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.

10:15am Teaching Demonstration: Jani Parsons and Courtney Crappell, with Robert Duke as moderator.

Both teachers brought their own students, both age 7, to the conference to give live teaching demonstrations. It was wonderful to see the teaching of young students given attention during a national level conference such as this!

After each lesson demonstration, Robert Duke engaged with the teachers and the students to make observations and facilitate a conversation about what happened in the lesson.

One topic raised, for example, was what to do when a student seems to have forgotten what was done in the precious lesson and how their should practice a piece.

If you are frustrated with students not practicing and want to know what to do, Robert Duke says: Stop teaching as if they've practiced. Teach the same lesson again, but it will then take less time to get through the lesson. And there will be time leftover to cover new stuff. Asking, "Did you practice?" is perhaps not such a useful question as we might think!

Courtney said he finds that it takes student's two years to learn how to practice. Before that, he assumes that nearly all actually productive practice is occurring during the lesson time.

Robert Duke said that he is always trying to make things easy for the student. As easy as possible, versus trying to make the student work hard. Good teaching is marked by students accomplishing learning tasks without undue struggle, and that requires the teaching giving only appropriate challenges to the student.

I hope we will continue to see more of these wonderful teaching demonstrations at future NCKPs!

During the lunch hour and at other points during the conference, I managed to catch pictures with a few "pedagogy celebrities." 😉 Pictured: with Marilyn Lowe and Jenny Fisher, my teachers during the Gordon Institute of Music Learning training I took last summer; with Elizabeth Gutierrez of Piano Camp for Piano Teachers; with Helen Marlais of FJH Publishing, and E.L. Lancaster of Alfred Publishing.

1:30pm PEDx7

The PEDx7 sessions (inspired by TED talks) were fun, 20-minute presentations included for the purpose of challenging boundaries between art, pedagogy, service, music, technology, entrepreneurship, and innovation.

The first one, which I unfortunately missed due to being delayed in arriving to this session, was given by the Fifth House Ensemble. I heard it was a phenomenal session!

The next session was given by Charlie Albright speaking on the breaking down the "classical" old-fashioned rules of classical performances towards the goal of building new audiences and welcoming music-lovers across genres.

Pete Jutras shared about his involvement with a project providing long-distance piano lessons to a high school in Kenya and how this relationship and sharing of music has impacted both the students in Kenya as well as his college students and colleagues back home.

Derek Polischuk of Michigan State University shared about the Celebrating The Spectrum summer piano festival occurring at MSU, providing an opportunity for music students on the autism spectrum to preview life as a collegiate music major. The festival seeks not only to impact the students' musicianship, but also their families as they consider future scholastic activities.

The final PEDx7 session was given by Tom Townsend and Patricia Eastman, the founders of Pianos for People, a nonprofit that provides free pianos to low income families as well as free quality piano instruction at their schools in St. Louis and Ferguson, Missouri. It was so inspiring to see the impact that their work is having on their community!

3:30pm Balancing the Eye and Ear: Applying Principles of the Suzuki Method to Reading Based Teaching, by Christy Vogt-Corley.

In this session, Christy shared about some of the highlights of the Suzuki approach that can potentially be utilized even in a non-Suzuki approach. For example, the use of group classes alongside private lessons, teaching frequently by ear (in a manner similar to how language is learned), constant use of repetition to lead to high levels of mastery, and parent involvement.

4:30pm Exhibitor Showcase: Celebrate Piano Method: An All-In-One Comprehensive Method Overview and New Directions, by Cathy Alberto and Mitzi Kolar.

Did you know…the Celebrate Piano method has changed publishers to Stipes Publishing. The books since then have undergone just a couple of tweaks, including a new cover, but for the most part the books are the same as you know and remember. We can look forward to their being MIDI accompaniment tracks available soon in the future.

Celebrate Piano is pretty much an all-in-one-book series, which means it is not necessary to purchase separate books to get technique and theory content. It's all provided in the main book. The excellent variety of very high quality repertoire by living pedagogical composers as well as standard classical teaching pieces makes this piano method stand apart.

For dinner, a group of us went to Greek Islands restaurant. Say hi to Eik from Sproutbeat, Lauren from Piano with Lauren, Julie, and Amy from Piano Pantry!

After dinner, we can back for the evening recital given by Drew Peterson, 2017 winner of the American Pianists Awards.

Whew! What a full day. Stay tuned for notes from the final day of NCKP.

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