200 episodes

Join the topmusic.co team as they interview other teachers and experts in the field of music teaching. Enjoy free resources, guides, training and ideas so that you can keep your students inspired and motivated all through the year. Discover new ways of teaching, find out about the latest music releases, get connected with your local community via online events and training and listen as we interview composers, teachers, bloggers and presenters as they share their ideas about music teaching in 21st century.

TopCast: The Official Music Teachers' Podcas‪t‬ topmusic.co: Helping you become a more successful music teacher

    • Courses
    • 4.8 • 116 Ratings

Join the topmusic.co team as they interview other teachers and experts in the field of music teaching. Enjoy free resources, guides, training and ideas so that you can keep your students inspired and motivated all through the year. Discover new ways of teaching, find out about the latest music releases, get connected with your local community via online events and training and listen as we interview composers, teachers, bloggers and presenters as they share their ideas about music teaching in 21st century.

    TC230: How students with exceptionalities help us grow as teachers

    TC230: How students with exceptionalities help us grow as teachers

    Teaching students with exceptionalities has a deeper effect on us than just the satisfaction and happiness of making the student learn.

    Dr Erin Parkes is the founder of the Lotus Centre for Special Music Education. It’s a charitable organisation committed to providing access to music education for people with exceptionalities.

    She joins us in this episode, to share more about teaching students with exceptionalities and connecting with them in lessons by having flexibility, empathy, and using key approaches that will help both student and teacher grow.



    * [02:44] Dr Erin Parkes tells us about the Lotus Centre.

    * [04:34] The reason behind why she uses the term exceptionalities instead of special needs.

    * [08:32] A look back at the musical education of Dr Erin Parkes.

    * [10:44] The story of how teaching children with exceptionalities became an interest for her.

    * [13:58] The need for flexibility in her teaching approach for students with exceptionalities.

    * [15:47] Starting and establishing the Lotus Centre.

    * [17:56] Dr Erin Parkes talks about her current role at the Lotus Centre.

    * [19:02] Examples and suggestions for empathy-based approaches to students with behavioural disorders.

    * [23:33] The importance of tuning in to your student’s sensory needs.

    * [28:21] Using a strengths-based approach for students with exceptionalities.

    * [31:14] Understanding a multi-modality approach.

    * [32:53] The impact of COVID-19 on teachers for students with exceptionalities.

    * [35:31] Common things teachers do and how to fix it.

    * [41:30] Top 5 tips for teaching students with exceptionalities.

    * [47:02] Professional development teachers can access the institute.



    Today’s Freebie

    Transcript of the show

    If you’d like to download a PDF transcript of this episode, please click below.

    Links Mentioned



    * Lotus Centre Website

    * Lotus Centre Institute



    About our Guest



    Dr Erin Parkes is the founder and Executive Director of the Lotus Centre for Special Music Education, a charitable organisation committed to providing access to music education for people with exceptionalities. 

    One of her most recent accomplishments is launching the Lotus Centre Institute for professional development which provides music teachers with skills and tools to help students with exceptionalities reach their full potential. 

    Aside from her role at Lotus Centre, she is an adjunct professor at the University of Ottawa, teaching courses and guiding students in special music education. She holds multiple degrees in the field of music including a PhD in Music Education from McGill University.

    Thank you for tuning in!

    Consider implementing the ideas from this podcast by writing several actionable steps for your teaching practice if it’s inspired you.

    If you enjoyed today’s show, please leave us a review on Apple Podcasts, which helps other teachers find our show.

    Stay updated by subscribing to this show, and get automatic delivery to your device every time a new episode goes live! We publish on Fridays weekly.



    Teaching students with exceptionalities has a deeper effect on us than just the satisfaction and happiness of making the student learn.

    Dr Erin Parkes is the founder of the Lotus Centre for Special Music Education. It’s a charitable organisation committed to providing access to music education for people with exceptionalities.

    She joins us in this episode, to share more about teaching students with exceptionalities and connecting with them in lessons by having flexibility, empathy, and using key approaches that will help both student and teacher grow...

    • 50 min
    TC229: Exploring Styles through Improv with Christopher Norton

    TC229: Exploring Styles through Improv with Christopher Norton

    Composer Christopher Norton joins us to talk about exploring improv and how it relates to his compositional writing. We take a look at his latest writing, and how teachers can explore improv styles through his special accompaniments.

    Christopher is a prolific composer, a coach for private teachers, and gives masterclasses all over the world. His Microjazz Series has been taught by piano teachers worldwide. Norton’s latest, the Connection Series, takes an exploratory approach to jazz and improv.



    [04:23] Chris shares his latest projects

    [06:29] His experience in teaching through online platforms.

    [10:20] Chris’ compositions over the years.

    [13:10] He plays a sample of an unreleased version of his music.

    [15:08] On micro musicals works with his wife.

    [17:19] Talking about the Connection Series.

    [27:56] Future works we can expect from Chris.



    Transcript of the show on Christopher Norton & improv

    If you’d like to download a PDF transcript of this episode, please click below.

    Links Mentioned



    * Christopher Norton YouTube

    * 80 Days Publishing



    About our Guest



    Christopher Norton is a New Zealand-born composer, arranger, educationalist, and producer, and is well regarded as a thought leader in his field, having composed the internationally recognized Microjazz Series and Connections for Piano. He is a prolific composer both of pedagogical piano repertoire, but also of suites for two pianos, sonatas, micro musicals, and more. Norton is presently writing a series of commissioned pieces, and resides with his wife Wendy in Ontario, Canada.

    Thank you for tuning in!

    Consider implementing the ideas from this podcast by writing several actionable steps for your teaching practice if it’s inspired you.

    If you enjoyed today’s show, please leave us a review on Apple Podcasts, which helps other teachers find our show.

    Stay updated by subscribing to this show, and get automatic delivery to your device every time a new episode goes live! We publish on Fridays weekly.



    Composer Christopher Norton joins us to talk about exploring improv and how it relates to his compositional writing. We take a look at his latest writing, and how teachers can explore improv styles through his special accompaniments.

    Christopher is a prolific composer, a coach for private teachers, and gives masterclasses all over the world. His Microjazz Series has been taught by piano teachers worldwide. Norton’s latest, the Connection Series, takes an exploratory approach to jazz and improv.



    [04:23] Chris shares his latest projects

    [06:29] His experience in teaching through online platforms.

    [10:20] Chris’ compositions over the years.

    [13:10] He plays a sample of an unreleased version of his music.

    [15:08] On micro musicals works with his wife.

    [17:19] Talking about the Connection Series.

    [27:56] Future works we can expect from Chris.



    Transcript of the show on Christopher Norton & improv

    If you’d like to download a PDF transcript of this episode, please click below.

    Links Mentioned



    * Christopher Norton YouTube

    * 80 Days Publishing



    About our Guest



    Christopher Norton is a New Zealand-born composer, arranger, educationalist, and producer, and is well regarded as a thought leader in his field, having composed the internationally recognized Microjazz Series and Connections for Piano. He is a prolific composer both of pedagogical piano repertoire,

    • 39 min
    TC228: The 10 Musts for Music Teacher Badassery with Elisa Janson Jones

    TC228: The 10 Musts for Music Teacher Badassery with Elisa Janson Jones

    Take your teaching to the next level with productivity hacks and music teacher badassery tips with Elisa Janson Jones.

    Elisa specializes in helping music educators build, manage, and grow thriving school music programs, and have long and happy careers.

    She joins us today to talk about how you can prevent burnout, be happier, and become a more productive person.



    [03:02] Elisa tells us more about badassery and being badass.

    [05:17] Her role in the music education community.

    [06:55] Growing up in a very musical home and eventually studying and teaching music.

    [13:11] Starting her second business, podcast and online conference.

    [20:10] Her plan for the International Music Education Summit in the future.

    [21:59] The different twist teachers should expect in the conferences she offers.

    [23:29] Challenges independent music teachers face today.

    [26:55] Elisa’s best tips for productivity and badassery.

    [42:51] The next big picture for Elisa.



    Transcript of the show about music teacher badassery with Elisa Jones

    If you’d like to download a PDF transcript of this episode, please click below.

    Links Mentioned



    Elisa Janson Jones Website

    Music Ed Mentor Podcast



    About our Guest



     Elisa Janson Jones specializes in helping music educators build, manage, and grow thriving school music programs, and have long and happy careers. She holds a bachelor of music, a master of business administration, and is currently pursuing a Doctorate of Education in Instructional Design.

     Elisa uses her vast and diverse skill set to help nonprofits businesses and music educators around the world. She serves as conductor of her local community band, a columnist for SBO Magazine, and maintains a private lesson studio. She’s an internationally-recognized speaker and has presented at national state and local conferences. She’s a host and producer of the Music Ed Mentor Podcast, founder of the Society for Online Music Education, and author of the Music Educator’s Guide to Thrive, and The Music Booster Manual.

    Elisa Janson Jones Photo Credit: Matt Janson Photography

    Thank you for tuning in!

    Consider implementing the ideas from this podcast by writing several actionable steps for your teaching practice if it’s inspired you.

    If you enjoyed today’s show, please leave us a review on Apple Podcasts, which helps other teachers find our show.

    Stay updated by subscribing to this show, and get automatic delivery to your device every time a new episode goes live! We publish on Fridays weekly.



    Take your teaching to the next level with productivity hacks and music teacher badassery tips with Elisa Janson Jones.

    Elisa specializes in helping music educators build, manage, and grow thriving school music programs, and have long and happy careers.

    She joins us today to talk about how you can prevent burnout, be happier, and become a more productive person.



    [03:02] Elisa tells us more about badassery and being badass.

    [05:17] Her role in the music education community.

    [06:55] Growing up in a very musical home and eventually studying and teaching music.

    [13:11] Starting her second business, podcast and online conference.

    [20:10] Her plan for the International Music Education Summit in the future.

    [21:59] The different twist teachers should expect in the conferences she offers.

    [23:29] Challenges independent music teachers face today.

    [26:55] Elisa’s best tips for productivity and badassery.

    [42:51] The next big picture for Elisa.

    • 45 min
    TC227: Hunters and Collectors’ trumpeter Jack Howard

    TC227: Hunters and Collectors’ trumpeter Jack Howard

    Keen to learn about the experiences of Hunters and Collectors band member, Jack Howard? We’ll you’re in for a treat because I’ve invited Jack to share his story with us.

    Jack is such an accomplished musician – from touring the world with Midnight Oil as their multi-instrumentalist to releasing his own critically acclaimed records since 2001. He has also recently launched his musical memoir called Small Moments of Glory.

    Learn more about his interesting beginnings as a musician, playing with Hunters and Collectors, and teaching career in this episode.



    [04:06] Jack’s musical background, experiences with Hunters & Collectors and teaching career.

    [05:17] The story of how he studied at Wesley and what made him go into teaching.

    [08:30] Instruments he plays and the bands he is part of.

    [09:26] Talking about their group, the Horns of Contempt.

    [10:22] How he became a part of Hunters & Collectors.

    [13:59] Their process of writing songs.

    [15:56] How his experience in performances and bands affected how he approaches teaching.

    [19:51] His musical experiences during his early childhood until university.

    [26:40] His feelings and thoughts about the music we have at present.

    [32:08] Sharing current performances and composing gigs.

    [39:00] Fire round – 10 quick questions I ask Jack.



    Transcript of the show

    If you’d like to download a PDF transcript of this episode, please click below.

    Links Mentioned



    * Jack Howard Website

    * Small Moments of Glory



    About our Guest



    Jack Howard, one of the great quiet achievers of Australian music, is an accomplished musician and member of the famous band Hunters and Collectors in Australia. In 2001, he toured the world with Midnight Oil as their multi-instrumentalist. He has also been releasing his own critically acclaimed records since 2001. He recently launched his musical memoir called Small Moments of Glory.

    Thank you for tuning in!

    Consider implementing the ideas from this podcast by writing several actionable steps for your teaching practice if it’s inspired you.

