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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

GTD Tools and Resources

I have been writing a series devoted to how to use the GTD (Getting Things Done) methodology developed by David Allen in the music studio. We have covered some basic introductory information and the first two big steps in the process (gathering/collecting and clarifying). Before I move into the next big step -- organizing -- I thought it was time to discuss the various tools that are available to studio music teachers for these next phases.

There are as many possible capture and organizing tools and resources as there are different styles of people. I myself enjoy using both analog and digital tools, and although my history has shown that I favor using digital items because of their portability and convenience (Palm Pilots, original digital calendars), I have found myself gravitating and appreciating anew the beautiful simplicity of using analog tools also. Here are a few ideas, and please feel free to comment below with some suggestions of tools and resources that you prefer.

calendar planner and frixion erasable color pen
Leather Gallery Planner & Frixion Pen

I have worked the gamut when it comes to calendars. The problem is compounded for music teachers in that we maintain a schedule that impacts several people at once. Many folks prefer digital or online calendars or programs because of the convenience of scheduling across the board for a number of students. Digital calendars allow others to swap lessons, sign up for offered makeup times, and receive reminders. There are several programs that music studio teachers might subscribe to for the purpose of running the studio, but for many of us, we prefer simpler models. I find that the smallest number of "gadgets" and "tools" that I can use are best for my situation.

I have tried to use a Google calendar, but since this calendar does not integrate well with my iPhone calendar (iCal), I find I do not use it much. I still experiment with a studio calendar, but frankly, I find it easiest of all to send out calendar invitations from my iPhone calendar. I do not find it helpful when parents have so much control over makeups and swapping because this also affects me, and if the parents have this power then I am not able to control or schedule things in the way that I prefer.
Leather Gallery weekly calendar spread
Weekly Calendar Glance

So what do I use? Frankly, I use too many things. I use the iPhone calendar because I am able to enter events years down the road. Also, it is handy for a quick check of things, and it integrates with my Apple Watch. However, I prefer using my Leather Gallery weekly desk planner. A colleague recommended this to me, and it took me two years to finally try out this antiquated paper calendar system, but I am so glad that I did. There is something so elegant as using a planner where I can see an entire week at a glance. I do not use this planner as anything other than a calendar though. It shows me my appointments. If something is tentative, then I put it in parentheses. I have a pencil attached in a pen loop, and I also have an erasable color Frixion pen that I use to mark things a little more permanently and colorfully. Occasionally I actually plan things, but generally I use this as the place to schedule fixed appointments, students, rehearsals, and other time sensitive matters. I know others use planner systems, and in fact there is a huge planner community on Pinterest, YouTube, and Facebook, but I need to stay focused on my business as much as I can. A colored pen and occasional highlighter is about all the distraction that I can afford.

So between these two items -- the iPhone calendar and the Leather Gallery planner -- I am covered about the calendar schedule thing. There is an entire planner community out there on YouTube and Pinterest that can offer even more planner suggestions. I run a business and really do not have the time to spend on too much creativity. I will offer a creative idea near the end of this article if you want to hold out to learn about that.

Digital Tools and To Do Lists

I also use several other digital tools for GTD purposes. I used Things once upon a time, but it did not quite do all that I wanted it to do. I currently use Omnifocus 2 on my iPhone and my Macbook Pro. It may also be on my iPad, but I only use it on my iPhone mostly. Sometimes the laptop but rarely. This tool allows me to add thoughts instantly as they occur to me with the touch of a digital button. I can tell Siri to remind me about a task, and the task will instantly move from my iPhone's reminders list into my Omnifocus 2 inbox. I can also forward emails to my Omnifocus 2 inbox. From this point on, I do a series of things that I find helpful when done regularly:
  • I assign each inbox item to a "project" file (if this is part of a series of steps to take), or I assign a "context" to the item (if this is a one step item).
  • I assign due dates if applicable.
  • I can assign deferral dates, if this is an item I want to be reminded of at a later date but is not necessary to remember now.
  • I can assign the item to show up on a repetitive basis, such as weekly, monthly, quarterly, or even annually.
  • The program also provides for a weekly review, and this is the best feature of all. It reminds me to look at each item at least once weekly.
I also have Evernote. I use this program to clip things from the internet, such as articles or information that I want to remember. This is the program that I use as a reference storage area or digital filing cabinet because it is easy to search my iPhone for this information. If I want to reference a document for later, such as a warranty or set of instructions, I can take a picture with my iPhone and store it in Evernote. Many people use Evernote in a way similar to the way I use Omnifocus 2 or Things.

