This is a guest post by Dr. Andrea McAlister. After attending the 2017 MTNA Conference in Baltimore, I wanted to bring you the session that impacted me most. Leading up to the conference, I had been noticing myself using the word “good” a lot and without thought (even though I knew better) so this was exactly what I needed. Andrea was a fantastic presenter. Despite being a 20-minute accelerated track session, she epitomized the saying that “less is more.” She got to the point, was clear, and very engaging. I hope you glean as much as I did from her regarding our use of language and words.
I recently had the opportunity to present Better Than “Good” at the 2017 MTNA National Conference and, while I’ve given numerous presentations throughout the years, I found this one to be strangely difficult to assemble. According to my abstract, I was to talk about praise, feedback, and the different ways in which we can effectively communicate with our students. It’s what I do every year in my pedagogy classes with the next generation of teachers. We discuss a variety of ways to put gestures, musical concepts, and technical skills into verbal cues for a variety of ages and levels. While it’s difficult enough for new teachers to put ideas into words, many of my students speak English as a second language, making the process that much more difficult and important. As they grow in education and experience, these new teachers fill their toolboxes with expressions they know will work with their students and pick up a new tip or two along the way.
I do this year after year with a new crew of pedagogy students, so why did it seem so difficult to prepare the same material for the conference? Why not take the same tried-and-true class activities, slap them on a power point slide, and be done with it? “Teaching is not telling,” says Frances Clark and yet here I was, telling teachers how to use words. Something didn’t feel right. Continue reading
In college, I recall one of my Bible class professors encouraging us to always read the forward/preface/opening words to any book before diving in. Up until that point, I always skimmed over those parts, including the “acknowledgments.” Since then I have tried to take a moment to read opening words of the author and have found that it has made me more prepared for, aware of, and grateful for the person whose “art” I am about to absorb.
The same principal applies to sheet music/books. I recently purchased two new church music books. One for myself (What Praise Can I Play on Sunday?by Carol Tornquist) and one for an adult student, Phillip Keveren’s 2015 Weekly Worship: 52 Hymns for a Year of Praise. The latter especially had touching words that resonated with me and touched my heart. All it took was one moment – one moment to stop and read the heart and intentions of another.
I am SOOOOOO excited to announce that I will be hosting my very first Piano Pantry reader’s dinner meet-up at the upcoming MTNA Conference in Baltimore!
The first readers’ dinner I ever attended was with Natalie Weber (then Whickham) of Music Matters Blog. I think it was in Albuquerque because I remember being in grad school at the time.
It’s the perfect chance to put faces with names and get to know you a little. In order for me have a chance to actually get-to-know-you and chat with all who attend, I have set my own personal maximum limit.
So…if you are interested in reserving your spot and attending the dinner please email me ASAP.
The dinner will be held on Monday night, March 20. Details will be sent to all attendees via email.
When I first joined MTNA, like many, I was guilty of not voting due to the feeling of not knowing any of the candidates. Making a decision based on a short printed bio is hard. Each one has solid credentials, and is a highly qualified and capable candidate, or else they wouldn’t be on the ballot of a national organization. It’s true.
My non-voting didn’t last for long though because I consider the ability to vote for anything a privilege and duty.
On this year’s ballot, Indiana is proud to have one of our own – someone I literally sat next to at our last state board meeting, and I hope I can give you a bit more personal insight into one of the candidates for President-Elect, Karen Thickstun.
In the photo below, Karen is second from the left, and I’m third from the left. On a side note, can I just say I serve on the best state board ever?! I just love these people…
One of those goals was to start this blog and my studio website by March 1 (the latter of which I accomplished this summer). This site’s first post Welcome to My Studiowas published on March 20 right before I left for the MTNA conference in San Antonio. Check!
As I am making preparations to adjudicate tomorrow at one of our Indiana districts for our state competition, Hoosier Auditions, I thought I would briefly share how I prepare.
If possible, I like to request ahead of time, a list of the repertoire entered. I find it nice to have a little heads-up so I can jump online and refresh my memory on the pieces. As I’m watching and listening, I try to think through my own thoughts about the piece and elements I may look for when the student performs. To me, this is simply being mindful of what’s to come.
I skim through some of my favorite articles I’ve found over the last few years as a reminder of what it means to be a good judge.
Marcia Vahl wrote three excellent articles on Compose Create:
Hey there! Welcome to Piano Pantry where we talk about piano teaching, loving food, and living life. I'm Amy, my husband Drew and I live in Indiana. My favorite things include Mexican food, reading, organizing, and spending time with those I love.