National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy – Quick Links

Here is a handy link list of all of my posts from the 2007 National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy


Thursday 8:00 a.m. – Publisher Showcase – Alfred – Premier Piano Performer Level 3
Thursday 8:45 a.m. – Publisher’s Showcase – Alfred – Professional Piano Teaching – A Comprehensive Piano Pedagogy Textbook for Teaching Elementary-Level Students
Thursday 9:30 a.m. – Keynote Address – Barry Bittman:Recreational Music Making, A Scientific Perspective for the Future
Thursday 10:15 a.m. – Teaching Demonstration – Janet Johnson: The Piano Detectives Club
Thursday 11:30 a.m. – Research Posters
Thursday 12:15 p.m. – Noontime Recital by Carol Leone
Thursday 12:30 p.m. – Noontime Recital by Carol Leone (cont.)
Thursday 1:20 p.m. – Lunchtime
Thursday 2:00 p.m. – Workshop – Mario Ajero: Podcasting: Harnessing the Power of Internet Audio and Video to Educate and Motivate
Thursday 3:15 p.m. – Mini-Recital
Thursday 3:45 p.m. – Plenary Session – Marienne Uszler: Outside the Box, Yes, but Which Box?
Thursday 4:30 p.m. – Publisher Showcase – FJH – Randall Faber: My First Piano Adventure
Thursday 8:15 p.m. – 2007 MTNA National Piano Auditions Winners Recital
Thursday 8:45 p.m. – 2007 MTNA National Piano Auditions Winners Recital (cont.)
Thursday 9:15 p.m. – 2007 MTNA National Piano Auditions Winners Recital (cont.)
Thursday 9:45 p.m. – Reception
Thursday 10:00 p.m. – The Late Show: Videos of Master Teachers in Action


Friday 8:00 a.m. – Publisher Showcase – FJH – Helen Marlais: New Directions in Classical Music
Friday 9:30 a.m. – Keynote Address – Angela Myles Beeching: Is What We Do Relevant?
Friday 10:15 a.m. – Teaching Demonstration – William Westney: The Interactive Piano Lesson
Friday 11:45 a.m. – Exhibitor Hall
Friday 12:15 p.m. – Noontime Recital – Phillip Keveren
Friday 2:00 p.m. – Workshop – James Goldsworthy: Keeping the First Lesson Open-Ended
Friday 3:15 p.m. – Mini Recital
Friday 4:45 p.m. – Publisher Showcase – Schaum: Light a Fire! Hot New Repertoire from Schaum
Friday 6:30 p.m. – Dinner
Friday 8:15 p.m. – Recital/Lecture by Richard Kogan:Music and the Mind: George Gershwin

Saturday 8:15 a.m. – Publisher Showcase – Kjos – Charlene Zundel: Rock Their Theory World!
Saturday 9:30 a.m. – Keynote Address – Martin Marty:Two Strangers at One Keyboard: the Musical Politics of “the Self” and “the Other”
Saturday 10:15 a.m. – Teaching Demonstration by Paul Wirth: Developing Artistic Command through Technical Mastery
Saturday 11:30 a.m. – Workshop – Drum Circle
Saturday 12:30 p.m. – Noontime Recital by Spencer Myers
Saturday 2:00 p.m. – Workshop – Jane Magrath: Teaching Literature for Piano: Outside the Box
Saturday 3:15 p.m. – Mini-Recital
Saturday 3:30 p.m. – Closing Recital – Tony Caramia: Traditions and Transformations

I hope you’ve enjoyed your virtual experience of the 2007 National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy! ~Natalie

National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy – Saturday 3:30 p.m.

The Closing Recital today is being given by Tony Caramia.

His program is:
American Ballads (1957) by Roy Harris (1898-1979)
-Streets of Laredo

Preludes by Bill Dobbins (b. 1947)
-F Minor (1996)
-G Major (2001)
-C-sharp Minor (1999)

Mrs. Malaprop (1952) by Cy Walter (1915-1968)

Concert Etudes by Earl Wild (b. 1915)
(based on themes of George Gershwin)
-Embraceable You
-O, Lady Be Good
-I Got Rhythm

Adagio Cantabile by Bill Dobbins (arr. 2001)
(from Sonata, Op. 13, Beethoven)

The Party Cat Blues by Keveren/Caramia

As he played, some very “outside the box” images were displayed on the overhead screen to correlate with the music.

