Take a Picture Part 2 in the "Playing from Memory" Series

While a student at University of Miami, I wrote an original jazz tune for one of our ensembles that I was very excited about. I felt the tune captured the vibe of the famous Miles Davis quintet from the ‘60’s… That was the theme of the ensemble. The tune had unpredictable harmonic rhythm, harmony based on modes of melodic minor and a lot of suspended chords, and romantic-influenced melodies. It wasn’t extremely complicated but it wasn’t simple either.

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Who is in Your Top Five? Helping your students by knowing their top five

Our students are typically really into music. As teachers we often assess a student’s musical engagement by how much and how well they practice in relation to what we ask them to do. However, an untapped goldmine for teachers lies in the music students engage with outside of the lesson.

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If I Only Had a Brain Alternatives to Memorizing Music

For many students of music, performing without the printed music in front of them can be a stressful venture. Over the years I’ve eliminated the word “memorized” from my teaching vocabulary – at it has helped my students tremendously. However, for the sake of honoring the tradition I’ve included the word “memorize” from time to time in the post – this is the first of a series of posts on playing without the printed page.

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The Struggle is Real Teaching lulls and some remedies

The teaching calendar between the new year and the end of the school year is a long one. Even those of us who teach private lesson typically follow some sort of “school” calendar. Over the past few weeks I’ve observed both teachers and students starting to show the signs of being caught in the Spring lull. Maybe as teachers we get a little short and agitated because the students are spinning their wheels a little (or a lot). Students tune out the teachers because all the lessons are starting to run together. And this just scratches the surface of possible feelings and emotions happening.

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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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