Conferencing with Mickey Mouse and Friends: MTNA 2018 Orlando

M.I.C.K.E.Y  – M.O.U.S.E.

That’s all I have to say and now it’s stuck in your head, right?! 😉

Well, another MTNA Conference is in the books. This year’s conference was held at the Coronado Springs Resort at Disney World in Orlando.

Regularly attending live conferences is one of the best choices I’ve ever made as a teacher. Why? Sam Holland stated it best in one of his Questions and Answers articles in Clavier Companion.

We are social animals. We learn from one another in direct exchanges… A live conference is an IMMERSIVE experience in which you leave the regular workday world behind and immerse yourself morning, noon, and night.

I always feel a little lull in my energy for teaching this time of year. The moment I get to the conference, that all starts to slowly melt away. I always walk away feeling renewed and energized to make it through the end of the school year.

I have to say I didn’t take nearly the number of photos I do at conferences, but that’s OK because the ones I did get are highly memorable. Today I’m not going to share a listing of all the sessions I attended or notes, just the “social animal” part. 🙂


Kicking Things Off

My piano teacher buddies, DJ, Daniel, Joy and I played hooky on Pedagogy Saturday and spent the day at Epcot. We couldn’t have asked for a better day. The weather was amazing, food delish (I failed on the food-photo taking front this year), and company top-notch.

On Sunday, the first full day of the conference, the opening plenary session featured Dr. Eckart Altenmüller from the Hanover University of Music, Drama and Media, Institute of Music Physiology and Musicians’ Medicine in Germany.



Meeting Up with Colleagues

An after-lunch photo with fellow bloggers. Isn’t the backdrop photo just lovely? 🙂

On Sunday evenings, many states gather for a state dinner. All my colleagues and I gathered at The Boathouse at Disney Springs for our dinner.

Shrimp and grits.

Another dinner at Disney Springs. This time at Frontera Cocina owned by chef Rick Bayless.

The Grilled Zucchini, Mushroom, and Potato Enchiladas was delicious! (P.S. there’s also a Frontera Grill in Chicago)


A Few Favorite Sessions

Australian teacher and blogger Tim Topham gave a great workshop on sightreading. He compared reading to Pacman and Tetris. Reading music Pacman-style is more about dot-to-dot (or note to note) reading. A more fluent way of reading and recognizing patterns is by thinking more Tetris-style, chunking chords, and recognizing accompaniment patterns built on chords.

Indiana teacher Karen  Thickstun (former VP Membership for MTNA), presented a session comparing the entrepreneurialism of Walt Disney to that of six independent music teachers. Teachers featured included Joy Morin, Ryan Greene, Christopher Oill, Jeeyoon Kim, Daniel Patterson, and myself.

Ingrid Clarfield did a session called Keeping the Spark Alive and Still Learning after 50 Years: Pedagogical Tips from A-Z.

If you’ve never seen Ingrid, she is a hoot. It was a very entertaining session.


Exhibit Hall Fun

I was hesitant to try Piano Marvel’s Sightreading test but was pleasantly surprised when I made Tuesday’s high score (at least that is, up until that point in the day).

I had to check out Piano Safari’s new second editions of book 1 and book 2. All I’ll say is they’re great!


Jeremy Denk

The Tuesday evening recital featured Jeremy Denk. I only stayed for the first two pieces because I needed to go back to my room to run through my session for the next day, but what I did hear was absolutely exquisite.


Digital Management Strategies

My session, Taming the Jungle: Digital Management Strategies for the Independent Music Teacher went great. It was awesome having so many show up at 8 am on the last day!


A Final Farewell

Until next year! We’re all already looking forward to 2019 in Spokane Washington!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *