Category: Parenting

Solo Contest and Life Lessons

By John Gardner There are surprises every year at Solo/Ensemble contest. I spend the day encouraging, listening, supporting, congratulating and consoling. Without question, the experience students gain from participation are strong. Life is not always fair, and neither are judges. A

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10+ Values Marching Band Students learn

By John Gardner See Teens At Their Best This is a followup article to an article, “14 Ways to Volunteer for a Marching Band to Appreciate and Applaud what is Good about Teenage America”, which focused on ways to share

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Long Range, Laser Focused Goal Achievement

Dr. David’s story should be an encouragement to all students from families of modest means, demonstrating that “Good Grades Do Pay” and that, even though families of privilege have an unfair advantage, determination and perseverance can break through a lot of barriers.

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Be CARE-ful

By John Gardner During a service call, when the music store rep asked how things were going and I commented about “drama”, his response, as someone who is in most high school band rooms in this part of the state on

Pre-Digital-Devices Fidget Spinner

My pre-band childhood version of a fidget spinner may have accomplished something. Held on sides w/thumbs and spun w/other fingers. Nimble fingers help high-speed clarinet-ing or keyboarding?

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Safety, Transparency and Reputation when Coaching Students

By John Gardner For a short while during my earliest teen years, without concern about walking to and into his home, I studied piano with a single guy who lived a few blocks away. During high school freshman year, I took

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Teens I Admire #1

By John Gardner Adults who are afraid of teenagers or who feel like teens of today are nothing like those from their day (adults have been saying that forever, right?) ….. or who think the quality of teens is crumbling…..

Solo contest judge’s #1 recommendation

By John Gardner Most participants in high school solo competitions are only in the performance room long enough for his/her performance and maybe for a couple friends’. They could learn so much by sitting and listening/observing for a while. During

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10 Ways for Adults to Make A Difference in Teen Lives

Teen years can be trying times. Parents may be fighting, separating, dating and remarrying, which means the teen now has to not only deal with a break up of a foundation in his/her life, but often now has to live in multiple households. Some have to adjust to step-siblings, job losses, financial struggles and more. Then, there are the complexities of school with seemingly unending pressures to perform, trying to get through the dating games, often without an anchor or example to follow. Influenced by increasingly negative social standards, or lack of standards….. teens can get caught in the rise and falling tides. Most learn how to negotiate life’s trying currents, but can turn the wrong way, make a miscalculation or poor decision — and find themselves high and dry on the beach…..and they need help. Not every student needs, wants or will accept a teacher’s help. Sometimes the teacher’s effort is both unappreciated and unsuccessful.

But try we must…because we CAN make a difference “to THAT one”.

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Individualized Music Coaching: Why, When, Where, With Whom, How Often and How Much?

By John Gardner Dear music student, There is only so much that can be done within the large ensemble setting. The director must focus on the total sound and can find it difficult to use rehearsal time for significant individual

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