A rather fitting way to end the 2007 National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy – Tradition and Transformation:
Learning, Playing and Teaching Outside the Box

I hope you’ve enjoyed the conference! Click here for a handy link list of all my posts from the conference.

National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy – Saturday 3:15 p.m.

The mini-recital today includes the following young performers:

Gabriella Pagliuca, age 13, playing In the Garden by Gurlitt and The Bear by Rebikov

Nicole Choquette, age 12, playing Arabesque, Op. 100, No. 2 by Burgmuller

Andrew Nguyn, age 10, playing Rigaudon by Gedike and Sewing Machine by Bonis

Mitchell Mussellman, age 12, playing March of the Trolls by Kraehenbuehl

Lydia Wallbaum, age 18, playing Page d’album by Debussy

National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy – Saturday 2:00 p.m.

Jane Magrath is now giving a workshop entitled Teaching Literature for Piano: Outside the Box

Purpose is to remind us of some pieces that perhaps we have forgotten about.

Teaching inside the box means that we maintain the status quo. Teaching outside the box is exciting and interesting for the students and ourselves.

She is exploring literature in the following categories:
The Baroque Boys
Sonatina Motivators…and More
Romantic Characterization and Albums for the Young
Romantic Intrigue
20th Century Spark
Flash and Spark

Dr. Magrath has compiled a selection of pieces that fit into each of these categories and is giving brief explanations of each one and playing through excerpts of them for us.

UPDATE: Dr. Magrath has graciously set up this site where you can download a copy of the handouts from this workshop.

National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy – Saturday 11:30 a.m.

One of the favorite events of the conference was the daily drum circle. 100 djembes from Toca Percussion were given away at each circle.

The instructor began with a solo performance, demonstrating the many different sounds that can be achieved on a single drum.

He went on to explain that there are two different ways to hold the djembe. Resting on your lap:

Or in between your knees. The important thing is to keep the bottom open so you can get a good sound:

The audience members eagerly await their chance to participate!

National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy – Saturday 10:15 a.m.

Dr. Paul Wirth is giving the teaching demonstration this morning. His focus is on Developing Artistic Command through Technical Mastery

Dr. Wirth took on a project specifically for the purpose of demonstrating at this conference. His student is 14-year old Tony Caparelli, whom he took on a year ago as a 13-year old student. He showed several video clips of Tony’s playing to illustrate some of the technical trouble that he was experiencing.

A funny anecdote: Dr. Wirth shares that he checked Tony for “finger blindness – you know that disease that prevents students from seeing the penciled-in finger markings in their score. He shines a bright light in their eyes and checks for the disease. Assured that they are disease-free, he proceeds with his teaching.

He goes on to share an analogy of a “studio rowboat” with an oar on each side:
1. “Well Spring” of Pedagogical Principles
-Music is a Language
-The Interpretive Process
-Piano=Harp on its Side
-Gravity Based on Technique
-Scales and Chords: Building Blocks of Music
-The Magic of Melody
-Nature’s Clues to interpretation
Beat, the Invisible Dynamic
-The Thing You Do is The Thing You Learn
-Repetition: The Mother of Learning
-Fingering is Everything

2. “Moving Waters” of Motivational Resources
-Peer Support
-Performing Example
-Pedagogical Principles

Although we are all different, there are specific technical principles that are common to all great piano performers. He identifies two mechanisms in the arm – the upper arm with the biceps and triceps and the lower arm with the wrist. He goes on to explain the primary technique is the ability to play either staccato or legato using no muscles from the first/upper mechanism. Secondary technique is gradually reapplying use of the biceps and triceps.

After demonstrating with Tony standing and then resting at a table, Tony moved to the piano to apply the principle to the piano keyboard. The analogy of walking through the snow was used. We don’t consciously think of needing to press the snow down as we walk, gravity automatically does that for us. Playing the piano keys should be the same. Gravity will apply the weight into the key bed for us. He continued to emphasize the need to keep the biceps and triceps completely relaxed while using the wrist to control the movement.

The beauty of this is that without pushing down or lifting up with the biceps and triceps, we cut the muscle use in half and make it much easier to manipulate and play fast chords and octaves. This is the essence of primary technique.

