Mr. Bock's Cello Progress Video | Mr. Zach's Playful Learner Blog, Topic #3: Determination!

Learning something new has it's risks and rewards... and the RISKS are very real, and very important! When we set out to learn something, we risk how we see ourself... it's vulnerable and frustrating even in the best of times. 

THANKFULLY Mr. Bock here was willing to document his progress - especially his early failed attempts - so we could all see what it looks like to hit obstacles and persevere. 

One of the things I like the MOST about the arts is that they are one of the safest contexts to get practice encountering and overcoming challenges. I don't know of any better medium than the arts for kids to get regular practice preparing for life's more important and consequential challenges.

We'll let Mr. Böck take it from here!


Continue Reading...

What are the Top 5 BEST Instruments for Kids? | Mr. Zach's Playful Learner Blog, Topic #2: Playful Starts!

Have you ever wondered what instruments are best to get kids started in music?

My Teddy! Inspire Kids! workshop shows you five GREAT starter instruments up-close that help our kids earn  personal fulfillment while working hard and having fun!

While you're watching, pay close attention to when your kids either PERK UP, or GET BORED...  Which do they seem to like MOST?

Ready? Let's explore the PIANO, a surprising relationship between the UKULELE and VIOLIN, and another surprising relationship between GUITAR and CELLO!

As Seen On Teddy! Inspire Kids!

Continue Reading...

They say in Gardening, "Feed the SOIL (Not the Plant)" | Mr. Zach's Playful Learner Blog, Topic #1: Teaching from the Top-Down

Welcome to "The Playful Learner!"

For those of you who don’t already know me, my name is Zach Tolan. I’m a father, a teacher, an inventor, and a very enthusiastic learner. I’ve taught music for many years, and in that time I've specialized in growing young musicians "from seed," that is to say, being their first teacher. 

This post is just an introduction, and I titled it "Feed the Soil, Not the Plant."

(Yes, I'm proud that I grew this basil plant from seed!)

They say in gardening, “Feed the soil, not the plant.” 

See, we can't get nutrients directly into the roots of the plant... but we can put fertilizer in the root's path to ensure they absorb what they can, when they're able. Therefore, we feed the soil to feed the plant.


  • Children are the plants. They are able to grow like mighty oak trees!  
  • Their environment is the soil. They are spreading their roots out every waking moment, absorbing...
Continue Reading...
Submit your info to hear about my live, interactive kids music programs before Fall enrollment opens! 🎹