Little Hands: Establishing Great Technique from the Beginning

presented by Fred Karpoff (2020)
One of the greatest challenges piano teachers face is instilling a great technical foundation with child beginners. Most youngsters lack adequate muscle definition in addition to coordination. How can teachers best establish good habits from the first lesson, and reinforce them going forward? Fred’s mission is to help teachers become confident in addressing any technical problem you may encounter. He’ll share his latest research on incorporating whole-body, three-dimensional technique. Video with students will amplify demonstrations on sitting position, arm weight, portato, the sound point, tone production, the basic vibrato motion, shaping, two-note slurs and more, including recommended repertoire.

Repertoire Swaps: Advocating for Women Composers Through Intermediate to Early Advanced Romantic and Impressionistic Solo Repertoire

presented by Lynn Worcester Jones (2020)
Are you tired of assigning the same teaching repertoire year after year? Do you find that the repertoire you assign was composed mostly by men? In this session, we will look at how we can advocate for women composers through repertoire swaps—substituting standard piano repertoire composed by men with similar (and often more interesting!) repertoire by women. A range of intermediate to early advanced Romantic and Impressionist repertoire by six women will be discussed.

The Benefits of Demonstrating in Lessons: Finding Imaginative Ways to Illustrate Any Concept

presented by Thomas Lanners (2020)
Demonstrating musical and technical concepts in lessons, whether through playing passages for students or by other more imaginative means, can bring to life concepts that had previously only been described verbally. Because the elusive, almost indescribable aspects of music are what make it so uniquely moving and appealing, an effective demonstration can substitute for a great deal of potentially confusing verbiage. Singing, conducting, and movement combined with visual, aural and tactile imagery and a host of other approaches, may efficiently resolve a wide range of difficulties.

Fired Up for Teaching Teens

presented by Jennifer Eklund (2019)
Jennifer Eklund discusses strategies for successfully navigating the lesson process with teenage beginners. Learn how to keep them motivated and fired up for the endeavor of taking up the piano at a later age. She will also discuss her Fired Up! method book series that is specifically written for this age group.

The Advantages of Teaching Preschoolers: Practical Tips for Reaching and Teaching

presented by Kris Skaletski (2019)
Learn effective business and teaching strategies for building your studio with daytime teaching options such as where to go, what to say, and what to do, while you grow your piano lesson feeder program with well-prepared little pianists.

Working with Adults: Facilitiating Music Making Throughout the Lifespan

presented by Dr. Pamela Pike (2019)
Adult music students are unique and may need specialized musical materials, and progress at a different pace than typical children. Dr. Pike will explore adult music study through the lens of the lifespan perspective. She will address physical and motor considerations as adults age and review materials that work well with adult piano students. Pre-recorded videos of adults in individual and group lessons will highlight effective teaching techniques.

Being Present in the Piano Lesson

presented by Dr. Susan Ogilvy (2018)
Our piano studios are filled with a diverse collection of children these days.  We know the reasons these little beings are enrolled for piano are just as varied.   How can we teach our best lesson – every lesson – to this wide spectrum of students?  Let’s explore how being present can be our most valuable tool!

Exciting and Novel Ways for Students to Engage Their Audience

presented by Shana Kirk and Michelle Sisler (2018)
Let’s face it. Recitals can be boring. It is true the audience was applauding but that was to keep them awake. Capture your audience and turn your recitals into a spectacular show with easy student or teacher created multimedia, imagery, digital backdrops, and audience participation.

Improve Your Teaching Effectiveness

presented by Sara Ernst (2018)
All teachers agree that we do not have enough time with our students and that we must use creative teaching techniques to maximize every precious minute. Music education research reveals methods in which our lesson time can be more efficient and productive. Using video from actual lessons, Sara will explore a lesson planning and teaching method that can be incorporated into your lessons immediately, improving the quality, efficiency, and musicality of each lesson.

Practicing with Presence

presented by Thomas Lanners  (2018)
Students’ minds often wander when practicing for extended periods, allowing poor musical and technical habits to develop, as ears and emotions are no longer fully engaged in the precise activity at hand. A solution as simple as taking periodic practice breaks may help, but most young musicians must develop a greater focus on each step in the learning process as they execute it, rather than fixing their minds on the results these steps may produce in the future. Lamenting past difficulties or worrying about future progress draws thoughts away from the present, the only time when true progress is possible.

