Conferences

NCKP 2017 (4): Saturday

[Click here to go back to Day 3.]

8am Kjos Publisher Showcase: Bastien New Traditions: Inspiring the Next Generation of Beginning Pianists, by Lori and Jane Bastien.

You probably know the Bastien name from the variety of method series (remember the iconic cover of the Bastien Piano Basics method?) and supplemental materials that were popular across past few decades. You may not know, however, that the Bastiens are back with the brand new method released last year (2016) called the Bastien New Traditions All In One Piano Course.

The Primer A book is off-staff reading, while the Primer B book is on-staff reading. If desired, the teacher can directly start the older beginner in the Primer B book. In this showcase, Lori demonstrated a number of the pieces from the method books, so that in hearing the pieces and the teacher duets we could gain a sense of the quality of the music.

Here's a photo taken of me with Jane Bastien and her daughter Lori!


Continue reading “NCKP 2017 (4): Saturday”

Conferences

NCKP 2017 (3): Friday

[Click here to go back to Day 2.]

First thing this morning, I joined Tim Topham live on Facebook to rundown of the previous day's events.
Check out our fun video here!

9:00am Effective Communication of Practice Expectations: Send them Home with the Tools for Success, by Scott Donald

Scott completed a survey recently exploring how teachers communicate at-home assignments to their students. After all, how well we communicate expectations and practice strategies determines the likelihood that the student will follow through.

In another project, Scott compared three modalities for communicating the same practice expectations: written, aural, and video. Those teachers who participated were to evaluate the number of errors in the performance. As it turned out, there was no statistically significant difference between the modalities. So, Donald decided he needed instead to take a look at what exactly what was being communicated. The top tips he shared: Be specific in your assignments. And practice together during the lesson.

Continue reading “NCKP 2017 (3): Friday”

Conferences

NCKP 2017 (2): Thursday

[Click here to go back to Day 1.]

8:00am Hal Leonard Showcase: Recent Classical Piano Publications from Hal Leonard

During this showcase sessions by Hal Leonard publishers, we were informed about a variety of new publications available. Of special interest are the new "At The Piano" books from Henle Verlag. These books contain original pieces by one composer, arranged and labeled by level of difficulty. The book contains information about the technique and interpretation of the piece. According to Henle, the books are most appropriate for Jose who are returning to the piano after a longer break. It's interesting to see Henle branch out into pedagogical publications!


9:00am Lost In Translation: Helping Students Connect with their Repertoie through the Subtleties of Musical Languages, by Ryan Greene and Thomas White.

In Ryan and Thomas's presentation, they shared some terms they have discovered and developed as a way of categorizing and talk about recognizable styles of music. Along the way, they shared plenty of musical example illustrating each style.

The styles include the Brilliant Style (as seen in scale passages in pieces by Clementi and Mozart), the Learned (Strict) Style (hearkening back to Baroque contrapuntal styles), the Singing Style (Chopin Nocturnes are exemplary), the Pastorale Style (based and nature and folk tunes and dances), the Turkish Style (an influence originating from the 1600s when the Ottomans were sieging Vienna), and Exoticism (when composers mimic a musical culture without complete integrity, such as "cowboys and Indians" subject matter or oriental music).

I found these categories fascinating. These are styles we commonly see in both pedagogical and standard classical repertoire and no doubt will prove useful for helpful students transfer experiences to new pieces.


Continue reading “NCKP 2017 (2): Thursday”

Conferences

NCKP 2017 (1): Wednesday Pre-Conference Seminars

Weeeeee! I'm blogging from here at the NCKP — the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy occurring in Lombard, Illinois. Amy Chaplin and I drove a five-ish hour trip to to get here and have been enjoying some wonderfully informative and inspiring sessions so far.

The first day of NCKP was the optional day of pre-conference seminars. This day consisted of a variety of tracks to choose from: technology, teaching students with special needs, musician wellness, collaborative pianists, young professionals, and independent piano teachers. Here's some notes from the sessions I attended.

