Saturday, October 30, 2010

Young students: How much to practice?

Someone on the flutenet discussion group posed this question:

So this is for the teachers of young students, fifth grade and younger. How much time do you ask your beginners to practice, and what do you do when parents want to curtail lessons because students "aren't practicing seriously enough" despite excellent progress?
Here is a slightly-edited version of my reply:

This is a great question. I occasionally had problems with parents blaming their kids for not being "serious enough" until I changed my approach. The first thing is to avoid having students who not practicing at home in the first place. This can be tricky, because a small child isn't yet READY to practice independently. Some parents have a hard time understanding this concept. They think, "I've just spent $500 on a flute and $50 a week on lessons and $25 on books, and my child can't be bothered or grateful enough to practice two hours a day?" The exciting newness of the instrument wears off, and the practice battle begins at home. The teacher gets blamed, the child gets blamed, and the worst part is that years later, those now-grown children tell me, "I used to play the [instrument], but I was too lazy to practice so I finally had to quit."

My dad was a 5th grade teacher for over 30 years, and every year, a parent of a new band kid would say, "I'll buy the instrument, but I'm NOT going to tell him to practice. He's going to have to be RESPONSIBLE." Dad would calmly say, "Don't you have to remind him to do his homework? Brush his teeth? Go to bed on time? Of course you do! And doesn't he forget to bring home papers for you to sign? Well, playing an instrument is even harder to remember than all of those things, because it's a totally new skill set. YOU, as the PARENT, are going to have to help at home if you want your child to be successful."

That was good advice, and here's how I implement it in my private studio:

1. Lots of VARIETY in practice assignments. We flute teachers have, for years, given a kid ONE lone method book and sent them home to practice. (Along those lines, can you imagine anything more boring for a beginner than trying to play a bunch of whole notes--which they can't hold out yet--in the first Rubank lesson? I wouldn't take practice seriously, either, if that's all I had to look forward to each day.) Piano teachers, on the other hand, tend to assign materials out of 3-4 books, even for beginners, and those books have FUN pictures in them that little kids like. I use two books: a standard method book AND a "solo" book. In my case, those two books are A Tune A Day (the old one, which is GREAT for teaching rhythms and reading music) and Abracadabra Flute (fun tunes and cute pictures). The kids LOVE Abracadabra and will put up with Tune a Day so that we can get to "dessert." If [the original poster's] students ARE indeed practicing, perhaps working out of more books will convince the parents that the kid is doing enough "homework."

2. VERY SPECIFIC practice assignments. I don't use a lesson notebook with young kids--it's one more thing for them to forget to look at. Instead, I use colorful post-it arrows on each page. (Yes, I go through a lot of arrows.) Then I circle any assignment the student is supposed to practice. I don't teach tiny kids about the subtleties of practice yet...when they are first starting to play, I tell them to play each exercise through three times daily. (A few months later, we'll work on more sophisticated practice techniques.)

3. LOTS of practice assignments. Why assign one page when you can assign four? You'll soon learn just how many pages or exercises your students can handle each week. But the more we assign, the more they are likely to practice (or at least to play through three times daily).

4. PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT. This is the most important item on my list. I require parents to attend lessons until students are in 5th or 6th grade. Parents are responsible for taking notes during the lesson. I'll often say, "Mom/Dad, please jot a note so that you can remind Suzy to sit up tall and hold her flute up this week" or "Please make sure Johnny plays his F scale three times daily." Then, when the kids are practicing at home, I expect a parent to sit down with them at least half of each practice session. I coach parents on how to do this: they aren't to criticize, but rather to ask questions: "What else are you supposed to play today? How many times? Do you remember what else Dr. C told you to do when you played this song?" and to give compliments: "I love the way you played that with such a full sound" or "wow, you got that right! Good work!" Parental involvement MUST start at the very first lesson. If a parent doesn't have time to sit down for 20 minutes daily for a practice session (and I don't blame them if they are too busy--I'm asking a lot, especially for parents who also work outside the home), then that student probably won't be a good match for my studio.

Having the parents in the room makes them part of the experience, and I've even seen it do wonders for parent/child relationships.

5. Set practice time expectations. "Ten minutes, twice daily, six days a week" is a good rule for young beginners. Breaking up the practice into two short segments is better for short attention spans and keeps kids from getting bored. 20 minutes daily is a good rule for a beginner. When they are able to focus for that long in a lesson, I tell them I am so proud of them, because now they are GOOD ENOUGH to practice longer! We then add 5 minutes of practice to the daily routine.