There are many other digital programs that help with the clarification and review-remember stages of GTD, but these are my main programs for my personal use at this time.

The Bullet Journal

bullet journal monthly and task list
Monthly Bullet Journal Spread
Now I promised a look at another type of system, and that is a bullet journal. I recently began using a bullet journal at the beginning of July 2016 because I needed some sort of analog system that helped me get a handle on paper and helped me with tickler systems. A tickler system is a reminder system. Law offices use them regularly as a way to stay on top of items on a court docket. I tried a notebook tickler system, but it was too cumbersome. I needed a way to store paper in the filing cabinet but still have a way to visually see what I needed to see at a glance.

Enter the bullet journal. I use a Leuchtturm1917 dotted A5 with Frixion clicker erasable color pens. This little journal notebook is about the size of half of a regular sheet of 8.5 x 11 paper,and it has been wonderful for planning, reminding, and scheduling. Although I will always use my calendar planner as the official calendar, the bullet journal will help me to plan my weeks, my months, my quarters, my goals, my editorial calendars, and just about anything else I can think of.

bullet journal index spread
Bullet Journal Index
Although there are many digital options out there for to do lists, and I have tried many of them, I still find it more helpful to put things down on paper. The bullet journal helps me to gather my thoughts and keep my notes in a permanent place that is easily referenced in the future or that I can continue to augment. And it all fits in my purse!

bullet journal weekly spread and habit tracker
Bullet Journal Weekly Spread
I promise that I will post something with more detail, perhaps a video, about my bullet journal system later. For now, I will tell you that I have used over one-quarter of my journal in one month alone. It goes everywhere with me, along with my indispensable calendar, and I love, love, love using it! The color pens (erasable) add just the right amount of color to make the whole thing a pleasure to look at. If you would like to learn more about the bullet journal, visit the original site and video at: bulletjournal.com.

In my next article, I will spend some time talking about the third step in the GTD Methodology, which is organizing or putting things where they belong. I needed a great deal of help with this step, and there may be other teachers who stumble over this as well. If you are interested in looking into David Allen's GTD book and how his methodology got started, click here.

Until next time,

Happy Practicing! (or GTD'ing)

----- Paula -----

© 2016 by Paula E. Bird

Some of the links listed above are affiliate links, which means that there is no additional cost to you. I already own the book and the other items and highly recommend them, and if you are also in the market for this book or the other items, I ask that you consider using this link. Doing so will give a benefit to the blog and help me continue to podcast and write.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Inappropriate Bow Usage (Humor)

It all started one day when one of my young students tried to scratch her back during her lesson with the tip of her bow.

"You're not doing it right," I told her. I showed her how much more effective her bow would be as a backscratcher if she turned it around and used the frog of her bow.

student uses violin bow as backscratcher
Violin Bow Backscratcher

I have been using my bow in this manner for years during symphony rehearsals. I am notorious for having an itchy back, and I have a lot of backscratchers around my house. Unfortunately, this ample backscratcher supply does not help me during symphony rehearsals, so I learned how to improvise with my bow.

My students and I then began to think of other inappropriate uses of the bow as an exercise in humor and creativity. Here is what we came up with. Before you proceed though, let me be sure that you are clear that this is all supposed to be humorous. Please, please, please do not do this at home. I assure you that no one and no bow was hurt during this photo shoot.

