F-flat Magazine2020-11-01T19:19:05-05:00

My Instruction Philosophy

By |October 13th, 2021|

My focus is not to train students to just reproduce prepared material. I want students to understand what they play, not just play it. When instructing beginners or introducing a new subject — dumb it down, leave stuff out. Make it easy as possible. Once the student acquires some skill & confidence, they will be emotionally ready to progress to more challenging study. Making it difficult in the beginning can discourage and invite students to quit. If the student has a sincere desire to learn, but is [...]

“Pandemic Flux Syndrome” and Teaching: Why it feels so hard

By |September 24th, 2021|

I read an article by social psychologist Amy Cuddy and JillElyn Riley titled, "Why this stage of the pandemic makes us so anxious." I also heard Amy Cuddy talk about this article in an interview with Brene Brown and the term "pandemic flux syndrome." As an educator, everything they said resonated so deeply with me and pointed at the why of the struggle that many of us are facing as educators. Now that we're about a month (or more) into the school year (that was supposed to feel [...]

The Gut Level Music Teacher Reflection

By |September 8th, 2021|

The Gut Level Teacher Reflection At the end of the 2021 year, a social worker in my district passed along this article about the Gut Level Teacher Reflection. Reflection has always been a part of my life journey. It helps me pause and process my actions and find intentional ways of becoming a better educator, musician, and person. Gut Level Teacher Reflection centers on being in tune with our body and emotional responses. As a new school year is upon us, I invite you to take a [...]

❓TO COLLABORATE OR TO JOINT VENTURE❓

By |July 29th, 2021|

Many musicians love using the word “collaboration,” a scenario that so often results in one party becoming an unpaid subcontractor experiencing minuscule gains for their sole-proprietorship for the sake of another party’s scalability and benefit. Musicians: Be wary of the words, “Let’s collaborate!”  Musicians-to-musician interactions: Take time to understand that while there is the POSSIBILITY and PROSPECTIVE of two entities teaming on a project, do not mistake it for a guaranteed PROMISE every time a POTENTIAL opportunity arises, especially if the PAY is inadequate or not respectable to [...]

Decolonizing Self-Care

By |July 29th, 2021|

Today’s Topic: Summertime Self-care  Today’s Tip: Decolonize your self-care routine by taking a thoughtful and holistic approach to mental and physical wellbeing Background Information:  Summer is the perfect time to take stock of how you’ve been feeling since the close of the school year. Maybe you are still experiencing burnout from 2020-21 or are anxious to start prepping for the new year ahead. You may have been thinking a lot about activism, inclusion, and equity. Today we are going to talk about the decolonization of self-care. Self-care has been [...]

Culturally Responsive Teaching: Using Exit Tickets to Foster Joy

By |June 21st, 2021|

Today’s Topic:  Culturally responsive teaching with exit tickets (fostering joy) Today’s Tip:   Utilize daily exit tickets for qualitative data that informs your practice. Exit tickets work!  Since the pandemic started, I have been using exit tickets to gauge student engagement and understanding. It started as a way to stay connected with my students and to make sure they had a voice in their learning, even from afar. However, I have found exit tickets so beneficial to my practice that we’ve continued them, even as the world [...]

The Music Business: Finding Your Way Through the Noise

By |May 27th, 2021|

The truth about the business So many people in the music business will want to "use" you. They will use you for your talents, understanding, and skills to bring them more "prestige" and "clout" rather than for the genuine pursuit of artistic, professional, and human excellence that culminates into the creation of a project focused on imprinting the heart of humanity for the better. I have found that many people in this small but powerful industry do not care to invest in a genuine, healthy, and honest relationship [...]

Four Ideas for End-Of-Year Activities with Ensemble Classes (that don’t include a concert)

By |May 6th, 2021|

As the 2020-2021 school year draws to a close, many of us feel burnout, exhausted, and suffering from a lack of inspiration when it comes to lesson planning. Coupled with the inability for many of us to have "normal" performances, it can feel daunting to find a way to keep kids engaging in music-making and music learning while providing some type of capstone experience for them. In this blog post, I share four ideas for engaging end-of-year activities in music class AND provide some free resources to [...]

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