Thursday, January 23, 2014

Cabasa Technique

Strike it, scrape it, shake it!  This little percussion instrument is packed with lots of interesting tone colors.  Check out Mark Shelton as he demonstrates some cabasa techniques that you can share with your students.

Monday, January 20, 2014

I Know Sousa Not Sopranos!

A Survival Guide for the Band Director Teaching Choirs

About a month ago, I was asked for an interview by Andrew Berman, a contributing feature writer for the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) publication, Teaching Music, as part of an article for February, 2014, entitled Trading Chairs! The article is about music teachers who were trained in one area, yet ended up teaching in another area. I was reminded of my book with Heritage Music Press, I KNOW SOUSA, NOT SOPRANOS! A Survival Guide for the Band Director Teaching Choirs.

Friday, January 17, 2014

The Creative Process—Melody

Often in the process of songwriting the words and music seem to be so deeply intertwined as to be inseparable. Think about the carol Silent Night or the folk song Mockingbird. It’s difficult to think of those lyrics with any other melody, isn’t it? This should be a songwriter’s goal—to create a work that is more than the sum of its parts, and a work where the lyric will seem married to its melody.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Troubleshooting Transition Time

Transition Road SignEarly in my career I established a very predictable routine for the beginning of every class. I think somewhere in my methods class, someone must have discussed the need to address times of transition. And though it is true that children thrive on routine and attention to transition periods, I truly think that I developed these routines more for my own benefit than for that of my students. As it turns out, I also thrive on routine! My first year of teaching was pretty overwhelming as I was placed in three different buildings, saw over 1100 children per week, and was well over my contractual minute-count. In order to keep my sanity throughout the day, I quickly realized that I had to do something to give me a bit of breathing room as the children cycled in and out of my classroom.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Developing the Solo Voice: Studio Rules

I often work with students who are new to private lessons, and many of them are nervous because they don’t know what to expect. When I begin with a new student, I take some time to talk about the rules of my studio—both what I expect from the student and what the student can expect from me. I will share these rules with you in hopes that they might encourage you to define the rules for your own teaching.