The Time Focus Music Method

The Time Focus Music Method by Kyle Coughlin is a series of educational books and materials that helps students enjoy their practice time and focus on individual elements of music to improve their abilities. It is a step-by-step approach that guides students to focus on one skill at a time and develop good habits that carry into their performances. All of the books and online materials can be used for individual or group study with any number of musicians.

The newest addition to the site is Time Lines, a thorough rhythm and reading method with hundreds of rhythm exercises and patterns, melodies, and Time Games, which are two part compositions that can be played as duets or ensemble pieces. The book is available for all concert band instruments, piano, and recorder. There are many online educational tools, with more to come.
Time Expressions serves as a basic introduction to two performance aspects that help musicians play expressively: dynamics and articulations. It includes exercises, melodies, and duets.
Time Shapes is a method designed to improve pitch recognition and reading skills.
Time Designs combines the materials of Time Expressions and Time Lines to create complete pieces for study and performance.

Why Focus is Important When Practicing Music

How many things can you concentrate on at one moment? By definition, concentration is the act of focusing your attention on one specific thing. Making music requires us to be aware of many things and perform several actions at the same time, though. For example, a good clarinetist can read complicated notations that indicate pitch, rhythm, volume, articulation, and tempo, AND breathe deeply and exhale through a tiny space in a mouthpiece while controlling their throat, lips, and tongue in a way that produces a sound that is pleasing, AND gently cover holes and push keys with their fingers at the precise moment that is indicated, AND be aware of what all of the other musicians around them are playing, and that is just scratching the surface! Every instrument requires similar actions and levels of awareness, whether it’s a wind, brass, string, keyboard, or percussion instrument.

Doing all of those things accurately and musically is a very demanding task for the best of musicians, let alone students. The goal of the Time Focus method is to address those challenges and help people become better musicians.

How Do We Learn to Become Better Musicians?

The stock answer is “practice, practice, practice.” But how do you practice?
The Time Focus series of books and web materials addresses this challenge by helping students improve their skills and awareness, focusing on one or two elements of music at a time. The Time Focus materials offer an opportunity for students to develop good practice routines by internalizing information and skills that become good habits. Eventually we are able to play music without having to concentrate on every single detail, but we can still be very aware of the music we are producing. New elements are gradually added, thus expanding the range of students’ musical skills and awareness. Select a link above to get started with Time Focus.