Music theory games for Halloween

If you are looking for some fun and spooky music theory games to play with your students this Halloween I have made several – and some are completely free! The pictured game is called ‘Pumpkin Mash’ and students have to name the notes in 40 seconds or the witch turns the poor pumpkins into mash!…

Promoting independence

A teacher is one who makes himself progressively unnecessary Carruthers In one of my first blogs I wrote about spoon feeding! Odd subject for a teaching blog you might say. But it was actually based around the following quote from E.M Forster. The author himself brings back memories for me of studying Howards End at…

Does one size fit all?

If a child can’t learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn Estrada Years ago it was normal for teachers to stand in front of a class of silent students and present what was to be learnt that day. Everyone was taught exactly the same thing in exactly the same…

Music and storytelling

I’m an interpreter of stories. When I perform it’s like sitting down at my piano and telling fairy stories. Nat King Cole What a fantastic quote! A student’s performance can come alive when it is about storytelling. I would love to hear how you approach interpretation with your students. Do you use pictures or mood…

Listen but don’t look

Music teachers picture the scene … you are choosing a new piece to learn with your student, but even though they are showing signs of liking it, they reject it because it ‘looks’ too hard. Hands up if this has happened to you! I’ve found this occurs mostly with my teenage students. Adult learners and…

Beyond the notes

The goal of practising is to achieve a freedom of the mind that enables one to physically do whatever they want to do. Careful practising eventually allows one the freedom to be spontaneous to react onstage to the moment. Yo Yo Ma This is such a true quote and I think the key word here…

Teaching from the heart

The best teachers teach from the heart not from the book Unknown An interesting question to ponder relating to this quote; how much do you deviate from the tutor book when teaching young beginners? Do you use supplementary materials or do you even dispense with a book altogether at times and introduce more practical and…

Quality not quantity

Practising is about quality not quantity Yo Yo Ma This has to be my most favourite quote about music practice! It might work well for others but clock watching never led to very productive practice sessions while I was learning. I found it far better to have a goal in mind rather than sit down…

Making mistakes

How do you view your mistakes in the practice room? Most of the time I think we perhaps react to our mistakes emotionally. We feel bad because we got it wrong. But perhaps we need to shift our perspective. Firstly, one thing guaranteed when learning a musical instrument is that you are going to make…

Music scales superheroes!

Many years ago on my first website I created a story about the superhero scales to help students who were struggling to remember the key signatures in their scales. I’ve used something similar in my music studio ever since – so I decided to remake it for my new blog! Check it out below. The…

Horowitz on practice

The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is practice Vladimir Horowitz A great quote from Vladimir Horowitz! Here is the man himself playing one of my favourites at the age of 75. I did not realise that he struggled with public performance and on several occasions had to be pushed on to the stage.