Building community through music

I held a Holiday Party/Music Salon and Sing-along today for my students of Park Slope Music Lessons.  It was a great festive event that allowed for some of my students to perform for each other and get over their stage fright in an venue other than the recitals.

One of my student’s hosted in their lovely beautiful townhouse and we all brought treats and drinks to share.  What was really nice is that so many times, as a private music student, you don’t get to meet the other students and families in this community except for at the recitals.  By having this salon, we demonstrated how music can be a social and fun way of community, friendship and sharing.

Some of the kids bonded instantly!

I wanted to share here as well as you can see all of the kids who performed from 4 to 9 years old all learned via the Musicolor Method™ and many are well into reading traditional notation.

Here’s some photos and a video from today.

Notice how the boys and girls gravitated to each other!
Notice how the boys and girls gravitated to each other!



About The Method Lesson Plan Ideas Mindset

What Exactly Is The Musicolor Method™?

Thanks so much for responding with your questions, comments and feedback.  I’ve heard from a lot of you and realized there are still many questions on what is the Musicolor Method™ course.

So let me quickly clarify.

A Step By Step Process

The method is a 7-point framework, a process that you can use to evaluate your teaching no matter how experienced you are.

It’s suitable for veteran teachers and newbies alike.

Think of it like a process blueprint or checklist that you can use to filter all your teaching ideas, repertoire choices, and actiivities through.  It also gives you a simple way to communicate to your students and clients as to the choices you are making in your lessons and the reasons behind them.

To register click here.

The course features a 60 page workbook.

It is truly meant to be a work-book, meaning there are assignments and actions you need to take.  The videos illuminate the points in the book as well as add further illustrations and personal examples from my direct hands-on teaching experiences.

As I’ve been creating the course, I realized it was like writing a book and explaining the book at the same time!  Talk about an under-estimation of work!  But I am so happy with the results.  It truly is something I wish I had when I was a young man many decades ago!

The course also features  a 12 week preschool piano curriculum

This is super valuable and you will not find it anywhere else.
And if you watched the free videos I sent, it will give you access to a virtually untapped market:  preschool students,  in a faster, simpler and more engaging manner than ever before.  It will save you 8 years of trial and error efforts to make a coherent path for your students.

The sheet music provided is in both traditional music notation for teachers and in the various stages of the Musicolor Method™ notation for students.  There is a library of bonus songs and materials including Christmas songs, classical pieces and more.

Is This Just For PIano?

No!  Not at all.

The Musicolor Method™ will work with just about any instrument, but we are launching with the preschool piano curriculum as it is the most in-demand by that age group.  Future curricula will include guitar, ukulele, violin and more.

What happens after the course?

We have a simple certification process where you can then teach the method at your school, your private studio or freelancing for a larger institution.  For groups and schools with multiple teachers, you should contact us for a site license.

The license will give you access to all of our growing list of materials for one year, with a very modest annual renewal fee thereafter.

This gives you access to new curricula, new lessons, and trainings as well as more students 

from a soon to be launched Teacher Finder page on our website.  So as parents start to hear about the Musicolor Method™ through our marketing efforts, we can direct them to you as teachers wherever you are.

So I hope this has been helpful.  Please post your further questions and comments below.

You can register for the waiting list and be notified when the course re-opens.


About The Method Announcements Lesson Plan Ideas

Goals, Plans? Who needs it? I’ll Just Wing It

Or “I’ll Just Wing It,” and other famous last words…

“What’s the plan?”

These are three simple words that can guide you in your life and in your profession.  As a teacher, you need to have a plan.  This plan should be  scalable with multiple time-lengths.  Now that we’re close to the end of the year, many people are starting to think of their goals for the coming year.  

The problem most people have with goal setting is that they greatly over-estimate what they can achieve in a year (or longer) and greatly UNDER-ESTIMATE how much they can achieve in a week.  For daily goals, it seems that we also over-estimate what is achievable.

Having no plan means that you are rudderless, being thrown around  by the tides and drifting to wherever the current  takes you.   That may be fun for a few years, but after a while, don’t you want to pick your own path?

