Ideas and Thoughts shared by Maestro Hensil during Orchestra classes over the years.  The list is presented in no particular order.   Enjoy!

    1.       What would this orchestra sound like if you ALL believed that deep down you had the musical skills of Mozart? Release your inner-Mozart.

    2.       A person can be the leader of their section from any chair.

    3.       You MUST be better than me. Human Progress depends on it.


    5.       It's not my job to get you to play in tune.....It's my job to get YOU to WANT to play in tune.


    7.       That kind of sounds like oatmeal.

    8.       Success is often a thing individuals settle for when they can't imagine a venture Noble enough, a daring idea Worthy enough at which to fail. - S. Melillo

    9.       95% in an orchestra sounds HORRIBLE! Save that "A grade" for your other classes where that level of success might be considered desirable.......I need 100%.

    10.   Why you got to be Hatin' on Eb Major, YO ?

    11.   Let's play that again.....and this time in the key that the music suggests.

    12.   LET'S FIND OUT!

    13.   Be the person that your DOG thinks you are.

    14.   Accidentals = Purposefuls

    15.   Be careful of the lies your music teachers have told you .....(ex. quarter notes = 1 beat....HA!)

    16.   Imperfect is the greatest teacher of Perfect.

    17.   What would that have sounded like if you were the NY Philharmonic playing it?

    18.   There are VIOLINISTS, there are people who PLAY the violin, and there are people who HOLD the violin.....We must strive to be in the first category and NEVER in the last one. (substitute your own instrument name where applicable).

    19.   Sure I could teach you to build a boat.....but what would be better is if I could teach you to LONG for the immensity of the sea.

    20.   HENSIL LAW OF MUSIC # (make up a number).....have your instrument ready to perform at least 2 measures before your entrance......nothing is more disheartening to a conductor than going to cue a section to come in and the whole section has their instruments on their laps.

    21.   HENSIL LAW OF MUSIC # (make up a different number).....look up at the end of the piece/section........I like to be tricky......I'm crazy like that.....you never know what I'm going to do......

    22.   Make the entrances and releases to those notes like a NINJA......then in the middle attack like a SAMURAI.

    23.   We really need to transform our orchestra into a "one buttock" orchestra.....

    24.   The music image that came to my mind listening to you play there was that of a little kid being dragged through the supermarket by a mother.....the little kid doesn't really want to be there....and he is mad at the mother for not buying him the sugar cereal on the bottom shelf......

    25.   Basses....that shouldn't sound like an old man with flatulence.

    26.   SIGHT READING: You've got to watch out for the DEER in the middle of the road. If you see it in time, then you can navigate your way around the problem.....if you don't.....we'll......it isn't pretty.

    27.   It is like in "Empire Strikes Back" when Luke didn't finish his training with Yoda.....he goes and fights Vader and ends up losing his hand and almost dying. You MUST go through the "technique and training" part of the process before you can focus solely on the "bigger picture".

    28.   A mountain climber who doesn't go through proper training and technique will not be a mountain climber for very long.......

    29.   The first violin section can't sound like 6 people....you must sound like ONE person....thinking, moving, and breathing together.

    30.   HENSIL LAW OF MUSIC # (make up another number).....At the end of a piece of music.....don't Move....Don't even Breath....until the conductor lowers his hands....which will happen when the sound of the note(s) stop vibrating completely. You may have stopped playing....but as long as the note continues to sound, the piece of music hasn't finished!

    31.   Don't FOLLOW the conductor.....Be WITH the conductor!

    32.   IT never works!

    33.   Write it down on a piece of paper and place it in my suggestion box.....

    34.   GOOD playing cannot ever cover for BAD playing in an ensemble......it can only add to the sound.....the bad sounds will still be there.

    35.   IT IS ALL INVENTED!!!!!!!! (for those who shared this deep conversation with me!)

    36.   YOU are the instrument.

    37.   Your posture gives away a great deal about how you feel about your status in the orchestra.

    38.   I gave you a GIANT prep beat to indicate your next entrance as a true FORTE.......you gave me nothing. It's like in a relationship when one person says, "I LOVE YOU" and the other person doesn't respond at all.........

    39.   That sounded like a circus clown dying......

    40.   "In clear water, little fish have no place to hide!".......

    41.   It's OK to become lost. Think of all of the people in the world who are LOST.....some of whom don't even realize it....Some realize it, but are content to BE lost (these are the worst types).......Your frustration and struggle when becoming lost is what will give your playing honesty and vitality.....and will ultimately make you a better player. The important part is that you ARE frustrated and do NOT accept being lost.

