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7 Simple Steps For A Lifetime of Successful Reinvention

What is the secret of a successful life?  Why do some people seem to always succeed no matter the challenges life throws at them and others seem to be trapped in a never-ending cycle of pain and suffering?

“The human spirit, like a campfire, must be lit again each day.” – Steve Chandler

I recently spoke with a music teacher in a small town in the middle of the USA. She was in a desperate state as she originally had a very strong roster of 31 to 40 students for 13 years but now has only a handful and is struggling to make ends meet. She’s an excellent teacher who plays and teaches seven instruments! But after over twenty years of professional experience, she can’t even make her rent payment.

It’s heartbreaking.

So many creative, talented, amazing people suffer from this. I struggled for years with it too! 

What is it? 

It’s the problem of victimhood. She, and others like herself, have settled into the role of victim. She’s waiting for an external force to change her life. The problem is, no one is coming. She needs to make the shift from victim to owner. She needs to take complete responsibility for her current state of results;Good, bad or otherwise. Only by stepping into that role of an owner can she start to turn her life around.

“Owners focus on what they want. Victims focus on what they fear. And both positions are pure internal invention.” – Steve Chandler

We human beings have created emotional and mental patterns, routines and behaviors to “define” our personas. We believe we are how we think, look and feel right now. And most of us think this is permanent. It’s not. Your personality and ways of being, are really a collection of habitual states.

When I was in my twenties, I dived deeply yet briefly into an acting career in theater, independent film and television. I was so intrigued by the portrayal of completely different people by the same actor. Nowadays, this seems harder to find, as most celebrities act as themselves in every film.

Have you ever seen a film with Daniel Day Lewis? He is completely different every time. I also love how Ralph Fiennes portrays such completely different beings in Schindler’s List to The English Patient to Harry Potter. But my favorite has always been Robert DeNiro. His transformation from the gaunt, haunting Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver to the goofy, psychotic Rupert Pupkin in The King of Comedy to the beefy boxer Jake LaMotta in Raging Bull is just incredible.

How do actors completely shift their beings for a 6 month film shoot? For many, it starts from the inside by shifting beliefs. For others, it’s starts outside in through behavior and actions. It’s incredibly disciplined as it needs to happen within a short period of time. 

This actor’s way can also be applied to real life. You get to be the casting director. You choose who you want to become. So why not choose your perfect future?

“Self concept is destiny” – Nathaniel Branden

Here’s my steps to reinventing yourself.

1- Be the Owner – be fully responsible for all results in your life.

From today onward, you fully accept everything happening in your life to be a direct consequence of your choices, feelings, beliefs both conscious and unconscious. There are no accidents. It’s exactly how you created your life to be.

2 Feed your mind

Start thinking differently. There’s a plethora of great books by the likes of Wayne Dyer, Jen Sincero, Bob Proctor, Joe Dispenza, Louise Hays, Shakti Gawain, Marie Forleo, Tony Robbins, Deepak Chopra, Steve Chandler, the list goes on and on.

3- Choose a new destination

Those who fail to plan, plan to fail. Write down your goals. Visualize them. Commit to your new vision.

4 – Take Action

“A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” – Lao Tzu

One of the best actions you can take is to find a mentor to help you choose which actions to take now and which to hold off until later. A mentor has already achieved what you want and can save you so much time, energy and money.

5- Measure your results

Knowing where you are now and where you want to go is essential. All airplanes are off course 99% of the time. Which leads to the next step…

6 – Correct your course

Take the wheel and steer. You need to constantly adjust to what life throws at you. It’s in these moments of reaction that true greatness is revealed.

7- Celebrate every small win along the way!

It’s important for your mental health and rejuvenation to celebrate your wins. Don’t wait for big milestones. Celebrate every single day. This trains your mind to constantly be seeking the positive in all of the noise.

Success is not going to happen in a weekend or from a single Facebook post. But taking positive action every single day moves you forward. I really like this book Reinventing Yourself by Steve Chandler. It just may start you on your path to recovery from victimhood to owner.

And if you feel qualified to own a massively successful music school, let’s chat.

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Best practices Blog Mindset Successful Teaching Business

4 Challenges Of Every Music School Owner, Actually All Small Businesses

So you know you can teach music…congratulations!