Creating Music Addicts: The Psychology Behind a Highly Successful Music Studio

presented by Julie Sansone (2018)
The field of Human Needs Psychology offers profound and practical insights into understanding the fundamental needs of our students. Research shows that if students associate music study with the fulfillment of at least three of their six Human Needs, we succeed in creating a “music addict.” Learn about the six Human Needs and how to tell which ones a student values most. Explore strategies for helping students fulfill those needs through their music study to help us troubleshoot our relationships, better connect with parents and colleagues, and market our studios more effectively.

Developing Chord Fluency

presented by Bradley Sowash (2018)
Like language students who have memorized vocabulary but are not yet conversant, pianists who have learned to construct chords may not yet be “chord fluent.” How do we help our students move beyond music theory worksheets to being able to interpret chord symbols and identify underlying harmonies in literature? Learn drills, exercises, and creative prompts from a master improvisation teacher to help your students recognize and play chords effortlessly both on and off the bench.

Hearing Voices? Addressing the Subject of Balancing Voices in Pianistic Textures

presented by Thomas Lanners (2017)
Musicians, during the course of their training, learn to pay close attention to many musical elements simultaneously. Pianists in particular, whether soloing or collaborating with other musicians, should constantly attend to what is commonly called “voicing” or “balance,” highlighting musical lines of greatest import while subduing others. By doing so, they can create a breadth of sonorous possibilities that matches the broad spectrum of pitches their instrument produces. Thomas will explore ways to master this difficult and often-neglected skill, which can separate merely good pianists from truly exceptional ones.

Practice Tips

presented by Dr. Pamela Pike (2017)
Have you ever wondered what your students during practice in the six days between lessons? Pike spent three months trying to answer that question by observing typical piano students practice and asking them (and their teachers) about their practice strategies. During this session, Pike will show video clips of teenaged students practicing in their homes, she will give reasons that the home practice does not always seem to match teacher expectations, and offer concrete suggestions for how we can empower our students to practice effectively, on their own, at home.

Teaching Uphill: Making Progress When Students are Over-Connected, Over-Scheduled and Exhausted

presented by Sarah Lyngra (2016)
Do you have students who are interested in piano but over-scheduled and don’t have time to practice? In Teaching Uphill you will learn some basics about how the brain works, how students learn, and how to use this to make the best use of your time in the lessons.

Coping with Parents

presented by Scott McBride Smith (2016)
“I can always work with the students,” said one well-known teacher. “It’s the parents who give me fits.” Do you feel a little fit-full yourself? Running a successful independent studio requires expertise in dealing with difficult people. Handled correctly, complainers can turn into your biggest supporters. Join Scott McBride Smith for a hands-on session full of practical techniques and ideas for managing those important, and sometimes annoying, parents.

Sight Reading Strategies for the Beginning and Intermediate Student

presented by Dr. Pamela Pike (2016)
The ability to read music at sight is a critical skill for beginning and intermediate musicians. Dr. Pike will discuss effective strategies that teachers can use to enable students to recognize musical patterns, develop motor skills, and hone reading skills.

Teaching and Retaining the Post Millennial Piano Student

presented by Dr. Kevin Olson (2017)
Dr. Olson will share some of the most recent social science research on the current generation of K-12 students, and will discuss ideas of ways piano lessons can be customized to the strengths and challenges of this group who have grown up in the Digital Age.  Focus will center on the first years of piano instruction, with goal of creating a culture where students can become fluent musicians in a spirit of discovery and engagement.

Developing a Sense for Rhythm and Timing with Latin American Pieces

presented by Alejandro Cremaschi (2016)
Latin American music is ideal to help students develop a broad understanding of rhythm and timing. Several Latin American composers created attractive piano pieces, often inspired in folk traditions, where rhythm is the primary element. Alejandro will introduce  intermediate and advanced pieces that contain rhythmic and timing challenges, and will demonstrate practical techniques to help students develop a better understanding of rhythm, timing and direction.  The goal is to help students learn how to feel music “beyond the beats,” to develop better rhythmic control, and more efficient and musical ways of organizing phrases based on a sense of embodied rhythmic flow and macrobeat.