1:30pm Keynote Address by Barbara Kreader

Barbara is the author of a new book, The Music of Teaching: Learning to Trust Students' Natural Development. This book focuses on the development of perception in our students and on what we as teachers can learn from our students.

Barbara gave a wonderful keynote address. She described a student of hers who found developing basic skills difficult. Barbara felt nearly out of ideas with this student, but found herself amazed at the ongoing tenacity and good naturedness of her student. She realized that this student likely struggled with other subject areas in school. She started asking the student for his ideas about what to do next. The student offered things like that he liked to stand when he felt frustrated and shake out the tension in his muscles. And he said he wanted to sing. They tried those things, and while it didn't make things magically easy, it did help. The student often will reveal what they need, if we just take the time to ask and listen.

Every child develops and matures at their own rate. Before a standardized school system, children graduated to the next skill, not to the next grade. And they did so when they were ready. It is not necessary for every student to graduate from one level to the next at the same time. As independent teachers, we are fortunate to have freedom to allow and nurture development appropriate for individual students.

Amy and I ran into Jennifer Foxx and Lynette Barney at this session. Conferences are wonderful for reconnecting with old friends and making new friends.


Continue reading “NCKP 2017 (1): Wednesday Pre-Conference Seminars”

Conferences, Professional Development

2017 NCKP and Other Upcoming Events

Hello, friends!

Any of you heading to the 2017 National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy in Lombard, IL? I’m heading out tomorrow and am looking forward to long weekend full of fun and learning.

I will be participating during a session as one of the panelists on a session called “Carving Out Your Career Path” at 2:30pm during the Young Professionals Track tomorrow (Wednesday). Maybe I’ll see you there!

After NCKP is over, my conference buddy Amy Chaplin and I are staying in the Chicago area to attend the Gordon Institute for Music Learning (GIML) conference a few days later. This is the first time either of us have attended this conference, so we are looking forward to seeing what it’s like.

In other news, I thought I’d also list some upcoming presentations I’ve been adding to my calendar recently. If you happen to live in Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, or Kentucky, I’d like to invite you to join me. I’d be happy to send you more details about these events upon request.

  • F, September 8, 2017: “Teaching the Way We Learn: Applications of Gordon’s Music Learning Theory for Piano Teachers.” Wood-Ottawa Counties MTA (Bowling Green, OH).
  • F, September 29, 2017: “Teaching the Way We Learn: First Applications of Gordon’s Music Learning Theory” with co-presenter Amy Chaplin. IndianaMTA state conference (Marion, IN).
  • Th, October 12, 2017: “Grounded in the Beat: Cultivating the Seeds of Rhythmic Fluency.” OhioMTA State Conference (Niswonger Performing Arts Center in Van Wert, OH).
  • M, November 6, 2017: “Teaching the Way We Learn: First Applications of Gordon’s Music Learning Theory” with co-presenter Amy Chaplin. KentuckyMTA state conference (Lexington, KY).
  • F, November 10, 2017: “Alexander Technique for Piano Teachers & Students.” Northeast Indiana MTA (Fort Wayne, IN).
  • F, December 8, 2017: “App-Laudable Uses of Apps in Music Lessons.” Grand Rapids Piano Teachers Forum (Grand Rapids, MI).
  • F, April 6, 2018: “Piano Method Mining: Uncovering Nuggets of Wisdom in Method Books.” Western Reserve MTA (Cleveland, OH).

You can find my full calendar here, and my list of workshop topics here.

Conferences

MTNA 2017 (5): Wednesday, March 22

[Click here to go back to Day 4.]

8:00am The More the Merrier: Creating Collaborative Experiences for Students of All Ages, by Sarah Alexander, Whitney Hawker, and Spring Seals. 

Sarah, Whitney, and Spring presented an informative session about simple ways to incorporate collaborative experiences into the piano lesson experience, from using duets for sight-reading or improvisation to hiring a guitarist, bassist, and drummer for a pop recital experience.

