2013 Workshops

Stay tuned to our website for more workshops as information becomes available! 

Beyond the Piano Studio: How to Make Engaging Instructional Videos for Your Students

From simple to complex, this session will demystify the process of making instructional videos for your students. Do you want to demonstrate a certain skill? Inspire your students to play the latest pop song? Create an online video archive of major musical concepts? We'll walk you through the latest, greatest technology that will enable your studio to shine online!


Mario Ajero, Associate Professor of Piano at Stephen F. Austin State University, is internationally recognized for his incorporation of technology in piano pedagogy and music education. He hosts The Piano Podcast with over 10,000 subscribers worldwide.


Shana Kirk is a nationally recognized expert in music-teaching and performance technologies. She writes for American Music Teacher and Clavier Companion, gives workshops and performances nationwide, and maintains a studio in Denver, CO.



Stella Branzburg Sick holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music and the University of Minnesota.  She teaches at Hamline University, and is a Managing Director of the Minnesota International Piano-e-Competition.  Dr. Sick has presented at NCKP, MTNA, and CMS conferences.



The Inclusion of Students with Disabilities in the Piano Studio

This session will describe ten characteristics for teaching students with disabilities in the piano studio.  These practical solutions will help teachers as they work with this population, and will demonstrate their applicability to the teaching of all students.  Attendees will be given handouts with lesson ideas as well as a detailed bibliography of useful sources.  A special highlight will be live and video performances by students of Dr. Bauer and Dr. Price.

Beth Bauer is pedagogy instructor at the Wheaton College Conservatory. She is the founder of Beethoven’s Buddies, a music program for students with developmental delays. Her work with students with disabilities is nationally recognized.


Scott Price is Professor of Piano/ Piano Pedagogy at the University of South Carolina, President of the Board of Trustees of the Frances Clark Center for Keyboard Pedagogy, and well-known for his work with students with autism.


 The Dynamics of Group Teaching

Students in productive groups are fully engaged in the lesson material, analyzing and discussing their playing and repertoire with their classmates and peers, and taking an active role in their learning.  Group interaction helps to promote enthusiastic and independent students. This session will focus on how to facilitate positive group dynamics with practical tips and strategies. The panel will review a short video of group dynamics in action and will invite audience discussion.

Gail Berenson is Professor of Piano at Ohio University and a noted expert on musician wellness. Past President of the Music Teachers National Association, she has performed and lectured in over thirty states and nine countries.  


Sylvia Coats, NCTM, has been professor of piano pedagogy and class piano at Wichita State University for the past 27 years. She authored Thinking as You Play: Teaching Piano in Individual and Group Lessons.



Christopher Fisher, DMA, NCTM, is Associate Professor of Piano, Keyboard Division Chair, and Coordinator of Group Piano Studies at the Ohio University School of Music. Dr. Fisher is the author of Teaching Piano in Groups.


Teaching Scenarios:  Handling the Realities of Life

When it comes to the health of our students, what basic knowledge should a teacher have?  What resources are available for teachers?  How can teachers help students gain greater independence in preventing future problems?  This session will include a panel discussion featuring medical professionals and members of the Committee on Wellness for the Pianist.  Possible teaching scenarios will include students who are experiencing pain or tension, who have sustained sport or overuse injuries, or who struggle with performance stress or anxiety.

Gail Berenson, Professor of Piano at Ohio University, Athens, is an advocate and noted expert on musician wellness issues. Past President of the Music Teachers National Association, she has performed and lectured in over thirty states and nine coun­tries.


John Chong is Medical Director of the Musicans’ Clinics of Canada and teaches Performance Awareness at the Glenn Gould School Performance and Artist Diploma Programs at the Royal Conservatory in Toronto.  He currently serves as President of the Performing Arts Medicine Association.


Linda Cockey is a Professor of Piano at Salisbury University where she developed a required wellness course.  She is a member of the MTNA eJournal Editorial Board and is the author of the MTNA annotated bibliography on wellness resources.


Vanessa Cornett-Murtada directs the keyboard program at the University of St. Thomas and chairs the NCKP Committee on Wellness for the Pianist.  She has published and presented on the psychology and neuroscience of mental wellness for performers.



William Dawson, a retired orthopaedist and active bassoonist/teacher, is Past-President of the Performing Arts Medicine Association, world-wide lecturer and clinician, and is the author of Fit as a Fiddle: The Musician’s guide to Playing Healthy.


