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 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.


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 full of great tips for getting the most out of conferencing. Check it out here

Announcements, Conferences

2016 IndianaMTA Conference

Over the weekend, I attended the Indiana Music Teachers Association‘s annual state conference at Goshen College. I was honored to have the opportunity to give a presentation during their wonderful event.


My session was called, Schumann’s Big Bang: The Ever-Expanding Universe of Piano Literature for Children. It was so fun to share my research and discuss the huge range of music we piano teachers are fortunate to have available to us.  Continue reading “2016 IndianaMTA Conference”

Conferences, improving as a teacher, Music Learning Theory

2016 GIML Training (2): A Great First Week

[See previous post: 2015 GIML Training (1): The Adventure Begins]

I’ve had a great first week in Boston for the Piano Certification Course training sponsored by the Gordon Institute of Music Learning (GIML).

Here is a photo of Amy and I standing in front of Brookline Music School, which is hosting the training.

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Continue reading “2016 GIML Training (2): A Great First Week”

Conferences, Music Learning Theory, Professional Development

2016 GIML Training (1): The Adventure Begins

edwin gordonToday, an adventure begins: I am heading to Boston for two weeks to receive training in the Piano Certification Course sponsored by the Gordon Institute of Music Learning (GIML). The training is being given by Marilyn Lowe, author of the Music Moves For Piano method, and Jennifer Fisher.

This trip is possible thanks to an MTNA Teacher Enrichment Grant. If you’ve been following this blog for awhile, you might know that I am a huge fan of Edwin Gordon’s work. Having the opportunity to experience this training means a great deal to me.

My adventure buddy is Amy Chaplin (of We are driving well over 10 hours today from our respective homes in Indiana and Ohio.

I definitely plan to blog about our experience, but I am unsure whether I will keep up with blogging during the trip or if I’ll catch up after I return. However, I will definitely be posting some tidbits throughout the two weeks on Instagram or Facebook.

Interesting in learning more about Edwin Gordon’s Music Learning Theory (MLT)? Check out this blog post or Tim Topham’s podcast episode with Marilyn Lowe.

[See next post: 2016 GIML Training (2): A Great First Week]


2016 MTNA (5): Wednesday, April 6

Please enjoy my notes from Day 5 of the 2016 MTNA conference in San Antonio, Texas! Click here to go back to Day 4.

On Wednesday, the final day of the conference, Susan Hong and I began our morning at Bakery Lorraine to enjoy coffee and some baked goods. I’m so thankful she invited me to stay with her during the conference!


We attended two more sessions before MTNA 2016 came to a close.

8:00am Extended Piano Techniques for Children: Reading and Playing the Language of Our Time, by Kevin Richmond

The last day of the conference often offers some of the best sessions. Kevin Richmond gave an engaging and informative session about six types of extended techniques used in music written for children. Accordingly, he also discussed the various forms of non-conventional notation that composers have come up with to indicate each type of extended technique.

20160406_08-16-51 Continue reading “2016 MTNA (5): Wednesday, April 6”


MTNA 2016 (4): Tuesday, April 5

Please enjoy my notes from Day 4 of the 2016 MTNA conference in San Antonio, Texas! Click here to go back to Day 3.

8:00am Exhibitor Showcase – The Royal Conservatory Music Development Program: Digital Resources To Support Teachers And Ensure Student Success, by Marvin Blickenstaff and Elaine Rusk. 

In this session, I was excited to learn a bit about the new online resources that RCM offers to accompany the purchase of the latest revision of the “Four Star Sight-Reading and Ear Training” books.

20160405_08-54-25 Continue reading “MTNA 2016 (4): Tuesday, April 5”


MTNA 2016 (3): Monday, April 4

Please enjoy my notes from Day 3 of the 2016 MTNA National Conference in San Antonio, Texas! Click here to go back to Day 2.