    42.   "brick walls are there to keep out the people who don't want it badly enough"


    44.   You must always play to the CORE of the string. Even on the softest dynamics.

    45.   You are making those notes sound like the munchkins who "represent the Lollipop Guild".....

    46.   (said on a day missing almost all of the section leaders).....it seems to me like our section leaders are running a "front" for our orchestra....when they're here they run a nice and clean legitimate business at the front of the store.....covering for the rest of you who are in the background running an illegal mafia organization.

    47.   I sometimes feel like we are selling fake Rolex watches to those around us......It looks good at first, especially from a distance.....but upon closer examination you notice that the watch only has 11 hours on it, it is missing the minute hand, and the word Rolex is spelled "rolecks"........WE NEED THE REAL THING!!!!!

    48.   Here is an "A" for your tuning pleasure!

    49.   Play those notes as if you are giving your audience a kiss....

    50.   "You can take a horse to water.....but first you have to have a horse"......-S. Melillo.

    51.   Cellos....you need to caress the notes!

    52.   Playing in tune.....it's just like matching things VISUALLY but with your EARS.

    53.   All MUSIC for string players comes from our RIGHT hands.....

    54.   BOW = AIR....... for the string player the BOW creates our sound....for a woodwind player AIR creates the sound
    AIR = LIFE ....... humans cannot survive without air.
    BOW = LIFE...... string players must use their bow as if it were a sustaining life force....and since our Bow creates sound and therefore music.....LIFE = MUSIC .

    55.   My preparation beat indicates the LENGTH of the quarter note beat I will be conducting.....notice the word "length".....Here is another case of changing the way we think about music.....Tempo is NOT the SPEED of music, but instead is the DISTANCE between the beats.

    56.   (after hearing some questionable language from a student)....."I can only hope that the Music of Mozart will still sound as PURE to me as it once did now that my ears have been tainted with your salty-sailor-talk"

    57.   I just got Goosebumps......that's how you know it was really good......you can't fake a Goosebump moment!

    58.   I find it interesting that a person’s character traits are often reflected in the manner in which they play their instrument.

    59.   Whilst playing Pizzacati, Thou Shalt look up and be with thy conductor......and all will experience great joy!

    60.   HUZZAH! (as in......"we're playing scales?...HUZZAH!!!! (cheers from the crowd))

    61.   If given the choice to listen to what you just played or to listen to two alley-cats fighting....well....I think I'd choose the alley-cats.

    62.   "Only the fool stares at the finger which points to the moon...." –proverb

    63.   Our TONE sounds like a mobster from North Jersey........let's remove the "Jersey" from our tone!

    64.   Would you rather I LIED to you?????

    65.   There can be no music without GIVING of yourself.....energy, feeling, passion, emotion.....without GIVING, it is just an exercise, a series of notes.

    66.   The word "Music" is derived from a Greek word meaning "of the Muses"...... A MUSE is a source of inspiration..... If we are to perform MUSIC....we must aim to INSPIRE.....

    67.   The musician in an orchestra must have at least THREE eyes.

    68.   The rest should be like a CANON of silence!

    69.   You need to perform these pieces of music as if you truly believe that THIS performance will change people's lives.

    70.   Waltzes should never sound "blob-ish"........ words to live by.

    71.   Somebody's grandma will be sitting in the last row of the concert hall.....we need to make sure that Granny hears it.

    72.   "You can't fake REAL" .

    73.   You should hear what this music sounds like IN MY HEAD......it's SO beautiful.

    74.   Discovery is much more powerful than simply being told something.....

    75.   YOU create the world in which you want to live....don't expect others to do it for you.

    76.   THAT'S the guy in the gorilla suit (referring to an out of tune note that "just doesn't belong")

    77.   Everyone should start their morning with a beautiful major triad.....it's like coffee for your soul.

    78.   Why do you hate quarter rests? ....

    79.   "REST"....what a horrible music term! "Strategic Silence"...now THAT is a perfect description of what a musician SHOULD be thinking!

    80.   Let's throw some hot sauce on that.

    81.   ^7 is pulled by the force of gravity to ^8. ^4 is pulled by gravity to ^3. These notes have weight......feel it.

    82.   Trying to play a piece of music without a plan is like trying to play a round of Golf while blindfolded.

    83.   If possible, try not to sound like you're in the middle of a swamp.

    84.   Let me FREE you....let me LIBERATE you......here goes: don't worry about making mistakes....in fact, if you make a mistake, make a GREAT one! Be courageous!

    85.   Let's be the orchestra that DOESN'T rush when they play pizzicato. I like that orchestra.....let's be them.

    86.   Crescendo... prior to the marking subtly soften your playing so that when you gradually get stronger at the marking it seems more dramatic. Decrescendo... prior to the marking subtly strengthen your playing so that when you gradually get softer at the marking it seems more dramatic.

    87.   HENSILISMS - Hensil's Laws of Music for enhanced orchestral performance tm

    88.   Make this music sound all Spanish and attractive......just think, "Antonio Banderas" and you'll be headed in the right direction. Make it sound like ZORRO!

