Orson Scott Card wrote: “To a man with only a hammer, a screw is a defective nail.” Far too often over the years I have found it easy to use the success and progress of most students to rationalize one student’s lack of success. It seemed to follow that if ten trumpets could learn a technique the way I taught it, the eleventh should too! How dumb of me. How arrogant of me. How sad for that one student. How very sad. All I had to do was simply realize that a “hammer” was the best tool for teaching the ten trumpet students who were “nails,” but that I also needed to have a “screwdriver” for the one student who was a “screw.” If I had only focused more on individualizing my teaching, modifying instruction, understanding individual learning styles and tailoring my teaching to find which of the multiple intelligences best suited each of my students. If I had just been a better teacher, they would have all been better students.

Peter Loel Boonshaft, Director of Education
KHS America

About the Author

Dr. Boonshaft, Director of Education for KHS America, 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. 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.”