With [the original poster's] students it sounds like they ARE making good progress, but perhaps the parents have unrealistic expectations. I think that telling parents that "this is appropriate progress and work for an 8-year-old" is ok to say. It's also our JOB as teachers to warn parents that insisting on hours of daily practice for a tiny kid is just asking for burnout and resentment later. At this age, flute lessons are a "music readiness" experience, not a second chance for a wanna-be stage parent to play an instrument vicariously through his/her child.

6. Rewards. Sure, music should be its own reward, but I've found that most kids like stickers, too! :) Even my college students love getting a smiley-face when they've finished a particularly difficulty Andersen etude!  A big dose of praise is good, too, when students do particularly well. I don't say "nice job" very often, because that's too vague. Rather, lots of mini-compliments such as "wow, you remembered every F-sharp! Nice improvement!" goes a long way. If parents are sitting in on lessons, they'll hear these compliments and realize that the kid really is taking music seriously.

Monday, October 05, 2009

DSU Flute Majors



Robyn Rouse, Katie Reaves, JJ Hatfield, and Jessica Egdorf

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

How to Study a New Piece

(or, what to do to learn a piece without the flute in your hands!)

I once rode the bus two hours a day. Those were some of my best practice hours, despite not having a flute with me at the time! Here are some things you should do for every piece you study.

  1. Know the words. Within one week of getting a new piece of music, you should know all of the words on the page. They are just as important as the notes and rhythms. Look up the terms in a pocket music dictionary, the Harvard Dictionary of Music, or the Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, available in the DSU Library on the 1st floor (ask the Reference Desk librarian to help you find it). You may also need to use a foreign language dictionary or an online translator such as http://babelfish.altavista.com. Write the translations/definitions in your music.
  2. Learn about the composer and the piece itself. Again, the Grove Dictionary is a great source. Be ready to answer my question: “So, tell me about the composer. When did he/she live? Why did he/she write this piece?” (For example, Mozart was commissioned to write his flute concerti. But which one did he “steal” from another instrument?) Write the composer’s birth/death dates in your music. If you can find the year in which your piece was written, write that down, too.
  3. Notice the obvious. Make sure you know what the title means, especially if it’s a dance.
  4. Listen to several recordings while studying the score, metronome and pencil in hand. Mark tempos and other musical gestures from each performance. Read the piano part and try to listen to the piano, not just to the flute. Ideally, you should own a recording of every piece you study. Suggested resources include iTunes, fluteworld.com (great collection of CDs), deltastate.naxosmusiclibrary.com, and amazon.com (CDs and mp3s available for purchase).
  5. Find the road map. It’s important to be able to recognize main themes, recurring sections, contrasting sections and key areas, key and meter changes, repeats/1st & 2nd endings/codas.
  6. Study the piano score. Write cues from the piano score into the flute part. Play your part from the score now and then. When you give your music to a collaborative artist (pianist), keep a copy for yourself.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Wind Ensemble results

The results of the fall 2009 Wind Ensemble auditions are as follows:

JJ Hatfield (Section Leader) - flute 1 and piccolo
Katie Reaves - flute 1 and piccolo
Robyn Rouse - flute 2
Jessica Egdorf - flute 2

Thanks to everyone who auditioned.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Congratulations to Kristie Price

Kristie, a music minor, has been accepted into the Mississippi Rural Physicians Scholarship Program. Upon completion of the program, she will earn direct admission to UMMC's School of Medicine and medical school scholarships. Kristie is a member of the DSU flute studio and participates in the band program.

We're so proud of you, Kristie!

MMTA Info

Start planning now for MMTA (MS Music Teachers Association), March 6, Ole Miss, $20 fee + accompanist fees.

Required of ALL music majors (any other studio members are welcome to join us!).
  • Freshman/Sophomores: (10 minutes) Any published solo, an original work for the instrument and, if conceived with an accompaniment, must be performed with the accompaniment. Memorization is optional.
  • Juniors/Seniors: (15 minutes) 2 compositions from contrasting periods, one of which must be memorized. Compositions originally conceived with an accompaniment must be performed with accompaniment.
  • Chamber Music: (20 minutes) 2-8 players, no conductor.(2) works or movements, representing two (2) contrasting time periods: before 1750, 1750- 1825, 1826-1700, after 1901.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Friday, July 10, 2009

Daquin - Variations on "Noel Etranger" - arranged for flute ensemble



Transcribed by Shelley Collins. Performed on 7/24/08 at our wedding. Special thanks to Sandra Saathoff and Ron Haight (conductors), to my former students, and to members of the Seattle Flute Society.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Lauren Asimakoupoulos - Concertino

Lauren's last performance with the Mercer Island High School Wind Ensemble.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Congratulations to JJ Hatfield


JJ was selected by the music faculty to perform on the 2009 Honors Recital. She will perform on Monday, April 27, 7:30 pm, in the Delta and Pine Land Theatre in the Bologna Performing Arts Center on the DSU campus.