    89.   Things that are similar to stabbing your conductor in the heart with a baton.......

    a.       Hensil: "ok, let's start at measure 32...measure 32....That's 32" (waits a few seconds and gives an upbeat to start conducting)Random student at the very last moment: "wait, WHERE are we starting"

    b.       Given Instructions: "TAKE THE REPEAT" Orchestra's reaction: half the group repeats, half goes on.

    c.        playing an entire section of a piece nicely at the end of a rehearsal AND THEN ending the day with a wrong, out of tune note on the last chord.

    d.       Turning to cue a section that has an impending entrance in the music after some rests, and finding that the majority of the section has their instruments in their laps and are unaware of their place in the music.

    90.   (taking a piece up to tempo for the first time) Some of us are ON the bus. Some of us are holding on to the bumper of the bus being dragged along. Some of us are chasing after the bus. (hopefully nobody was just sitting at the bus stop).

    91.   (when playing a bunch of repeated measure patterns) Losing focus and trying to find your place in the music is like a mother trying to find her lost kid in Disneyworld.

    92.   Play that phrase like a musical "sigh".....as teenagers, I KNOW that most of you are experts at doing that same effect when you speak....now just do it in your music.

    93.   Hensil: (after misreading the score and making a mistake) Let me use a horrible phrase from your generation......."My Bad!"
    Student: no you got it wrong....it's "My B"
    Hensil: Oh....well that just makes that saying that much worse....

    94.   You MUST be better than me!  (in case you forgot)

    95.   An "A" is not something you GET, it's also not something you EARN, it is something you ARE!!!!

    96.   Join me on a Journey to a world that exists in POSSIBILITY!

    97.   What I CRAVE in orchestra is NOT the moment when we finally achieve our goals but the moment when we all DESIRE TO ACHIEVE OUR GOALS.

    98.   One of the highest goals in education should be to have students who are frustrated, because a frustrated student is someone who really wants to get better.

    99.   Are you ready to save the World?

    100.                        Hensil: "do the rest of you know what the cellos and basses are doing during those 8 measures?"
    Student: "They're resting"
    Hensil: "NO.....they are EAGERLY awaiting their next entrance."

    101.  Play "make me a sandwich".

    102.   You know that situation in other classes where you have to do a group project and there are members of the group who just won't do their work......have you ever considered that is exactly like our orchestra class is almost every day?

    103.  Play the " I love you more"..."No, I love YOU more" discussion between two people.....

    104. That sounded like a duck with a wounded wing......and there are only two things you can do with a duck with a wounded wing......

    105.We need to spend more time "ABOVE THE STAND".

    106. If YOU were the conductor of the orchestra and were totally in charge of trying to put out as professional musical product as possible....how many measures of that piece would you be happy with? and how many measures would you want to work harder on?

    107. The way a person plays a music instrument reflects their personality.

    108.  KINGS DON'T RUSH!!!!

    109.We can only make our own line longer.......

    110.No good can come of getting into a cage.....

    111.  Speaking of _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _(whatever random comment was being said).....Let's start at Measure 16.

    112. LOVE those notes.....play them like your first kiss.

    113. Play from ABOVE the instrument.

    114.Don't be a Ringo.

    115.PLAY WHAT IT SAYS...

    116. It's my job to give you material that the majority of you CANNOT play at first......there wouldn't be any point to giving music out to the class if the majority of you could do it with tremendous ease.

    117.There's a big difference in the orchestra that looks at a challenge in a "bring it on" attitude and the orchestra that looks at a challenge in a "take it away" attitude........ We need more "Bring it On" people.

    118. This song requires a certain degree of "Blues-itude"........So, let's "Blues-ify" it now.

    119.  Be TRUE to the rhythm.

    120.  Don't "take" from the music......GIVE to the music.

    121. Triplets are circular.

    122.  (for andrew) If you stop breathing.....you die.

    123.  Just use your "Shaolin Pinky"......

    124. A past version of myself would have thrown something at you.....I must have mellowed in my old age.

    125.There is no such thing as liking a piece of music but NOT liking your part.....when you make music you are playing ALL of the parts.

    126.You can only GET the emotion and energy from music by GIVING emotion and energy TO the music.

    127. I'm just saying is all......

    128. You think I planned this?..... I don't have "motives"....I didn't plan any of this...but by some weird coincidence EVERYTHING that we just did in our warm-ups just so happens to be relevant to what we are doing in this next piece of music.....

    129. You aren't playing a WALTZ if you can't find beat one.

    130. Piano without Fear!

    131. Said to the audience at West Spring Concert: "Have you ever noticed how socially awkward I am?"

    132.   After a successful concert I get so excited about making music with you that it would KILL me to "take a day off".....

