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

This post was updated August 2020 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. Each year Flipgrid comes out with new updates that make this tool even more powerful and fun to use. This post will cover some of the most recent updates, and some other features music teachers will enjoy.  If you haven’t read my original … Continue reading “Flipgrid Updates for Music Teachers”

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”

Student-Centered Performances

In a performance-based class it may seem challenging to empower students and create a learner-centered environment. Musical ensembles are director-let by nature. Shifting focus to the students is not impossible, but it requires an open mind and careful planning to make it happen! Here are four ways you can create student-centered ensembles and performances. Student Choice in Repertoire I don’t know if others are like this, but one of my favorite things is programming repertoire! I love … Continue reading “Student-Centered Performances”

Connected Music Students: Skype With a Composer

I’ve written before about how I believe empowered music students should be connected. The word connect, as opposed to collaborate, is intentional. I agree that it’s important for students to collaborate; it is a skill necessary for the 21st-century. But too often people hear the word collaborate and assume that means just with peers. Students working with other students. While this is something I advocate for, I don’t think it can be the end. Students … Continue reading “Connected Music Students: Skype With a Composer”

MIOSM for Empowered Music Students

Music in Our Schools Month (MIOSM®) is a great time for educators to showcase the fantastic things happening within their music programs. Throughout March, music departments all over the country put extra effort into making music front and center in their districts. This year I’m going to ask you to take that one step further. During MIOSM, instead of just making sure your program is front and center, I want you to make sure your … Continue reading “MIOSM for Empowered Music Students”