Saturday, December 10, 2016

Music Education Creates Smarter Kids

Children who play the violin or study piano could be learning more than just Mozart. A University of Vermont College of Medicine child psychiatry team has found that musical training might also help kids focus their attention, control their emotions and diminish their anxiety. Their research is published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.

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Thursday, December 8, 2016

Cooperative Learning for Music Technology in the Classroom

Piano lessons are incredibly beneficial, that is undeniable, but in a school setting it is impractical. So music tech teachers hooked up keyboard labs that evolved into ensemble groups. These groups of students fashioned their own music curriculum and worked cooperatively to create a new type of school performance. You can check some of them out at VH1’s ‘Save the Music, here:

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Save Money, Character Development Can Be In-Sourced in Music Class

One of the many byproducts of music education is character development. Schools are justifying paying tens of thousands of dollars to bring in specialized consultants on how to bring ‘character’ to students who attend difficult inner city schools. And yes, these types of character development programs do have a positive albeit limited affect. Other school districts have adopted character development programs that have a centralized theme shared either amongst the classrooms or in creating a school culture. Again, these are great. But while they have a longer term effect than a consultant, these districts are overlooking the obvious.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

How Professional Piano Lessons Can Take Your Child To The Next Level

As parents, we want our kids to have as many opportunities to succeed as possible. Neuroscientists now know that music education offers many advantages to help craft your child’s creative brain through experiencing music every day. And while many children have music class in their school, professional piano lessons offer a unique creative-brain dialogue that empowers, inspires and develops lifelong abilities & memories.

Where 1000's of Music Teachers Find Inspiration

Music Teachers teach at fast pace for many more hours beyond the school day (every day!). To keep from burning out, it's a good idea to pause and take daily inspirations from regular sources. I've found that positive quote books or books with quotes of music lovers are a great start (like this one). Some of us turn to spirituality. Others look to musical accomplishments. Whatever works for YOU, I implore you to get into a habit of doing that one thing, every day! According to Google, here are some of the highest visited places online where music teachers get inspired.


Saturday, December 3, 2016

Should Students Consider a Career in Music?

Let's create a sample student named Bobby. One day, in general music class, the teacher introduces the students to the music of The Beatles. All of a sudden something happened to Bobby. He’s now changed, forever and says “That's what I want to do with my life.” Let's say that Bobby is eight years old and for the next two years of his life, he spends a fair amount of his time playing video games like guitar hero or rock band. He also listens to classic rock recordings trying to hear exactly what the electric guitarist is playing, and he feels more connected to the music by age 10 than he did when he first heard it at age 8.

[Interview with Delores Connors] How Special Needs Inclusion Benefits Music Students

When a student with special needs becomes transitions into classes with the regular student population, there are many anxieties they bring with them that are often overlooked. One of the beautiful things about music education is that music class offers students a safe space to emotionally and physically enjoy the arts. This often gets lost in the speed of the school day but when I stop to think specifically about the positives, I think about how the student WITHOUT special needs is benefiting from these new peer-to-peer relationships. In her book "I Don't Want to Go!", Delores Connors is addressing those anxieties through the story of a child who is going to the special education classroom for their first time. 


Friday, December 2, 2016

How Video Games Help Music Education [4 Resources]

Let's think beyond Rock Band and Guitar Hero, beyond the Playstation and Xbox. There are other ways music teachers can harness the power of video games for their music class. There are a great number of free music games on the internet that you can find with a simple Google search but we found four resources and directories that are wildly popular and proven to help incorporate technology in your lesson plans.

Making the Most out of General Music

While the average general music class may be driven by a text book, there are ways to increase interest and participation. Think about how many students currently receive or would like to start guitar lessons. The guitar is an instantly accessible instrument and it can be leveraged into a classroom ensemble. This doesn’t mean you have to start guitar lessons in class, it just means it may be time to consider adding the guitar to your music lesson plans.

READ MORE and get a FREE Jeopardy Game for Class

Thursday, December 1, 2016

The Oddest Place You Will Find the Backstreet Boys

So where is the oddest place to find the Backstreet Boys? How about in a national article on the importance of music education! The Backstreet Boys state that, “Practicing music reinforces teamwork, communication skills, self-discipline, and creativity” (Why Music?). These qualities are all highly sought out in the workplace. Creativity, for example, is, “one of the top-five skills important for success in the workforce,” according to Lichtenberg, Woock, and Wright (Arts Education Partnership 5).Participation in music enhances a student’s creativeness.

High School Student, Kofi Boakye, Dedicates His THIRD Album to His Home Town

That's right. Kofi Boakye is 16 years-old and he is on his third CD. "Ultimately, Boakye said he would love to tour and perform at places such as Madison Square Garden. Boakye said that he had heard stories from his family that his grandfather, who died before Boakye was born, had played guitar with B.B. King. Boakye's own foray into playing the piano started when he was 9 years old, and his mother showed him an advertisement offering piano lessons."

