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.

9:15am Chopping Down The Rhythm Tree: The Status Quo Has Got To GO!, by Curtis Tredway. 

Curtis’s engaging session explored effective ways to help students with rhythm. He addressed common issues students have with rhythm, and shared his method for counting and clapping rhythms.

The rhythm tree explains how we perform the rhythm in the same way that physics explains what LeBron James does when he shoots a basket, or how the periodic table explains baking a cake. But the rhythm tree does not tell you how to actually perform the rhythm. Curtis’s sequence for rhythm experiences is this: “This what it ___ like.” — (1) sounds, (2) sings, (3) moves, (4) counts, (5) looks.



Here’s a photo of the free music I brought home with me, collected during either the showcase sessions or in the exhibit hall. I love seeing what new teaching materials are being published!

After the MTNA conference was over, Amy Chaplin and I stayed in the D.C. area for a couple more days because we wanted to observe some lessons given by an experienced MLT teacher, Nancy Anderson, who we met during the last few days of the GIML training we both experienced in Boston back in August. We learned a lot from the lessons we observed as well as our lovely conversation over dinner.

Amy and I also took a food tour in D.C., just for fun.

We saw this cool piano building…

We enjoyed Ben’s Chili and Ethiopian food, among other things. Yum!

Back home in Ohio, things are back to reality. 🙂

I learn so much when I attend conferences. They are an crucial part of my continual learning and growing as a piano teacher. Not only do I learn more things about the piano and teaching effectively, but I always end up learning things about myself as both a teacher and a person. Meeting and talking with other teachers is every bit as instrumental towards this result as is attending the conferences sessions.

To be sure, having the opportunity to present a session at MTNA and being able to travel with my conference buddy Amy were highlights of this year’s conference.

Amy wrote her own summary of the MTNA adventures that you may be interested in checking out here.

Next year’s MTNA conference is in Florida. Perhaps I’ll see you there!

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