Resolutions to Improve Your Music Program and Life

Resolutions for the New Year

Progress of any kind is based on a set of decisions that will impact an outcome. Making resolutions for the New Year is a great way to set goals to foster improvement and progress in the year to come. Last year I made two resolutions to improve on aspects of both my professional and personal life and I would like to challenge you to do the same for 2016.

Developing a Successful Substitute Plan

Substitute Plan

Need to develop a substitute teacher plan for instrumental music class? It’s simple: “Connect a TV to a DVD player loaded with a copy of Mr. Holland’s Opus and you’re done!”

Of course I am only kidding. With a little advanced planning for both you and your students, it is possible to develop plans that allow your substitute teacher to extend students’ musical development, to reinforce your existing plans and ensemble goals, or possibly even offer a new perspective to your young musicians.

Help Your Student Teacher – and Your Program


As a cooperating teacher, you play a huge role in the developmentand futureof your student teacher. At the same time, the best mentors also leverage their student teachers to be great allies and valuable colleagues. I have served both as a cooperating teacher and a university supervisor, and it has been a privilege to work with many fantastic mentors in both capacities.

Practicing over the Holiday Break

How to Keep Students Practicing Over Break The Practice Problem

What does the holiday break mean to most students? Many would answer, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” It means spending time with family, last minute holiday shopping, eating delicious food…and practicing their instrument! Well, maybe not the practicing. A few outstanding students may practice a lot over the break; a few more may practice once or twice.

Prevent and Address Brass Instrument Emergencies


If your first concert of the year is quickly approaching, now is a great time to review instrument care and repair. I work with beginners, second year, and third year band students in a middle school. Some students have brand new instruments; some have more experienced instruments.

Avoid and Address String Instrument Emergencies


Imagine that your orchestra concert is this week (or perhaps in just a few minutes) and a student frantically reports that their violin is broken. If you’re an experienced string player, then you know the drill. However, if for any reason this scenario raises your blood pressure, here are a few tips that may help you to avoid string instrument emergencies, or deal with them quickly.

Voice Care Tips for Successful Performances

Voice Care Tips

Singers, while sharing many musical concerns with instrumentalists, have their own special needs when it comes to performing. We are our voices. We cannot place our voice boxes in cases and store them under the bed. How we treat our bodies can affect, for good or ill, the quality of the sound we produce.

Woodwind Repairs Every Director Should Know

Reed Repair

Students love their instruments to death. If one of your students alerts you of an instrument in need of life support, here are a few triage tips. While many of these woodwind repairs are not permanent fixes, they may help you get through the concert.


When an instrument is in good working order all keys should move easily.

SmartMusic for iPad Update

SM_Carousel on iPad

A new version of SmartMusic for iPad is now available at the Apple iTunes Store.

This release brings the new carousel experience (found on the desktop version of SmartMusic and seen above) to the iPad. All students will now see SmartMusic repertoire suggestions and will find browsing for music greatly simplified.

SmartMusic Repertoire Released


This week we added 30 new ensemble titles to the SmartMusic Repertoire Library. These additions are listed below and include choral titles as well as pieces for concert band, jazz ensemble, string orchestra and full orchestra.

We’ve also added 12 classical chamber pieces for assorted instruments.