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
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. 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.” Dr. Boonshaft was selected for the Center for Scholarly Research and Academic Excellence at Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY, where he is Professor Emeritus of Music.