Minnesota School Of Music - November 2021

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11.2021 763-432-9713 www.mnschoolofmusic.com



After a year of hard work, my book “Beyond Theory: The Making of a Music Teacher” was finally released on Aug. 20. Seeing the book make it to print was exciting enough on its own, but I was both shocked and humbled when, the day after release, the book shot to No. 2 on Amazon’s list of top-selling Music Theory books. “Beyond Theory” has since made it to No. 1, and I couldn’t be more grateful. As you may remember, I wrote this book because I didn’t have my own mentor to show me the ropes when I started teaching. I did my best, but I

spent about 10 years going from town to town, making kids cry — all because I knew how to play the guitar, but not how to teach it. I eventually sought out mentorship from people who knew what they were doing, and they helped me improve. Over the past 18 years, I’ve become an expert, and I want to help other teachers get better at their jobs, too. That’s what “Beyond Theory” is all about. Many people have asked me what it was like to write the book. The truth is that it was surprisingly therapeutic. As any parent will know, it’s not often that we get a chance to slow down and reflect. I have a school of almost 400 students, plus five kids of my own, and it often feels like I’m being pulled 100 different directions at once. Forcing myself to stop for about 90 minutes at a time and think introspectively about my life and journey was really restorative. Being able to reflect on the lessons I’ve learned from all of my family members and teachers really helped me define who I am and who helped me get here. When people think about writing, they often imagine a hermit sitting in a cabin somewhere in the wilderness, pounding away at a keyboard. My experience was nothing like that, and my publisher and I had a much more methodical approach to the book. Many people say they wish they could write a book

but complain that they don’t have the time. In my position, I can say that if I managed to find the time to write a book, anyone can. Still, I wasn’t in this process alone. For making all of this possible, I want to thank my publisher, Michael DeLon, at Paperback Expert. He’s energetic and was very inspirational to me as I wrote. Additionally, I want to thank my staff for doing such a fantastic job. They’ve really believed in the unique process we have at MnSOM, and through their efforts, our students have become successful. I’d also like to thank the parents who trust us every day to teach music to their children; without your support and loyalty, I wouldn’t have had a book to write. Lastly, I’d like to thank everyone who has purchased my book so far. I greatly appreciate your support and interest. For those of you who still need a copy, “Beyond Theory” is available in both paperback and Kindle versions on Amazon, and we’ve got plenty available for sale at the school. Now that the book is written and released, that doesn’t mean my work with “Beyond Theory” is done. I still have plans to promote the book, expand upon its content, and provide additional value to readers. For more on that, check out Page 3 and stay tuned to future newsletters!

–Eric Nehring

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Fidget Toys Are Here to Stay But Are They Helpful?

Fidget spinners may be so 2017, but fidget toys (or “fidgets”) are here to stay. While fidget toys are relatively new, the idea of fidgeting isn’t. Clicking your pen, tapping your foot, twirling your hair, and biting your nails are just some examples of fidgeting that you might already engage in. So, why do we fidget — and is it a good or bad thing? Scientists don’t completely understand why people fidget, but many theories point to its potential effects on concentration. Proponents of this idea suggest that people tend to fidget when they are trying to concentrate on something that is either too boring or too challenging. Fidgeting while bored may help you keep your attention up, while fidgeting when overly challenged may help you focus and relax. One case study showed that students had a 10% increase in academic scores when using fidget toys as opposed to without. Even more impressive, students with ADHD showed a 27% increase in scores when allowed to fidget. Anecdotal evidence from both children and adults with ADHD supports the idea that fidgeting boosts attention and improves memory retention.

One of the biggest complaints about fidgeting is that it can be distracting to others. It’s important to know the time and place for your preferred fidget and to find alternatives that won’t be disruptive. No one wants to hear repeated clicking noises (unless they’re the one doing the clicking), but fidget toys with joysticks, sliders, soft buttons, and other quiet options can be a big help. Fidgeting can also be disruptive to the person fidgeting if you choose an overly complicated or visual toy. If you’re paying more attention to the fidget than whatever you’re trying to concentrate on, it’s time to put the toy away. This is why fidget spinners have been banned in so many schools and why most other fidget toys are very simple, quiet, and tactile-based.

If you have a tendency to fidget in your daily life, a fidget toy might be right for you. There are many

options available for purchase, and many people like to buy several to determine which works best for them. Who knows, one just might help you stay alert during that conference call!

Say “Cheese!” After taking the year off in 2020, Minnesota School of Music’s picture day is back! On Saturday, Nov. 13, from 12–2 p.m., we’re offering free photographs of students with their instruments, so have your child wear their favorite outfit and bring their best smile to school! Participants will receive a framed 8-by- 10-inch photograph from the shoot. We’re proud to help families create memories that will last a lifetime. However, space is limited, so be sure to show up early to receive one of these touching keepsakes. RETURNING NOV. 13 PICTURE DAY!