To be eligible to perform on the Honors Recital, a student must have a cumulative average of 3.00 or better in music subjects, and audition before a jury consisting of the entire music faculty. A maximum of 10% of the music population is selected to
perform on the Honors Recital.

JJ will perform Borne's Carmen Fantasy.

(JJ also received a Superior rating at the Mid South Flute Festival's Solo and Ensemble Contest in March 2009.)

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

The Practice Notebook

The Practice Notebook is a great new website about practicing. There are some inspiring ideas here, and I encourage my students to take a look.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Congratulations to Zach Kellogg

After winning the MTNA state and regional Junior Performance competitions, Zachary took home 2nd place at the national MTNA competition in Atlanta, Georgia, playing the Griffes Poem. Nice work, Zach!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Congratulations...

...to some former students who are doing great things!

  • Lauren Asimakoupoulos, a senior, won Honorable Mention in the Upper Division Horsfall competition sponsored by the Seattle Flute Society. Her Prokofiev sounded gorgeous! Bravo to her and to her current teacher, Sandra Saathoff.
  • Zachary Kellogg, a sixth grader, won First Place for the Lower Division category (grades 6-9) for his performance of the Griffes Poem. He also won the MTNA state and regional Junior Performance competitions and will be competing at the national contest in Atlanta in the spring.

Tone: Problems and Possible Solutions

A year ago, someone on the FLUTE listserv asked a question about a student's perplexing sound:

We have worked on relaxing her embouchure, air in corners. Now this - tension - I think *has* something to do with it - she is very, very muscularly stressed - all the tendons in her neck spring out. . .

In response, here's what I wrote:

Been there myself. Tension just about killed any sound I tried to make because I was so determined to play flute, and it took me years to get a sound I liked. (Like your student, I, too, got a late start at flute...I'd played for years in band but had no lessons--I knew a grand total of three pieces of repertoire when I entered college as a music major!)

My tone ideas now come more from a *philosophy* now than from a specific "move your lips this way" method. A couple of things have helped me along the way and/or have helped my students:

