I can’t count the number of times I have posed a question to a student using the words “any” or “all,” only to receive a blank, worried, unknowing stare back. Queries like, “Steve, tell me all of the major keys,” or “Sue, give me any reasons we would dampen the bass drum with a towel” seem to put the weight of the world on their shoulders. Whenever I do that, as I’m looking at their panicked faces, I remember the words “Any and all are worth a penny, but one is always worth a ton.” Remembering to substitute the word “one” for the words “any” or “all” in sentences like those changes everything. My request now seems so much more approachable, manageable, and accessible. Offering one answer is so much less daunting a notion than the angst caused by the worry of having to give all of them. Try it. You will be amazed at the difference in the quantity of answers, the quality of answers, the ease with which students answer, and the much-happier looks on their faces as they do.
Peter Loel Boonshaft, Director of Education
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