Category Archives: Music Therapy

10 Fundamental Things People Don’t Understand About Practice

By Nicolas Cole

People that boast how many days they’ve gone without sleep in hopes of proving their dedication to their craft are missing the point.

Practice is an art — it is not a simple “plug and chug” of hours in and skill level out. And in order to actually make the time you spend practicing meaningful, you have to bring a heightened level of awareness.

You have to know what to look for, what to fix, and ultimately, how to enter your “zone.”

1. It’s not about just “practicing.”

Going through the motions isn’t enough.

You have to be present and aware while you practice, and actively looking for all the things you still need to improve upon.

2. Your schedule and your practice times go together.

If you are practicing in the morning some days, evening other days, and afternoons at random, you are not as effective as the person who practices at the same time, every day.

Your schedule needs to be based around your practice hours — not the other way around.

3. Consistency is the most important part.

Rome doesn’t get built in a day.

You can’t go 5 days without practicing and then try to pull a 12-hour marathon to make up for lost time. Practicing a little bit each day is far more effective than day-long sprints.

4. The “sweet spot” for practice is 3–4 hours.

Reason being, that first hour you are still warming up, and that last hour you are entering “burn out.”

So in reality, a 4 hour practice session is really only 2 hours of truly quality practice — which means it is exceedingly important that you are “mentally present” during those middle 2 hours.

5. Don’t practice what you’re already good at.

Competition inherently looks for weaknesses.

If you are a master of one thing but a total newbie at another, then all someone has to do is target your weaknesses. Make it a point to practice what you’re not good at, so that you are more well-rounded.

6. Reflect after each practice session.

Ask yourself, “What did I improve upon today? Did I learn something new? Did I challenge myself? What can I work on next?”

You want to constantly be asking yourself questions so that you know what to improve upon next.

7. It’s not about “getting it done.”

It’s about getting it done “right.”

If you are the type of person who times how long you’ve been practicing, you’re already starting off on the wrong foot. It’s not about practicing for the sake of “just practicing.” You have to have a vision, something you are working toward.

Then, it no longer becomes about time. It’s about skill.

8. Study yourself.

The ability to watch and learn from yourself is also extremely undervalued.

If you are an athlete, record yourself playing your game. If you are a gamer, record your screen as you play. If you are a writer, go back through your work with a pen and look for improvement areas. If you are a musician, record yourself and listen to yourself play.

You will never be able to see your mistakes while you’re in the moment of practicing. So separate the two.

9. Watch other people.

If you can learn how to record and learn from your own practice sessions, you will have a better eye for watching how your competition operates as well.

You will be able to pick apart what it is they are doing, and then steal their strategies.

This learning then becomes an inherent part of you — your process.

10. Always be growing.

Always be looking for how you can improve.

Always be focusing on your weaknesses, not your strengths. Always be searching for new competition. It’s a journey and on you to stay moving forward at a consistent pace.

Duchess of Kent: ‘My love for teaching music at Hull state primary school’

The Duchess of Kent has spoken movingly of her “love” for teaching at a state primary school in Hull, after ill health forced her withdraw from official royal engagements.


In a touching television interview, the 78 year-old spoke of her excitement teaching music, mostly anonymously, for eight years at Wansbeck Primary School.

The Duchess, whose husband the Duke of Kent is the Queen’s cousin, admitted she got a “tickle” of excitement when she recognised talent in pupils.

Known as “Mrs Kent” to her students, the royal said she was proud to have given some the confidence to go on to university or pursue careers that previously would have been unachievable.

But she said she feared for the future of music in the English school curriculum, which could deprive underprivileged children of valuable stimulation.

She said music was powerful enough to help children climb the virtual “Berlin Wall” that surrounds many council estates across the country. It is thought to be the first time she has publicly spoken of her time in teaching.

In a pre-recorded interview, broadcast on The Alan Titchmarsh Show later on Friday, the duchess also gives a rare insight into her life and discloses that she is an avid user of her iPhone and is a fan of popular music.

After her self-imposed exile from public life in 1996, she agreed to a friend’s request to visit Wansbeck Primary School after they moved to the city.

Upon her visit, the head teacher disclosed that the school was in desperate need of a music teacher, and she volunteered. She was involved with the school for the next 13 years.

“When I was teaching the first thing I began to notice was the power of music as a stimulant to these children to give them confidence and self-belief. I began to see that happen all the time,” she told the ITV1 show.

“Some of the children I taught haven’t necessarily become musicians, but the confidence it has given them, some have joined the Army, some to university, which they might not have done otherwise.

“I have always loved talent, I love that tickle up the neck when you see talent and I began to realise I was teaching some very, very gifted children.”

She added: “I love those children, I loved being there and I love Hull, I wouldn’t have stayed there if I hadn’t.