  • Physical awareness. I think a lot of our students live "in their heads" and don't always notice when they are bumping into countertops or walls! The more they can do to increase this physical awareness (physical activity, stretching, massage), the better. Start with lots of stretching. My colleague at DSU, Dr. Andrea Cheeseman, did a workshop for my students this year on playing with good health. The first thing she told my students was that they are all athletes and have to take care of their bodies! She encouraged them to exercise, stay hydrated, eat well, and get some sleep--good advice for busy college students--and for their flute prof! :) Then she led us through about 10 minutes of stretching. (Incidentally, she does a darned good workshop on musicians' health, if anyone is interested!) Interestingly, all of my students sounded much better after stretching...because they were all more relaxed. I think this has a lot to do with being physically aware of one's own body.
  • My hard-working, tense students don't realize that the "hard work = success" model isn't always the best for flute. Working "hard" doesn't mean sounding good. It just means working hard, and that's no fun to listen to! And yet, telling a type-A student to "relax!" simply won't work. (Let me repeat that: It does NO GOOD to tell a student with a tense personality to relax! Five minutes later they'll just be tense again, but now they'll feel guilty because they can't follow your instructions!) They're going to cling to their tension as a badge of pride...because it's a sign of effort! And they're just going to get more frustrated with themselves and their teacher.
  • As odd as it sounds, some students simply aren't comfortable with the idea of relaxation. So with a particularly uptight student, I'll invite him/her to move that tension somewhere where it actually can help, rather than restrict tone: the abs! (No, of course I don't want tense abs, either, but telling a student "yes, you have permission to go ahead and work hard...on your breath support!" seems to work for this type of student. Besides, we do need *some* tension in our bodies...or we'd fall over. Tension isn't always bad--it just has to be used correctly!) I taught a master class a few years ago with a very tense, but very hardworking, college student. I said to her, "I bet people are always telling you to relax, and it makes you even tenser when they say it, right?" I saw such a look of relief and recognition on her face. Sure enough, transferring the idea of "tension" to her abdominal muscles made a huge difference. Ironically, she felt "freer" when she was given permission to keep that tension and use it. I think it's more of a psychology thing than a physical thing, by the way.
  • Some students would rather be "right" than sound good. They're teacher-pleasers. They probably get good grades in school and feel comfortable when they're following directions. They're often overachievers. If you tell them to roll out, the next week they'll have rolled out so far that they barely can play! Then, when you tell them to roll IN a little, they get upset, because last week you told them to roll OUT! And they feel like they did what you told them to do, and now they sound worse, so it must be YOUR fault, right? :) This syndrome used to make me, as a teacher, defensive. I've now learned to give very, very specific directions to such students: "Roll out about one millimeter at a time...until you get a sound you like. Make tiny changes. Be aware of what sounds better, and try to match it next time."
  • I've also learned that such students follow verbal directions pretty well but DON'T LISTEN WELL to the sound they are making! Again, they've followed directions, so they don't understand why the sound isn't improving. Such students do well with short recording sessions (1 minute or so), followed by questions: "what did you like? what made you sound better? when did you like your sound the most? what were you doing at the time?" This can be hard for some students to get used to, because they've been taught that teachers have all the answers. I think they sometimes feel "ripped off" if they have to figure out the answers for themselves. :)
  • Experimenting: I love having students use different vowel shapes in their mouth until they get a sound they like. They should run through the list of vowels several times...once isn't enough to get a real "reading" on the sound.
  • A concept of where sound comes from: a lot of students think "lips and flute." I have to teach them that the instrument is their entire body, just like it is for a singer. We experiment with yawning/lifting the soft palette, flaring nostrils (yes, it changes the sound...try it!), thinking of head voice vs. chest voice, moving the center of gravity higher and lower in the body, etc. I like having students sit on a pilates ball to be aware of their center of gravity. (Warning: try this withOUT the flute first!)
  • One technique that works very well for sound-experimentation is singing while playing, and I want to give a a big thank-you to Robert Dick for writing Tone Development Through Extended Techniques with its great description of throat tuning. This is a fabulous way to get students to experiment with tone and to realize that tone starts in the body, not out on the lips. If your student isn't ready for singing WHILE playing, try just singing together first, then match the tone on the flute.
  • Go back to the headjoint. When I had tendinitis in grad school, my flute teacher, Alexa Still, had me play just the headjoint to work on my tone. Since I had no concept of what good tone "should" sound/feel like on just the headjoint, I was free to experiment without thinking of techniques as being "right" or "wrong." I did the same thing for one of my students this year and we were both very pleased by the results. It was darned hard work but the student said it was really worth it. (Thanks for your patience all those years ago, Alexa!)
The frustrated teacher also wrote:
She reports the typical "It's better at home and then when I come here it's horrible."

Tension is such a problem here! Trying to please the teacher leads to getting more stressed out, which leads to an even worse sound. This is no reflection on YOU as the teacher--you could be the nicest and most supportive person in the world and it wouldn't help! :) Also, the acoustics at home and studio may be very different. Try leaving the room and letting her play in your studio without you being there!

And of course students don't always realize that "I played it better at home" only happened on the 10th time they tried it at home, not on the first attempt. *sigh...*

The teacher continues:
"but she has also said that at home on Monday - it's fine - but on Tuesday - it goes away, and she can't seem to clear up her sound."

You know that saying about "bad hair days?" Well, I've come to the conclusion that some days are "bad tone days!" This could be from lack of sleep, dehydration, too much caffeine, overpracticing earlier, not warming up on lesson days, emotional frustrations, changes in weather affecting the pads, etc. On such days I find it's better to ignore my tone for five minutes and to work on finger technique, and then to come back to the tone.

And finally, sometimes it's ok to ignore the "elephant in the corner" for a little while until a student becomes more comfortable. I once had a student referred to me from a teacher who couldn't get a decent sound out of him. Well, I couldn't either, at first. He overblew all of his tones at an octave and a half higher -- for about two months! He kept telling me he had a "blowing problem," and I assured him that it was no big deal and we had already fixed it. That gave him the confidence to keep playing. We just waited until his lips got stronger, and then I introduced the lower range. Thankfully neither of us has perfect pitch! He's doing quite well now.