I imagine that we will come up with many more creative ideas. Join me in a photo challenge in the next few weeks on my Facebook page: Teach Suzuki. We would love to see what fun and creative ideas you and your students and children come up with for inappropriate bow usage! Click here for the Teach Suzuki (Facebook Page).

Student uses violin bow as dagger at mother's throat
Bow Dagger
student uses violin bow like chopsticks

Student using a violin bow to hit a teacher
Don't Hit Your Teacher!
student uses violin bow to play music stand shuffleboard
Music Stand Shuffleboard
students use violin bow as fencing epee or sword
Violin Bow Fencing
Student uses violin bow as an eating utensil
Eating Utensil

student uses violin and bow to shoot like an arrow
Violin Bow and Arrow
student uses violin bow as ski poles
Ski Poles
Students use violin bows as swords
Violin Bow Sword Play
Student uses violin bow as golfing iron
Violin Bow Golfing Iron

Monday, July 11, 2016

GTD for the Music Studio Teacher, step 2 -- Clarify

GTD Processing questions to clarify next action and successful outcome
My Clarification Questions
In my previous articles, I introduced the GTD concept and discussed the first step -- capturing and gathering. If you have not read those articles, click here for the introductory article explaining what the GTD Methodology is and how it would benefit a music studio teacher. The article about the first step in GTD -- Capturing and Gathering -- can be found here.

Today I will discuss the second big step of the GTD "Five" and demonstrate how this step can benefit a music studio teacher. This is the "clarify" step.

What is Clarification?

In the clarify step, we look closely at all the stuff we gathered and captured, and we decide what each item means and what we should do about it. If you have a cluster of sticky notes and lists of things to do, as well as reminders strewn about in your planner or bullet journal, then you may be suffering a blockage in this second step of clarifying what it is you have and what you need to do with it.

Many folks mistakenly believe that they have adequately dealt with something once they have written it down somewhere. They write down things like "recital program" or "group class theme" and think that they have done all that is necessary to capture these items on the "to do" list. They may also mistakenly believe that their clutter problem is that they are procrastinating or are just too busy to deal with all the things that clamor for their attention.

Yes, that may all be true, but there may be a more important reason underlying all of this turmoil, and that is that you have not clarified what you have written down. For example, there is an art form to writing things down, and both of the two examples I gave above do not fit the criteria. "Recital program" and "group class theme" seem like good things to write down, but they fall far short of indicating what the final outcome really is and what you need to do next to get there.

Outcome Thinking (Thinking for Success)

I developed my own little system to handle this processing step. I followed David Allen's former GTD flowchart and the newest one, and I found that I could simplify some of the steps to fit my situation as a music studio teacher. First I realized that I had difficulty making myself decide what "done" looked like. I would pick up something and think about it for a few seconds and come up with things to do, but I had not mastered the art of "outcome thinking." That came later after much trial and error, as I contemplated why I gathered and captured well in step one but seemed to have such a big logjam at step 2 and clarifying.

Instead of spending more time dealing with my piles of gathered stuff, I thought about my thinking. As a teacher, I completely understand the need to know what goes on in a student's head during instruction. So, I began talking aloud and figuring out what my thinking was. I discovered that I was doing some sloppy thinking about clarification, and in fact, my type of thinking was not doing very much to clean up or deal with the pile of things I had gathered and collected before me.

My Clarification Questions

I studied David Allen's flow charts and found a way to rephrase the questions to fit the sort of language and questions that I would find understandable in my personal situation. I simplified this clarification step to these questions when I picked up an item, whether it was a file folder, an item in my mail pile, or a receipt I had just removed from my wallet:
  • What is this? [I write an answer]
  • Do I need to do something with this?
    • No, then trash it, defer it (and decide when that would be), or give it to someone else to do.
    • Yes, proceed to the next step.
    • [I actually circle "no" or "yes" so that I actually answer this question.]
  • What is the successful outcome? In other words, what does "done" look like when I have finished with this thing in my hand?
  • What is the very next step?
  • Are there other steps? Make this into a project.
  • Where to put this?
I actually needed to speak aloud each question listed above and give my verbal answer. In fact, I made up a sheet of these questions (as pictured above at the beginning of this article) to help me. I staple or clip one of these little sheets of questions to each item in my gathered pile, and then I write the answers to the questions on the paper. Later I transfer these notes to a different system to help me keep track of the progress on these items, but that is another future article to come. For now, I process and clarify.

