that where the fruit is?” […]


#50 Don’t Do It Again!

Have you ever repeated a passage several times in rehearsal only to find that it starts to get worse? One theory to explain that is that after a student does it, his or her brain says, “I already did that, why should I pay attention to doing it again!” And every repletion erodes in quality. But, by simply changing the mode or technique when repeating – even though it is […]


#49 Persistence

Calvin Coolidge stated, “Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” It got me wondering, how we can foster – teach, if you will – persistence? My best conclusion is that […]


#48 Curiosity

The older I get, the more I am convinced that piquing the curiosity of our students is one of the most, if not the most, important results of teaching. Learning a fact is great. Learning a technique is terrific. But, learning to be curious, wanting to know more about a topic than required, is quite simply awesome. It is like having the keys to the world. Albert Einstein might have […]


#47 The Earlier The Better!

When students sense they are playing poorly, they can become like mules: very hard to move forward, very willing to stay put. But, we all know that if we start them with music so “easy” they sound good, or can sound good in short order, they start to become more like The Little Engine That Could: thinking they can. It’s so easy for our students to “throw in the towel” […]