What are your comments on tone? How can we take a practical approach to help our students learn to listen to themselves?

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Congratulations!

I'm so proud of my former students!

Susu Harmache successfully auditioned for the Philadelphia Young Artists Orchestra, and Zachary Kellogg was accepted into the Seattle Youth Symphony's Junior Symphony. Keep up the great work!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Congratulations to Jill Reece!

Studio member Jill Reece, a junior at Grenada High School, successfully auditioned for the MS Lions Band and was placed 4th. The band will travel and perform on the East Coast this summer, including Washington, D.C., and New York.

Jill also placed 2nd in the Delta State University 2008 Honor Band. Congratulations, Jill.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The DSU Flute Ensemble - at the Spring recital



In the spring of 2007, we shared a recital with the clarinet and sax ensembles. From L to R, front row: Sarah Hutcherson, Sarah Eads, Ann Bahr, Dr. Collins; back row, Martha King, Desta Hallmark, Jennifer Lutz, Rick Torgerson, and Latoya Bradley.

Uh, what can I say?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

In Atlanta with Ian Anderson!

Last week I had an opportunity to meet ten fantastic high school students from all over the Southeast US in Atlanta. We were there to meet the renowned flutist Ian Anderson, who is the lead singer and flutist for the rock band Jethro Tull. Mr. Anderson is the Flutewise artist of the year, and he graciously agreed to invite students to his sound check and to let them play on stage with him before his concert.

As promised, here are some great pictures of the event. Congratulations to the lucky students who drove up to eight hours for the event, and thanks to Liz Goodwin and Sandra Saathoff of Flutewise for their part in making this opportunity possible!

Here are the group shots. Click on any picture to enlarge.









Dr. Collins with Ian Anderson!

Ian plays the...Sharpie?


Wednesday, October 31, 2007

University of MS Masterclass at DSU


In October, the faculty woodwind quintet from the University of Mississippi gave a recital and masterclass for the woodwind studios at DSU. Three members of the flute studio performed and received comments from Dr. Linda Pereksta, including J.J. Hatfield, Kristie Price, and Christi Sweeting. Congratulations to three brave first-year students--you did a great job!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Seattle Reunion


In the summer of 2007 I flew back to Seattle to attend part of the Northwest Flute and Piccolo Forum (masterclasses by Zart Dombourian-Eby, Walfrid Kujala, and Jill Felber), and to visit one of my dear flute friends, Sandra Saathoff. Sandy is the President of Flutewise USA. We had a great time serving on the Seattle Flute Society board of directors for several years together.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Delta Chamber Players

In 2006 Dr. Cheeseman and I formed a duo, the Delta Chamber Players, to perform works for flute and clarinet. Since that time, we've performed recitals in Mississippi, Tennessee, Michigan, and Montana. Here's one of our goofier moments following a recital in Kalispell, Montana (my home town).

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Kim Pineda masterclass at DSU

In February, Baroque flute virtuoso (and good friend) Kim Pineda, the artistic director of Baroque Northwest, came to the DSU studio to teach a masterclass. He also gave a fabulous presentation on historical flutes for my MUS 302 (music history) students, who had no idea a recorder could "sound like that!"

Note that Mr. Pineda has already donned a nifty Fightin' Okra T-shirt.

Front row, from L to R: Latoya Bradley, Sarah Eads, Ann Bahr; Back row, Dr. Collins, Desta Hallmark, Kim Pineda, and Jennifer Lutz.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Flute Road Show in the Collins Studio!

We're in for a treat -- Jeff Smith of the J.L. Smith Flute Company will be in town this month and will show flutes in my studio.

Friday, Oct 28, 4-8 pm.


I urge any of you who are in the market to come try out flutes. Even if you don't have plans to buy a flute this month (or even this year), this is a really good opportunity to become more informed about how to buy a flute. Even if you've been playing for less than a year, try to stop by. For starters, you'll get more familiar with the good brands, the options available in the step-up and pro flute ranges, and you'll get an idea of prices so that you can budget accordingly for several years down the road.

Why do I host road shows?

  • Jeff is a no-pressure, no-haggling kind of guy, so it's fun to try out flutes with him.

  • There are some great flute sellers in Seattle (folks I happily recommend), but there is no ONE store that has so many varieties of flutes to try at one time.

  • The only other time of year to try out so many varieties of flutes all at once will be at the SFS Flute Festival this spring.


  • I'll be around all afternoon to hear you try instruments and to give you my opinion. I do not take a commission; my job is to be your "personal shopper" and help you make an informed decision. (For some students, that decision is "wait another year," by the way!)

