Filled with over fifty practical and inspirational teaching tips, More than Music Lessons is a must-read for today’s music studio teacher. Grounded in research yet enriched with real-life experiences and frequently asked questions, this book sheds light on student-centered teaching wherein teachers share rather than direct their students’ musical journeys. Merlin B. Thompson invites today’s music teachers to create success by building on what students naturally bring to their musical journey through a four-part framework: parents, practicing, projects and character.

A well-timed publication, More than Music Lessons is exactly what today’s music teachers need to support and inspire students for a lifetime of genuine and joyful music-making.

Comprehensive review of More than Music Lessons by Andrew Eales (UK).

Review of More than Music Lessons for the American Suzuki Journal by Trish Baer.

Review of More than Music Lessons from the Music Matters Blog by Natalie Weber.

PLAY & READ is the only program of its kind designed specifically for Suzuki Piano Volume 2 students. This innovative reading program is based on the simple principle that students learn to read music most naturally by reading pieces they already know how to play. The six lessons in PLAY & READ utilize selections from Suzuki Piano Volume 1 to assist students with developing  their music reading skills by actively singing, playing, pointing, speaking, and writing exercises. PLAY & READ is available directly from Alfred Publishing and through your local music dealer.

Fundamentals of Piano Pedagogy: Fuelling Authentic Student Musicians from the Beginning  How can piano teachers successfully foster student participation and growth from the outset? How can teachers prepare and sustain their influential work with beginner student musicians? This book presents answers to these questions by making important connections with current music education research, masters of the performance world, music philosophers, and the author’s 30-year career as a piano pedagogy instructor in Canada, the USA, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan.

Fundamentals  invites music studio teachers into a multilayered ear-before-eye pedagogic approach that fuels the flourishing of independent and authentic student musicians right from the very beginning. Topics include: our relation with music, independence, authenticity, what music learning looks like, what music teaching looks like, teaching the student, piano tone and technique, and taking parents into consideration.

Available in ebook and soft-cover from Springer Publications.

The Five Treasures (fiction)
When Rebekka tries to solve the Wise Woman’s riddle and fails miserably, she quickly realizes she has a lot to learn. Somehow, she must master the Five Treasures—her body, heart, mind, gut, and soul—before she may try to solve the riddle a second time. But the journey she travels is full of the unexpected—musicians, loud-mouthed raccoons, bejeweled fish, a school for flowers, swans who can’t fly, a quarrelsome paintbrush and paint—and, in the end there is no guarantee that completing the Five Treasures will give her the wisdom she desperately needs.

Academic Works

PhD Thesis: Authenticity, Teaching Relationships, & Suzuki

Authenticity, Shinichi Suzuki, & “Beautiful tone with living soul, please”. Philosophy of Music Education Review, 24(2): 170-190. DOI: 10.2979/philmusieducrevi.24.2.04.

Authenticity in education: From narcissism and freedom to the messy interplay of self-exploration and acceptable tension. Studies in Philosophy and Education, DOI 10.1007/s11217-015-9459-2.

Teacher Resources

  1. Exploring Collaborative Insight through Reflective Partnership Teaching, American Suzuki Journal (50)2..
  2. Practical & Personal: An Inquiry into What Teachers Do. American Suzuki Journal (46)1.
  3. Triggering and Holding onto Students’ Interest. American Music Teacher. August/September: 26-30.
  4. Going Beyond Yet Through the Repertoire. American Suzuki Journal, 43(3). 
  5. “Don’t rush, but don’t rest”: Reflections on Dr. Suzuki’s Affirmative Guidance. American Suzuki Journal, 43(1).
  6. Tone and More Tone: Reflections on the Matsumoto Talent Education Institutional Theme. American Suzuki Journal, 44(1).
  7. Understanding and Nurturing Parents. American Music Teacher, February/March: 25-29.
  8. Peers, Tension, and More: Reflections on Working with Suzuki Parents. American Suzuki Journal, 43(2).
  9. Pictures of Suzuki Parents. American Suzuki Journal, 44(2).
  10. A Question of Independence

Parent Resources

  1. Thank You Suzuki Parents
  2. Parents as Motivators
  3. A Question of Independence

Teaching with Student Diversity in Mind