    133.  Too often school is about the "test" or the "performance".....for me, it is about the everyday "content" and learning and the connections it makes in ALL aspects of your life.

    134.  Those aren't 8 measures of REST.....they are an opportunity to go through the PROGRESSION OF EAGER ANTICIPATION

    135.   Learning to love PRACTICING is the OPPOSITE of learning to love a PUPPY. It takes time to learn to love practicing

    136.   Don't FOLLOW the conductor....that means you are behind..... be WITH the conductor!!!!!

    137.  Don't be THAT guy!

    138. So we need to play TRIANGULAR....so that our orchestra sounds RECTANGULAR.

    139.  Let's do an experiment... although it isn't much of an experiment as I already know the result!

    140. Say the word "TODAY" on my cue!

    141.Half of you played a flat...half of you played a natural...... you played "Flatural"...... That word sounds like "flatulence"?.... yeah, so did that note!

    142. I'm a MUSIC teacher.....not a NOTES teacher.

    143.  Don't introduce an F# into the key of F...... it's like introducing an invasive species to a foreign land that can't handle it, like if a little kid brings a local frog on a trip to Australia. All of a sudden the frog gets lose and after a little while there are all sorts of foreign frogs around that aren't supposed to be there in the first place. Without warning, all of the Kangaroos suddenly start dying because they are allergic to the saliva of the alien frogs..... SO....Don't introduce an invasive species into the KEY of our music.

    144.  So..... I am just treating you in the same manner as a mother giraffe.

    145.The "use your first finger, then use whatever finger comes next" principle.....copyright 2010

    146.  NEVER rely on your TAPE....the tape is almost always wrong.

    147.  NEVER rely on your "Psychological TAPE" either.

    148.  Your music shouldn't look like the signage at a 7-11..... but it shouldn't be without markings either.

    149.  I mean.... I wouldn't be OFFENDED if you wanted to play that with the correct _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ (articulation, pitch, key, rhythm, time signature,etc) ... I would be OK with it..... like don't feel like you have to do it wrong on my account.....

    150. You have to commit to the G# just like committing to a marriage, imagine how bad it would be if you only commit halfway

    151.    An Orchestra should only have to fix a problem ONCE!!

    152.  Violas, meet the 2nd violins.......2nd violins, meet the violas (replace any section with another)

    153.  It's ok, we're all friends here.

    154.  Play that like a NINJA PUNCH


    156.  (silence)

    157.   Play together like how each finger on the ONE HAND of a Piano Player ALL plays at the same tempo.

    158.   Bad Intonation is like a big DOWNWARD SPIRAL.... first ONE note is out of tune, and then it spirals bigger and bigger taking more and more notes with it.

    159.JAZZ HANDS!!!!

    160.   Play that like the 1960's version of Batman, starring Adam West. BAP! POW! BLAM! etc...

    161. " If I had 8 hours to chop down a tree, I would spend 6 sharpening the axe" (A. Lincoln) .........unfortunately. some of you don't even HAVE an axe....you have a SPOON.....Try cutting down a tree with a spoon.......and what is worse, There are SOME of you are very comfortable with only having a spoon.....you are like, " Don't touch my spoon..... I like my spoon".

    162.Don't think..... FEEL!!!!!! (Bruce Lee)

    163.  Playing in an ORCHESTRA, well, It's like in Star Wars: A New Hope when Obi-Wan is training Luke to use the Force against a remote drone on the Millenium Falcon.... he covers his eyes with a helmet with the blast shield down making vision impossible asking him to act on instinct..... when he can't use his eyes, he is forced to REACH OUT with his feelings to see the remote....... when we play in an orchestra, you must REACH OUT to the other sections using all of your feelings. You must use the force.

    164.  No violence with violins.

    165. Give me a "HENSIL APPROVED" definition of that.

    166. yeah, that information had nothing to do with the music we were playing, I just thought maybe you'd find it interesting.

    167. Oh, I see.....when I say "You ALL" need to do something....you must be thinking that I am using the TEXAS dialect of English where "You all" (y'all)can mean a group of people or just a single person...So you may be ASSUMING that I am not asking EVERYONE!!!!....So, I guess I must begin to use the plural of "you all"(y'all).....which is, of course, "ALL you all" (All y'all).

    168. We're LISTENING.... We're LEARNING......

    169. What did YOU do to make the OTHER section seem stronger?

    170. There's no "I" in Orchestra...... at least if you spell it correctly.

    171.  if you THINK I may be talking about you...... I AM!!!!

