Teaching Tips

I have been using Music Teacher’s Helper for years now as I was an early adopter –and I love the system, but I have had to manage two calendars for all of those years: My “life” calendar- Franklin Covey , and my MTH calendar. Of course this broke the cardinal rule of the Franklin Covey system! Keep one calendar!

A year ago we downloaded “calengoo” in an attempt to manage my multiple calendars because it could talk to MTH and gather that calendar information, however every time I tried to open the app it had to run a tedious download of information that took 5-7 minutes – not usable for entering quick information or scheduling meetings and events when you are on the go, or for quickly knowing where you needed to be next!

Now, thanks to google cal – I can see my MTH calendar, my daughter’s school calendar (it links directly), several rehearsal schedules for shows I am directing, my performance calendar, my husband’s calendar (can we ever have a date?) and my family’s life calendars. Not only that, but they can all be color coded- yet be in one calendar! The page loads very quickly – I use an Iphone 4 now and I keep it on my home page of apps. You can sort by calendar… (ie: hide my current show calendar) or see them all and then some! I added US holidays and my favorite football teams game schedule from the options listed on the google calendar site!

The combination of MTH’s improved calendar sharing and the Google Cal app has drastically improved my ability to manage my life efficiently when away from my desktop. I highly recommend you give it a try!

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Have you hunted any wabbits recently?

When we voice teacher’s hear a singer we immediately begin to process the voice – is the sound effortless, does it move you in some way, is their too much tongue involvement or jaw tension, etc. How often do you put your mind at rest and just listen?

As teachers of voice we spend our time living in the critique mode- seeking out the flaws and embarking upon repairing and reprogramming how those sounds are made to make them more effortless, powerful, efficient, expressive. We live in the “what is wrong” and “how do we fix it” mode.

I challenge you as you embark on your fall teaching to step out of that critique box and into the audience mode. Marvel that even your weakest singers have improved upon something. Hunt for the wabbit! Share that success with the singer! If they are family dependent share that with their families too! Drop them a note or send them an email or stop everything and run out to their car as they pick up their singer and tell them how excited you are about this progress! [···]

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One of the essential skills for any musicians is the ability to sight sing. It is invaluable to have the ability to be able to look at a score and hear the music internally, or to be able to sing the music aloud. A quick poll of several of my music teaching colleagues showed that while every teacher agreed that sight singing was a valuable and necessary skill for instrumentalists, only one teacher of the 12 present actively taught this skill in their lessons.

I find that the easiest time to start teaching sight singing is when a student is an absolute beginner to an instrument.  [···]

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