There is also the  opposite approach where you become a “stick in the mud” and are so rigid in your plan that you literally get bogged down and even though the current of life is trying to take you around an obstacle, you insist on going through it.  It’s like trying to walk through a wall instead of going through the open door a few feet to the left.

I was a Boy Scout in my youth.  I rose to the level of Senior Patrol Leader of my troop, which basically means that at 13, I was in charge of running the meetings and was thrust into a leadership position.  I was scared to death!  I mumbled and shifted and could hardly be heard.  I was sent to some week-long training classes and gradually, over time, I got better.  But at the core it all, was the motto:  “Be Prepared.”  This applies to everything In life.

As a teacher, I apply this motto daily by  having a personalized plan for each and every one of my private music students.  I keep records of what I taught previously and come up with an idea of what to teach at each day’s lesson.  I also have longer range goals for each student with a public performance as the culminating goal.

In speaking to other music teachers, and even observing them, I’ve realized that not everyone thinks this way.  

“I’ll just wing it,”  they say.  

Or, “I don’t need a plan, I’ve done this a million times.”

“It’s so simple, what’s the big deal?”

Did you know that every year, 250,000 people die from medical errors?  In other words,doctors are the 3rd leading cause of death in America.  And these errors happen during standard operating procedures – things they do every single day and should know by heart.

There’s now a movement to create simple checklists for hospitals.  Checklists!  Isn’t that what we give our kids to make sure they do all their chores and behave well?

Having a plan allows you to list  your intended outcomes when you are conscious and fresh so that you can just follow your own plan later when you are busy, stressed and in the moment.

You might be thinking, “But I like to be creative and loose.  I’m a creative soul and don’t want to be stuffed inside your box.”

Having a plan actually gives you freedom.  It’s like the old conundrum of the writer facing the blank page:

“You can write about anything.”

“But I don’t know what to write!”

It really helps, having a focus, boundaries, and a box to stay inside of.  Having lines to color within makes it easier to focus.  Having the boundaries allows us to push to the edges of them and even occasionally “think outside the box.”  But it’s the box that gave us the ability to focus.

A lesson plan is that box.  It can also be a creative brief, a recipe, a business plan, or a life plan.

You’ll never stay exactly on script.  And that’s what makes it all alive, exciting and relevant to the moment.  You have a plan but you react to the moment.  It’s just like driving across the country.  You have a destination, and even a route planned, but you need to react to road closures, traffic and serendipity.

Structure is one of the 7 points in the Musicolor Method™ framework for teaching
Structure is one of the 7 points in the Musicolor Method™ framework for teaching

You can learn more about lesson planning and get some great templates in the unit on Structure in the Musicolor Method™ Online Training.  There’s a special limited time offer going on now.    

Click here to register now.  

And, please, post your comments and questions below.


About The Method Lesson Plan Ideas

The Power of Personalizing Songs For Young Students

In a lesson this morning, I was showing 4 year old B to play a simple song, a variation on Brother John.  She loved it especially because I realized she didn’t have any brothers, but we could substitute her sister’s name in the song.  So what was Brother John became Sister Iris!  She was jumping up and down with joy and couldn’t wait to sing it for her mom and sister.  Such a simple way to create engagement and joy!

Whenever possible, I try to connect the material to the student with these kinds of personalizations.  Why does it have to be Mary Had A Little Lamb?  Why not Ashley? Or Rebecca?  Of course you will have to add in another note, but, how great to have an instant bond with your student.

This is one of the areas we cover in the online training course.  You can learn more about the Musicolor Method™  7-point framework and join the Teaching Fellows program here


Musical Quotes

Music for the mind

There’s a connection between math and music.  It has been discovered that Bach composed many of his masterpieces according to mathematical patterns.  The 12 tone row used in contemporary classical music is basically an algorithm.

Leonardo Fibonacci discovered a sequence of numbers that has been shown to be the underlying pattern of the Universe, in everything from flower petals to seashells to the galaxies themselves.   They have been used in everything from analyzing art to music to the stock market.

And of course, as a music teacher, you have to explain a lot about the distances between notes as intervals as in 2nds, 3rds, 4ths, 5ths, etc.