top of page

Tip from the Trenches

Want a great tip from a veteran music instructor about being respectful while playing non-pitched instruments? This tip is so simple it’s almost painful and I’ve used it for years with positive results. Non-pitched instruments can be used to reinforce steady beat, experience rhythm, and to praise God. But some children struggle with keeping their instruments still and quiet while teachers are giving instruction hindering others from hearing the teaching as well as being disrespectful to the teacher.

Want a really strong tip to combat this challenge? Here it is...I call it the bad instrument box. It’s simply an empty box with a frowny face on it. When an instrument is playing when it shouldn’t be, simply take the instrument from a child’s hand and say to the instrument, “I’m sorry you were playing when you were not supposed to, so, you need to spend a little time in the bad instrument box.” Then place the instrument in the box. This genius tip allows you to address an inanimate object and not a child and all the children “get it”. They don’t want their instrument to wind up in that box because they want to the instruments.

After a brief time in the box, you can talk to the instrument again asking, “Do you think you can be respectful now?” And, of course, the “instrument” says, “Yes!” So, hand the instrument back to the owner and continue with your lesson. This box, teaches respect in a positive and creative way. The bad instrument box tried and true tip from the trenches!

The video below shares a powerful tip about being respectful as we play instruments together.


bottom of page