If I identify more than one step to be completed in order to reach the state of being "done," then I turn the item into a "project." I set up a projects folder for the item and make sure that a lot of the steps are written down.

If you would like a copy of my processing questions form as pictured above, click here.

Remember when I said that there was an art form to writing something down in order to successfully process or clarify it? There is. It is called associating a verb to the item. When I scribbled "recital program" down on my list of things to do, I did not envision what exactly I needed to do about the recital program. Throw it in the trash? Take it to the printers? Draft it? Figure out what would go into it? And why did I scribble "group class theme" on my list? Because I wanted to send an email to my studio families about it, organize a party or special event, or brainstorm some ideas for group class lesson plans this fall?

Do you begin to understand how important it is to decide what the final successful outcome is -- what "done" will look like when you get there -- and what action you need to take next to make headway? Pick a verb. Describe the action.

For many of us, picking a verb or deciding what action to do next will be a learning process. I know because I have spent much time in that land of clarification limbo. I found the entire experience worthy of the time I spent learning how to do this correctly. It took me a while to think about verbs and actions, but I found in the end that this solved most of my log jam problems just by clarifying what I needed to do when I wrote down the to do item.

Two Minute Rule

There is one other magical rule to follow in the GTD system, and that is the two minute rule. This is the rule that says, if the next step you have identified will take two minutes or less to complete, then go ahead and do it right there and then.

The reason for this rule is that it would most likely take two minutes or longer to actually do anything else with the item, such as make a file folder or log it on a reminder projects or next actions list. Most of my students are surprised to discover just how long a time period of two minutes actually is. I routinely set a two minute timer for myself to remind me of how much I can accomplish in that short time frame: clean an appliance, take out the trash, run through my basic scale routine, briefly answer an email, send a text message, draft an outline for an upcoming article, mind map a creative project, clean up the books that students pulled from the bookshelves, or just file away the music that got stacked up during that day's lessons. There are so many things that could fit within this two minute rule.

Lessons Learned as a Music Studio Teacher

The biggest lesson I learned in this clarification process was that I failed miserably at first in outcome thinking. I procrastinated and dithered about things because I did not have clarity about what the finished project would look like. I also thought that this type of thinking would just take too long, so I avoided doing it.

What I learned from following the GTD methodology is that this type of thinking is crucial to just about everything I do and teach as a musician and teacher. I want my students to learn how to be "outcome" thinkers. I want them to be able to think about what the finished product will look like when they learn that piece to the mastery stage, and I want to guide them into uncovering the steps that my students will need to follow in order to reach that final result. I discovered, much to my surprise, that outcome thinking is exactly what I taught my students! How ironic that I failed so miserably at doing it when I dealt with my personal clutter!

A Learning Process

Many people have tried the GTD method and given up on it. I speculate about that and think that perhaps one reason is that the method does not happen overnight. There is a learning process, and what I mean by that is not that it takes a long time to learn. In fact, quite the opposite. The GTD method is quite simple and can be learned quickly in terms of knowledge.

What trips people up, I believe, is that there is a learning process for each individual. Most of us have taken a long road to get to the land of clutter and confusion, and so for us to expect to instantly or quickly arrive at a different place may not be the most realistic expectation to have. It took me many attempts and a great deal of soul searching and observation for me to realize that I was not actually completing this clarification step with any -- um -- clarity. I stuck with it. I reviewed the book and the materials several times, and finally one day, the light bulb went on over my head, and things have taken a decided turn for the better ever since.