Check Whitney and Spring’s blog here: 4-D Piano Teacher blog. Continue reading “MTNA 2017 (5): Wednesday, March 22”

Conferences

MTNA 2017 (4): Tuesday, March 21

[Click here to go back to Day 3.]

8:00am Showcase: Willis Music Company: Happy Birthday Mr. Gillock!

The Willis Piano Music showcase session celebrated the music of composer William Gillock and highlighted some new publications. One of the books I found interesting was the Accent on Two Pianos for 2 pianos, 4 hands, by William Gillock.  Continue reading “MTNA 2017 (4): Tuesday, March 21”

Conferences

MTNA 2017 (3): Monday, March 20

[Click here to go back to Day 2.]

8:00am Faber Piano Adventures: The Power Of Technique & Artistry, by Randall Faber.

The Piano Adventures showcase session was excellent as always. Randy covered some new publications and helpful thoughts about teaching technique. Attendees received a free copy of Hanon-Faber: The New Virtuoso Pianist, the Adult Piano Adventures Popular, Book 2, and the Piano Adventures Technique & Artistry, Level 4 book. Faber’s new edition of the Hanon exercises present a selection of the Hanon exercises that have been “retooled” for the modern piano (longer strings, larger hammers, and heavier action than the piano of Hanon’s day).  Continue reading “MTNA 2017 (3): Monday, March 20”

Conferences

MTNA 2017 (2): Sunday, March 19

[Click here to go back to Day 1.]

9:15am NEW Pedagogy Pics: Video Clips of Students Caught In The Act of Being Themselves, by Bruce Berr.


Bruce Berr (well-known for his wonderful column in the American Music Teacher magazine — an MTNA publication for its members) has been video recording his lessons for the past 25 years. When students start lessons with him, he gets permission and just leaves the camera on all the time. He afterwards erases clips that aren’t worth keeping.

In his session, Bruce shared a handful of student videos and made pedagogical observations with each. The first video was a clip of a student improvising for the first time. The second clip was of an early advanced student working out some technical issues in a piece by Granados. It was fun to get a glimpse into his teaching style! Continue reading “MTNA 2017 (2): Sunday, March 19”

Conferences

MTNA 2017 (1): Pedagogy Saturday

Attending the 2017 Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) conference in Baltimore was a fantastic experience. I look forward to sharing more details with you over the next few blog posts.

My friend Amy Chaplin (of PianoPantry.com) and I decided to carpool and make it a roadtrip to the conference. She drove from her home in Indiana to my home in Ohio, to pick me up. Neither of us anticipated this kind of weather on Friday morning, however — take a look at the visibility on the roads that morning!

Fortunately, the visibility improved as the day went on and as we drove further east. We arrived safe and sound, late Friday night.

Continue reading “MTNA 2017 (1): Pedagogy Saturday”

Conferences, Technology

MTNA 2017: App-Laudable Uses of Apps in Music Lessons

It was an honor to have the opportunity to present a session at the 2017 MTNA conference this year! My topic was App-Laudable Uses of Apps in Music Lessons.

In my session, I addressed the responsible and effective incorporation of technology before launching into a demonstration of a variety of apps for music lessons.

If you would like to download the handout from my session, please click here. (Please note that the app information in the handout is current as of March 2017).

You can check out a list of app reviews I’ve written here on my blog here.

Conferences

MTNA 2017, Here I Come!

Baltimore, here I come!

I am so excited to be traveling to the 2017 MTNA National Conference, taking place in Baltimore from March 18-22.

This year, I’m roadtripping there with my friend Amy Chaplin, of Bluffton, Indiana.

I’m sure I’ll be blogging about the conference, but you might also be interested in following more real-time photographic documentation of my adventure, on Instagram. You can follow me here.

If you will be in Baltimore too, please say hello and introduce yourself!

P.S.: Amy just wrote a great blog post at PianoPantry.com full of great tips for getting the most out of conferencing. Check it out here