Conferences, Group Classes, Resources

Blickenstaff’s Performance Practice “Rules of Thumb”

Last October, well-loved pedagogue Marvin Blickenstaff appeared at the Ohio Music Teachers Conference I attended.  I blogged a summary of my notes from a great session he gave called “Performance Practice Made Easy”, which was all about “Rules of Thumb” to give for students during group classes about playing musically.  If you would like more details about Marvin’s wonderful “Rules of Thumb,” check out the recent July/August issue of Clavier Companion magazine!  There’s an article on page 34 by Marvin with plenty of examples.  Be sure to check it out!

P.S.: If you are not already subscribed to Clavier Companion, I HIGHLY recommend it!  It’s my favorite magazine — I love getting inspired by all their great articles.  It’s very affordable, too — especially their new digital-only subscription option!


2011 OhioMTA Conference (5): The Anderson & Roe Piano Duo!

The Anderson & Roe Piano Duo gave a performance and a masterclass at the 2011 OhioMTA Conference.  Greg and Liz, in addition to being marvelous performers, are such genuine, down-to-earth people.  They had great insight for the students who performed during the masterclass.  If you ever have the opportunity to hear them live, I highly recommend it!

Photo: me with Anderson & Roe!!!

This wraps up my series of posts on the 2011 OhioMTA Conference!  I just wanted to also let you all know too that I am going to be revising some of my conference note posts to make sure that they are indeed just summaries of the sessions.  I want to make sure that I am respecting the presenters’ material and hard work.  While I do feel that my notes are my possession, I do not want to publish too much detail about entire sessions because it might open the possibility for others to take credit for the presenters’ work.  If you ever want more detail about a session I write about, please don’t be afraid to email the presenters and ask them if they’d be willing to share more information or even a copy of their handout with you.

Stay tuned for a new printable tomorrow!  Cheers!

Conferences, Group Classes, improving as a teacher

2011 OhioMTA Conference (4): Piano Pedagogy 101, by Marvin Blickenstaff

Here’s another session given by the well-loved pedagogue Marvin Blickenstaff from the 2011 OhioMTA Conference:

Piano Pedagogy 101: Reviewing the Basics

Mr. Blickenstaff introduced this session by commenting that at conferences and workshops, we often hear ideas for teaching intermediate and advanced students, but we don’t very often hear ideas for teaching beginners during that first year of piano lessons.  The purpose of this session to give a refresher of sorts and to provide new ideas for teaching beginners, particularly in groups.

Mr. Blickenstaff basically led us through a series of short activities that he uses during group classes with beginners.  He begins the first few classes with some icebreaker activities that all students can succeed doing.  These initial successes set the tone for the entire year!

Here are a few examples of some of the beginner-level icebreaker activities Mr. Blickenstaff likes to use with his students:

Continue reading “2011 OhioMTA Conference (4): Piano Pedagogy 101, by Marvin Blickenstaff”

Conferences, Group Classes

OhioMTA Conference (3): Performance Practice Made Easy, by Marvin Blickenstaff

The next session was given by the fabulous Marvin Blickenstaff:

Performance Practice Made Easy: Rules of Thumb for the Piano Student

As teachers, we are always interested in fostering independence in our students — perhaps most importantly in the aspect of interpretation (making music musical and artistic). This is an elusive thing to teach.  It’s about getting beyond the notes.  It’s taking the dots on the page and transforming them into something that can change our lives.

Mr. Blickenstaff then told us about the Repertoire Classes he holds each week with his private students.  Students must announce their piece, the composer, and give some kind of explanation as to why the composer wrote the piece.  The students listening must take notes on what the performing student said, and also write down how the piece made them feel.   Continue reading “OhioMTA Conference (3): Performance Practice Made Easy, by Marvin Blickenstaff”

Conferences, improving as a teacher, Professional Development, Teaching Piano

OhioMTA Conference 2011 (2): Toxic or Terrific Teaching by Nicole Biggs

The next session at the OhioMTA Conference was given by Dr. Nicole Biggs, the new piano professor at Bowling Green State University in my town:

Toxic or Terrific Teaching: Exploring the Strategies that Bring out the Best in our Students

Dr. Biggs began by pointing out that our goal as teachers is to inspire and motivate our students in such a way that they can go on independently without us.  Our goal in effect is to teach ourselves out of a job.

A potential problem for some of us as teachers is that we may unintentionally emulate the teaching models we experienced, whether good or bad.  It’s a challenge, but if we perhaps experienced “toxic teaching” during our own studies, we need to find ways to ensure these teaching strategies don’t filter into our own teaching.  We need to transform any toxic teaching strategies into terrific teaching strategies.   Continue reading “OhioMTA Conference 2011 (2): Toxic or Terrific Teaching by Nicole Biggs”

Conferences, Reading Notation

OhioMTA Conference 2011 (1): Learn at First Sight by Margaret Young

The recent Ohio Music Teachers Association conference I attended was wonderful.  I had the opportunity to meet other teachers both near and far from where I am in Ohio, and I also learned a lot!

The first session I attended was an informative presentation by Dr. Margaret Young.  Dr. Young cited a large number of research studies throughout the session and had a two-page bibliography in the handout (!).  I will not be providing those facts and citations here, but rather presenting a summary of some of the points Dr. Young made.  If anyone is interested in more in-depth information about Dr. Young’s session, I’m sure you could contact her and see if she’s willing to share a copy of the handout.  🙂

Learn at First Sight: A Review of the Current Research Literature on Sight-Reading

Dr. Young went through a number of questions, each time answering in detail what the research says about each issue.  Some of the questions were: What does sight-reading involve?  What factors influence or predict sight-reading success?  Continue reading “OhioMTA Conference 2011 (1): Learn at First Sight by Margaret Young”


Ohio Music Teachers Association 2011 Conference

Any fellow Ohioans out there?  The Ohio Music Teachers Association (affiliated with MTNA) 2011 State Conference will be taking place October 9-11.  It’s occurring in my hometown, which will be very convenient for me.  I’m very excited about meeting some of the other teachers in my area and hearing some great speakers and music.  Among the presenters and performers this year are Marvin Blickenstaff and the Anderson & Roe piano duo.  It’s going to be a great conference!

Speaking of Marvin Blickenstaff, Marvin is going to be hosting the NCKP’s facebook page today, answering questions from teachers.  It should be interesting to follow throughout the day!  Click here to visit their facebook page and see what’s going on.