I frequently present workshops and lectures for music teacher organizations and pedagogy courses. A list of available topics is listed below. However, I am also willing to develop topics that suit the interests of an individual organization or class.
Avoiding the Crash! How to Motivate Students Using Pedagogically Sound Literature from the “Near-Forgotten Past”
The key to maintaining a thriving studio is successful motivation. This lecture examines common motivational issues with children and teens while presenting strategies to counteract these trends. Additionally, we have many wonderfully motivating "student saver" pieces that are now largely forgotten. Many of these elementary and intermediate level works published prior to 1989 will be presented along with suggestions for types of students who might flourish from studying them.
Beyond Fur Elise: Stimulating Repertoire for Teacher and Student
When audition season comes around each spring, it seems we hear so many of the same pieces performed week after week, yet there is a wealth of other wonderful teaching material available. This 90 minute lecture-recital explores alternatives to commonly taught works from the Baroque through the modern eras along with how these pieces can be easily obtained through your local music store.
Guide to Successful Sight Reading
Lack of reading fluency is perhaps the most common issue teachers identify among their students, and it is one of the most common problems encountered among incoming piano majors. By examining reading statistics, approaches, and theories in this 60-minute lecture, we can thoughtfully reconsider the approaches we are using in our studios. Additionally, a wealth of excellent materials for fostering more fluent reading will be presented.
Let’s Duet! Inspiring Student Artistry Through Ensembles
Ensemble playing is among the most important skills we can impart to our students, yet many teachers question how to incorporate it into our studios. This 60-minute lecture begins with the "nuts and bolts" of how to introduce and teach successful duet teams, and it concludes with suggestions and demonstrations of repertoire appropriate for recitals, camps, or competitions.
Modern Repertoire for the Aspiring Artist
Music of the 20th and 21st century should be included in every studio, and many music teacher organizations are beginning to sponsor festivals of modern music. There is repertoire available at every level of ability, and this 75-minute lecture recital presents a wide range of music that uses modern compositional techniques. Music presented ranges from literature accessible to first-year piano students to works that would be appropriate for talented high school students. Additionally, part of the lecture is devoted to demystifying some modern music notation and discussing the importance of the pedagogy of the avant garde.
Unconventional Pedagogical Repertoire
The face of the classical music scene in the 21st century is shifting to more openly embrace crossover repertoire that includes many jazz-inspired compositions. However, as piano teachers, we have not wholeheartedly embraced this new trend. This lectures examines pedagogical benefits to incorporating this repertoire into our teaching along with a survey of recommended repertoire. A handout is provided of works appropriate for elementary-advanced levels of piano study.
The Three C's of Classicism: An Approach to Teaching Classical Style
Every year, our studios are filled with the sounds of Clementi, Kuhlau, Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven. However, three basic elements can ensure a strong stylistic presentation of classical-style works. In this 60 minute lecture, I explore each of these components along with pedagogical strategies for implementing them with students of all ages.
Paving the Road to Chopin
Among the most requested composers by aspiring pianists is Chopin, but the successful performance of his works requires the careful development of many fundamental skills unique to Romantic style. We will identify these fundamental skills as well as works at the elementary and intermediate level that will help pave a smooth road to a lifetime of enjoyment of Chopin's works.
Road to Parnassus: A Suggested Technical Path from the Methods to Chopin
The road to virtuosity is one that must be carefully paved from the earliest lessons. This lecture will suggest a sequence and structure of technical exercises and resources to assist with securing a solid technical foundation from the earliest lessons through advanced repertoire.
Robert Schumann’s Kinderszenen is among the most beloved keyboard works in the teaching and concert repertoires, yet when we examine the first edition against modern performance practice, we find vastly different ideas regarding tempo. Additionally, critics reveal varying opinions regarding the work’s cyclical nature. When we examine modern performances against the original edition, the first discrepancy that must be accounted for is tempo. In his manuscript of the work, Schumann left no generic tempo markings. Rather, he only indicated metronome markings for each movement, which indicates a tremendous level of specificity to his intentions and reveals an implied internal structure to the work. However, our modern approach often migrates from Schumann’s markings by as many as fifty beats per minute. This trend seems to have been initiated by Clara Schumann’s edition, which was published 49 years after Schumann wrote the work. In her edition, Clara alters most of Schumann’s metronome markings, which destroys many of the tempo relationships Schumann clearly establishes in the first edition. The lecture will compare the first edition to Clara’s later edition and discuss the performance implications revealed in the first edition.
Hidden Treasures: Mining the Repertoire for Gems by Under-Represented Composers
We have a wealth of wonderful repertoire to teach, but we often overlook or are not aware of repertoire by composers who are not white, dead men. There is much pedagogically valuable material by women composers and composers of color, which opens the door to more culturally relevant and diverse teaching to represent our diverse communities.