A couple of weeks ago, I joined a few piano teacher friends to virtually attend the 2022 MTNA Virtual National Conference from March 26-30, 2022. Although I definitely prefer in-person conferences over virtual conferences, I have to say that joining up with some buddies to watch the sessions together was a really excellent second option!
Last weekend, I attended an incredible 2-day state conference put on by the Michigan Music Teachers Association. I feel so fortunate to be part of such an amazing organization of music teachers here in Michigan. It was an outstanding event — definitely high on my list of memorable conferences. Huge thanks goes to the efforts of many hardworking folks behind it all. Oh, and can I also add, it felt SO good to be back at an in-person music event.
Our guest artist was Norman Krieger; guest conference clinicians were William Chapman Nyaho and Heather Nelson Shouldice (have you checked out her podcast on MLT?); and we also heard from a number of our own MMTA members presenting 20-minute talks.
I also just wanted to let you know that I recently switched my blog over to a new web hosting service. My site has been running on the slow side — perhaps you’ve noticed? After much troubleshooting and tweaks, I finally decided it was time to switch to another service and a faster plan. Things seem to be running super fast now, which makes me a happy camper. I hope your user experience on my website will feel great thanks to the increased speed!
If you have feedback or ever encounter any problems with my blog, don’t hesitate to let me know. I’d love to hear from you!
Your turn: Getting back to state conferences now… For those of you who are members of MTNA, what has been the status of your state organization? Have they been able to remain active in one way or another during the pandemic?
A few months ago, I mentioned this summer’s 2021 National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy (NCKP) virtual conference. The pre-conference sessions officially began TODAY (yay!). I’ve been happily enjoying some wonderful virtual sessions already this afternoon, and am so excited about the programming over the next few weeks. The NCKP planners have chosen a wonderful app that allows for connecting with other attendees while enjoying the virtual presentations. It’s the next best thing besides being in-person with my teacher friends and colleagues.
In this year’s NCKP, I am involved with two different sessions. The first is a presentation about a personal project with my young daughter, Aria, and our first year of Early Childhood Music sessions at home together. (I’ve been putting my ECM certification through the Gordon Institute for Music Learning (see GIML.org) to good use recently!) This session will take place during the pre-conference this Friday the 16th from 1:05-2:00pm EDT. Here’s the full description:
After getting my first taste of a national conference as a college student, I made a commitment early on in my career to always ensure I was making enough income to be able to afford professional development opportunities like these. There’s nothing like investing in yourself — you’re your greatest asset! Experiences like conferences can reap long-lasting benefits for improving your teaching, improving your business, and keeping yourself fresh and motivated in your career as a piano teacher.
The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic might still be putting a “pause” in larges in-person events, but we can still connect virtually! I am pretty excited about TWO upcoming music teacher conferences that are going virtual for 2021.
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!
Wednesday is always the final day of the MTNA national conference. There were two morning sessions on the schedule.
8:00am Teaching The Way We Learn: Applications Of Edwin E. Gordon’s Music Learning Theory (MLT), by Amy Chaplin & Joy Morin
Amy Chaplin and I were so pleased when we were notified our proposal was accepted back in June! It was an honor to be able to give our presentation about some of the core principles from Gordon’s Music Learning Theory (MLT) at a national conference.
On Tuesday morning, Ruth, Christina, I spent some time in the exhibit hall, checking out more booths and shopping for music. 🙂 For example, we visited Eik at her Sproutbeat booth.
While in the exhibit hall, I bumped into Sam Holland and took the liberty of introducing myself. He and I have been corresponding recent via email, because I am serving on the conference planning committee for the next OhioMTA state conference (October 24-26-, 2019) and Sam is going to be our guest pedagogue!
Here are more of my notes from the 2019 MTNA Conference in Spokane, Washington!
8:00am The Royal Conservatory of Music showcase: Well-Rounded Musicianship: The Pathway To A Lifetime Of Music Making, by Janet Lopinski and Elaine Rusk
First thing in the morning, I chose to attend the RCM showcase session highlighting the Celebration Series books (I LOVE these books and use them constantly in my teaching, especially the Prep A and Prep B levels. Yes, they are expensive, but they are worth it (IMO) and the accompanying Four Star Sight Reading and Ear Tests books. RCM always does a great job with their showcase sessions.