    Please RSVP if you plan to attend.
    I want to make sure that not everyone shows up at once!

    Trevor Wye concert in Seattle!

    Click on the photo for more info.



    Also visit the Seattle Flute Society website for Trevor's bio and a list of recital repertoire.

    Music Theory Geek Joke

    This is a scream. (And once you've all finished the music theory CD ROM, I bet you'll get it, too!)

    A C, and Eb, and a G go into a bar. The bartender says, "Sorry, but we don't serve minors."

    So the Eb leaves and the C and the G have an open fifth between them. After a few drinks, the fifth is diminished and the G is out flat. An F comes in and tries to augment the situation, but is not sharp enough.

    A D comes into the bar and heads for the bathroom, saying, "Excuse me. I'll just be a second." Then an A comes into the bar, but the bartender is not convinced that this relative of C is not a minor. Then the bartender notices a Bb hiding at the end of the bar and exclaims, "Get out now. You're the seventh minor I've found in this bar tonight."

    The Eb, not easily deflated, comes back to the bar the next night in a 3 piece suit with nicely shined shoes. The bartender (who used to have a nice corporate job) says, "You're looking sharp tonight - Come on in. This could be a major development." This proves to be the case, as the Eb takes off his suit, and everything else, and is au natural.

    Eventually the C sobers up and realizes in horror that he's under a rest. The C is brought to trial, found guilty of contributing to the diminution of a minor, and is sentenced to 10 years of DS without Coda at an upscale correctional facility. On appeal, however, the C is found innocent of any wrongdoing, even accidental, and that all contrary motions are bassless.

    17 proven methods for ruining your child's music education

    Luckily none of us have never done any of these things, right?

    17 proven methods for ruining your child's music education


    From a 1950s magazine (source unknown)

    1. Always call him for practice when the ball game is going best; call in a loud, demanding voice so his friends will feel sorry for him.

    2. Insist he practice the most uninteresting music the longest. “You can’t learn much by playing tunes.”

    3. Stop him if he plays anything for fun or any music other than his lesson. “Music is serious.”

    4. Never help him with his practicing. “I just don’t have the time.”

    5. Add another hour of practice when he has been naughty, or when he does not mind you. “That will teach him!”

    6. Call loudly from kitchen or basement each time he makes a mistake. Add a punch line, such as, “If you can’t do better than that, give it up.”

    7. Insist he never practice when (a) father is home, (b) baby is taking a nap, (c) Susie is looking at TV, or (d) mother is tired.

    8. Pay no attention to his music making. “I don’t care whether he practices or not. It is entirely up to him.”

    9. Don’t let him play for his friends or anyone else until he can really play. “After two or three years he’ll be able to surprise them.”

    10. Take him unawares the first time you want him to play for someone and ask him in front of everybody to play “something.” If he refuses, insist that he play; if he still refuses, announce that he’s through with music.

    11. Apologize for his poor performance when he does play for others.

    12. Never compliment him on his playing. He may get an inflated ego.

    13. Keep him away from concerts and recitals until he’s old enough, and don’t take him unless he can play well enough to “appreciate” it.

    14. Use an old wreck of an instrument instead of buying a new one. “No sense wasting money until he plays real well.”

    15. Don’t tune the piano. “He needs to learn to finger the keys; it doesn’t matter how it sounds.”

    16. Threaten, periodically, to stop his lessons unless: (a) he plays better than so-and-so, (b) he makes better grades in school, (c) he makes his bed each morning, (d) he treats his parents with more respect.

    17. Lay down the law forcefully, just as your parents did with you (even though you quit playing at the first opportunity).

    Welcome!

    I've created this blog as a place to quickly post comments about the studio, and about teaching, playing, and practicing...Stop by from time to time to see what's new!

    Updated Autumn 2007: After a long break, I've decided to update this blog again. It's much easier to post info here than on the DSU Music Department website or on my own website. I'll save shelleycollins.com for my more "formal" stuff (my CV, studio policies, etc.) and will use the blog as a photo gallery or for practice tips.

    Saturday, October 08, 2005

    Getting a great first sound on the flute

    I had a great time last week over at View Ridge Elementary working with the beginning flutists. What a great music program that school has! They even have a full-time music teacher who is excellent. All Seattle schools should be so fortunate.

    The band director, Mr. Ken Pendergrass, wrote about my class on his blog. Neat!