    172. Sometimes you must go BACK into the woods.

    173.  P = p - i (Performance = current potential - interference)

    174. Know the difference between AWARENESS and TRYING

    175. Be Aware of what type of peanut butter you are when playing each of those phrases.

    176. This section of the Vivaldi..... It's like when two break dancing crews/gangs try to beat each other in a dance off like in the 80's movie "Breakin'" or for a more modern movie "step Up" or "step up 2" or "step up 3d". First one group shows up and busts out their moves....but then the second crew is like "here's our moves, and they're better than yours"....and then the first crew is like "surprise...we were saving our best moves so check this out"..... and then the second crew is all...."guess what punks...we were saving our best moves too...what, what"....... etc....

    177.  (Hensil) "Wow, what a quick switch from High Brow to Low Brow culture......."
    (student) "why do you have to lump break dancing into "low brow" culture...?"
    (Hensil) "who said I was talking about the Break dancing?.... I was talking about Vivaldi..."

    178.  What if for EVERY piece of music we work on if you had a notebook where you jotted down key ideas and techniques that you needed to know to perform the piece the way that we have worked on. You would be able to "study" for a piece of music ahead of time to make sure you knew the EXACT styles and techniques that are necessary, I'm not SAYING that I'm going to require that.... but I'm not saying that I'm not going to either....

    179. So I want you to Try...... arrrgghhh!!!!! no..... not "try"....... I want you to be AWARE of _.

    180.  The universe is conspiring with the music for you to FEEL what it means to be in TUNE.

    181.   You can't rush when you BREATHE with the universe.

    182.  Many secrets of the universe will be revealed if you start listening.

    183.   YES, TRIBAL CHANTS........ make it PRIMAL.... think SPEARS and FIRE and TIGERS....

    184.   Music begins BEFORE you play the first note.

    185.  FEET....BREATH....MUSIC.

    186.Tuning.....it's a KEY concept!!!!!

    187.   So in those measures Beethoven writes a crescendo to nowhere.... hey, "crescendo to nowhere"....I think I'll add that to a list of titles for books I may write sometime....

    188. Rehearsing means to "re-hear" something.... to look at it from a new perspective and develop deeper insights and understanding of the music...and the world.

    189.   ALL things move towards the lowest level of energy. Be aware of this...You exist in an open system wherein you can CHANGE the results if you choose.  Don't let yourself BE the cause of entropy in an orchestra. Choose to match or exceed the level of energy and engagement of the MOST energetic and engaged person in the room.

    190. BE the HOT water.

    191. Orchestra: Defying the Laws of Science (at least we're trying to)

    192.  What the CB course of study booklet SHOULD say: Course #8664- Orchestra (Secrets of the Universe)

    193. What the CB course of study booklet SHOULD say: Course #8664- Orchestra (Magic and Mysteries of Life)

    194.  ORCHESTRA is about coming in every day and trying your hardest to be a better version of yourself.

    195. YOUR JOB isn't to play the music on the page..... it is to play the MUSIC in my head!

    196.  Playing with bad TONE is like you are CURSING right at me.

    197.  "That which you manifest is before you"

    198.   The MUSIC never lies. (not the sheet music....the REAL music)

    199.  Never miss an opportunity to make a musical sigh!

    200. I want THAT poster....the one with Bach brandishing a knife in a battle with a rogue Bassoonist.


    202.  GOOD is the greatest enemy of EXCELLENCE!!!!!

    203.  when you truly follow your conductor precisely and do everything they indicate.....it makes the conductor work harder to be a better conductor and musician.

    204.  Your conductor plays YOU. (i.e. YOU are the instrument)

    205.  Play that like you are Narcissus checking yourself out in the mirror.

    206.  Muppet Dance.

    207. RHYTHM is about how we play the beginning of a note.... STYLE/ARTICULATION is about how we play the end of the note.

    208. I am the luckiest guy in the world!!!!

    209. SYNC!

    210. Sometimes maturity is caring about others more than you care about yourself.

    211. Listen with ears that can hear grass grow

    212.   Time doesn’t stop for anyone

    213.   It is hard to "Don't"

    214.  Sometimes you must consider that everything you play must be sincere and "believable", as if the other sections of the orchestra are some kind of a lie detector test for your playing and effort.

    215.  RHYTHM is about when notes start.... ARTICULATION is about how and when they end.

    216.  It is not about the Metronomes....it is about the Board. Be like the Board. http://youtu.be/JWToUATLGzs

    217.  Music exists beyond the perfect.

    218.  When a wall caves in in your building, it is no longer a viable structure, you need to leave. "5" is that wall in your music.

    219.  When you know something, commit to knowing it

    220.   Does your soul reverberate in-tune?

    221.  Arrive late together.

    222.  "Notice the contribution you are."