Sunday the 17th was the first full official day of the conference (not including the optional “Pedagogy Saturday”). That means the exhibit hall now open open, and there were a couple showcase sessions (sponsored sessions) scattered throughout the day.
For this year’s conference, my composer friend Paula Dreyer had asked me if I would be willing to be part of her team working at her Little Gems for Piano booth in the exhibit hall. I happily agreed, and enjoyed helping out a few hours each day at her booth! I also helped with Paula’s first-ever showcase session.
8:00am Little Gems for Piano: Rote and Pattern Pieces That Motivate and Captivate: Spark The Love of Music With Simply Beautiful And Expansive Repertoire For All Levels!, by Paula Dreyer
Paula Dreyer gave a wonderful presentation about her compositions for young pianists and why/how to use rote pieces in your teaching. She has a number of books of rote pieces for students now available, plus an early advanced suite called “Under a Flamenco Sky”.
I’m so excited to share with you highlights from the recent 2019 Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) national conference!
Pedagogy Saturday is an optional day of the conference, comprised of a variety of “tracks”: Advanced Piano/Teaching Artistry, Entrepreneurism, Musician Wellness, Recreational Music Making, and Teaching Students With Special Needs. It’s not easy to decide which sessions to attend, but I ended up choosing the Advanced Piano/Teaching Artistry track for most of the day, and then I switched to the Recreational Music Making track in the afternoon.
8:00am The Secret Lives of Phrases: Lies, Near Lies and Red Herrings, by Deborah Rambo Sinn
Deborah Rambo Sinn gave an interesting session about deconstructing phrases in order to build lyricism. She shared interesting examples from the piano literature where the phrase markings are confusing or deceiving.
So often, we find phrases marked in a way that does not reflect the way the phrase seems to go. Why do composers write slur markings that end before the phrase actually ends? Sometimes, it because the composers are making sure we don’t break a phrase in a particular place. Today’s composers are doing a much better job than composers of the past in marking phrases the way they want them played.
In her teaching and in her own study, Deborah finds it useful to find and mark the phrases, sub-phrases, and sub-sub-phrases in a melody. In this work, there are no right answers. Instead, it’s a matter of finding an answer that works.
I’m back from Spokane for the 2019 MTNA National Conference! It was wonderful. Here’s is the first of a series of posts about the conference and the sessions I attended.
My flight departed from Detroit on Friday the 15th at 4:30am (!!). After late night packing on Thursday, I decided to stay up rather than go to bed (haha), because my husband and I needed to be up at 1am to be able to leave on time to get to the airport an hour’s drive away. I managed to doze a little on the first flight, fortunately. I had a two-hour layover in Denver and landed in Spokane around 10am.
My wonderful host, Ruth Michaelis, had her daughter pick me up from the airport. Then, Ruth and I spent a couple of hours just chatting and getting to know each other. She is SO much fun.
I had offered to give Ruth’s students an informal masterclass, which we held at 2pm that afternoon.
Ruth’s students are preparing for their recital this weekend. I worked with each student on their piece, while engaging the rest of the students in the room in listening and responding to what they were hearing.
For dinner that evening, Ruth and I met up with Lynnette Barney. We enjoyed a nice meal and chatted about teaching and life in general. For some reason, I forgot to take a nice photo of us enjoying our time together but I remembered to take a food picture. (haha!)
I turned in to bed pretty early that evening, because my body was still on Eastern time. 🙂 Tomorrow was to be Pedagogy Saturday: a full day! Stay tuned.
#2: Below are the sessions I will be involved with during the conference. Please come, and say hi afterwards!
Saturday, March 16: “Games & Activities for Groups“, a 20-minute presentation during Pedagogy Saturday’s Recreational Music Making (RMM) track.
Wednesday, March 20 @ 8:00am: “Teaching the Way We Learn: Applications of Edwin E. Gordon’s Music Learning Theory (MLT)” with co-presenter Amy Chaplin.
Wednesday, March 20 @ 9:15am: “Creativity Throughout: A Panel Discussion on the Business Side of Teaching“, appearing as a panelist.
#3: Plus, I’m excited to be helping Paula Dreyer at her Little Gems for Piano booth in the exhibit hall! If you haven’t seen Paula’s books of rote pieces for young pianists, I highly recommend checking out her website here.