E. Paul Torrance’s Creative Manifesto

In 1983, E. Paul Torrance wrote these remarkable words: Manifesto for Children Don’t be afraid to fall in love with something & pursue it with intensity. Know, understand, take pride in, practice, develop, exploit, & enjoy your greatest strengths. Learn to free yourself from the expectations of others and to walk away from the games […]

Great Ways to Explore Timbre With String

(Like young children, cats are enthusiastic and relentless scientists.) For years I’ve used strings (mostly ukulele strings and rubber bands) to help young children explore and understand how pitch (the highness and lowness of sounds) works. I plan to write more on this later, and I’ve shared several of these activities in my latest book, “Exploring […]

Wait For It… A Fun Way to Nurture Curiosity

If your teaching style were a movie genre (don’t worry, this isn’t a Buzzfeed quiz), what would it be? Maybe Comedy? I once knew a trigonometry teacher who somehow combined math with an ongoing stand-up routine – every year he’d dust off his headdress and be Chief Socatowa (Something about sines and cosines? Luckily I […]

Surprises at See-Level

What’s on the wall next to the door of your classroom? I mean at a level where your students can see? If the answer is “nothing,” you might want to consider adding some intriguing pictures – artwork or photos of animals, space, plants, other cultures, – anything they may not have seen before that’s beautiful […]

One Instrument, Many Timbres

Recently, a music teacher named Elisabeth Kirby (@JeffersonSings) tweeted that the song “Ghostbusters” uses 3/4 of the vocal timbres: sing, speak and call! (The fourth is whisper.) I admired Ms. Kirby’s observation, and also felt kind of jealous because I’d never noticed this. Also, it somehow makes it seem more “educational” to use “Ghostbusters” in […]

“Stir Up” Some Musical Soup for Fall

Seems like the chilly fall weather is settling in, and that means children are eating more soup. I love to use songs that reflect what children are actually doing in their daily life – not that I have anything against tuffets or four-and-twenty blackbirds, but it’s nice not to have to explain what the song […]

Please Don’t Ask Children to Listen

“Listening” is a very special word to me. When I think about “listening,” I think about being transported by music, by the soft crash of ocean waves, by leaves rustling in the wind. “Listening” also makes me think of caring and concern: people accepting and understanding others, parents listening to their child’s hopes and fears, […]

“I Have an Idea!” – Creating Music and Dance for Young Children

From the way young children react when they see me enter their classroom for a music enrichment class, you’d think I was driving an ice cream truck with Dora the Explorer. They’re running up to hug me, yelling my name, and jumping and down – often all three at the same time! Why all the […]

How to Rain

How to Rain It’s that time of year when rainy day after rainy day can often dampen the mood of the classroom. Without sunshine and fresh air room to run around, children can get restless and easily frustrated. Interesting new things to do can help distract them from that penned-in feeling and perk up their […]

STEAM Lessons: Sandpaper

Young children can discover so much from exploring the sounds and texture of sandpaper, it’s really a gold mine of learning. Well, not a GOLD mine… more like bauxite mine. More on that later. As a music teacher working with young children, I often use sand blocks, those small (but heavy, if you’re carrying around […]