8:00am Exhibitor Showcase: Piano Safari

The authors of the Piano Safari  method, Katherine Fisher and Julie Knerr, gave a very enjoyable session. Their method features a combination of an Intervallic Reading Apporach plus rote teaching to develop music literacy in the student.

Rote teaching is the systematic teaching of musical and artistic concepts through modeling rather than through music notation. Music is an aural art and thus transcends notation. Rote teaching is NOT training students to copy the teacher without any thought or understanding. And it can be used to increase reading ability.

Piano Safari offers a combination of pieces intended to be learned by rite and then by reading. There are many exciting benefits to learning rote pieces: Rote pieces allow students to play exciting music. They increase concentration and develop musical memory. More attention is free for technique. It is lends itself to more creativity: improvising and composing. The student also develops a strong confidence in their playing and performing ability. Learn more at Book 3 of the series has just been released.  Continue reading “MTNA 2016 (3): Monday, April 4”


MTNA 2016 (2): Sunday, April 3

Below are my notes from Day 2 while attending the 2016 MTNA conference in San Antonio! Click here to read Day 1.

8:00am Exhibiter Showcase — The Royal Conservatory: Enriching Every Lesson with Theory And Muscianship by Janet Lopinski.

I was very excited to learn more details about the upcoming Celebrate Theory series that will be available this summer! These will be available at every level (Prep A and B, and then 1-10) and are designed to support the Repertoire and Etudes book.

8:00am Exhibiter Showcase — Faber Piano Adventures: Effective Strategies For Adult Keyboard Learners. Continue reading “MTNA 2016 (2): Sunday, April 3”


MTNA 2016 (1): Pedagogy Saturday

Greetings from San Antonio, Texas! I am so excited to be here for the 2016 MTNA National Conference from April 2-6. I will be sharing a few highlights over the next few days.

I’m staying with a couple of friends: Susan Hong and Amy Chapin (check out her brand new blog, Piano Pantry). Here is a photo of us at Fogo de Chao last night for dinner, enjoying Brazillian buffet. Yum!

Saturday of the MTNA conference is always “Pedagogy Saturday” — an optional day (often my favorite day!) with a variety of tracks to choose from: Advanced Pianism, Musician Wellness, Music Learning Theory, Recreational Music Making, and Young Professionals. Below are notes from the sessions I attended.  Continue reading “MTNA 2016 (1): Pedagogy Saturday”

Conferences, improving as a teacher, Professional Development

Piano Pedagogy Seminar with Carolyn Miller

On Saturday, my local MTNA/OhioMTA chapter — the Northwest District OhioMTA — sponsored a piano pedagogy seminar with composer and teacher Carolyn Miller!

It was an honor to have her present for us. Her first session was entitled: “Matching Music to Inspire and Challenge Students.” She shared with us some helpful thoughts about choosing repertoire to suit students and demonstrated for us a variety of her compositions for students. Carolyn’s compositions are published with Willis Music, F.J.H., and others.

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Next, Carolyn led group discussion on “Why We Teach Music.” This session was particularly encouraging and rejuvenating to us as teachers!

My friend, Susan West, and I helped Carolyn demonstrate a number of her piano duet compositions.

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Partway through the day, we went to a local restaurant and enjoyed fellowship and conversation over lunch. Here is our group photo with Carolyn before lunch.

20160130_114010 NW OMTA seminar copy

During the third session, we learned about Carolyn’s series of books called: “Sportacular Warmups“. The Sportacular Warmups books were created after the example of the A Dozen A Day books (also published by Willis Music), but have a sports theme integrated throughout the exercises in a clever way.


We wrapped up the day with a masterclass. Four student participants performed pieces written by Carolyn.

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It was a wonderful day. Carolyn was a gracious and engaging speaker. Teachers who attended remarked that they enjoyed the sessions, the information, and the fellowship with other teachers.

Thanks goes to Carolyn Miller and my fellow members of the Northwest District OhioMTA for a successful day!