So if you have tried GTD before and had a less than happy result, give it another go. Read the book again, as I did. Think about things. Ask a friend for help or guidance. The lessons you learn about yourself will be valuable. And the final result -- the GTD "mind like water" -- is gold! When I finally "got" how to do GTD, I began having so many creative ideas because I had so much more room in my head. I also found that I had more time to actually engage with my ideas and with others, because I was productive and unstressed about what I had to do.

If you are interested in David Allen's book, here is the link again. This is an affiliate link, which means that there is no additional cost to you. I already own the book and highly recommend it, and if you are also in the market for this book, I ask that you consider using this link. Doing so will give a benefit to the blog and help me continue to podcast and write.

Again, if you are interested in the previous articles about GTD and the Music Studio Teacher, you can find them here:

GTD for the Music Studio Teacher

GTD for the Music Studio Teacher, Part 2 -- Gather and Capture

Until next time,

Happy Practicing! (or clarifying!)

----- Paula -----

© 2016 by Paula E. Bird

New Podcast Episode:

The latest Teach Suzuki Podcast episode is now available:

Asking the Right Questions

This episode looks at the art of questioning in order to further effective communication. Most of us do not enjoy being told what to do, and in a teaching situation this style of instruction may not be the most effective. This podcast episode explains how using questions can lighten the interaction between people and create a dialogue.

There are four basic kinds of questions, but one style in particular will yield success. See if you find this questioning technique useful as a parent or teacher.

Until next time,

Happy Practicing!

----- Paula -----

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

GTD for the Music Studio Teacher, step 1: Gather & Capture

GTD book and David Allen
David Allen & GTD
(my tattered copy)
In my previous article, I introduced the GTD concept. If you have not read that article, click here. From this point forward, I will visit each of the five steps involved in the GTD methodology from the perspective of a music studio teacher, although I think that this perspective is the same as that of any other profession. Today I will discuss the first step -- the “capture” step.

I think after reading my previous article, everyone is really interested, fired up, and motivated to tackle this wonderful methodology. After all, we are all probably in the same boat of having too many things to do and being overloaded with “stuff” lying around in a clutter begging for our attention. And if you have not yet admitted it, let me help you do so now: clutter has a negative impact on psychic energy. Yes, you read that correctly. Clutter has an impact on our psychic energy. What do I mean by that?

We are affected by the things around us. When there are many things surrounding us, the stuff competes for our attention. It interferes with our ability to process information and maintain focus. And this does not apply to physical things only. The amount of digital information that clamors for our attention is astronomical, from Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram notifications, to incoming email banners, smart phone alarms, and calendar reminders. We are bombarded by almost never-ending electronic and physical noise. What to do with it all? How do we stay on top of it?

Most of us do not stay on top of it. And that means that this excess “stuff” is causing us stress and distraction. We need to eliminate it, minimize it, or learn how to manage it. This is when the GTD step of capture can come in and teach us a thing or two. Here is how it works.

David Allen, the GTD designer, tells us to do a thorough look around our environment to ferret out those “things” that compete for our attention. Looking around also means taking a look inside our own minds to see what is on our minds. Mr. Allen advocates writing each thing down on a piece of paper and putting it into an inbox. Do not do anything yet with whatever items you capture; this will come in another later step. For now, gather and collect everything that is on your mind or in your way.

Whoa! You probably said as you finally recognized the enormity of this task. Yes, it is a huge task. Mr. Allen says that sometimes folks take an entire day or weekend to complete this task. For some people, gathering up every item in an email inbox would produce a stack about 5 feet high. But are you beginning to see why you feel overwhelmed and stressed in your daily life? With that kind of garbage waving its tentacles at you to get your attention, is it any wonder that we feel pressured and stressed about not getting things done?

