I am convinced that too many students quit instrumental music because they just don’t think they are very good at it. I think one way we can combat that is by playing technically easier music more often. Music that allows students to savor making music rather than chasing notes and rhythms. Music that allows their souls to be nourished. Far too often I listen to bands play an entire program of music that is at the limits of their collective technical ability. The uncomfortable feeling becomes relentless. Yes, we need some music that challenges our students, but why can’t we play easier music more often, so they can bask in what they have already accomplished? If I asked you to pick up your instrument and play something at a faculty meeting, would you play something that is at the edge of your technical abilities, something that is incredibly difficult and extraordinarily challenging for you, or would you play something well within your grasp that you can play magnificently?  

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.”