This podcast is a collection of creative ideas, practical strategies, and thoughtful observations from the field of music teaching and learning. Music educator Ashley Danyew will dive into topics like how we learn, developing musicianship, time management, teaching sequences, planning tools and strategies, the art of teaching, practicing, and the creative process, and share personal stories from her own experiences and observations. You’ll find creative and pedagogically-sound teaching tips; fresh, new approaches you can use in your teaching; and insight into a few tried-and-true systems and creative processes designed to help you do your best work.
New Year, New Teaching Goals
I have to be honest: I have a love-hate relationship with goals. I’ve had years of setting detailed goals in categories like Business, Teaching, Professional, and Personal. I’ve set monthly goals and sometimes weekly goals to stay on track.
Other years, I’ve been happy with a few new habits and a book list. And that's where I'm finding myself this year.
How do we plan and set goals for the year ahead when everything feels misty and grey? How do we change and grow when things around us are staying the same?
Today, I'm sharing a few helpful strategies and a glimpse at what my pseudo-goal-setting process looks like this year.
The Secret Strengths of Introverts (+ Survival Tips for Teachers)
Are you an introvert or an extrovert?
Society often makes us feel like we are one or the other, but in reality, these personality traits are two opposite ends of a spectrum, and most of us fall somewhere in the middle (source).
I’ll admit it took me a while to figure this out for myself. When I realized what I was feeling was a natural part of being an introvert, I planned my days and weeks differently. I became aware of how and when I used my social energy and I was much more intentional about rest and alone time.
The secret is to use your natural strengths. And that’s what we’re going to talk about today.
How to Practice Efficiently in 30 Minutes Or Less
We know that practicing is important to our work as professional musicians, even if we aren’t performers. Staying connected to your instrument helps keep your musicianship skills sharp — your aural awareness and reading abilities, your commitment to a beautiful tone and balance and expression. It helps you stay in shape technically, whether that’s keeping your fingers in shape, maintaining good breath support and airflow, or keeping a healthy, strong embouchure.
Playing your instrument makes you a better teacher, too, because you’re in it — you know what practicing requires and you know how to pick and choose the strategies that will help you be most efficient with your time.
All this to say, practicing a few times during the week is a great way to stay connected to the art of music-making and maintain a high level of technique and musicianship.
With that said, here are a handful of quick tips for practicing efficiently in 30 minutes or less:
On Being a Lifelong Learner
As lifelong learners, we get to discover new things, new people, and new ideas. We explore things that are new and unfamiliar, whether that’s reading a short biography about a composer or sight-reading a new piece; outlining a new learning sequence or figuring out how to use a new app.
But what does this look like as a music professional? Here’s a personal and practical look at what lifelong learning looks like for me in this season.
How to Use Praise with Intention
In the last few years, I’ve spent some time reflecting on how best to encourage and motivate my students to continue learning on their own. I started thinking about how I give praise and offer words of encouragement.
"Is there a way to do this that promotes learning?” I wondered to myself. "How can we use our words to foster the development of intrinsic motivation and a positive self-image in those we teach?"
Praise is a powerful tool and one that we as educators can use to equip and empower those we teach. We can use praise to inspire creativity, cultivate the pursuit of excellence, and celebrate milestones. And we can use it to motivate learners to keep moving forward and keep exploring.
Learning is a lifelong process, after all.
I did a little research on this topic and today, I want to share a few simple ways we can offer praise with intention — those meaningful words that inspire, encourage, and motivate others — and 12 practical phrases you can use in your teaching and tailor to your students.
Asking the Right Kinds of Questions
As teachers, we ask a lot of questions.
What’s the first note?
What’s your hand position?
Which finger plays the black key?
What kind of note do we sing in m. 8?
Are these notes stepping or skipping?
But, did you know there are different kinds of questions (or ways of asking questions) that can actually promote learning?
A good question does more than assess student learning or mastery of a concept; it can actually foster a deeper level of understanding, open a space for productive dialogue, and promote self-reflection.
This is important because, as music educators, we love nothing more than seeing people learn and grow, as individuals and as musicians.
Today, I want to spend some time talking about how to ask the right kinds of questions in teaching: the ones that cultivate rich learning experiences, develop deeper understanding of a skill or concept, and lead students to begin asking questions of their own.
Customer ReviewsSee All
This has been an excellent resource for me. As a piano teacher coming to the end of her first full year with a private studio, Ashley's resources have been an inspiration! I would love to hear more about her online strategies (such as planning a virtual piano recital, set up for online lessons, etc).
Highly recommend this podcast and her blog for music teachers in any venue!
Great podcast for musicians and others alike!
Ashley is a great podcast host - a brilliant mind, an excellent musician, and a thoughtful curator of content. This is a great show!