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Mike C. Adelynn S.

Maggie B. Merdan A. Brennan C. Yvonne L. Maya M. Lucy R. Reagan R. Josh V. Selena Z. Nour Y. Eli O.

Jett D. Kara T. Laurentine L. Stacy M. Ryan V. Ava W. Maxwell A. Clara P.


Ian P. Ben S.


Have you read “Beyond Theory” and now find yourself eager for more content? Or are you considering reading the book but unsure if it’s for you? Whether you’ve read the book cover to cover or are a complete newbie, Eric’s podcast will give you what you’re looking for. The “Music Teacher Podcast” will both explain and expand on the concepts found in “Beyond Theory.” Eric will do a deep-dive into the contents of the book, with one episode dedicated to each chapter. The podcast will allow Eric to go into more detail about his background and teaching methods than he was able to in the book’s 123 pages. The opening episodes of the podcast focus on Eric’s upbringing. The middle episodes explore Eric’s college years. And the final episodes cover how Eric created Minnesota School of Music and its core values, the HELPS system (Humility, Effort, Learning, Passion, and Service). While the podcast is primarily aimed at aspiring music teachers, parents may also be interested to learn more about how MnSOM selects our teachers and what distinguishes us from other music schools. There are also useful tidbits for small-business owners about what it takes to be successful and how Eric’s life mission statement has guided his life and career. Averaging 8–10 minutes in length, each episode is a bite-size nugget of information that you can enjoy during your morning commute, during quick exercise, or as you’re waiting to pick up the kids from school. All 16 episodes of the “Music Teacher Podcast” are available in full now on your favorite podcast streaming platform!

IS YOUR TEACHER SOLD OUT? Zach Barret - Guitar: 1 spot left! Amber Bibelheimer - Piano/Voice: SOLD OUT Jodie Bunish - Piano: SOLD OUT Sam Ferbuyt - Piano: 1 spot left! Pauline Hsu - Piano/Voice: 1 spot left! Sharon Lehner - Piano: SOLD OUT Wyatt Martin - Drums: 4 spots left! Greg Membrez - Guitar: 4 spots left! Laura Morris - Piano: 1 spot left! Nambi Mwassa - Voice: 2 spots left! Kurt Nistler - Guitar: 1 spot left! Jesse Norell - Guitar: SOLD OUT Jennifer Parker - Piano: 2 spots left! Kirsten Rotvold - Piano: 2 spots left! Patrick Sullivan - Guitar: 4 spots left!

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3533 88th Ave. NE, Blaine, MN 55014 763-432-9713 www.mnschoolofmusic.com



Eric Celebrates His New Book

How to Make Fidgeting Work for You Don’t Miss Picture Day!

The ‘Music Teacher Podcast’

Football and Thanksgiving: A Match Made in Marketing Heaven


Last year, 30.3 million people tuned in to watch the NFL’s Thanksgiving showdown between the Washington Football Team and the Dallas Cowboys. For those Americans (and probably for you if you’re reading this article), football is as essential to Thanksgiving as turkey and stuffing — but why? As it turns out, there are two answers to that question. The first is that games have been played on the holiday for almost as long as it has officially existed. Thanksgiving became a holiday in 1863, and just six years later, the third American football game in history was played on it. According to SB Nation, the Young America Cricket Club and the Germantown Cricket Club faced off in that inaugural Thanksgiving game in Philadelphia, and football has been played on Thanksgiving pretty much ever since! When the NFL was founded in 1920, the Thanksgiving game was official from the get-go.

coach, George A. Richards, decided that in order to attract more fans, his team would make a point to always play on Thanksgiving when most people were off work. To sweeten the pot, he committed his radio station (an affiliate of the NBC Blue Network) to broadcasting the Thanksgiving game live on 94 different stations across America. This idea was a hit from day one! According to Sporting News, the long-unloved Lions “not only sold out the stadium, they also had to turn people away at the gates.” In 1966, the Dallas Cowboys signed on to play every Thanksgiving, too, for similar publicity reasons. Since those early days, football-themed traditions have flourished in American families. Apart from watching games on TV, one of the most popular is organizing a pre-turkey game of family touch football a la the sitcom “Friends.” (Its famed episode “The One With the Football” aired Nov. 21, 1996.) If you’ve never organized a game, this could be your year! To get started, Google “Scott’s Family-Friendly Touch Football” and click the first link.

The second reason we watch football on Thanksgiving is more about money than tradition. In 1934, a Detroit Lions

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