At this point, Dr. Wirth and Tony transitioned to secondary technique. Five Variations of primary technique were employed:
1. Karate chop
2. Fall-catch and Lighten Up
3. Bounce-off (a lift off the keys at the end of a phrase)
4. Bouncy walk (same as bounce-off, but not coming completely off the key)
5. Relax to crescendo (releasing the bicep muscle to create a crescendo)

Building an improved technique can open the door to a music room full of bigger and better musical pieces. However, it can also lead to bigger and better pieces devoid of musicality. Technical skills are a means to an end.

The demonstration was concluded with Tony performing the Chopin Etude they worked on throughout the year.

National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy – Saturday 9:30 a.m.

The keynote speaker this morning is Dr. Martin Marty. His session title is Two Strangers at One Keyboard – The Musical Politics of “the Self” and “the Other.”

With a witty sense of humor, Dr. Marty quickly has the audience laughing and engaged in his message. After a brief introduction in which he shares of those in his family who are involved in the teaching profession. He describes himself as a consumer in the field of music, but one who knows a lot about what he’ll be speaking about.

Dr. Marty next goes on to share a “cast of characters” of transformative thinkers whose ideas might be helpful to us:
* Emmanuel Mounier – personalism; a philosophy of service and not of dominion
* Martin Buber – “I and Thou”; all life is meaning
* Gabriel Marcel – “esse est coesse (to be is to be together)”; the other not as a problem, but as a mystery
* Jose Ortega y Gasset – “I am myself and my circumstances”
* Max Scheler – “ordo amoris”; the ordering of affection, not only intellect
* Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy – “respondeo etsi mutabor”; response to the student
* Michael Oakeshott – “conversation” as opposed to argument and dominance
* Emanuel Levinas – discovery of “the self” and “the other”
* Arthur Frank and Marcus Aurelius – “have you learned how to live?”
* George Smmel – the self and the stranger; stranger brings qualities

What bearing do these have on our subject?

“It is not my intent that you go to the library and look up these authors. I’d rather you make music.” Just consider how you are relating to your student, the learner. “The concentration is on doing. The circumstance or setting speaks of ‘at one keyboard.'”

Why the subtitle term “the musical politics” of the self and the other?
“If you didn’t have politics invented, you would have chaos and violence. The opposite – totalitarianism – is a dominant order. Politics – an invention that minimizes the violence and maximizes freedom. Historically many teachers were thought of as tyrannists.

Who is this “other,” in the light of what we have said?
“Someone who attempts to recreate the subject in the student’s mind, and his strategy in doing this is first of all to get the student to recognize what he already potentially knows, which includes breakup the powers of repression in his mind that keep him from knowing what he knows.” Northrop Frye

Reviewing our thinkers in this situation:
Dr. Marty shares an illustration from one of his grandchildren to reiterate his point that students should be viewed as a mystery, not as a problem. His granddaughter exclaimed, “I’m glad Jesus rose from the dead. He sure was a nice guy.” “Where do children come up with these things?” asks Dr. Marty. It’s great!

The student, child or adult, as “mystery,” not “problem”:
Spend time to think about your students. Assume and promote technique, but advance “mystery” of the student through wonder, imagination, empathy, story, play, etc.

Why relate this to “the stranger” and “self” and “other”:
Dr. Marty shares that he has spent a lot of time studying the conflict between different religions in the world. Many people say that “tolerance” is the key to getting along. What they really mean is “If I can get you to believe as little as I do, then we can get along alright.” He asserts instead that hospitality is the key. People should continue to be who they are, but appreciate what others can add to their life.

Addressing “the stranger,” again, psychological, spiritual, esthetic, and behavioral “hospitality,” xeno+philia in a two-way transaction within a larger context.

Bottom lining: “get real, M.E.M.”
All this is to happen withing regular half-hour or hourly music lessons? Yes. It may even be time-saving. But it doesn’t mean psycho-analyzing students. It’s just a way of viewing the whole student.

National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy – Saturday 8:15 a.m.

First up this morning – another publisher showcase. There are three to choose from each time and this morning I opted for the Kjos presentation. Primarily because while visiting with Charlene Zundel (of TCW Resources, which is now being published and distributed by Kjos) at the Kjos booth yesterday, I found out that they would be giving away free money. 🙂

They started out the session playing several of the games they have created and now have launched into an overview of their theory books.