The Unassigned Assignments

There’s an assignment that we often miss as teachers. And it’s one that always makes our jobs way easier – maybe easier than anything we could have students do. Over time it simply transforms our students’ musical experiences and their abilities.

Students should be asked to listen to music each time we see them. It can be done in casual conversations about what they’ve been listening to (or what we’ve been listening to), to more precise assignments based on what you’re working on in lessons.

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The Making of a Record – Part 1 The Work Before the Work

A couple of months ago Anna Freedman asked me if I would produce her first record of original music. Anna is a really accomplished musician who plays piano, sings and writes music. We worked together as teacher/student when she was in high school. Now she plays around Seattle and teaches at Creative Music Adventures as well.

I asked Anna if I could share the process of bringing this recording to fruition through a series of posts here to help folks who may be interested in recording their own music (or helping their students make recordings). She was nice enough to agree to this idea. So here is the first part of the series…

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Injecting Music into Music Lessons

All of us who have played, taught, listened to or experienced music in any way know the power it holds. Many people can trace certain important times of their lives to specific recordings. Several musicians, myself included, can trace the reason we play music back to one or two recordings. Many people who play music have often been pulled out of major ruts in their practice/playing after hearing a recording. There are people who don’t have anything to do with playing music who simply can’t function without it.

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Composing a Community Kids Writing Music for Kids

Creating a community of musical peers is something that rarely gets emphasized in the music teaching/learning world. There are many studio events, ensembles, recitals, festivals and competitions that have students cross paths with one another. However, the bonds from these events only scratch the surface of what could potentially be formed between students.

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Books Now Available to Non-Members

I want to thank everyone who took part in the launch of the new method last week. It is greatly appreciated and I hope you’re enjoying the books and membership area of the website.

The books are now available to anyone and everyone – click here to order your copies.

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If you still would like to become a member of the membership website, it’s still available at $30 per month here.

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A New Website for Music Teachers A Tour of a New Membership Site

Here are the details for the membership site:

Access to the membership area is $30 a month. Membership will grant members a 20% discount on all books and teaching materials in the method.

  • Once a membership has been purchased you will receive 20% off all book orders. The first four levels of books are typically $9.95 each.
  • You will have access to 10+ hours of training videos, 5 hours of accompaniment tracks and teacher scores for all the music in the method.
  • There is no minimum – you can cancel the membership anytime.
  • You will be billed $30 per month until you cancel the membership.

If you want to give membership a try – click here to get started.


An in-depth look at the membership site with a video demo:

I’ve always said that there is no better time than now to be teaching kids to play music. The access that students and teachers have to music from all styles, genres and eras makes it nearly impossible for anyone to lose interest in creating something musical. The result may end up sounding like a concert pianist, or it may end up being a kid learning to produce quality dance music on their laptop and becoming a producer. But to have so much music and music-related content at our disposal is a huge benefit to teaching and learning music today.

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My New Teaching Method An In-Depth Look at the Method and Philosophy Behind It

After years of accepting transfer students who wanted to learn classical, jazz, popular music and composing; I realized that much of the information they wanted to know was in the music they already knew how to play. Somehow the information they had accumulated paralyzed them when it came to “creating” their own sounds – even when playing written music. They were either overwhelmed by all the options or going through their mental checklists of everything they were supposed to do to play “correctly”.

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Turning Off the Critic Being Critical Can Cut Ourselves and Our Students Off from the Music

After years of training in an area we accumulate patterns and habits that effect every aspect of our experiences. We acquire information and knowledge that was intended to improve the way we perform or express our abilities. Of course this makes us better, but this information and knowledge can also hold us back in the long run if we use it as a way to become overly critical and negative when experiencing our own playing, our peers’ playing, our peers’ students or anyone performing in our field.

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Taking Selfies with Sound Five Approaches to Use When Recording Ourselves

There have been times when I would feel that my rate of improvement didn’t line up with the large chunks of time I was spending at the instrument practicing. Sometimes practicing a lot isn’t enough. We need other methods to elevate our playing and bring cohesion to all the concepts we are working through.

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