Professional Development

Piano students often say, “My technique isn’t good enough” or “I really want to play this piece, but it’s too hard, and I feel really tight and tense.” These insecurities are often the result of not establishing healthy habits at the piano. These issues should be addressed from their very first lessons so that students can achieve their playing potential.
I once heard a music professor say, "if everything is accented, nothing is accented." We've all seen a 16-bar phrase of music with every note accented. When we play the ink precisely as it is written, the music sounds like the teacher from Charlie Brown — monotonous, boring and predictable.
Time is a precious commodity. As music teachers, we not only have to protect classroom time, but we have to carve out a few minutes (or hours!) here and there to take care of our must-do, non-negotiable tasks.
Most music educators are adept at managing a heavy workload, but Michael Gamon, chair of the department of fine and creative arts at Harrisburg Academy in Wormleysburg, Pennsylvania, has mastered the art of juggling.
The snare drum is the foundational instrument for all percussion instruments. We learn technique and develop our hands while learning snare drum. As a young percussionist, I always wanted to play louder and faster, and I could never figure out why it was taking me so long to be as good as the upper classmen. I finally realized that I needed a stronger foundation to achieve my goals as a musician.
Major and minor scales and arpeggios are some of the simplest and most useful music patterns and exercises available to pianists to build and maintain their technique. Moreover, these patterns are the building blocks of all tonal music, so practicing them not only helps develop technical facility at the keyboard, it also helps to train our ears to listen critically and our fingers to respond accordingly.
I started taking piano lessons when I was 6 years old. I loved the music of Chopin and Schumann and was thrilled when I grew tall enough to reach the pedals, but it wasn’t until graduate school when I learned “Phrygian Gates” by John Adams that anyone talked to me specifically about the wide range of possibilities with piano pedals. Now it is one of my favorite things to teach and explore with students.
Autism (or autism spectrum disorder) is a pervasive developmental disorder that affects 1 in 54 children in the United States, according to a 2020 report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
When V.R. Eaton High School in Haslet, Texas, opened its doors in 2015, director of percussion Matt Moore immediately started a percussion ensemble. In its inaugural year, the group of 11 went to the North Texas Percussion Festival and finished last.
After the first month or two of the school year, it can be very challenging to keep your elementary students engaged. Here are five lessons that I have used to keep my students motivated and excited about learning music, even on a Monday morning!

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