    223.   Good music is about making the World feel right.

    224.  Sometimes you need to see the inner-beauty.

    225.  There is no such thing as an innocuous contribution.

    226.  It's hard to defeat your enemy if you don't know your enemy.

    227. It's not about volume, it's about energy.

    228.  Play into the strings and through the strings, not on top of the strings

    229.  Avoid the cat/dog apocalypse.... breathe before your entrances.


    231.  When we take a serious breath in the tempo of the music, we physically change ourselves to align with the new tempo. Our hearts become the metronome.

    232.  In the Key of A major, G# is an adjective. It describes and enhances our understanding and perspective of the note A, which is the Noun.


    234.   Time doesn’t stop just because you’re having trouble with something

    235.  33% is only good if you’re playing Baseball.

    236.  Instead of trying to hide it, fix it

    237. To gain freedom, you have to exist in a structure

    238. You must know the size and weight of the dog which you are trying to pull.

    239. One of the things I love most about MUSIC is that it changes with you.

    240. 100% is required

    241. What would a great painting look like if 7% of it was clearly not correct? Imagine it with 7% of the wrong color scheme, or the wrong materials, or a clearly incorrect style to match the other 93%..... what does a 93% look like in ART? Then ask yourself, what does a 93% SOUND like in music.

    242.  It isn't a "rest"....it is an opportunity for the restoration of energy.

    243.  Great string playing begins with your feet.... continues with a long sigh-like breath OUT..... and then continues with breathing IN at the tempo of the music so that you can perform the first written note with the proper energy and internal feeling.

    244. HOW's YOUR BALANCE?

    245. Let's go against the trends of human nature

    246.  That's ok, that will be the problem of "future US".... "Current US" doesn't have that problem yet.

    247.   I refuse to let go of things that are good

    248.  That sounds like Math.... and you know how I feel about that.

    249.  When you walk though the doors of an orchestra classroom, you've entered into a magical place, a land of wonderment, the mystical realm of enlightenment.

    250.  an orchestra room can be ANYWHERE!

    251.  Not everyone is as mature as an orchestra student

    252. Here is an "A" for your tuning pleasure.... don't just hear the "A".... absorb the "A"....feel it at the deepest core level of your soul so that it oozes from your pores.... that way, when you sweat, you will sweat in the key of A.

    253.  I'm not a puppet master.

    254.  Everybody experiences "scale shock" at some point if I am their teacher.

    255.  Enlightenment happens at it's own pace.

    256.   F is not an F#. They're two totally different animals and belong in different cages. You wouldn't put a tiger and a lion in the same cage because they are "kind of" like the same thing. That'd be deadly. Something is going to end up dead.... If I allow you to put an F and an F# in the same key, it would be the same thing.... something (our orchestra sound) will end up dead!

    257.  TIMMY

    258.  There is no such thing as a "DIFFICULT" scale.... but you have been trained for years that "these are our friendly scales, these are the mildly evil scales, and THESE are just wrong".......

    259.  I have seen FAR too much beauty to ever go back

    260.  You must avoid the angry monkey. (a variation of "that is the guy in the gorilla suit")

    261.  We ARE what we repeatedly DO. (Aristotle)

    262.   (in response to a student question "do you feel the key of Db?") No.... I feel ALL the keys.

    263.   I don't think this piece has any Moose in it. Maybe not even a deer.... perhaps a racoon or two....

    264.   I'll save the "Bravo" for later.

    265.   Can we play the "C" like we're not terrified of it?

    266.   10,000 hours is a lot of time

    267.   If your balance is good, you can do anything.

    268.   Trust me on that and your life will be awesome.

    269.   Gravity ALWAYS wins. Don't battle gravity.

    270.   Where is the 3rd joint in your hand?  (student points)  That's not a joint....your finger doesn't bend there.... if it does, then you need to go to the hospital, because your finger is broken.

    271.   It sounds pretty...but a lot of songs are pretty 

    272.   You don't need to wait for an invitation to play in tune.

    273.   You just hit a deer.... it is lying dead in the road behind you..... it's name is "poco ritardando".... he was an italian deer.

    274.   Seven Loves Eight (1)...I mean, Seven is OBSESSED with Eight... Seven is basically Eight's Facebook stalker. Oh, I wonder who was looking through all of 8's Facebook photos last night! It was Seven.

    275.   Unlike Seven and Eight, Three and Four really like each other a lot. You know, you always see them walking in the hallway together, and they're always hanging out with each other... Every time you see them you're like 'Aw that's cute!

    276.   BE OBSESSED with the BREATH

    277.    Don't play in T-rex mode

    278.    I liked Sesame Street much better when Cookie Monster ALWAYS wanted Cookies.

    279.   Not everyone is a LEADER... but everyone has to take on leadership.

    280.   You NEVER stop being a student.... unless you gave up on LIFE.

    281.   What type of Peanut Butter are you performing?

    282.   It isn't about "what the teacher says".... it is about "what the students HEARS"!

    283.    When the Student is Ready... the teacher appears (old proverb)

    284.    Frustration is a GOOD thing.... it means that you WANT to be better.

    285.   I mean this in the best possible way, but Your Discomfort PLEASES me.

    286.   Are you HEARING the music with (selected person's name) ___'s eyes?????

    287.   If you embrace each other through music, then it will be impossible for you to play out of tempo and rhythm with the others as our hearts will beat together as one.