It’s only the first step.

Offering your services and successfully running a profitable business is a whole other problem. This is the problem most music teachers who want to grow a successful business face.

It feels like a massive tangle of problems:

How do I get clients? How do I maintain the ones I have? How do I manage running the business while teaching. How to make sure you have enough cash left at the end of the month so you can actually pay yourself something.And it costs energy, time and what little money you have. Not to mention sanity!

Does this sound familiar?

There’s actually a deeper reason behind it all. It’s the belief that you know what you’re doing.

That’s it.

Most teachers have never been trained to think like a business person. So they follow what the crowd is doing or saying. Unfortunately, they don’t know either. Sometimes, they get lucky and something works. But because there’s no understanding of the big picture, it runs its course and doesn’t work anymore.

It’s like dentists. There’s a bunch in my family and friends. Graduating with honors from a top dental school only enables you to work for someone else. It’s the same with music teachers.

Therefore , it requires a shift in belief. You have to stop thinking in small tactics and address core problems. It’s like putting tiny band-aids on gigantic wounds. You’re not going to stop the bleeding.

I suffered this mentality for years. I kept diving from one program to another thinking, this one trick should do it. From now on, I’ll be successful, mwah ha ha ha!

But it’s NOT about what your “click-through-rate on an ad” is. “Postcard marketing” is not the answer. It’s not about “Yelp vs Facebook vs Google.” It’s not even about your makeup and billing policy.

The real answer is that you need a framework for thinking about business and delivering results for your students.

I’ve been the President of a local business support group for the last two years. One thing I’ve seen over and over again is that every business has the same challenges. It doesn’t matter if you’re a dentist, a real estate agent, a life coach, a graphic designer or a yoga instructor.

Everyone who is in business, either solo-preneur or bigger, has the same challenges.

I wish I knew this years ago.  And now you will have it.

Here’s the four areas every business needs to master to become a success:

  1. A steady flow of new prospective clients (leads)
  2. Cashflow and pricing
  3. Time management
  4. Your process – curriculum – secret sauce

It’s actually simple.

But it’s also interesting how many music teachers are stuck on the 4th point. Curriculum is important but it’s much more than that if you want to make a real livable wage from your teaching.

Now that you know this, you can take stock of where you are and start to dive deeper into each area that needs improvement.

I’ve made it my life’s mission to help people learn life skills through music. But I can’t do it alone. I need energized, passionate and purpose-driven educators who are reaching as many students as possible to join me.

If you would like help growing your business, and are an awesome educator who believes in the power of music to change the world, then I invite you to book a Breakthrough Call with me.

NOTE:  Please DO NOT book a call if you are just looking to get 3 more students on your roster.  I’m looking for educators with vision who want to make a bigger impact and are coachable, open-minded and in integrity.

And note, It’s not just about my curriculum. I can help you with all of the 4 challenges.

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articles Blog Mindset Music Teacher Secrets Professional Development Successful Teaching Business Teaching Methods Technology For Music Teachers

How Open-Minded Are You as a Music Teacher?

“A mind is like a parachute. It doesn’t work if it is not open.” -Frank Zappa

How open-minded are you?

It’s hard to find anyone who doesn’t say they’re open-minded.  But in reality, it seems very few teachers are.

Look at the glacial pace of change in education across the world.  Every other field is experiencing massive disruption and great leaps forward due to the embrace of new ideas, new ways of doing things, and new technology.

This is costing our very livelihoods as educators.  In school systems, music and arts are being cut everywhere- it’s seen as non-essential.  For those lucky enough to keep a classroom music teaching job, they are now being asked to cover lunchroom duties or schoolyard monitoring- non-teaching administrative functions!

And in private lessons, it’s not much better.

Students are looking to learn to play music because they listen to it everywhere.  But when they go to their first lesson, they are given complicated, boring exercises only useful for prodigies.  It’s no wonder so many students walk right out to never return!

The problem is that many of these old guard teachers believe that there’s only one way to teach.  It’s a traditional model that has lasted for hundreds of years! Just think of it, these traditional methods are the same method books that were being used when we were wearing wigs!

