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by Dr. Melissa Martiros

Registrations are open for the 2019 National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy, to be held July 24-27 in Lombard, IL. This conference program can be found on the NCKP 2019  website and will feature many helpful sessions related to Inclusive Piano Teachingthat will include workshops, teaching demonstrations, and panel discussions. We would like highlight some of these events below and encourage all of our readers to visit us at NCKP!

This year’s Pre-Conference Sessions on Inclusive Piano Teaching will be held on Wednesday, July 24th. Dr. Melissa Martiros, Assistant Professor and Director of Music at Anna Maria College, will kick-off the event with her session Pedagogical Strategies for Children with Special Needs: Some Considerations and Suggestions. A nationally recognized leader in the field of Inclusive Piano Teaching, Dr. Martiros will merge concepts from piano pedagogy and special education as she provides research-based strategies related to teaching children with special needs in the piano studio. Immediately following, Dr. Beth Bauer, another highly recognized leader in the field, will present a session entitled the Legal Do's and Don'ts of Teaching Students with Special Needs. Dr. Bauer’s career has spanned across decades as her work has touched the lives of hundreds of children with special needs. Her insights related to navigating sensitive terrain with families are essential.  

Additional pre-conference sessions will be provided by Dr. Derek Kealii Polischuk, Assistant Professor of Piano and Director of Piano Pedagogy at Michigan State University, who will present The Power of Mentoring: Transformational Piano Teaching. During this session, Dr. Kealii Polischuk will provide research-supported developmental approaches to mentorship for gifted students, pianists with depression, and pianists with high-functioning autism. Sisters Kris and Emily Skaletski will present a session on Skills and Strategies for Inclusive Piano Teaching which will be especially helpful for teachers seeking specific strategies and techniques for students with special needs. This pediatric occupational therapist/early childhood music educator duo will provide practical strategies and tools to address the learning needs for all students in the piano studio. The final session will be led by Ms. Wendy Richards, a specialist in music braille pedagogy at the Blind and Low Vision Education Network New Zealand (BLENNZ). In her session Piano Lessons in the Dark, Ms. Richards will share anecdotes and experiences which highlight both challenges and solutions to teaching piano to children with visual impairments. The Pre-Conference Session will conclude with an interactive panel featuring all speakers and members of the conference committee for Inclusive Piano Teaching

Following the Pre-Conference Seminars will be three exciting days of workshops, panel presentations, and presentations, including a ground breaking Pedx9 session presented by Bryann Burgess, a motivational speaker and professional arts advocate with Down Syndrome, who will inspire us all as she illustrate the changes she has made in her community, and the impact she has had on music and the arts, and on her teachers, fellow students and colleagues. In their session, Teaching Repertoire to Special Learners: Practical Solutions, Dr. Beth Bauer, and Dr. Scott Price will discuss skills and challenges related to sequencing reading instruction and repertoire selection for teachers who operate inclusive studios. 

Dr. Bauer and Dr. Price, along with Dr. Melissa Martiros and Dr. Derek Polishuck, will present a panel entitled Teaching Students with Special Needs--Your Questions Answered. The group has presented this interactive panel at the 2016, 2017, 2017, and 2018 MTNA National Conferences along with the NCKP 2015 and 2017 conferences.. The primary goal of this session is to be helpful as we provide evidenced-based responses to questions related to studio management, teaching techniques, repertoire, and performance situations. Audience participation is HIGHLY encouraged! A call for questions has been sent out and all attendees are invited to submit email questions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

In another first for The National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy, Dr. Scott Price will present a plenary inclusive teaching demonstration with Chase Batten, one of his students with autism and other special needs who is enrolled in the Carolina LifeSong Initiative at The University of South Carolina School of Music. Dr. Price is internationally recognized for his work with students with autism. The inclusive teaching demonstration will take place on Saturday, July 27th, 2019.

The NCKP Committee for Special Needs includes Dr. Beth Bauer, Dr. Melissa Martiros, Dr. Scott Price, and Dr. Derek Kaelii Polishuk. More information on the NCKP 2019 Conference may be found at the conference website.

We look forward to seeing you in Lombard!