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Thomas J. West Music

Live webcam private music lessons, music education articles, compositions, clinician services, reviews

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In Music Education, Longevity Matters

Posted on September 29, 2016 at 7:05 PM Comments comments (5)

As of this writing, I am entering my nineteenth year as an American public school music educator. My career has taken many unexpected twists and turns, leading me to teach in four different school districts. In my current setting, I teach sixth through twelfth grade band and strings for a small performing and fine arts program attached to a cyber charter school. It is ...

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Blended Learning in the Band Room: Student Assessment

Posted on July 27, 2015 at 8:05 AM Comments comments (0)

Blended Learning in the Band Room: Student Assessment

With the push to modernize and prepare our students for careers that quite literally don't even exist yet, scholastic band, orchestra, and choral directors have a responsibility to incorporate today's technology tools into their curriculum. Many have already adopted helpful tools for managing their ...

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Music Teacher Tip: Repairing Common Problems In Cello, Violin, Viola, And String Bass Bodies

Posted on August 19, 2014 at 8:00 AM Comments comments (2)


I am in my seventh year teaching secondary strings. I'm a "band guy" whose primary instrument is the clarinet, so I have been learning about the "wonderful world of the wire choir" in on-the-job training. One of the things that all instrumental music teachers have to learn on the job is how to do basic maintenance and repairs on any and all instruments in their classroom. With time and experience, you be...
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TJW Podcast, Episode 8 - Music Composer/Lyricist Amy Engelhardt

Posted on August 23, 2013 at 6:55 AM Comments comments (0)

The Thomas J. West Podcast, Episode 8, is now live. 


In this episode, I interview musical vocalist, composer, and lyricist Amy Engelhardt. Amy has won several awards as a composer and lyricist in her career and spent 14 years touring with Grammy-nominated a cappella originals The Bobs (in the r...

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Avoiding Repetitive Strain Injury For Musicians

Posted on August 12, 2013 at 6:35 AM Comments comments (0)


For anyone who has taken the time to become proficient at a musical instrument (a process that takes on average about 10 years), there has been a point in their experience where they experienced some kind of physical discomfort from repeating musical phrases over and over. Some of this discomfort is the process of building the muscle support necessary to perform the musical task, but overuse of the body ca...
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Considering Starting Your Master's Degree? Try The Open Education Database

Posted on August 9, 2013 at 10:40 AM Comments comments (0)

image: oedb.org


For most teachers with a Bachelor's Degree in Music Education, it isn't very long into the profession before many of us are looking to go back to school to obtain a Master's Degree. The benefits to the advanced degree are mostly financial in nature, but going back to school and finding time to fit graduate work ...
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Error Detection: Teaching Music Students To Be Their Own Teacher

Posted on August 6, 2013 at 10:45 AM Comments comments (0)

The goal of a great teacher, no matter what the subject matter is, is always the same: provide the student with the information and skills to make the teacher's job obsolete. The best teachers empower their students to find their own answers, explore their own interests, and operate independently.


In a music performance classroom, this begins with error detection. Students learn t...
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Rehearsing Like A Champ: Maximizing Successful Repetitions

Posted on July 31, 2013 at 8:30 AM Comments comments (0)

image: ToneDeafComics.com - buy this on a tee shirt!


Music performance is a complex series of neurophyical events. When I first began my site, I wrote a series of featured articles about the neurology ...

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Teaching The Music Student With Low Musical Aptitude

Posted on May 30, 2013 at 8:10 AM Comments comments (0)

image: thomasjwestmusic.com [CC BY-NC-SA]

 

If you have taught music in a public school setting for more than five minutes, you undoubtedly have taught a student whose musical aptitude is below average. These are students who struggle to match pitch, have a weak sense of pulse, and who basically can only participate in a large ensemble setting by having a stronger player ...

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The Student Portfolio Review As An Exit Interview

Posted on May 28, 2013 at 7:55 AM Comments comments (0)

 

One of the many unique things about the charter school that I work for is that we have a different approach to the end of the school year. The students' cyber coursework continues to the last day, but student at The Center for Performi...

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