It’s a big disconnect.

Everywhere we turn, there’s music.  Every hip new restaurant has a hip new playlist.  Every retail store has a designed music ambiance. Even political candidates have a playlist.  Did you see the recent NY Times article that details each Presidential hopeful and their playlists?  Fascinating.

And yet, so many teachers can’t seem to deliver lessons that connect with the continued love and enthusiasm for music.

So what’s the solution?

Give the people what they want.

And that begins with opening the minds of music teachers.

I’ve been interviewing teachers for my school.  One of the questions I always ask is,

“What are you listening to these days?”

It’s a simple question, but if you ask many music teachers, it seems their playlists got stuck on their old Victrola.

It’s fascinating how many say they are open-minded, but upon further digging, it’s like they could be living in 1819, not 2019.

A simple way to start cracking open the door of your mind is to start listening to other types of music.

I read on another music teacher forum recently a teacher saying, “I have no time to listen to music!”

How sad.

If music has lost its spark for you, how can you light the candle of your student?

I encourage you to reinvigorate your musical life.  Listen wide, deep, and often. Subscribe to streaming services.  Did you realize how much music is available in your pocket?

And if you need some inspiration, here’s some recent listening according to my playlist history:

  • Bomba Estereo – Ayo
  • Harry Belafonte – Angelina
  • Eric Whitacre  – Lux Arumque
  • U2 – Sunday Bloody Sunday
  • Jeff Beck – Goodbye Pork Pie Hat
  • Louis Vierne – Messe Solennelle – Kyrie
  • Steel Pulse – Earth Crisis
  • Louis Prima – I Wanna Be Like You
  • Johnny Cash – I’ve Been Everywhere
  • Sebastian Yatra – Un Año
  • MC5 – Kick Out The Jams
  • Santana – Soul Sacrifice from Woodstock
  • Pedro Capo & Farruko – Calma remix
  • Benjamin Britten – Peter Grimes

Listen to something different today.

I’ve been mentoring music teachers and business owners for years.  I have a few openings.  If you’d like to book a free breakthrough call with me, click here.

It’ll be the best 45 minutes you’ve ever spent on your business.  It’s free.

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What are Chords? Learn Accompaniment in Piano For Kids Volume 4 today!

Piano For Kids Volume 4 has reached bookstores worldwide and is now readily available on Amazon.com! Music teachers, new students, and novice parents galore can continue to musically flourish with new songs and music theory with the newest edition of the Piano For Kids series.

In Piano For Kids Volume 4, we are introduced to left-handed chord accompaniment with the melody on the right hand. While this may sound difficult for beginners, the Musicolor Method has tackled any challenges head on. The first step to learning accompaniment is to delve a little deeper than Volumes 1-3 into music theory. In Volume 4, we will learn about chords, harmony, and intervals with simple terms and visuals.

“What a fabulous way to learn music!  I wish my teacher had this when I was learning…”

-Parent of a Musicolor Student

“Wow.  I am sold!  I went from zero to 50 Musicolor students in less than three months.” 

-Music Studio Owner

 

In order to enhance the musical experience and broaden the beginner’s mind, Volume 4 of Piano for Kids is bringing forth the next level of the Musicolor Method. The Musicolor Method provides a strategic, easy-to-use, easy-to-understand system that simplifies more complex techniques and concepts. Don’t worry, everything will be explained in Volume 4!

Popular folk songs make teaching and learning fun in Piano For Kids Volume 4. Songs like Mary Had a Little Lamb, Long Long Ago, Go Tell Aunt Rhody, This Little Light of Mine, Wheels on the Bus, America the Beautiful, and more, are essential for laying down a musical foundation for every beginner. Let’s not forget the added bonus: Oh Susanna and Bingo are featured downloadable fun songs for free!

Using the innovative Musicolor Method, teachers and students can confidently demonstrate and play what Volume 4 has to offer. Piano For Kids Volume 4 continues the progression that will be seen in the upcoming Volumes 5 and 6- keep your eyes open for those!

You can purchase your copy here today: Paperback / E-book

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Announcements

Spanish Piano SongBook Vol 1 Now Available!