As a schoolgirl the Duchess learnt to play the piano, the violin and the organ and narrowly missed out on a place at the Royal Academy of Music.

She pursued her passion for music through finishing school in Oxford and held dreams of playing at Carnegie Hall.

Asked if music was underrated in schools, she replied: “Oh my goodness is it underrated. I would love to see one of the arts being compulsory at GCSE level. I think that would be wonderful.

“Someone asked me the other day, why wasn’t music as popular as football and I couldn’t answer at the time because I was nervous but then I realised that music is so much more popular than football.

“There isn’t a person in the world who doesn’t tap their feet to music.”

Since leaving teaching, the duchess has launched a music charity, Future Talent, which aims to help gifted children develop their musical prowess, the Daily Mail reported. The charity now works with orchestras such as the Halle in Manchester and links them with primary and secondary schools.

The duchess has three children with the Duke of Kent – George Windsor, Earl of St Andrews, Lady Helen Taylor and Lord Nicholas Windsor.

But following the stillbirth of her fourth child in 1977, she suffered recurrent health problems and her withdrawal from the royal circuit prompted claims she had become a recluse.

Public appearances also became rare following her decision to convert to Catholicism in 1994, becoming the first senior royal to convert publicly since the passing of the 1701 Act of Settlement.

Introducing – Soulfully Yours Music – Jacqueline Langston MEd

Jacqueline Lewis LangstonMSEd @Soulfully Yours Music… letthemusicplayon.

Posted by Soulfully Yours Music on Thursday, 13 April 2017


Jacqueline Langston MEd
Jacqueline Langston MEd

Soulfully speaking… it has been said that Music is the universal language and singing presents opportunities to bring family, friends and other cultures together to capture priceless moments

  • Local live sophisticated soulful sounds of  music/singing.

  • A little something extra to make your Themed Social Event or Wedding memorable.

  • Creative Atmosphere of Nostalgia- Romance and Sense of Occasion.

Soulfully Yours Music

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Michael Griffin -The Magic of Musical Metacognition

Dear Music Teacher

I provide music department INSET focussing on the impact of growth and fixed mindsets, teaching for metacognition, cultivating an intrinsically motivated department, and the teaching of music practice. I’m presently taking bookings for my UK tour this September and October.

I tour each year from Australia, and have provided for numerous schools and music services throughout the UK. I am the author of ‘Learning Strategies for Musical Success’ and ‘Bumblebee! Rounds & Warm-ups for Choirs’.

Topics include:

Music and Mindset: Elephants in the Classroom!

From the ancient world through the Renaissance, artistic skill was viewed as an intuitive gift rather than the result of effort. Even today, musical ability is more often considered innately derived than any other ability or human faculty.

Indeed, 75 per cent of music educators subscribe to this theory that superior achievement in music is due to genetic endowment. To what end? Mindsets powerfully impact learning behaviour. Learners with a growth mindset work harder, embrace challenge, persist for longer and learn from criticism, whereas the fixed mindset gives up more readily and ultimately achieves less.

Teacher mindsets result in teacher expectations impacting student achievement. Mindset is the most important precept in music education today. It is that important that every music teacher understands the impact their beliefs, words and actions have on cultivating the learning disposition of students. Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can cause irreparable damage.

The Magic of Musical Metacognition

Metacognitive teaching has the greatest impact on learning. It is that wonderful learning stage when the learner drives the learning. An umbrella term, metacognition means “thinking about our thinking”. It includes planning, questioning, monitoring, memorisation, self-reflection, self-knowledge about our learning strengths and weaknesses, and self-evaluation. It involves understanding our motivations, setting goals, knowing which practice strategies to implement, and being able to exercise self-discipline. It’s about knowing when and how to use practice strategies for maximum learning.

Metacognition enhances autonomy, powerfully impacting intrinsic motivation. How is this maximised in music teaching? Supported by the work of John Hattie and Gary McPherson, and specifically for music teachers, a tripartite model for fostering metacognition will be presented.

Deliberate Practice: Expanding Musical Potential

Many teachers focus instruction on what to practise, but the how of practise is the most important concern. Children who are unable to motivate themselves to apply deliberate practice strategies will lack real progress. Progress is the great motivator. If students do not think they are making progress, they quit trying. The best predictor of musical progress is the quality and quantity of practise time.

Types of repetition, chunking, and slow practise must be core. Engaging music students in metacognitive practice processes is the most effective means of guaranteeing progress. What is required is not just that students engage in the proper practise strategies, but that they know what they are, and are consciously aware of using them. How is this taught explicitly, and how can we be certain that students really understand practice?

Or have all three topics as part of a whole day of INSET. Return email for more. Independent teachers welcome to attend.

