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…

How to activate creativity, innovation and invention?

“What do you think?” When was the last time someone asked you this?  And if you answered, did you just regurgitate what you heard some other expert say about this topic? When was the last time you asked your children or your students this question? There’s a problem in that the school system of today…

What Happens When You Ask A Preschooler If They Can Do Anything

Ask a preschooler and see what happens. Imagine this scenario. You walk into a preschool classroom of three year olds and pose a series of questions to the children: “Who here knows how to dance?” Every hand shoots up. “Who here knows how to sing?” Again, every hand is in the air. “Who here knows…

Mysterious Hidden Cues Lurking in Your Students

Social creatures, us humans. But if you think words are enough, think again – body language and silence often tell you much more about a person. So, what does this mean for us teachers? Well, if you can’t read the nonverbal signs, it makes it very hard to help the student. If you can’t help…

How To Use A Focus Window to Combat Overwhelm in Students

In the jungle that is music education, there lives a beast.   A terrifying dragon that lurks behind every chair, instrument and music stand, it is the Distraction Dragon.  This beast is the greatest and most common enemy of all teachers.   We tremble upon sensing the slightest breath of distraction rising up among our…

How to get concepts to stick for music students

What cognitive disfluency teaches us? I’ve been thinking about this for a while. We are drowning in information these days. There’s so much information that our eyes glaze over. The boards of education of every school district in America are touting the importance of having information about student attendance, test scores, reading ability, curriculum, assignments, and…

10 Secrets How To Make Simplified Sheet Music For Kids

Part 3 of 3 on Finding Music For Teaching Kids See Part 1: The Top 11 Sites for Public Domain Free Sheet Music See Part 2: Where To Find Easy Sheet Music Arrangements I have always felt comfortable rearranging sheet music and stripping out elements that are not completely necessary to get the song across.…

Improvement Science and 5 Percent Better Everyday

As a music teacher, you are training the next generation of leaders in a vital skill: the art of practicing. Practicing is the art of improving a specific skill. It leads to the path of mastery. What you focus on will improve. This applies to teachers as well. What are you doing as a teacher…

What Kind Of Smart Are Your Students?

Truly Scrumptious:  “Haven’t you noticed?  There aren’t any children. Not one.” In the film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, based on a novel by Ian Fleming (with a script co-written by Roald Dahl), there is a land where children are banished.  They are evil and are meant to be shut away and captured by the Child…