Brenda Wristen has published and presented widely on topics of musician occupational wellness in national and international venues.  She directs the Piano Pedagogy and Keyboard Skills programs at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. 


Energize Your Student Recitals:  12 Strategies for Success

In this session, Melody Bober will present 12 ideas to rejuvenate any recital, transforming it into a special event that is musical, memorable, enjoyable, and fun for performers and audiences alike.

Melody Bober’s dynamic sessions are enriched by her experience as a studio owner, classroom teacher, and church musician.  She holds music degrees from the University of Illinois-Urbana and Minnesota State University.


Mobile Devices and the Modern Music Teacher: Crucial Tools Wherever You Go

Mobile devices, such as phones and tablets, can now serve as all-in-one gadgets, replacing an array of single-purpose products. Discover how other teachers are creatively using mobile apps to engage their students, address multiple learning styles, and make their teaching more fun and effective.

Linda Christensen teaches group piano, applied piano, and music technology at Wayne State College.  She is a frequent presenter at MTNA and NCKP and serves as the Nebraska State Music Teachers Association President.


Michelle Sisler has written technology articles for Keyboard Companion, Clavier, and American Music Teacher.  Along with teaching over 50 students per week, Michelle is the founder of Keys to Imagination, LLC.


Kathleen Theisen, NCTM, has presented workshops on technology, jazz, and business at MTNA, NCKP, CMS/ATMI. An independent piano and voice teacher for 23 years, she debuted with the Metropolitan Opera in 2003. 



Dedicated Adult Students: The Inside Scoop from Earnest Adults about Improving Technique, Learning Important Repertoire and Pursuing Their Avocation

During the past several years there has been much discussion about recreational music making for adult pianists. However, many adult students are keen to improve technique and master significant repertoire. To address the needs of this important group of adult learners, the NCKP Committee on Adult Learning has explored the piano experiences of several of these earnest students and will share highlights during this session.

Michelle Conda is Coordinator of Secondary Piano and Piano Pedagogy and Professor of Piano at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.  She is an Associate Editor for Clavier Companion magazine and a founding member of the National Group Piano/Piano Pedagogy Forum.  

 Jackie Edwards-Henry is Professor of Piano and Piano Pedagogy at Mississippi State University.  She performs regularly on piano and harpsichord. Her articles have been published in the American Music Teacher, Keyboard Companion, and Clavier Companion.

Janet Finch is an accompanist at Murray State University, teaches at New Covenant Christian Academy, and maintains a private piano studio. She has taught at the University of Akron, The University of Cincinnati, and the University of Tennessee at Martin.

Ramona Kime is Associate Professor of Piano at Olivet College (MI).  In addition to her college teaching, Dr. Kime has a large studio of adult piano students. She received a Ph.D. in piano pedagogy and music education from the University of Oklahoma.

Pamela Pike is Associate Professor of Piano Pedagogy and Group Piano at Louisiana State University. Publications include articles in Music Education Research, the International Journal for Music Education, American Music Teacher, and Clavier Companion.

Singing Through Your Instrument

This session will discuss the benefits of using singing to introduce concepts to young students. Video segments of group/private teaching and interactive segments with the audience will demonstrate how musically all students can play from the very first lesson.

L. Scott Donald is on the faculty of the Orpheus Academy of Music in Austin, TX and The University of Texas at San Antonio.  During the summer, he is on the faculty of the Interlochen Arts Camp in Interlochen, MI.


Klondike Steadman is founder-director of the Orpheus Academy of Music in Austin, TX, for which he received the Studio Fellowship Award from the MTNA. He presents his work at conventions and universities and he has published in numerous music education journals.



Planning for Progressive Growth in the Intermediate Years

Once the method book is complete, intermediate pianists have a fascinating world of musical styles to explore, and teachers must actively plan how to span the increasing breadth of skill and musical understanding from the elementary to advanced levels. This crucial period must be approached carefully with the ultimate goal of producing self-sufficient learners. Several teachers’ preparations for specific intermediate lessons at The New School for Music Study will be examined in depth.

Sara Ernst, PhD, NCTM, is the Administrative Director of The New School for Music Study. She will present this workshop with faculty from The New School whose students are enrolled in her intermediate repertoire class.

The New School for Music Study is the laboratory school for the Frances Clark Center for Keyboard Pedagogy. The faculty of The New School are active performers and teachers who work in a highly collaborative teaching environment. The faculty teach both private and group lessons.  Most students have the opportunity to work with at least two different teachers.

