Musical Musings

Below you can find my thoughts about music, life, technical concepts and teaching philosophy

Musicality – Stop and Smell the Flowers

My analogy for students to remember to take the time to notice the phrasing in a piece and not just play through the notes with only the end of the piece in mind. Stopping to smell the flowers conjures, for me, a beautiful mountain trail alongside a meadow. One must

Read More »

Offer and Request – A Critique Primer

In my role as an executive director of an arts nonprofit, I experienced the concept of “offer and request” as a way for seminar participants to contribute ideas and services to others in a constructive and productive way.  In thinking about this common practice, I noticed that it provided a

Read More »

The Ear / Brain Struggle – Finding the Balance

 Just as we all tend toward one of visual, auditory, or kinesthetic learning, I have found that when it comes to playing the cello, many students fall into two camps: Ear Dominant or, conversely, Head Dominant Ear dominant students are very expressive and musical. However, they struggle with inappropriate fingerings

Read More »

Critical Thinking: “What Did You Like About That?”

Upon hearing a student play a piece or passage, asking a them what they like about it teaches them several important concepts which, in time, will lead to independent practice and objective evaluation of their own playing. This is my question in every lesson to encourage young students (and model

Read More »

Search and Destroy

I learned this term from Suzuki Teacher Trainer Tanya Carey, and loved it from the moment I heard it. I have used this term MANY, MANY times. It applies to the method of trying to find a note by ear,  with absolutely know thought of: What the note ACTUALLY is;

Read More »

Goosebump moment

This is perhaps my favorite saying. It’s that moment when a student “gets it” for the first time, like the opening up of the elbow in the bow arm for a beginner, that first ringing tone with a beautiful tunnel in the left hand, or getting through Twinkle without stopping –

Read More »