Suggested Resources for Music Private Lesson Teachers
Brian Kay, www.BrassStages.com
Updated May 21, 2002
All books are highly recommended. (**) denotes the "best of the best". The emphasis of this list is on communication, understanding people, and the teaching process in general, rather than the mechanics of music lessons.
Bolton, Robert. People Skills: How to Assert Yourself, Listen to Others, and Resolve Conflicts. Simon & Schuster, 1979. Richly packed with information, and highly recommended, there is enough material for three books here. The chapter on eliminating communication roadblocks is especially useful. The chapter on reflective listening explains why this technique, which is often presented in a "gimmicky" manner, is so surprisingly effective in drawing people out and coming to terms with their own thoughts. The summary chapter on genuineness, nonpossessive love, and empathy is also superb.
**Faber, Adele and Mazlish, Elaine, How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk. 20th Anniversary ed. Avon Books, 1999. This celebrated and time tested book is packed with valuable and key information for anyone working with kids. All of the chapters are useful to teachers, especially the chapter on using descriptive praise.
Faber, Adele and Mazlish, Elaine, How to Talk So Kids Can Learn. Fireside, 1995. This is an adaptation made expressly for teachers of How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk. However, the principles may be explained slightly more thoroughly in the original work. Either book would make a fine starting point.
Covey, Stephen R. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change. Fireside, 1989. Use time honored and time proven principles to become a more effective teacher and person by improving your private self and public self. No quick personality fixes here, but rather deeper approaches to building character presented compellingly and convincingly.
Deep, Sam and Sussman, Lyle. What to Say to Get What You Want. Addison-Wesley, 1992. ISBN 0-201-57712-7. Actually a much more enlightened approach than the title suggests. Gives ten very useful principles or "commandments" of communication, such as, "model the behavior you desire".
**Richards, Cynthia. How to Get Your Child to Practice Without Resorting to Violence!!. Advance Publications, 1985. Available from Advance Arts. ISBN 1-55517-314-4. Although expressly written for parents, the book is equally useful for teachers. If a beginning teacher could read only one book on the private lesson process, this should be it. Succinct, yet thorough, it gives an excellent understanding of the principles and procedures involved.
Bolter, Norman, and Viera, Carol. Methods of Effective Practice. Air-Ev Productions, 1996. This very succinct text, presented in outline form reveals key fundamentals. The simple techniques presented will unlock positive results when put into action by the growing musician. This is a text that is to be used more than read.
Green, Barry with Gallwey, Timothy. The Inner Game of Music. Doubleday, 1986. Revolutionary and effective principles help us tap into natural learning processes. The book is liberating and helpful in eliminating certain roadblocks. Chapter 10 (Teaching and Learning) is especially useful for private teachers.
Kohut, Daniel. Instrumental Music Pedagogy: Teaching Techniques for School Band and Orchestra Directors. Prentice-Hall, 1973. A thorough, practical, and solidly grounded treatment of the "what, how, and why" of teaching formative skills to young musicians. An in depth look at the nuts and bolts of teaching fundamental musical skills.
Armstrong, Thomas. Seven Kinds of Smart. Rev. and updated ed. Plume, 1999. A user-friendly introduction to Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences. Gardner uses solid scientific criteria to identify what can be considered an "intelligence", and musical intelligence makes the cut. However, I recommend this book not at all for the music chapter, but because I think that Gardner's theory represents a quantum leap forward for education and personal development as a whole.
**Banner, James and Cannon, Harold. The Elements of Teaching. Yale University Press, 1997. Oriented towards the classroom teacher, the text is so challenging, inspiring, and eloquent, that the book is invaluable to anyone considering any form of teaching to be their calling. Nine case studies illustrate learning, authority, ethics, order, imagination, compassion, patience, character, and pleasure. The most inspiring book on teaching I have encountered.
Karier, Clarence. The Individual, Society, and Education: A History of American Educational Ideas. Scholarly discussion of the philosophical underpinnings behind various educational traditions, starting with "The European Impact on Educational Thought in Puritan New England". An updated version of Karier's Man, Society, and Education.
**Tobias, Cynthia. The Way They Learn. Tyndale, 1994. The most potentially ground-breaking book on this list. The material in this book should perhaps be added as an addendum, or qualification to anything else written about education! A clear and readable description of the variegated ways people have of taking in information, ordering their thoughts, and remembering. In just 168 very readable pages, the author introduces and explains several models for classifying learning styles, including those of Grigorc, Dunn, Swassing and Barbe, Witkin, and Gardner. Many practical examples are given, and most importantly the book details how to relate to people with learning styles other than our own. This gives us the potential to reach ALL of our students at a depth approaching what previously we only achieved with a few.
Frederiksen, Brian. Arnold Jacobs: Song and Wind. WindSong Press, 1996. This book is a must read for all wind players because of the eminent status of this legendary teacher. Especially useful to the teacher are the chapters on Jacobs The Teacher, Physical Elements, Mental Elements, Performance, and The Dynamics of Breathing.
**Stewart, M. Dee, ed. Arnold Jacobs: The Legacy of a Master. The Instrumentalist Publishing Co., 1987. Read about arguably the greatest wind instrument teacher of all time from the personal and pedagogical recollections of thirty-one of his colleagues, students, and friends. Includes many specifics on his teaching methods and techniques.
Suziki, Shinichi. Nurtured by Love: The Classic Approach to Talent Education. 2nd ed. Trans. Waltraud Suziki. Warner Brothers, 1986. The uplifting story of Suziki's life, and of the development of his approach to music education.