 The Art of Group Piano Teaching: Inspiring Creative and Resourceful Pianists

Educators have long recognized the enormous power and potential of the group leaning environment. This workshop will highlight the proven viability of successful group piano teaching as well as exciting new trends. A discussion of effective and motivational instructional strategies, recommended curricular materials and resources, and instructional technologies will be featured.

Christopher Fisher, DMA, NCTM, is Associate Professor of Piano, Keyboard Division Chair, and Coordinator of Group Piano Studies at the Ohio University School of Music. Dr. Fisher is the author of Teaching Piano in Groups.


Shall we improvise? Teaching basic improvisation to your students.   

Anyone can do it!  Even if you have never improvised, or are too scared to try, these materials will enable you to do it, enjoy it, and share it with your students.  The simplest chordal accompaniments allow a multitude of possible melodic shapes, and you don’t have to plan ahead.  In fact, it is your spontaneous creations that will often surprise and delight you.

Richard Grayson received a Ph.D. in composition from UCLA, and taught at Occidental College from 1969 to 2001.  His specialty is keyboard improvisation, which he has taught in the United States, Brazil, Japan, Taiwan, China, and Vietnam.


Beyond Mozart, Schubert and Brahms: Forgotten Masters of Piano Four-Hand Composition  Presenting works of Woldemar Bargiel, Adolf Jensen, Robert Fuchs, Philipp Scharwenka, Heinrich Hofmann and others - with guest performers Brad Beckman, Laura Melton, and Carolyn True.

Are you looking for some unusual four-hand repertoire for your students to read or perform? There is a wealth of literature that is fun to play, sounds wonderful, and presents musical and technical challenges to the developing pianist. These works from the heyday of four-hand pianism will captivate you, increase your awareness of this great body of literature, and will give a lively portrait of a time when four-hand playing was a social and cultural mainstay.

Steven Harlos, pianist and composer, serves as staff keyboardist for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and as chair of the Division of Keyboard Studies at the University of North Texas. He chairs the NCKP Committee on Collaborative Performance.


Brad Beckman is Coordinator of Group Piano and teaches Piano Pedagogy at the University of North Texas.  He is also one half of the Beckman-True Piano Duo with Dr. Carolyn True of San Antonio, Texas.


Laura Melton, Professor of Piano and Coordinator of Keyboard Studies at Bowling Green State University, studied with John Perry, Nelita True, and Robert Levin.  Her recordings for Naxos and Albany Records received rave reviews from Gramophone and the NY Times.


Carolyn True (Trinity University) is an active solo pianist and clinician, is part of the Beckman/True piano duo, and is a member of SOLI (winner of the 2013 ASCAP/CMA Award for Adventurous programming).



 A Teacher’s Companion for All Methods

This session will explore one of Frances Clark’s important teaching principles: students must be prepared for all new concepts before they are presented in the repertoire. Illustrating with video examples, we will offer concrete ideas on how to prepare students for new learning in the areas of rhythm, expressive markings, technique, and reading. It is our belief that this principle of good teaching will produce more successful teaching and learning.

Judith Jain holds Piano Performance degrees from IU-Bloomington, and the University of Cincinnati-CCM; and has taught at The New School for Music Study, CCM, and IU. Dr. Jain has recently opened New Tampa Piano Lessons, LLC, and continues concertizing and lecturing. 


Craig Sale directs the Preparatory and Community Piano Program at Concordia University/Chicago where he also teaches piano pedagogy. He is an Associate Editor for Clavier Companion and has presented teacher workshops throughout the US.


Night Visions: A Discussion and Performance of Seldom-Encountered Nocturnes by Various Composers

The Nocturne genre encompasses a rich and diverse history and tradition. This session will introduce many unfamiliar nocturnes, and will include information on editions and suggestions for further research. Participants can expect to gain insight into the scope of the nocturne repertoire from John Field to Lowell Liebermann, and well as others who have made recent contributions to the genre.

Michael Landrum holds degrees from Oberlin College, California Institute of the Arts, and Temple University. He is currently Professor of Music and Film Studies at Roberts Wesleyan College in Rochester, New York.


 The Top 40: Intermediate to Lower-Advanced Core Piano Literature

Pianists know the standard body of classical piano literature for advanced performers. What about the basic canon of Intermediate to Lower-Advanced Piano Literature? This presentation focuses on synthesizing the core of the classical teaching literature as a body for intermediate to lower-advanced pianists.