So what kinds of things will you be gathering and capturing? Here is a short sample of physical things:
  • All the stuff on your desk, or dining room table, or kitchen counter, or front door hall table, or work table, or ….. you get the idea.
  • All of the files in your inbox, on your desktop, on your chair, on the credenza, on the dining room hutch, on the ….. you get the idea.
  • All of the little sticky notes you have on your mirror, door jamb, kitchen table, desktop .....
  • Every bit of everything you have physically lying around on just about any flat surface in your life.
Here is a small sample of electronic things:
  • Look through your calendar for this week and note things that need to be done this week.
  • Look through your calendar for the next two weeks or maybe even a month and note anything that needs your attention in that time span.
  • Look through your past calendar for a few weeks and see if there is something that you might have forgotten about and that needs doing or remembering in the future.
I cannot stress enough that this is a gathering and capturing exercise only. Do not get sucked into the siren’s call of dealing with any of it. Not yet. That will come in a future article. For now, just gather and collect. Capture thoughts in your head and put them down on paper. I have found that large, empty boxes are particularly useful for this exercise. I also have a tip for a lot of unread or not-dealt-with email that I will share shortly. For now, put it all in a box.

For the music teacher or music studio owner, just gather things in a few boxes. If you want to set up the boxes in a way that you put important need-to-deal-with-this stuff in one box and other less time-sensitive material in another, I say, fine. Gather it in this way, but make sure that whatever method you have set up is designed to go quickly. Do not spend time dwelling or obsessing over things. Just get it gathered and collected, because there is a real benefit to seeing how much stuff you have lying around in your life that is competing for your attention. You need to see what it is that you have been allowing to gather wool (or dust) in your mind and your environment.

In the meantime, while you are doing this, begin to notice the kinds of things you are gathering. Paper? Music that needs to be filed? Things that you have not put away? Things that you have not made decisions about? I promise, we will get to all of that in the future, but first, get to this gathering thing and get it done in as little time as possible.

Now, I am sorry to say that this is a first step, but in the future your gathering/capturing step should not be this difficult. If you begin to consider what types of capturing tools you might find useful, then you can make sure that these sorts of tools are available. For example, here are the basic capture tools:
  • Calendar or agenda or planner
  • Inbox (digital and physical)
    • Could be a basket
    • Could also be a mail sorter/stacker
    • Could be special file box in an email program
    • Could be a digital program such as Things, Evernote, or Omnifocus or some other similar program
    • Could be a bullet journal (I really like this one!)
  • Paper notepads and writing utensils
  • Some people can use digital note-taking systems; I find that analog systems are easier for me.
The basic rules of capturing for the future will be simple:
  • Write everything down. Do not carry a single thing in your head. Ever. Dictate it into your phone, scribble it in a bullet journal, or type it into a digital system, but get it out of your head and somewhere else where you can retrieve it later on a regular or systematic basis.
  • Empty your capture tools and boxes regularly. This is going to be explained in later articles. Stay tuned.
  • Do not put anything back into the inbox once you take it out. More on that later.
So for the music teacher, you will probably find a lot of things lying around the studio, such as teaching materials, group class supplies or music, toys or other teaching aids, notes from parents (or from you as reminders), checks to be deposited, little ideas for craft projects or group class themes or teaching activities, broken pencils, empty pens in need of a refill, displayed artwork that is now out of date, and that beautiful box or china bowl that has been housing broken bits of rosin, plastic toys, pencil eraser tops, and a new packaged E string. Put that all in the box, except put the parent notes and reminders and checks in that other smaller “to-be-dealt-with-soon” box or basket or folder.

I’ll give you a little tip. Most of us are unable to devote a full day, several hours, or even a morning to complete a full “capture” in the GTD sense of the word. I think that is alright. I have a solution that will help most of us who are already in the stranglehold of stuff. It is a little tip that I call “zero.”

Make the commitment today that you will maintain “zero” from this point on. That means that anything that comes in from this point on after you begin the capturing/gathering process will be dealt with. I apologize that I cannot give you all the tools right up front. This will be a process and you will get better at “processing” as you go along and do it. For now, commit to keeping things at “zero” from this point on. If you get another piece of paper from a student from this point forward, handle it. Do not leave it in a pile anywhere. If an email comes in, you are going to deal with it.

Wait! I forgot to give you my great tip about email inbox gathering and capturing. You will love this one!