Last week, my wife and I went uptown to the famous Apollo Theater in Harlem. We went to see Latin History for Morons, the one-man Broadway show by John Leguizamo.

For those who don’t recognize his name, he is a Colombian/Puerto-Rican American comedian and actor seen in movies such as Super Mario Bros, Moulin Rouge, John Wick, and many others. But perhaps he is most famous as the voice of Sid the Sloth in the Ice Age movies.

Here’s a trailer – you can see actually see the full show on Netflix.

The show is funny, poignant, and troubling at the same time. It is filled with truths about the invisibility of the contributions of Latinos to America. 

Growing up, I too felt invisible many times.

Now, being invisible may not seem like such a big problem. But if you don’t have proof that someone like you has tread the path, then you have internal doubt.

It’s a psychological problem; an issue of mindset. 

Here’s an example of this from athletics. Before Roger Bannister broke the track record for running a minute in under four minutes, no one believed it was possible. Within two months of his record at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics, someone else also ran a sub-four-minute mile. Since then, many others have done so.

On a logical level, we know that just because something hasn’t been done before doesn’t mean it can’t be done. But it’s so much harder to believe.

One of my greatest mentors was my high school music theory teacher Andy Blackett. He had this uncanny ability to always make you believe more in yourself, to dig deeper, and to know that it could be done. 

“You can do it.”

In the world of music education, I still see a great division between the haves and have-nots. Many of the first-world cultures have realized the secret power of music education and have made that a mandatory part of growing up. Through learning music, you become empowered.

But in my travels throughout other parts of the world, I’ve seen a gap.

And it’s completely understandable. Who cares about music lessons when you’re still worrying about covering the basics of food, shelter, and clothing? 

But as the world rapidly moves to a massive middle class, the opportunity to close the equity gap only increases.

As Leguizamo says in his show, “the future is Latino”. I’d like to contribute to that future.

I’m super thrilled to announce my songbook Piano For Kids Vol. 1 is now available in Spanish. 

Piano for kids - Piano para niños

It’s called Piano Para Niños Vol. 1. I hope this to be the first of the entire series. And yes, I’m still working on the English Piano For Kids Volume 4, with Volumes 5 and 6 in the wings.

If you have my English version, then it’s almost exactly the same. A few of the songs had to be rewritten as the original English didn’t make sense in the Spanish context. I’ve also included popular Spanish folk song Los Pollitos.

I’m hoping this book series can help to unlock the potential of millions of children in the Spanish-speaking world. 

“You can do it!”

Muchas gracias!

Andrew

P.S. As a self-published author, it would help greatly if you could leave a positive review. Thank you!

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¡La versión en español de “Piano For Kids” esta disponible!

¿Como podemos ayudar a nuestros hijos a prosperar y convertirse en adultos exitosos? Andrew, como cualquier otro padre alrededor del mundo, se hacía la misma pregunta. El quería enseñarle a su hijo de 3 años al menos las competencias fundamentales las cuales sirvan de cimientos para que su pequeño pueda convertirse en un hombre personalmente realizado.

El fomento de la creatividad durante la primera infancia es un método comprobado para ayudar a niños de pre-escolar a crecer para convertirse en individuos emocionalmente saludables con habilidades aplicables en la vida educativa, laboral y personal.

Por más de una decada, el autor del exito en ventas  “Piano For Kids” a trabajado con profesores de música y padres de familia sin conocimentos del arte, a educar a sus hijos en musica, y ayudarlos a prosperar. The Multicolor Method® a sido un completo exito en todo el mundo, ¡y ahora el y su equipo estan listos para expandirse a paises hispanoablantes!

Andrew combinó teorías del aprendizaje, diseño de la información y estudios del desarrollo de la primera infancia para darle forma al método. El utiliza cuentos, dibujos y peliculas para descubrir de manera simple e intuituva la mejor manera de que los pequeños entiendan conceptos abstractos en la musica.

¿Donde puedo encontrar el libro Piano Para Niños?

Estamos felices de anunciar que la versión en español del libro está disponible en Amazon y en librerías de todo el mundo. Además, queremos compartir con ustedes nuestros planes de seguir expandiendonos a España y Latino America.