    If you enjoyed today’s show, please leave us a review on Apple Podcasts, which helps other teachers find our show.

    Stay updated by subscribing to this show, and get automatic delivery to your device every time a new episode goes live! We publish on Fridays weekly.



    Keen to learn about the experiences of Hunters and Collectors band member, Jack Howard? We’ll you’re in for a treat because I’ve invited Jack to share his story with us.

    Jack is such an accomplished musician – from touring the world with Midnight Oil as their multi-instrumentalist to releasing his own critically acclaimed records since 2001. He has also recently launched his musical memoir called Small Moments of Glory.

    Learn more about his interesting beginnings as a musician, playing with Hunters and Collectors, and teaching career in this episode.



    [04:06] Jack’s musical background, experiences with Hunters & Collectors and teaching career.

    [05:17] The story of how he studied at Wesley and what made him go into teaching.

    [08:30] Instruments he plays and the bands he is part of.

    [09:26] Talking about their group, the Horns of Contempt.

    [10:22] How he became a part of Hunters & Collectors.

    [13:59] Their process of writing songs.

    [15:56] How his experience in performances and bands affected how he approaches teaching.

    [19:51] His musical experiences during his early childhood until university.

    • 46 min
    TC226: What is 4 Chord Composing All About? (archives)

    TC226: What is 4 Chord Composing All About? (archives)

    So many students can play well – but how many can write and compose? Do your piano students know essentials like 4 Chord Composing? Get them started easily with this simple composing framework.

    Learning the essentials of chord progressions can lead students to a better understanding of music. It can also give them the skills they need to recover from a mistake in performance or accompany a singer.

    One of our favourite activities for piano lessons is 4 chord composing. In fact, we have a full course to show you how to teach this inside the TopMusicPro community.

    In this podcast, you can hear one module from this course and learn how to teach your students the three most common pop chord progressions.



    [02:53] What is the 4 Chord Composing course?

    [04:38] What makes this course different.

    [05:39] A short background on the course modules.

    [07:30] Feedback from teachers who took the course.

    [08:21] How to teach the most common pop chord progressions and integrate chords into your teaching.



    Transcript of the show about 4 Chord Composing

    If you’d like to download a PDF transcript of this episode, please click below.

    Links Mentioned



    * 9 Reasons Why Playing Lead Sheets is Essential for Piano Students

    * Webinar: Taking the Lead: How to play and teach lead sheets for confidence





    Thank you for tuning in!

    Consider implementing the ideas from this podcast by writing several actionable steps for your teaching practice if it’s inspired you.

    If you enjoyed today’s show, please leave us a review on Apple Podcasts, which helps other teachers find our show.

    Stay updated by subscribing to this show, and get automatic delivery to your device every time a new episode goes live! We publish on Fridays weekly.



    So many students can play well – but how many can write and compose? Do your piano students know essentials like 4 Chord Composing? Get them started easily with this simple composing framework.

    Learning the essentials of chord progressions can lead students to a better understanding of music. It can also give them the skills they need to recover from a mistake in performance or accompany a singer.

    One of our favourite activities for piano lessons is 4 chord composing. In fact, we have a full course to show you how to teach this inside the TopMusicPro community.

    In this podcast, you can hear one module from this course and learn how to teach your students the three most common pop chord progressions.



    [02:53] What is the 4 Chord Composing course?

    [04:38] What makes this course different.

    [05:39] A short background on the course modules.

    [07:30] Feedback from teachers who took the course.

    [08:21] How to teach the most common pop chord progressions and integrate chords into your teaching.



    Transcript of the show about 4 Chord Composing

    If you’d like to download a PDF transcript of this episode, please click below.

    Links Mentioned



    * 9 Reasons Why Playing Lead Sheets is Essential for Piano Students

    * a href="https://members.topmusic.co/library/webinar-taking-the-lead-how-to-play-and-teach-lead-sheets-with-confi...