Jane Magrath’s The Pianist's Guide to Standard Teaching and Performance Literature has become a classic reference work throughout the USA. Her well-known piano literature editions are published through Alfred Publishing Company. Dr. Magrath is Professor of Piano at the University of Oklahoma.


 Pedagogical Strategies for Children with Special Needs

This session is designed for those teachers who desire information on effective ways to include children with special needs in their studios. The session will offer a brief overview of the disabilities covered under the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA). Specific pedagogical approaches will be suggested.

Melissa Martiros holds the DMA in Piano Performance and Pedagogy and MS in Special Education from the University of Wisconsin/Madison.   She directs the Adaptive Piano Program at the Lindeblad School of Music in Pine Brook, NJ.


 Healthy Technique: Finding Physical Ease at the Piano

This interactive session explores building blocks needed to establish physical ease at the piano. Video examples show ways that great pianists maximize technical effectiveness to create artistic results. Practical demonstrations illustrate how to introduce these concepts to students at all levels. By helping our students develop a natural technique, we can free their creative spirits and enable them to communicate their musical thoughts with the widest range of expressive subtleties.

Kent McWilliams, Professor of Piano at St. Olaf College, is a senior adjudicator for The Achievement Program and has judged the national finals of the MTNA competition. Dr. McWilliams has performed recitals and concertos in a dozen countries.


 Building Firm Foundations for Music Literacy

The foundations of music learning that we see in early childhood—moving, singing, chanting and improvising—can readily be applied in the piano lesson setting, thereby building a foundation for music literacy that lasts beyond the completion of formal instruction. Using video demonstrations along with rhythm, tonal, and improvisation activities, this interactive session will explore ways of integrating Music Learning Theory into piano lessons for students of all levels.  

Janna Olson teaches at The King’s University College in Edmonton, Alberta.  She incorporates Music Learning Theory in her teaching and is certified in Piano and Early Childhood Music with the Gordon Institute for Music Learning. 


 Fresh Impressions: Examining the Interview Process

An effective initial interview is the first crucial step in accepting a new student for piano instruction. This process yields important information about the student, as well as parental expectations. A thorough interview helps lessons to start with a positive experience. This presentation shows video examples to demonstrate the interview process practiced at The New School for Music Study. We will note the student cues that help a teacher glean the maximum information at the interview.

Rebecca Mergen Pennington is the Admissions Director at The New School for Music Study, where she has been on the faculty for six years. She holds a DMA from the University of Kansas.


 Teaching Piano Using the Dalcroze Method

Integrating the core elements of the Dalcroze Method into piano lessons has been the focus of Seung-Ji Ryu’s teaching and research for the past fifteen years. This workshop will demonstrate how her lesson models increase the musicality of piano students through the incorporation of eurhythmic movement, ear training and solfege, and improvisation.

Seung-Ji Ryu is director of the Hansei Dalcroze Center and Professor of Piano Pedagogy at Hansei University, Korea. She holds the DMA from the University of Iowa, and Dalcroze certification from Juilliard and Carnegie Mellon.


 Stress-free Business Practices for Your Studio

Part 1: Explore how innovative business practices can contribute to stress-free teaching and living. Learn how to guard against narratives we unknowingly accept but which prevent us from making healthy business decisions. Do you feel over-worked, have insufficient income, that students abuse your makeup policies? Are you tired of teaching? Come learn some simple practices that can save your sanity!

Part 2: Learn more business practices that can eliminate stress in your teaching and in your life. This session will build on Part 1, but is open to newcomers. You will acquire tools that will help eliminate stress in your business and financial matters. A more relaxed teaching year is ahead!

Wendy Stevens, B.M., M.M., NCTM, is a piano teacher and composer. She maintains an active blog on teaching piano and creativity at www.ComposeCreate.com. Her compositions are published by Hal Leonard, Augsburg Fortress, and Concordia Publishing House. 



Using Technology to Teach Expressive Performance: Accompanying Silent Movies in the Piano Studio

Internet technology allows instant access to the forgotten art of accompanying silent movies, which is again gaining interest among musicians now that Silents are remastered and easily available. Wonderful projects can be utilized in the piano studio using silent movies to teach improvisation, performance skills and how music engages our imagination to tell a story. Music samples to use with students of all levels, cue sheets, and educational lesson plans will be handed out in this session.

Penny Lazarus has degrees in Piano Performance, Psychology, Art History and Education. She maintains a full studio in Newburyport, MA, writes for Clavier Companion and is always interested in teaching music from a visual history perspective.