Incredible Music Teaching Apps for iPad

March 29, 2014

by Jeremy Hanson

Here are some apps for iPad that I use when teaching. If it is too small to read, click on the icon. You can also download the pdf here

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Suzuki Faculty Meeting

March 19, 2014

by Kamini LaRusso

On  Tuesday, March 4, 2014, Suzuki Violin Teacher, Susan Crawford, presented her ideas on working with older students who practice independently.  She mentioned that teachers often tell students what to do, rather than teaching the student to self reflect. Susan's system develops an objective observer, that is the student has to analyze and listen in the moment to what they have just played. Susan shared her routine of developing the Objective Observer in her students via five pieces of a pie (tone, rhythm, intonation, expression(subjective and obje…

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Creating a Studio Newsletter with MailChimp

March 4, 2014

by David Birrow

One  idea that intrigued me from Philip Johnston's book The Dynamic Studio was sending out a monthly studio newsletter.Probably not a revelation, since I'm sure many of you already do this in one form or another, but I thought it'd be great to share more information with parents.

One of my goals was to help create more context for percussion lessons so students and parents could better understand the entire eco-system that is related to being a studying musician. But to be honest, I wanted students to practice more and not miss the occasional lesson because they were unsu…

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Friday Round Up

February 21, 2014

Not music related, but certainly the best thing the internet has given us this year so far. Absolutely worth watching in its entirety and full screen:



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Two Part Question

February 12, 2014

by David Birrow

This post is a 2-part open ended question about private lesson curriculum.

Part I: Among other things, two of my main goals when teaching are:

  1.  to have the instruction and content be relevant to the student's musical life
  2.  to make sure the student learns the stuff that I wish I knew when I was their age

But often it seems that these two goals conflict with each other. For instance, high school students seem to have constant auditions for band placement, marching band, M.Y.S., solo and ensemble, all-state, and the list goes on.  I want to he…

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Steady Beat at Every Age

January 31, 2014

by Sarah Hruska-Olson

During my early experiences sharing music with young children, I was surprised by the rhythmic way infants responded to my singing and guitar playing.  Babies who could not yet walk or crawl would bounce up and down or move their arms rhythmically.  As our in-house Early Childhood Music expert, Cheryl Henningsgaard points out; this should have come as no surprise.  She explains:

 “Music begins prenatally. It is the steady beat of the maternal heartbeat that develops the human condition for musical aptitude (Gordon, 1990) … The maternal en…

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Creating Exciting Sound

January 27, 2014
by Cathy Smetana


More than anyone else, my college piano professor Marvin Blickenstaff has shaped who I am as a teacher.  His influence has extended far beyond my undergraduate years as we have stayed close and I take advantage of every chance I have to hear him speak.  When he sees me at a conference, he greets me with a huge bear hug and then usually apologizes to me for the lecture, saying, "You've heard it all before."  I tell him I need the review. The truth is, there is always something new for me in one of Marvin's lectures, no matter how many times I've…

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Why build a studio website?

December 6, 2013
by Hanno Strydom

I've changed the students' names, but these are real examples of feedback I've received during the student placement process this semester. Student recruitment is one of several potential benefits of maintaining an online presence for your studio—a website, YouTube channel, etc.
In addition to enhancing student recruitment and retention, a studio website can significantly improve the administrative efficiency and effectiveness of your studio and provide a resource-rich virtual space to enhance your students' learning.

Communication with st…

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Using GarageBand on iPad

December 2, 2013

by Josh Osborne

GarageBand would be the one app on my iPad that I use every single day. It's changed my teaching because now I have a live, changeable accompanist in my work bag. I use the "Smart Instrument" options (there's Smart Drums, Piano, Guitar, Bass, and Strings) as my accompanist during my teaching. While there are many instrument choices, I'll be highlighting the Smart Guitar for this post because I use this one the most. 
In my work as a music therapist, often times I need my hands free to assist clients, but still need some sort of musical motiva…

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Instant MuseScore eBook

November 30, 2013

by Jeremy Hanson

For those of you who are interested in learning how to use MuseScore (free music notation software available from ), there is an excellent new e-book available from Packt Publishing called Instant MuseScore by Maxwell Shinn (

This book does a great job presenting an overview of MuseScore's basic functions and steps the reader through many easy-to-follow examples. There are numerous illustrative screenshots and the text is clear and concise.

The book is also very reasonably priced at only $8.49. If you…

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Vocal Exploration to Match Pitch

November 26, 2013

by Shannon McGuire

Children signing carolsSinging is extremely personal. It is important for the educator to have an open mind to provide encouragement in a gentle and kind manner, which will encourage the human voice to match pitch. It is definitely OK to be honest when the student does not match a specific pitch. Each singer needs to know what it feels like and sounds like to sing on and off pitch.

The following are Strategies I use to guide the human voice to match pitch. These are successful strategies that work with all ages. It is beneficial for the teacher to model the strategie…

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Developing the Child Voice - Our Joyful Responsibility Part 2

November 19, 2013

by Sarah Hruska-Olson

8c10174rPart Two: Pitch Matching with Children

In the book, “Music in Childhood: From Preschool through the Early Grades,” Patricia Sheehan Campbell outlines the progress children make from vocal babbling as infants to more structured vocalization and chanting as toddlers, to discovering the difference between speech and singing as four and five-year olds.[2] 

I have observed this same progression in my own teaching practice with children from birth to five.  Although some children may sing in tune as young as ages two or three, I find that in mo…

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