    • 34 min
    TC225: What to say to parents when their child is about to quit piano with Anita Collins (archives)

    TC225: What to say to parents when their child is about to quit piano with Anita Collins (archives)

    When families and students think of quitting, they’re often making short-term decisions to reduce busy activities or budgets. It’s all too often that piano lessons will be easily nominated as something to drop out of! So what can we teachers say when faced with a conversation with a student who is about to quit piano lessons?

    Dr Anita Collins is an expert in the field of research about the neuroscience of how music study positively impacts brain health. She joined the podcast in this archive show to talk about what we can learn from brain science research and how it affects decisions like quitting piano.

    We discuss fascinating insights into why students quit, the value of music education, motivation and practice. She not only shares this wisdom with fellow music educators, but with parents and also with students. Allowing students and their parents to understand why they’re having a tough time, can help them to stick it out.

    Take a listen to today’s podcast to arm yourself with the science to stop students quitting.

    Transcript of the show

    If you’d like to download a PDF transcript of this episode, please click below.

    Links Mentioned



    * Bigger, Better Brains website

    Dr Collins’ latest book The Music Advantage: How Music Helps Your Child Develop, Learn, and Thrive



    About our Guest



    Dr Anita Collins is an award-winning educator, researcher and writer in the field of brain development and music learning. Anita is best known for her role as on-screen expert and campaign lead for the Don’t Stop the Music documentary that aired on the ABC in late 2018, as well as prominent TED talks videos.

    She is recognised for her unique work in translating scientific research of neuroscientists and psychologists to the everyday parent, teacher and student. Anita is currently an expert education advisor for professional orchestras, public, independent and catholic school authorities, Australian and international media production companies, research expert for university, advocacy and non-for-profit organisations and a founding director of the Rewire Foundation.

    Find out about Dr Collins’ latest projects, including her upcoming book release, at AnitaCollinsMusic.com

    Thank you for tuning in!

    Consider implementing the ideas from this podcast by writing several actionable steps for your teaching practice if it’s inspired you.

    If you enjoyed today’s show, please leave us a review on Apple Podcasts, which helps other teachers find our show.

    Stay updated by subscribing to this show, and get automatic delivery to your device every time a new episode goes live! We publish on Fridays weekly.



    When families and students think of quitting, they’re often making short-term decisions to reduce busy activities or budgets. It’s all too often that piano lessons will be easily nominated as something to drop out of! So what can we teachers say when faced with a conversation with a student who is about to quit piano lessons?

    Dr Anita Collins is an expert in the field of research about the neuroscience of how music study positively impacts brain health. She joined the podcast in this archive show to talk about what we can learn from brain science research and how it affects decisions like quitting piano.

    We discuss fascinating insights into why students quit, the value of music education, motivation and practice. She not only shares this wisdom with fellow music educators, but with parents and also with students. Allowing students and their parents to understand why t...

    • 59 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
116 Ratings

116 Ratings

kiteens ,

Susan Bressette Measuring Success in Smiles

Thank you, Susan!

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the whole world of teachers could embrace all the struggling learners of the world with your enthusiasm.

I am a music teacher in a school for over 100 children with severe developmental disabilities. I have degrees in Speech therapy, MA Ed. Special Education, and am Suzuki trained, and have been teaching music lessons for over 40 years.

I have taught children with cerebral palsy, blindness, deafness, TBI, Downs Syndrome, autism and multiple disabilities.

I learned more from your podcast today than I have from many others. Thank you for your inspiration and hard work. Your work will carry on through all teachers who have the blessing of hearing you speak. All the best to you and your family.

Kit Bednar, from TheMusicKit.org (site incomplete as of 9/14/20)

ManassasVA ,

Mindblown!

I look forward to receiving Tim’s email alerts about upcoming podcasts. I’ve learned so much, been inspired to reach higher goals and motivated to continue learning and growing as a music teacher. This particular podcast was a paradigm shifter for me!

Jim88bo ,

Love this podcast!

I love all the interviews and interesting topics covered by Tim Topham. This podcast is great because of the variety of topics all related to music teaching and not of them can be applied to many instrument studios, not just there piano. I love the insight and inspiration I receive! Top notch podcast! An “A+” for sure!!

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