I got into a routine, well, more like a rut. During rehearsals, after stopping to correct something. I would identity the problem spot, state what was troubling me, and what I wanted them to try. Then I would say something like: “Let’s go back to Letter G.” The rut was that I would then continue to repeat the spot we were going to start from several times. So it sounded more like: “Let’s go back to Letter G. That’s G like Glory. Okay G.” Why did I repeat it three or four times? I guess I got in the habit of doing so because I got tired of students missing the instructions and then all of us having to go back for them. Sadly, what I discovered was that those students who didn’t listen well when I said it only once, listened no better when I said it three times. In fact, they just tuned me out the first two times, and hopefully caught the last repetition. By stopping that routine, I forced them to listen because they now know they will only hear it once.

Does it work perfectly?


Is it better?


I guess it’s human nature that we will take as much slack as we can get.

Peter Loel Boonshaft, Director of Education
KHS America

About the Author

Dr. Boonshaft 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 and Director of Bands. He has also been named Director of Education for KHS America. 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.”

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