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

How First Year Music Teachers Can Avoid Problems

If you are a first year music teacher or starting out as the new music teacher in a new school, there are countless pitfalls and traps you can easily avoid. Here are six ways our experts feel you can easily avoid some problems in your music class.

[5 Steps] How to Direct Your FIRST School Musical

If you are a general music teacher or the director of your school choir, orchestra or band in the elementary or middle school setting, there is a good chance you have been approached to do a school musical. At this level, we are wall beginners. A first year music teacher with no experience doing school musicals is equal to a veteran music teacher ALSO with no experience doing school musicals. This is empowering and humbling to both types of teachers!

See the FIVE Steps Now!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Increase Marching Band Confidence and Buy In with an Evaluation

There is a significant amount of attention and pressure begin placed on marching band programs in the wake of several events in the news stemming from both negligence and improprieties. As a music teacher involved in marching band in any capacity, it is our duty to create and maintain a safe environment.

Get the FREE Evaluation Form for your students!

Louis Armstrong: Resources, Audio & Video

Louis Armstrong is one of those great musicians who are not only brilliant musical but also serve as a great role model. In music education, we don't often have the opportunity to focus on performers but when we do, Louis is someone to consider. I enjoy teaching my private students about him and his work through audio, video and printable worksheets. When I work with teachers, sometimes we just need a little reminder about who he is an how readily available these resources are through any device. Here are some great music education resources (free downloads and ideal products) about Louis Armstrong

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Monday, November 28, 2016

Music Education TED Talk with Richard Gill

Click here for more info on Music Education TED Talks!

An Argument for Vocal Music in Early Childhood Education

Singling lessons in early childhood education have long been utilized by teachers. Not ‘singing lessons’ in terms of learning how to sing, but as a vehicle for teaching and learning a concept. We know that song makes things easier to remember because it connects facts to long term memory. And that’s also why singing is always a part of early childhood MUSIC lesson plans...

Continue the argument...

Saturday, November 26, 2016

How to Lower Drop Out Rates with Music

According to the Foundation for Educational Choice, about 19% of California high school students in any ninth-grade class will drop out over a four-year period.  During the 2007-2008 school years, 98,420 public high school students dropped out. There is an infinite amount of repercussions that exist socio-economically including the direct impact on personal income and California's revenue received through income taxes. When the average educational engine or political think tank sees the statistic, they see a failure in the schools to retain students. But why is no investment made in determining how to retain the students? 

See the RESEARCH, Click HERE

Friday, November 25, 2016

Connecting Piaget to Music Education

Renowned developmental psychologist, Jean Piaget, identified high school years of development as the formal operations stage. Through his work which he called Epistemology (a branch of philosophy concerned with human knowledge, its origins in each of us and how that knowledge is developed) he proved that each of the formative years of child’s development plays a unique and crucial part in the way they experience, see and interact with the world around them.


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

How to Become a More Productive Music Teacher [Video]

About two years ago, I started an experiment. Every morning, I would listen to the Bach Cello Suites while I began my work day (planning, scheduling, emailing). And almost instantaneously, I noticed an increase in my productivity.


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

How to Get Your School to Buy You a Piano

If a program is finding itself without a proper budget, there are some ways to counteract, rise above and fund aspects of the program. The first thing to do is to check the “Facilities Budget” of the school to see what it has been spent on in recent years. This is a line item of the overall budget reserved for expenses that benefit the whole school. 


Monday, November 21, 2016

Character Development in General Music Class

A music teacher could easily highlight character pillars or character building virtues so that students become aware of their actions. In my own music classroom, I did a small social experiment. My choir displayed exemplary conduct and demonstrated character while in my classroom. Not by accident, I did this by design. But I wanted to see if they exhibited the same virtues outside of my classroom during the rest of the school day.


Sunday, November 20, 2016

[Activity] Rostropovich, Children and the United Nations

In 1981, the accomplished cellist and conductor, Mstislav Rostropovich, had a performance at United Nations Headquarters in New York City for an event on behalf of UNICEF. Guest performers and young music students from the city were invited to perform with the orchestra. 
Music Education Magazine
The Maestro was a product of Soviet Russian culture where children were selected to be introduced to music education based on completely random decisions (look, speech, posture, politeness) and he had limited expectations.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

5 Misconceptions About Finding a Free Piano

When you need a piano for your music classroom, you can get one. And you can find one free. (More on that in my book available below). Anyway, often times when we hear the word "free" we think that it's a lie. 

Music Teachers Guide to Finding a Free Piano

Truth is, finding a free piano isn't like looking for a needle in a haystack. It's like looking for a haystack in a field of haystacks. There are PLENTY of free pianos out there! You just have to find the right one.

Click Here to