Michael Griffin


“Wonderfully inspiring – still on a high.” Guildhall School of Music, London

“So much information that is backed by research. Great advice and I’m inspired to try a new mindset in my teaching.” R Tombs, NSW

“I had a great day learning about how students are motivated by progress. We were taught all about how to determine progress and how to instil a growth mindset in our students. I then took what we learnt back to the classroom and my students are more motivated in their music practice.” J Goodwin, NSW

“Brilliant! Just what I needed to get back in the groove!!” – Hampshire Music Service, UK

“This was a first-class talk by a high calibre, international speaker. What a great start to a new school year. Red Maids, Bristol
An excellent talk this evening. Michael is a superb speaker and delivered key messages in such an engaging way.” Headmaster, King’s High School, Warwick UK

Developing Musical Skill Presentation 2018 (1)

Unlocking Musical Potential – Teacher PD UK 2018

Schools and conferences.

Learning Strategies for Musical Success

Bumblebee! Rounds & Warm-ups for Choirs

Here is what music does to your body

Countless research has been done over the years as to the positive effects that listening to and playing music can have on the brain and the body. Here is an excellent and succinct video that summarizes this.

Here Is What Music Does To Your Body

Here is what music does to your body.

Posted by Hashem Al-Ghaili on Thursday, 1 March 2018

Stratos Embouchure System – A review by Roger Moisan

By Roger Moisan

 Stratos is the brainchild of trombone  player Marcus Reynolds who suffered a terrible accident when a stage collapsed while the band was playing. This left Marcus with serious facial injuries which devastated his playing and career. He invented Stratos to enable himself to rebuild his life as a musician.

“Following a serious stage accident that led to major reconstructive surgery, he had to battle to learn to play again. This struggle gave him insights about the brass embouchure that he used to develop the STRATOS system. The development and refinement of STRATOS took nearly 3 years but has resulted in a system that is used successfully by hundreds of brass players world-wide to improve their embouchure and playing.”

In a nutshell, Stratos is a small device that attaches to the instrument or mouthpiece and regulates the amount of frontal pressure the player may place on the area of contact with the mouthpiece. This has the immediate effect of freeing up blood flow to the delicate musculature of the embouchure and lip tissue, thus allowing improved endurance and sustainability of playing. Jaw alignment is also a result, causing the airstream to flow directly into the centre of the mouthpiece, thereby maximising tone and the weight of sound.  A more relaxed embouchure develops, improving flexibility, slotting and range. The air stream is more effective as a result of continued use, making the whole brass playing experience much easier, which, in turn, lets the player focus more on the music and less on the physical aspects of brass playing.

I personally use Stratos in my warm up each day to set the embouchure ready for my practice session. I then play a variety of exercises:

  • Claude Gordon Systematic Approach lessons 2 and 7
  • Charles Collins Lip Flexibilities Etude 1, Etude 5
  • Max Schlossberg (various exercises)
  • Valveless scales
  • Cat Anderson Whisper G

I use Stratos during my session when practising a lyrical phrase. I play the phrase once then remove the plunger on the device and repeat. The freeing effect is immediate and causes the muscle memory to ‘kick in’ when playing that phrase.

Teaching beginners with Stratos is brilliant as you can set up a student’s embouchure correctly and most effectively from the outset. Their progress is faster, more sustainable and ultimately more satisfying for the new player.

Finally, it is my opinion that Stratos is the simplest yet most brilliant addition to the brass playing world, bar none. As with all great inventions, it is often necessity that gives birth to a new concept and if it wasn’t for Marcus having to rebuild his playing from scratch, we wouldn’t now have this asset to our brass playing lives.

Roger Moisan LTCL PGCE

For more information about Stratos and how to get yours, visit:

Join the fastest growing and most dynamic International Musicians Community – FFM on Facebook

Join Freedom For Musicians at our Facebook Home

Freedom for musicians is an international cooperative for musicians to share and cross promote each other’s work. In our Facebook group you can promote your gigs, products and
services to an international audience. You can also feature on our website

What Freedom for Musicians can do for you:

By joining the Facebook group you are automatically a member of FFM.

You can have your music blog or articles published on the website.

You can have your music videos and youtube channel published and promoted at FFM.

You can list your products and services on our musicians directory and in the musicians market.

You can publish your events and concerts on our Upcoming Events feature.

You can be a featured artist.

You can become an FFM Ambassador for your country.

Music students can featured in our Spotlight.

You can release your digital music via our own independent record label FFM Records.

Come and join FFM’s Facebook community and be part of the fastest growing and most dynamic international musicians network.

