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  • Apr 1, 2016
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The John Williams Game

I love this game – it is fun. John Williams is one of those composers who is just a gift to music teachers, like ‘Beethoven’s 9th’ for teaching beginner note reading, like ‘4,33’ for thinking outside the square, like ‘O Fortuna’ for teaching dynamics. This John Williams game is great fun for all. It should […]

  • Mar 16, 2016
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Musical ‘plating’

 ‘Why does it matter what I look like if I play well?’ “Nobody pays attention to anything but the music if I am good enough”   I’m not sure why kids don’t think presentation is important when it comes to performances but they don’t – they seem to think it is a figment of my […]

  • Feb 7, 2016
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7 tips to maintain techno-sanity

I have come to a conclusion. It doesn’t seem to matter what stage you are with technology – everybody is constantly frustrated. This morning I listened to my 88-year-old Dad describe how he had lost an email because he had to answer Skype so now he would have to start again. He also couldn’t get […]

  • Jan 20, 2016
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CHuFD Goals for Music Teachers

It’s that time when we rev ourselves into action and make big plans for the coming year. The aim is to achieve! Or at least have a sense of purpose and not just get buffeted about by the year and lunge from one drama to the next. Goal setting is a great thing to do with […]

  • Sep 10, 2015
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 ‘Man Spread’ for performance success

So we all know what ‘man-spread’ looks like.The phrase was coined to by people trying to get a seat on the train when some guy is sitting with his legs so spread out he takes up two seats!! Grrrrr.  It turns out that this ‘taking up space’ that is perfectly natural to some people (not […]

  • Jul 22, 2015
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Learning new skills (or not)

This year I started to play the viola. I am naturally a trombonist. I have been amazed at how my brain works or actually doesn’t work while trying to learn this completely new instrument. Luckily I have a very patient teacher because I think it is safe to say I am not gifted. I think […]

  • Jul 8, 2015
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How do I write that down Miss?

I have many sneaky teacher tricks that I am a bit too proud which work brilliantly to get my message across to students. This one is based around the simple placement of the end of the period, preferably with a nice long gap before the next class. I’m talking about getting students to ask how […]

  • Jun 2, 2015
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Mirror mirror. Ways to improve your conducting ability fast!

Music teachers usually end up conducting something.  Even if we hate it, we are still expected to be able to do it to some degree. I used to think I was pretty damn good at it. I have conducted excellent school ensembles, youth orchestras, big bands and community groups.  As I say – I used […]

  • May 15, 2015
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Top 5 tips for teaching performance

I love teaching performance but it has taken me a while to nut out exactly what I need to teach. To be honest I used to think it was mostly the instrumental teacher’s job and that I should just encourage students to keep up the practice. Well that was my excuse for not really being […]