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About The Method

Music Education Benefits for Kids In A 90 Second Animation

There are so many benefits to music education for children.  This video is a good summary overview.

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Best practices Mindset Professional Development Successful Teaching Business

How To Run Your Teaching Biz Like A Badass Boss

I love money. I love everything about it. I bought some pretty good stuff. Got me a $300 pair of socks. Got a fur sink. An electric dog polisher. A gasoline powered turtleneck sweater. And, of course, I bought some dumb stuff, too. – Steve Martin

Too often, I hear music teachers say they are struggling to pay bills and can’t seem to attract enough students.

And I get it.  Most of us teachers starting teaching out of a love of sharing our gifts.  We studied music, theory, composition, pedagogy, and history – but not business.

It’s similar to dentists.  They go to dental school and learn all about taking care of us, their patients.  It’s incredibly difficult and specialized. But as soon as they graduate, they are thrust into building a practice.  Or they go and try to work for someone else. No one ever told them about how to start a business.

I think entrepreneurship should be taught beginning in grade school.

Some kids get it.  They start lemonade stands and then move onto other products or services.  One of my neighbor’s kids knocked on the door one Sunday morning and asked if we would like to buy breakfast services for the next month.  She was only 8 years old! That’s cool.

An investment in knowledge pays the best interest. –Benjamin Franklin

In this article, I want to share with you a roadmap to a successful teaching business that anyone can do, whether you are just starting out or have been teaching for years.  Along the way, we’ll discuss some limiting beliefs that can block your way to success as well as some empowering mental models that will accelerate your progress.

Why?

Over the last decade or so, I’ve built a successful teaching business.  It wasn’t always easy and not everything worked. I’ve also taught this process to other teachers as a one-on-one coach and also in online training programs.  

Here’s a visual overview of a successful teaching business.  

Think of it as the map of the territory. The thousand foot view.  This first part is what you need to set up.

 

How To Run Your Teaching Biz Like A Badass Boss p1
The Setup Phase and Key Decisions

 

And once you have it started and running, here’s the next phase – operations.

How To Run Your Teaching Biz Like A Badass Boss p2

 

To be really useful, you should know where you are in the journey of your business.  

Are you just starting up?  

Have you already found a core ideal audience and now need to tweak the operations?  Are you looking to scale your success outside your geographic or client base area? This is a great article about stages of business.

Each one of these areas can be fully explored in a book, course, or months (years?) of coaching.  The problem arises when one goes to find help on starting a successful small business, and they are inundated with very specific help in a very specific area.  Usually, it’s one small part of this big picture. I wish I had a vision of this when I was just starting out. It’s my hope that this roadmap can be a guide for helping to know what you know and don’t know so you can  then seek further information.

I have helped many music teachers and school owners around the world with problems on this map.  Some needed help with the whole thing. Others just needed to tweak a small strategy within a small section.

Save Yourself Time, Energy and Frustration

Below are some recommended books that I think can eliminate much of the clutter.  It’s the 20% that will give you the 80% effectiveness. The signal from the noise. Mindset is a big part of it and shifting from a habitual state of lack to abundance is key.  But even as a self-directed learner, I believe if you are serious about your success, you need to invest in coaching.

By working with a coach you can greatly accelerate your progress and avoid the many pitfalls and dead-ends on your journey.  If you would like to discuss private or group coaching, please contact me here.

Some Recommended Books and Resources

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About The Method Announcements Blog Mindset Professional Development Successful Teaching Business

Carol’s Students Learn Faster and Have More Fun With Color

Though she had already been working with young music students, Carol found that it was often difficult to transition them from early childhood classes to learning to read and play instruments. That’s when she came across the idea of using color as learning scaffolding and The Musicolor Method Masterclass.

Carol has since adapted the Musicolor Method to work with her youngest preschool students, as well as some of the elementary school kids. She loves how they take to color and can learn to play faster and with more fun.

Carol Koczo
Manassas, VA

First instrument: Piano
Age I started playing music: 8
Other instruments: Voice
Number of years teaching: 35+
Number of current students: 15 

Interviewer: Christy Goldfeder

Currently listening to:

All kinds of music: pop, Broadway, classical.

