Boonshaft’s Blog

#101. The Squeak Test

#101. The Squeak Test

A great way to help clarinetists know how much of the mouthpiece to have in their mouth, and prevent the all too common problem of them using too little, is to have them play an...

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#100. An Autograph

#100. An Autograph

At the start of your next rehearsal, write this anonymous quote on the board. I wouldn’t say a word. I would just stand and stare at it. “Every job is a self-portrait of the...

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#99. Easier Can Be Better

#99. Easier Can Be Better

I am convinced that too many students quit instrumental music because they just don’t think they are very good at it. I think one way we can combat that is by playing technically...

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#98. 30 Years

#98. 30 Years

It is the start of a new school year that is full of hopes and possibilities. As I think about it, I am reminded of a question my dear friend, the remarkable string pedagogue Bob...

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#97. You ARE Good At It!

#97. You ARE Good At It!

Why do our students quit instrumental music?  Well, we have all read studies that outline a vast number of causes, and I am sure they all contribute to the large number of...

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#96. Impossible

#96. Impossible

At the start of your next class or rehearsal, simply write the following old Chinese proverb on the board: “Every truly great accomplishment is at first impossible.”...

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#94. Hammer and Nails

#94. Hammer and Nails

I’m sure we have all heard the wonderful quote of Abraham Maslow: “I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were...

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Dr. Boonshaft is the author of the critically acclaimed best-selling books Teaching Music with Passion, Teaching Music with Purpose, and Teaching Music with Promise. Dr. Boonshaft is currently on the faculty of Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, where he is Professor of Music and Director of Bands. He has also been named Director of Education for KHS America. He was honored by the National Association for Music Education and Music For All as the first recipient of the “George M. Parks Award for Leadership in Music Education.”