Go to your email program and set up a new file called “backlog.” I named my file “1backlog” so that it would stay at the top of the email file list. Now select every single email that is currently in your email inbox and move them to the new email file you just created. Ready? Go!

Your inbox is now empty, yes? Take a few moments and sit there and enjoy that incredible feeling. I am sure that you have forgotten what an empty email inbox looks like. Amazing, yes? Oops! Was that a new email that just came in? How dare they clutter up that wonderfully clean inbox! Make short shrift of that email right now!

OK, relax. All that email that once cluttered up your psyche is still there. You moved it to the new file box, remember? No need to start panting from anxiety. Here is the beautiful part, you are going to learn how to handle that “1backlog” folder you created. Go there now.

Look through the first few emails in that file. Chances are you will discover that they have little or no relevance right now or they have diminished in importance. Notice how quickly you can rid yourself of many of the items. If you think something is really important, you can decide to move it back into the real inbox, but I dare you to do that! Remember how beautiful that empty inbox looked? Do you really want to put that nasty old email there?

Remember that “zero” thing I mentioned earlier? Zero email from this point forward. Deal with it. If email gets away from you again (still having trouble dealing with things in the inbox?), you can always put your inbox contents into the 1backlog folder, and I periodically do that on a regular basis. It amazes me to see how many things are completely effortless to delete once they are put in the backlog folder. Try this yourself and see if you agree.

Email will not go away. The same for Twitter notifications, Facebook banners, and the like. We can put together and follow a system that helps us deal with it. Start first with a capture/gather system. What happens next will make more sense after you spend some time thinking about the next GTD step – Clarifying (getting “in” to “empty”). Stay tuned for next week and step two.

If you missed the link to David Allen's book, here it is: Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity.

Until next time,

Happy Practicing! (or gathering and capturing)

----- Paula -----

Disclaimer: the link provided above is an affiliate link. Although you are never under any obligation to buy anything, should you be in the market to do so, using this link will provide a benefit to me and help to support the production of the blog and podcast.

© 2016 by Paula E. Bird

Monday, July 4, 2016

Have You Heard All the Teach Suzuki Podcast Episodes?

Teach Suzuki Podcast

The Teach Suzuki Podcast has been busy in the past month. Here are the latest three weekly episodes of the regular podcast:

The Million Dollar LessonThe Million Dollar Lesson is a tool designed to teach the child (and the parent) about appropriate lesson behaviors. Some teachers and parents may have difficulty accepting this teaching tool, and this episode looks at various viewpoints and offers some caveats about how to use the tool effectively. This episode also provides links to several suggested books and other tools about parenting that might provide help to a parent.

Personality Styles: This episode discusses the four personality styles identified by Hippocrates centuries ago. Along with identifying the personality style of parents and their children, this episode will explain how a mismatch between styles may stir up problems in home practices, home and family situations, and in the studio between teacher and student.

See, Hear, Feel: This episode discusses the three most common learning styles and how knowing these styles will help parents and others improve communication within families, the workplace, and in the music studio.


There have been several "Reflections" episodes published as well. These shorter weekly episodes of a few minutes' length are designed to present a short thought or reflection about some aspect of the Suzuki philosophy or quote from Dr. Shinichi Suzuki. The purpose of these reflection episodes is to encourage parents and teachers to consider how a small change in some area of our thinking or behavior might have a large impact on the happiness of our children, our home situation, our workplace environment, and our families. Here are the most recent episodes:

Whisper the Hopes of Your Heart: This episode discusses Dr. Suzuki’s advice to a parent to pray once a day for his or her child to help the parent remember the joy and hope that the parent had upon the child’s birth. Would such advice brighten up your feelings about your child?

The Best Gift: This episode discusses raising children to become truly civilized human beings. Are you giving your child the “best gift” you can.

Convenience: Is “convenience” a factor in our teaching and parenting? Is this appropriate? What is your attitude about parenting, teaching, and the "convenience" factor?

Until next time,

Happy Practicing!

----- Paula -----

© 2016 by Paula E. Bird