Experiencing Failure in Advance

I love Seth Godin and what he has to say about making and shipping creative work.  (If you haven’t yet, definitely check out his blog, his podcast Akimbo, or any of his amazing books). One of my favorite quotes from his 2010 book Linchpin is “I define anxiety as experiencing failure in advance.” Let that … Continue reading “Experiencing Failure in Advance”

The Ideal Music Student

What makes the Ideal Music Student?   I have no idea, but I know it wasn’t me. I rarely practiced what I was supposed to.  I never could memorize the notes fast enough.  I rejected music theory almost completely.  I liked Enya and The Lion King way more than classical music.  I’d rather play around with … Continue reading “The Ideal Music Student”

Why “2 years from now” matters so much in music education

(It’s easier to teach, and the responsibility is on the student) 2 years from now will only be successful with enough discipline and practice. In 2 years, your student will be more creative and understand what’s really going on (if they’re lucky). If your student memorizes how to read the notes on the staff fast … Continue reading “Why “2 years from now” matters so much in music education”

What thinking sounds like

Silence.   We tend to understand that serious art needs to incorporate silence to portray the human act of thought. When we give a speech, we try and avoid filler words like “um” and “uh.” In monologues, actors make sure to give enough natural pauses to help their character convey a more realistic cadence. In … Continue reading “What thinking sounds like”

10 strategies to reduce anxiety in music lessons

Last week I wrote about 10 possible sources of anxiety in music lessons.  Each of these strategies will apply to the corresponding number in that post. In 14 years of teaching music, nothing has positively impacted the experience for me or my students more than adopting these 10 strategies:   1. Cut up material into … Continue reading “10 strategies to reduce anxiety in music lessons”

10 possible sources of anxiety in music lessons

  1. Synthesis is required too early on.  Take reading music, for example.  There are so many different concepts wrapped up into one task: What notes do the dots represent? Where are they on my instrument?  How long do I hold them down for?  What’s a time signature?  How many sharps?  What’s that triangle looking … Continue reading “10 possible sources of anxiety in music lessons”


I am writing this blog as a way to share my thoughts as I work through them.  I have come to realize that there are three seismic shifts that have greatly impacted the way kids experience and learn music.  The pace of technological advancements, growing global awareness, and expectations of leadership experienced at young ages … Continue reading “Intro”

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