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…

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…

This is a simple tool to transform your teaching

“Yo homes, It’s gotta be the algorithm!” I don’t think anyone ever said that.   But, I do know Spike Lee’s character Mars Blackmon said something similar about shoes. Spike Lee’s fictional character Mars Blackmon from his film She’s Gotta Have It. We have seen an explosion in the use of this word, mostly related…

A surprising way for music teachers to be the best they can be

Vacations are just to get away from myself. Music Teachers Need Vacations Too I love to travel and explore new places, but I’ve begun to notice something: each time I go away, I gain something.  It’s not just the usual rest, relaxation, and renewal.  That’s vitally important,  but it’s beyond that.  I gain some mental…

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…

Seinfeld’s Simple Technique Is How To Practice Music

“My child loves the lessons but just doesn’t want to practice.”   It’s probably the number one challenge of every music teacher, parent, and music student:  how to make practice part of a daily routine. For young preschoolers, this is something that has to be taught and externally monitored by the parent.  It’s highly unusual…

Learning Life Lessons Through Music Lessons

This past week my 13 year old son performed in the NYC Opera Renaissance production of Tosca.  We luckily got to see it before the blizzard (Snowmaggedon 2016) hit on the weekend and the show was lovely.  For my son, I think it is one of those experiences in which he was irrevocably changed.  It…

Teaching Strategies For Growth Mindset

What is the most important factor in a student? Many people would say it’s talent, or effort, or persistence, or luck or some combination of these. Behind all of this is something that is more important – the proper mindset. Recent research (Blackwell, Trzesniewski, & Dweck, 2007) has shown that there are two different mindsets among…