Posts in category “Education”

March 21, 2018

Grading student practicing

When I was a first-year undergraduate music major and not yet fully convinced of the importance of practicing several hours per day, a nudge/threat scared me into changing my ways. But the sudden "motivation" to apply myself a little better soon started paying off. It's exciting to see my students making that same transition.

December 13, 2017

What I listen for in scholarship auditions

It’s scholarship audition season again, which means I get to meet and listen to some very nervous high school seniors (and community college sophomores). My university is a small regional one, so our audition process probably isn’t as intense as some of the big name-brand music schools. If you’re preparing for an audition, you should definitely ...

November 4, 2017

When you’re too sick for a lesson

Sometimes I have students cancel their lessons due to seemingly very minor, manageable health concerns (physical or mental). Other times students drag themselves to lessons when they are clearly miserable and contagious. The better approach is clearly somewhere in the middle, but my newest college students are usually living away from their parents and the ...

October 28, 2017

Sample woodwind methods syllabus

Shortly before the beginning of fall and spring semesters, I usually get a few emails from new university professors and adjuncts looking for advice and resources on teaching woodwind methods courses. I’m happy to hear from folks, but thought it might be helpful to make available a generic syllabus based on how I teach my ...

March 15, 2017

Advice on graduate performance study and university teaching careers

My university students are mostly undergraduate music education majors, but many at some point inquire about graduate school, including a performance degree path and eventual university teaching. Here are some things you should know about graduate performance studies if you’re an undergraduate music major.

December 7, 2016

What I would do differently as a college music major

Believe it or not, some of my college students make mistakes that seem somehow familiar. If I could go back to college (and graduate school) and do it all over, here are a few things I might choose to do differently. Embrace my teachers’ approaches. As readers of this blog know, I tend to be a bit ...

October 18, 2016

Solo/chamber stage etiquette for first-year music majors

Here’s what I teach my first-year music majors as they are preparing for their first public performance of solo or chamber repertoire. Customs may vary in your area. Dress professionally and comfortably. Formalwear/eveningwear is overkill and a distraction for most music major recital performances. For men, I recommend a necktie and preferably also a jacket. For ...

July 15, 2016

Students and paying gigs

Sometimes I get phone calls from people hoping to hire my students for gigs. I’m delighted when I can pass a professional opportunity on to a hardworking, high-achieving student, but often these calls are troubling. Obviously, the callers want students because they assume students will work cheaply. Lots of college students work for not much money, ...

May 11, 2016

Things you need to cover in woodwind methods class

A few years back I posted a rant about non-mission-critical information in woodwind methods textbooks. This is a course primarily for instrumental music majors, who will go on to become school band or orchestra directors, and who need a crash course in the playing and pedagogy of each instrument that will be in their future ...

July 11, 2015

Five things to do before starting a new school year as a college music major

Most colleges and universities will be starting classes again within the next month or two. If you are a music student, now might be a good time to make some preparations that will set you up for success in the new school year. Get your instrument ready. After a year of hard playing in ensembles, ...
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