Thanksgiving Concert: A Fun Project for Instrumentalists

November 2021 – this post has been updated! Check out some new ideas on how to complete this project. I started doing the Thanksgiving Concert project a few years ago with my band and orchestra students. While I don’t believe in giving “homework” over long breaks, it is great when students can still play their instruments during that time. The Thanksgiving Concert is a completely optional, yet fun, way to achieve this. I encourage the … Continue reading “Thanksgiving Concert: A Fun Project for Instrumentalists”

Planning With Not For: Involving Students in Concert Preparations

It’s almost that time of year: concert season! For some music teachers, this could be the first live performance in two years. There might be safety measures in place, or maybe there isn’t an audience in-person. For other teachers, this could be an opportunity to try something new, or a return to a much loved tradition. Whatever the case, I encourage you to think about one thing this concert season: how can you plan with … Continue reading “Planning With Not For: Involving Students in Concert Preparations”

Use Student Leaders to Empower Your Musicians

Many music teachers look back at their own school music experience and have fond memories of being a student leader. They may have been a section leader, a drum major, or a concertmaster. Typically, leadership roles are given to the most experienced musicians, and it’s an honor to hold the title. While these positions are important for many reasons, musical and otherwise, it’s important to remember that student leaders can exist outside the high school … Continue reading “Use Student Leaders to Empower Your Musicians”

Top Five Blog Posts of 2019

It’s hard to believe we are almost two weeks into 2020! The past year has been a whirlwind. There were several awesome professional opportunities, including a new job, my experience at the Google Innovator Academy and two exciting projects that will be released in 2020. There were also some challenging personal events that led to the recent blogging inconsistency, but I am hopeful to get that back on track in the new year. There are … Continue reading “Top Five Blog Posts of 2019”

The Concerts are Over…Now What?

It’s that time of year where many band directors are gearing up for winter or holiday concerts. We have a single track focus, making sure that everything is *just right* before putting it in front of an audience. But then the concert is over and the panic of, “what do I do now?!?” often sets in! While obviously we want to continue making music, there needs to be some kind of change to the daily … Continue reading “The Concerts are Over…Now What?”

Listening With Purpose

I read an interesting article recently about listening. It wasn’t intended for music teachers, but it resonated with me for a lot of reasons. The author, A.J. Juliani, talked about how even though we may listen to something with a purpose, we often still miss things. What one person hears, another may miss. We all have limitations and we all have blind spots. You can check out A.J.’s article here: The Surprising Research About Our … Continue reading “Listening With Purpose”

Empowering Music Students at the Beginning of the Year

This blog post has been a few weeks in the making – back-to-school this year was an exciting yet exhausting experience. Whether you are a few weeks into your school year or a few months, hopefully this post will provide you with simple ways to empower music students. It’s easy to fall into the trap of believing that you can only empower music students later in the school year. That you must wait until X, … Continue reading “Empowering Music Students at the Beginning of the Year”

Conversational Solfege – But Can They Read Music?

This post is a few month overdue, but as the sayings go, “better late than never” and “better published than perfect!” Previously I wrote about a new (to me) method I was incorporating with my beginning band and orchestra students, Conversational Solfege. The Conversational Solfege method is based on the concept, sound before sight. Students are taught to be musical from day one, but reading music is not the primary focus right away. If you … Continue reading “Conversational Solfege – But Can They Read Music?”

The Snowball Fight – A Music Composition Strategy

A few weeks ago, I mentioned a music composition strategy I tried with my beginning instrumental music students called a “snowball fight.” It’s commonly used in academic classes, but was the perfect fit for music writing as well! Yes, I realize it’s the end of May and almost summer vacation, but this is a great time to try it! If you’re interested, here’s what Discovery Education says about it – SOS: Snowball Fight. The Snowball … Continue reading “The Snowball Fight – A Music Composition Strategy”

Five More Ideas to Try After a Concert

Last year around this time I shared the post, Five Ideas to Try After a Concert. That post was one of the top-read in 2018, inspiring me to add five more fun activities. While the title says “after a concert,” in reality, you do not have to wait. They would be great for anytime you need something different to do – before a break, during testing time, you name it. Here are five more ideas … Continue reading “Five More Ideas to Try After a Concert”