    288.   When two violins are placed in a room, and a note on one violin is struck , the other violin will sound the note. If this is your definition of HOPE, then this is for you. For the ones who know how POWERFUL we are, who know we can sound the music in the people around us simply by playing our OWN strings.... this is for you. (by Poet Andrea Gibson...special thanks to Dena G. for sharing this with me)

    289.    Have you ever taken a math test where you KNEW for certain all of the correct answers, and then chose ON PURPOSE to answer 30% of the questions incorrectly???? No???? of course not..... but why do we do that same basic thing in orchestra???? some of you come in to class and play with less effort and skill than you are capable.... EFFORT is a choice.

    290.   ONLY GET BETTER.

    291.    DON'T

    292.   Propriocept

    293.   Be responsible for your own sound

    294.   "music" vs. "Music" vs. "MUSIC"

    295.   ALL RHYTHM IS SHORT (variation of: Rhythm is about the beginning of the note)


    297.   The "path of least resistance" has its time and place... but not here.

    298.   Read my mind!

    299.    Practice in front of a mirror...and IMAGINE that YOU are the teacher and the person in the mirror is your student.

    300.   You must END one chapter before you can BEGIN another.

    301.    If you can SING the note in tune then I know you are HEARING the pitches in tune.....so you just need to let your fingers in on the secret.

    302.   You must be willing to be WRONG if you are ever going to be RIGHT.

    303.    Fight the Dragon!!!!!

    304.    Speak without the Squeak!

    305.     Imagine that ALL music is trapped inside your instrument and it is your job to extract it or to free it by drawing it out with the full energy of your bow.

    306.    The opposite of Love..... is Fear. *(irrational fear)

    307.    The best way to remove fear from something you have YET to do is to have ALREADY done that thing before.

    308.    The hardest thing about having Nothing.... is having nothing to GIVE.

    309.    We must focus on what we do well instead of focusing on trying to hide what we do not.

    310.    Free your wrist...and your mind will follow.

    311.    FEEL THE FLOOR!

    312.    We are not defeated when we lose, we are defeated when we give up

    313.    To be right or to be wrong you must first be present.  

    314.    C# is not an “area”…it isn’t an acre….. it is a tiny particle, it is specific and exact. 

    315.    Your job is to make the conductor’s job irrelevant and make them completely unnecessary,  and in doing so, you will have made the conductor the MOST relevant and necessary person in your life because they will have been the one who showed you the path to self-reliance and personal responsibility which will serve you for your entire life.  

    316.    REHEARSAL is about learning everyone else’s music.  

    317. Try to do a jigsaw puzzle blindfolded…..this is similar to how many students try to play their music as a part of an ensemble.  

    318.  P.E.B. -   Preparation, Eyes, Breath

    319.  “By LOVE compelled” is one of the best reasons to do almost anything……

    320. “don’t you like good music?”

    321.    If your mother sends you to the store to buy eggs..... when you get to the store,  just buy the eggs!    
    322.   Let's use the graph paper set to 16th note resolution. 
    323.   Nobody looks at a tv and says, "The picture on that TV is TOO good for someone like me".    We all like a clear picture.  
    324.  WHAT IS IT THAT I AM INSPIRING?   clarity?  energy?  strength?  beauty?   love?  togetherness?  weakness?    fear?   chaos?   indifference?   anger?  confusion?     Every time you play you influence others around you and contribute to an ensemble in some way.  Make it a positive change by inspiring your best qualities in those around you.   
    325.    Play a piece of music from your past (2 months or 2 years).   As you play the piece, you will receive all sorts of feedback about that which you learned well and worked hard on understanding  AND you will learn elements of the music that you never really made natural and internalized.     If you ignored dynamics in the past,  you will probably notice that the dynamics don't come naturally to you now.   If you played things out of tune before, you will probably still play them out of tune now.    Things that were strong and comfortable will still be fairly comfortable, if it isn't....well then maybe you didn't spend enough time and effort on that spot in the first place.   
    326.   It is not difficult to play ONE note with good tone.   Realizing that scales, arpeggios, and music pieces are ALL  made up of multiple "ONE notes"..... Practice should be significantly about learning to use your bow to create each  note in a piece with beautiful tone.    
    327.   Posture doesn't guarantee that you will play beautifully,  it just gives you advantages towards accomplishing that goal.  
    328.    We all make Life Choices......  
    329. You don't get a cookie for being right, you get a cookie for being together.
    330.  Imagine what it FEELS like to play that underwater.   Feel the resistance to every movement.   Now, imagine what it FEELS like to play it submerged in a giant vat of HONEY, and you have special Honey-breathing gills to allow you to breathe while playing.    
    331.  Repetition is VERY important in MUSIC.  
    332. REPETITION is very IMPORTANT in MUSIC.  
    333. Repetition IS very important in MUSIC.   
    334.   Sheet music is nothing more than an instruction manual....
    335.  What you buy at IKEA isn't a bookshelf.... it is a box of supplies,materials, and instructions with the potential to BECOME a bookshelf....  
    336.    Trying to play something in the wrong part of the bow is like trying to eat Yogurt with a Fork.... you can do it, but it isn't quite right.      What kind of utensil are you using?   
    337.  It is difficult to appreciate the smell of the flowers when you are being attacked by a bear.  
    338. “That kind of sounded like music…”
    339.  Hensil: “There’s no day like…(holds out hands for the completion of the thought)”

