Summer 2019: NCKP, South Shore Piano Camp, OregonMTA, and More

Hello, readers! Summer is gone, and we’re now into the groove of the new school year. My last blog post shared the details of my recent Piano Teacher Retreat, held August 1-3, 2019. The rest of August went like a blur, due to a variety of travel. Here’s a little bit of a catch-up post!

NCKP 2019: July 24-27

Backing up just a step… The week before the retreat, I attended NCKP 2019. It was a phenomenal conference, as always!

I attended so many great sessions. My favorite was a session given by Louis Svard, presenting on “The Musical World of Infants: What It Can Tell Us About How Children Actually Learn Music.” She has a blog called The Musician’s Brain you can check out here.

I had the privilege of presenting two sessions during NCKP, both on Wednesday as part of the Pre-Conference Seminars. First, I gave a session for the Wellness Track called “Lessons for Piano Teachers from the Alexander Technique.” In this session, I share my experience as a student of the Alexander Technique and how taking AT lessons has impacted me as a musician and piano teacher.

Later that afternoon, I also presented one of my favorite talks: “Piano Method Mining: Gems from Past and Present.” In this session, I provide a survey of piano methods from past to present, highlighting the ones consider most notable and still useful today. The room was full, and I received such wonderful feedback afterwards!

There were SO many wonderful sessions I attended. I also had the honor of spending time in the exhibit hall helping Paula Dreyer with her booth. (If you haven’t checked out her Little Gems For Piano books, I highly recommend them!)

Most evenings, I joined with a group of teachers to walk to a nearby restaurant for dinner.

This is how music teachers occupy themselves while waiting for a table to become available: we figure out how to spell “NCKP”! 😉

I could write much more about the sessions I attended at NCKP but in favor of freeing myself to be able to blog about more recent projects, I’m going to leave it at that!

(By the way, NCKP is a fabulous conference held every-other-year in Lombard, IL. I highly recommend it — perhaps you’ll want to plan to attend NCKP 2021!)

South Shore Piano Camp: August 12-16

Some time ago, my friend Jonathan Roberts from the Boston area had invited me to return this year once again to teach at the summer piano camp he organizes: South Shore Piano Camp.

I joined several other faculty members, including my friend Marilyn Lowe. I flew out to Boston a couple days early, in order to hear Marilyn give a two-day workshop about Music Learning Theory (MLT).

It was great to get a refresher on MLT and learn some new things, too!

During Jonathan’s five-day South Shore Piano Camp experience, I taught composition classes and masterclasses.

For composition class, the goal is for each student to create their own original composition by the end of the week.

To accomplish this, I drew upon many of the composition materials available here on my blog, including the Flashcards for Composition/Improvisation and my So, You Want To Be A Composer? camp curriculum. You might also be interested in seeing my Composition & Improvisation Prompts for Piano resource.

Students worked independently on their compositions and took turns using the pianos we had in our room.

By the end of the week, each student had a final hand-written copy and a professionally engraved (by me!) copy of their composition. They also had the opportunity to perform their composition during one of the end-of-the-day recitals.

Jon does a great job creating a fun camp experience for students to together share in their love for music. The entire week was a blast.

One evening during camp, a Boston area teacher friend, Katya, invited Marilyn and I to join her for dinner at a Russian restaurant. I was so excited to try Russian food (it’s not often you see Russian restaurants around!), and we were all so pleased with the delicious meal we enjoyed!

OregonMTA State Conference: August 21-24

My next August trip was to Eugene, Oregon. Yes, I went from spending time on in the East to spending time out West!

I was honored to be one of three speakers at the OregonMTA‘s 2019 state conference, alongside Helen Marlais and Dennis Alexander. I presented two sessions: “Teaching the Way We Learn: 5 Principles from Gordon’s Music Learning Theory (MLT)” (a session I normally co-present with Amy Chaplin) and “A Quarter Note = 1 beat” and Other Lies My Music Teacher Told Me”.

Both sessions are FUN, interactive sessions sharing teaching strategies for increasing “audiation” skills in our students based on principles from Edwin E. Gordon’s Music Learning Theory.

I met many wonderful teachers during the OregonMTA conference! And the conference was so well planned and organized.

One evening, I joined an organized walk/hike to see a lookout spot over Eugene called Skinner’s Butte. The weather was perfect for this.

The roses in the park were lovely.

The view was well worth the hike!

I was glad for the opportunity to get out and see a bit of nature during my trip.

Whew — August was a full month, but I wouldn’t give up any of my trips even if I could. My heart feels full remembering the highlights from each of these trips!

Thanks for vicariously traveling with me through this blog post. 🙂 More blog updates coming soon — stay closely tuned!! You won’t want to miss out. 🙂

[P.S.: Looking for a speaker for your next music teacher event? Here’s info about my workshop topics.]

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