Category Archives: tips

Musicians in Google Earth

Musicians on Google Earth

Thanks to Jim Gate’s TipLine blog for this one:

The gearthblog is fantastic for learning about the great work being done in Google Earth. This article talks about a project that is working to plot the birthplaces of the world’s most famous musicians. It’s well under way and this should be one that music teachers around the world will want to watch.

Check out the article at Google Earth Blog.

Practicing tips for parents and students: part 2


When it comes to practicing an instrument, I was always told what to practice but never how. I was also told that more time spent practicing created results. This meant as a young musician, I focused more on watching the clock than practicing with purpose. This same attitude of more practice (TIME)=better musician carried over into my teaching.

It wasn’t until I read The Practice Revolution by Philip Johnston I realized my approach to practicing was flawed. This book has given me the tools I need to help students understand the how of practice that is outcome based and results oriented. Geared toward parents and teachers, Johnston makes a compelling argument for quality vs. quantity when it comes to practicing; all in an easy to read, conversational style.

In his third book, Practiceopedia, Johnston has written “the world’ first complete practice room reference; a comprehensive 376 page fully-illustrated A-Z of practice ideas, strategies, tips, tricks and traps – in a breezy full-color magazine-style format that is browsable, fun to read, and bursting with information. ”

Here is a list of my favorite articles from Philip Johnston’s web-site The Practice Spot:

The Practice Revolution (Chapter 1 from the book with the same title)

The Role of Parents

Nintendo Practice
Don’t let the title fool you on this one…excellent read, especially for parents of “screenagers” a.k.a “videots” or gamers.

Practice Props

Why some students don’t practice

Practicing tips for parents and students: part 1

Photo Source: linlin (back now)

I want to call your attention to a great article I found on the internet about kids and practice. Here is the link:
Mom, I don’t WANT to practice!

I strongly encourage you to read it, but I will highlight some of the key points below:

“…When a child starts to learn an instrument, the experience is often treated as the new adventure it is; but after the first few weeks or months, the novelty can wear off and the child becomes distracted by other attention-grabbers like TV shows, playing with friends, and other things that don’t require sitting for 20-30 minutes for concentrated practice.”

Hints to Survive Practicing

1) Try breaking up the practice time into two segments each day. Have your child practice for 10 minutes before school and 10 minutes after dinner.

2) Come up with an incentive such as a quarter in a jar every time they practice. At the end of two weeks, let them spend their money at a store or to treat themselves to a fast food goodie.

3) Sit with your child during practic
e time. Not only is this a great time to learn with them, but it keeps them on track.

4) Have your child give you a concert at least once a month. Nothing builds up a child’s confidence and makes him or her feel like an accomplished musician like having Mom and Dad or Grandma and Grandpa there as an audience. Plan the “concert” ahead of time and tell your child that they need to practice their lesson and then pick out four of their favorite songs to play for their big day.

5) Balance out practice time with a fun activity. Practicing DOES NOT have to be just playing your songs 3-5 times each. Integrate music flash cards, a book from the library about music, listen to some sort of classical or jazz music with your child and talk about the instruments you hear.

6) Let your child be the teacher for 10 minutes of practice time. Have them give YOU a mini lesson. You’d be surprised what you can learn from that little one!

7) DO NOT make practice time a yelling match or struggle of wills. There ARE times when kids just need a break from the daily routine, but let them know that that break is for one day only and the next day they will have to add some time on to makeup for their missed practice the day before.

8) Teaching them commitment and following through: Developing a consistent routine for practicing teaches your child that once they start something, they need to see it through even if it’s just for a given amount of time.

The BEST piece of advice I can give all parents is to stick with it. Be there to reinforce good practice habits. As teachers, we can only do so much reinforcing. It’s best to work as a team to help your child develop their talents and gifts. Praise them often even when they hit a few clinker notes.