Playing an Infinite Game

One of my favorite things in the summer is to catch up on all the books I purchased during the school year and didn’t have time to read. I buy them with the best intentions, but it will often take weeks or even months to finish reading one book. In March, right before the world locked down for COVID-19, I saw Simon Sinek speak in Washington D.C. Simon Sinek is the author of several well-known … Continue reading “Playing an Infinite Game”

From a Distance: Let Students Create

Over the last few weeks I’ve said several times that trying to recreate our classrooms while distance learning isn’t where we should put our energy. The two aren’t the same, especially considering the fact that this isn’t exactly “distance learning” – it’s attempting education during a pandemic. Instead, we should Focus on What We Can Do right now. We can try new things, experiment, and give students the opportunity to take ownership of their music … Continue reading “From a Distance: Let Students Create”

From a Distance: Giving Students Voice and Choice

In my last blog post, Focus on What We Can Do, I discussed how during distance learning we cannot try to replicate everything we did in our classrooms. It’s not the same and we can’t try to make it that way. Instead, by focusing on what we can do now, there are numerous ways we can empower students so they still have meaningful musical experiences. Providing opportunities for voice and choice is one of the … Continue reading “From a Distance: Giving Students Voice and Choice”

Focus on What We Can Do

Many of us have been in this new “distance learning” phase for a few weeks now – or as A.J. Juliani calls it “emergency remote learning.” Whatever term you use, we’re discovering that it’s not the same. We can’t replicate what happens in our classrooms online. And that’s ok. I think instead we need to focus on what we can do with this time. School vs. Learning In 2014, George Couros published a blog post … Continue reading “Focus on What We Can Do”

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”

Flipgrid Updates for Music Teachers

Flipgrid is one tech tool I can’t imagine teaching without. As an instrumental music teacher I have found countless ways to use Flipgrid in my classroom, and with the new updates just released on August 1st, I have even more ideas for the upcoming school year! If you haven’t read my original blog posts about using Flipgrid in music, I recommend starting there. It’s a good idea to understand the basics before jumping in to … Continue reading “Flipgrid Updates for Music Teachers”

Five More Ideas to Try After a Concert

Last year around this time I shared 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 to try … Continue reading “Five More Ideas to Try After a Concert”