So often, I walk into a rehearsal and the ensemble is working on four pieces, each of which is at the outer limits of their collective technical ability. For many students, that may feel like a relentless struggle that leaves them with the feeling they simply aren’t good enough. My hope is that we will have one piece that does stretch their technical abilities, a couple that are right in their wheelhouse, and then one piece that challenges their heart, soul, and emotions rather than their fingers, hands, and arms. I have rarely been moved to tears by the flawless execution of running 32nd notes played at the speed of light. Far, far more often it is the heartfelt, impassioned performance of a technically simple lullaby or folksong that moves me beyond what words can describe. And isn’t that what we want for our students as well?

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.