On the list of extraordinarily important technical things we must teach our students to do and understand has to be holding long durations for their full length. Hearing whole notes played in common time that more closely resemble a dotted-half note followed by a quarter rest is almost ubiquitous. Each of us has our own way to correct this and explain it to our students. But recently I was watching my wife – the best music teacher I know – rehearse a young band, and the way she described this concern made me nod my head with delight. I wanted to stand up and yell “Amen,” but I thought better about breaking the attentive silence in the room. She told them to visualize the bar or measure as a wall, and that their sound was painting that wall. Then she said, “Wouldn’t you want to paint the wall all the way to the corner? You wouldn’t stop partway there, would you? Same thing as we ‘paint our sound’ in each measure.” I was blown away. What a fabulous analogy! What a great visualization! I immediately stole it and made it part of my bag of tricks. See, I told you she was awesome!

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.