I’ve taught music as a side job for years

Many times, I was also involved in choral groups. I have always been involved in music in some capacity. For a long time, I might have just one music student while I was working outside the home.

I got really interested in History Preservation, and I got a degree in it, but it didn’t really help me get into the workforce. I kind of fell back into music again and started focusing on it more.

Right now, I teach all levels

I know one of Andrew’s philosophies is to focus your attention on one set of students.

For a while, I has a school like that. I had been focusing mostly on the 8-12 year olds.

When I started as a private contractor with Take Lessons, it opened the door to any age from as young as 5 to 60. That kind of changes with teaching also. In some ways, it makes it more challenging and a little harder to keep track of who is where and when.

I wanted to focus more on younger students.

I started searching for something to make it easier for me to teach younger students, because they were so challenging. I hadn’t really taught that age before. So, that is what led me to The Musicolor Method Masterclass.

I spent a lot of time looking at and reading some of his articles about his philosophy and his approach.

I was searching for something that would help me, and I think it was during those articles I began thinking this may be something I am interested in.

I just knew it. It was a gut feeling that this was something that I thought I could work with, I liked the overall approach, the structuring of the program. I think it was, you know, I think I just thought this is pretty neat. So I am going to jump out of my box and try it.

I started using the color for different ages

I started using it with 8 year olds and even one of my 12 year old students. I adapted The Musicolor Method to different ages. Most everyone of them really took to the color really quickly. It was like “Oh, that’s easy. I can identify that the red is C and I can look at it and match colors.”

It was so easy for the kids, and I kind of thought they would take to it easily.

Prior to finding The Musicolor Method, a lot of what I had seen with the color was connected to rhythm—like with Boomwhacker sticks. They’re long tubes, and what you can do is use them for counting and for music.

That is another reason why I decided to take The Musicolor Method Masterclass. I realized that Andrew had actually put color into a piano format and he had evolved it so that we could use both hands.

The business lessons helped me think differently about my teaching

I am an analytical person. I think reading some of his thoughts, how he wanted to approach and structure the program and the philosophy behind it was beneficial. It helped me organize and look at my teaching in a different way.

I noticed right away that the program was very organized. Very thoughtful in the way in which he put together his program. I did like the approach overall.

It’s been well worth the investment

I know he has added things since I took the Masterclass, for example, when to buy your first piano and a few other things. All of this is helpful.

He created the whole package. He is always making changes too, and he is always presenting information differently. I couldn’t quite believe how much information and work he had put into his program. It’s been worth the investment.

Overall, I am a big fan.

Another thing that I liked that I haven’t done, is I like that he included some of the other string instruments in the program. It’s something that’s just a little different for younger students to be exposed to. I like that the information is available if I do want to use it.

I know this is a complicated process, but I am very pleased with everything he has done and continues to do. I am glad I did it.

Why I’d recommend The Musicolor Method Masterclass

I never realized when I was taking piano that it was that hard to teach. There have been a few times that I have looked at students and said, “Hmm. How did I learn this?” I think it is harder to teach than one would think.

I think Andrew’s approach has made it easier. You don’t have to use so many words, you rely more on the visuals.

There are a lot of layers to the Musicolor Method. Andrew has put a lot of thinking into, how and when you want to bring a certain idea into the lessons.

I think putting all this together into this format has been really good. I don’t think I could have done it.

Learn more about the Musicolor Masterclass here

Read Carol’s product review of The Musicolor Method Masterclass on Tim Topham’s website 

Click here to see Carol’s profile

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About The Method Announcements Blog Mindset Successful Teaching Business Teaching Methods

My interview about the Musicolor Method on Tim Topham’s podcast

I was recently interviewed on the influential Creative Piano Teacher podcast with Tim Topham. Tim’s a wonderful educator who has a very active blog, podcast, and a membership site. If you’re a teacher and never heard of him, you’re in for a treat.

In the interview, I discuss

  • How and why I decided to create a method book
  • How color is used in the method
  • Why the Musicolor Method starts with vertical notation
  • How it avoids position or finger number based thinking
  • My 7 core principles of music teaching
  • Which type of student this method is particularly suited to

I also talk about a special offer on our newly updated Musicolor Masterclass