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"Mutter & Soehne" haben ihr Debutkonzert bestanden ! Megastimmung und spitzenmäßiges Publikum ! DANKE !!!🤘

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Today’s Stage Belongs to FFM’s USA Ambassador Aria Elan – ‘Out’

Please spread the love and sunshine by subscribing to and sharing Aria’s latest song, ‘Out’

“If nothing can fix it, I’m buying my ticket. You can’t leave me, cause I’m OUT…”

International Ambassador for the USA

Vernelle Shura Edwards
Vernelle Shura Edwards -Aria Elan

A graduate of the College of Charleston and Southwestern University School of Law, she worked as an entertainment attorney, founded Isis Management, representing musicians, producers, and artists, including James Brown, Phred Mosbey, Musical Director for Earth, Wind, and Fire, musical group Bel Biv Devoe; the great South African singer, Miriam “Mama Africa” Makeba, Salaelo Maredi, acclaimed South African director, actor & playwright, and many others.
Ms. Elan later founded Sisi Records, releasing a collection of works, including Motown Legend Sylvia Moy’s hit “Love’s Inside” on the “Universal Love” album. Moy wrote and produced Stevie Wonder’s “My Cherie Amor.”

In 1990 she wrote musical “Amandla Ka Mandela,” which was staged at Henry Street Settlement Theatre in Manhattan, New York, which was followed by her historical fiction book “Missionary.”

As the winter bites, FFM supports Crisis – It doesn’t need to be like this!

Rough sleeping in England soars by 15% with more than 4,700 people sleeping outside on any given night, new figures show

Crisis has described the 15 per cent rise in rough sleeping in England as a ‘catastrophe’, following continual rises since 2010, when evidence shows how the problem can be fixed.

The Government’s official annual street count found that on a given night in autumn last year 4,751 people were recorded sleeping rough. This is more than double since 2010.

Crisis is also warning that the true number of rough sleepers is far greater, as its own researchfinds that more than 8,000 people were currently sleeping rough across England, predicted to rise to 15,000 by 2026, if nothing changes. This is on top of an additional 9,000 homeless people sleeping in tents, cars, trains and buses.

While we welcome the Government’s commitment to halve rough sleeping by 2022 and end it by 2027, it is urging it to take immediate action through its Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Taskforce to tackle this emergency situation and help the thousands of people forced to sleep in dangerous conditions every single night.

Worryingly, those sleeping without a roof over their head are almost 17 times more likely to have been victims of violence and 15 times more likely to have suffered verbal abuse compared to the general public, according to previous Crisis research.

Crisis has also published an evidence review undertaken by Cardiff University and Heriot-Watt University for the first time revealing the best evidence from here and around the world on what works to end rough sleeping.

The review finds the best way to end rough sleeping is by:

  • Widely adopting a housing-led approach where housing someone is made priority. This includes the use of Housing First, a programme which gives the most vulnerable rough sleepers their own home and specialist support.
  • Taking swift action to quickly end street homelessness through interventions such as No Second Night Out. This programme helps get people off the street and into accommodation and reduces the number of rough sleepers who develop further support needs.
  • Taking a ‘person-centred’ approach by tailoring support to take individuals’ needs into account, such as using personalised budgets to commission services.
  • Ensuring interventions take account of local housing markets and individuals’ needs.

Any strategy to address rough sleeping must address these principles and sit alongside good quality short term emergency accommodation and prevention services.

Chief Executive of Crisis Jon Sparkes said:

“It is truly a catastrophe that in a country as prosperous as this, more and more people are finding themselves forced to sleep in dangerous and freezing conditions, when we have evidence to show how the situation could be turned around. Today’s report makes it only too clear that unless we take action as a society, the problem is only going to keep getting worse with every year that passes.

“Rough sleeping ruins lives, leaving people vulnerable to violence and abuse, and taking a dreadful toll on mental and physical health. Our research has shown how rough sleepers are 17 times more likely to be victims of violence. This is no way for anyone to live.

“With the right support at the right time, homelessness doesn’t need to be inevitable. While we warmly welcome the Government’s pledges to tackle rough sleeping, including a Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Taskforce, now that we know the solutions to end rough sleeping for good we’re calling on the Government to take swift action to tackle the problem and fix it once and for all.”

In Times of Darkness and Depression Just Play the Wave of Bliss – Alai Alai

If you could sing joy, what would it sound like? Alai Alai is a song that carries the exuberance of being human. Composed by Sounds of Isha, it is an expression of the boundless joy which has seeped into the hearts of millions across the globe in the form of “Ananda Alai – A Wave of Bliss” which originates in Sadhguru – yogi, mystic and founder of Isha Foundation. Our special thanks to director (and Isha meditator) Rajesh Saathi for coming up with the idea for this video, and making it happen!

See Lyrics at Isha Blog:…

Download the Video: (Pay what you want)…

Download the album Alai: Wave of Bliss (Pay what you want)…

For more on Sadhguru visit

For more on the activities of Isha Foundation visit

To listen to more music from Sounds of Isha visit To see more of Rajesh’s videos visit… Learn Sadhguru’s free guided meditation