**Edwards, Betty. The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. Penguin/Putnam, 1999. When reading this groundbreaking and legendary book, one feels as if one is receiving a personal art lesson from a master teacher. Edwards "revolutionary" ideas on using the more artistic parts of the brain have stood the test of time, and she has refined the exercises based on a lifetime of teaching experience. Studying her ideas of artistic perception in relation to drawing give tangible evidence of the validity of her ideas, which are equally valid when transferred to music. A potentially life-changing book!
Madaule, Paul. When Listening Comes Alive. 2nd ed. Moulin, 1994. Reveals that the ears are much more than just microphones; they are interconnected with several different levels of the brain, and receive messages from both the body and the environment. Gives a very clear explanation of the Tomatis method of sound therapy, as well as practical "earobics" that anyone can do it home. Pleasant and fascinating reading of very practical value.
**Tomatis, Alfred. The Conscious Ear: My Life of Transformation Through Listening. Talman Company, 1992. Translation of the author's 1977 autobiography tells the remarkable life of this French physician, and pioneer in sound therapy. Tomatis demonstrated the relationship of what we physically hear to the sounds we produce, and to our health and sense of self. Tomatis reports successfully using his theories in the treatment of stuttering, autism, dyslexia, balance, motor control, and integration, in addition to vocal problems of singers and actors. Although it raises more questions than it answers, the book reveals that there is much more to the ear than most would ever realize.
Wood, Chip. Yardsticks: Children in the Classroom Ages 4-14, A Resource for Parents and Teachers. Expanded ed. Northeast Foundation for Children, 1997. A concise, practical, and readable guide to children's developmental phases.
Healy, Jane. Your Child's Growing Mind: A Practical Quide to Brain Development and Learning from Birth to Adolescence. Doubleday, 1994. A clearly written and authoritative look into how we think, and how our thinking is developed. Especially useful are details on how our thinking changes before, during, and after adolescence.
**Cline, Foster and Fay, Jim. Parenting Teens with Love & Logic: Preparing Adolescents for Responsible Adulthood. PinonPress, 1992. Especially useful for working with older teens, who represent a different challenge than the more written about middle schooler. A perfect mix of solid principles, insights, and real life examples, based on the authors' lifetimes of experiences. Understand teens from the inside out, and the outside in.
Basco, Monica Ramirez. Never Good Enough: How To Use Perfectionism to Your Advantage Without Letting It Ruin Your Life. Touchstone, 1999. As music teachers, we walk a fine line between instilling a desire for excellence and instilling a crippling, irrational perfectionism. If we suffer from irrational perfectionism ourselves, unrealistic thinking will limit our teaching. This book gives a very clear idea of the advantages and hidden costs of perfectionism, specific types of perfectionism, and how to deal with it.
**Carducci, Bernardo J. Shyness. Perennial, 1999. Nearly half the population describes itself as being shy, therefore this "state of the art" book, written by a leading researcher, is of utmost importance to teachers wishing to understand their students. Looks at shyness from several different points of view, resulting in a very in-depth knowledge of this complex personality trait. Chapters 5 and 6 (Shyness of the Body and Shyness of the Mind), though describing shyness, give by far the best, and most solidly researched insights I have read into the mechanics of performance anxiety in general, and potential solutions.
Emmett, Rita. The Procrastinator's Handbook: Mastering the Art of Doing It Now. Walker & Co., 2000. Another excellent book on procrastination. Includes numerous helpful strategies for dealing with procrastination, but lacks the depth and perspective of the Fiore book.
**Fiore, Neil. The Now Habit. Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam, 1989. A strategic program for overcoming procrastination. Sees procrastination not as the cause of our problems with accomplishing tasks, but as a defense mechanism against perfectionism, fear of failure and success, indecisiveness, an imbalance between work and play, ineffective goal setting, and negative concepts about work and self. Many of our students put off practicing and improving their ability because of issues with the problems mentioned above. The chapter on working with procrastinators and the concepts of how procrastination becomes imbedded in a person are especially useful to teachers. And of course, teachers must be on top of things themselves in order to demand the same of their students. Fiore takes a positive view of the human spirit and our desire to do meaningful work, and many of the standard strategies for overcoming procrastination are re-framed in a new light when viewed from this positive outlook.
**Kubistant, Tom. Performing Your Best: A Guide to Psychological Skills for High Achievers. Human Kinetics, 1986. ISBN 0-87322-900-2. Kubistant surveyed high-level performers in a variety of disciplines in search of their commonalities. He brings remarkable clarity, precision, and practicality to familiar topics such as attitude, self-talk, concentration, goal-setting, imagery, and energy. While the examples slant towards sports performance, the book is equally useful for any performing discipline. Currently out of print, but well worth finding, if possible.
Anthony Robbins, Unlimited Power. Fawcett Columbine, 1986. The hype around, and philosophy behind books like this invites skepticism, yet there is much here that is well said and useful, including a section on clarifying your values. Especially applicable to teachers are chapters three (The Power of State) and seven (Anchoring Yourself to Success).
Whitener, Scott. A Complete Guide to Brass. 2nd ed. Schirmer 1997. A thorough and reliable encyclopedic guide to the history, literature, playing, and teaching techniques of the individual brass instruments, and brass instruments in general. Ideal reference material for those teaching an instrument other than their own primary instrument.
Westphal, Fred. Guide to Teaching Woodwinds. 5th ed. McGraw-Hill, 1989. A good resource on the instruments of the woodwind family and their pedagogy.
Roederer, Juan. The Physics and Psychophysics of Music : An Introduction. 3rd ed. Springer Verlag, 1995. A highly rated text.