        Class (confidently): “Tomorrow!”

        Hensil: “Um, no.”

    340. “It’s okay. Math is hard.”

    341.  HENSIL:  I did a Julie Andrews twirl and you gave me NOTHING?!

    Student:  who's Julie Andrews?


    342.  “You had ONE job! Play the G! This is why we can’t have nice things!”

    343.  Chaos ensues

    344.  Burrowed frow. I meant "furrowed brow". A burrowed frau is when you bury a German woman.

    345.  If high school is merely a place to train you for college, you’re doing it wrong!

    346.  I’m ready for the day when the Principal comes in and says, “Hensil! We need an orchestra concert! STAT!” It’s all mapped out. There’s a protocol for that contingency.

    347.  (On the topic of groups poorly singing "Happy Birthday") Musically they are saying, ‘I hate you Steve! The only reason I’m here is for the cake"

    348.  The sight reading lean: it never actually helps you, but everybody does it anyway.   

    349.  Let’s have a musical discussion about the pledge of allegiance.

    350.  (On the topic of "Can vs. Should") My son is four. I could very easily push him over. But that doesn’t mean I should.

    351.  Welcome to my head. I’ll give you the wifi password later 

    352.  “Alright. Questions? Thoughts? Hopes? Dreams? Fears? Rational or Irrational. ....Clowns? Those could go either way.”

    353.  Never miss an opportunity to angrily say  "good day, sir".....and then wait and add "I SAID, GOOD DAY!"  

    354. Just keep fighting for it.

    355.  Rhythm is felt. It’s not a feeling.

    356. If you watch someone play a string instrument, you’ll learn almost everything you’ll ever need to know about them. 

    357. Things that are worthwhile are supposed to be challenging.

    358.  The more you learn, the more there is to learn. This is why education is forever.

    359. Moving your finger an eighth of an inch can completely change your life.

    360. Somebody in the audience is hearing you either for the first or last time.

    361.  Don’t think, "I play the note 'C'". Think, "I’m making the world a better place."

    362.  Our music allows people to face the day with courage. That is our gift.

    363. You never know when you’ll achieve musical understanding. Maybe today will be that day.

    364.  "Not yet" is acceptable. "Not today" is okay. "No" is not.

    365.  I’m not bound to your ways of linear thinking.

    366.  There are two types of fear: rational and irrational. Rational fear can be good. It can keep us from being mauled by tigers. But irrational fear prevents us from being great.

    367.   You don’t need someone else to tell you your MUSIC is worth something.

    368.    You are now one of the enlightened....go and spread the word.  

    369.   ART shouldn't use a rubric.... there isn't a minimum list of requirements to achieve an "A".... Artists do everything exactly as they believe is right.  No more, no less.   They are dissatisfied when something isn't enough and dissatisfied when something is too much.  The result they look for is exact and specific.   

    370.  Why do I need THAT trophy?  (the trophy in this case could be an actual physical trophy or something more like a person's approval of you or your task).  

    371.   Hensil:”alright everyone, Measure 66...”   

    Student: “execute order 66”   

    both: *proceeds to recite entire "Revenge of the Sith" scene*

    372.  Have you ever tried dancing without your feet leaving the ground? ....That’s how you play that. 

    373. 2nd violins!! Play like "DA DA DAAAA DAAA DAAA DAAA DAA DAAA!"..... Not  "errrkkkk kkkkkkkkk ldlkkkkkk kkkkkkk ihfhhhfjf”

    374.   Reach your hand up as high as you can.....ok, great, Now reach higher....

    375. Shakes fist in disapproval as a new  "Spott Scott" picture is taken


    (If there are "Hensilisms" which you remember or found useful or special and you believe they are missing from the list,  send it to me in an email and I'll consider adding it to the ever growing collection)