2019 State Conference Session Descriptions
Teaching the Way We Learn: Applications of Gordon’s Music Learning Theory (MLT)
9:15AM | Thursday, August 22
This session will present a primer on Edwin Gordon’s groundbreaking contributions to music education research and pedagogy — known as Music Learning Theory (MLT) — and share a variety of teaching strategies and activities for tapping into the way our minds naturally learn music: all towards the goal of provoking greater depths of musical literacy (i.e., “audiation”) in our students.
The Essentials for Success: Self-directed and Intelligent Practicing
Dr. Helen Marlais
10:45AM | Thursday, August 22
Dr. Marlais will discuss how to motivate students towards self-directed and intelligent practicing and how to teach students to play standard repertoire pieces musically and with excellent technique. Dr. Marlais will share her insights into how to take a student from the first week of practice to mastery of a piece. She will discuss important practice strategies, four stages to learning any piece, the psychological aspects of preparing a piece during the week, and how all of this supports and develops musicality.
Teaching the Romantics to Young Pianists
1:00PM | Thursday, August 22
Students tend to love romantic style repertoire, but many of them have a difficult time achieving the necessary musical elements that create a convincing performance. This session explores techniques for solving musical and technical problems inherent in romantic repertoire for late elementary through intermediate level students. (Many of the ideas shared in this presentation are applicable to more advanced repertoire as well, so this session appeals to teachers at all levels.)
Sound, Physical Gesture, and Imagination
Dr. Helen Marlais
10:45AM | Friday, August 23
Join Dr. Helen Marlais as she explores ways to look at students’ repertoire in three dimensions. She will discuss phrasing and sound, correct physical gestures, and the many ways to stimulate students’ imaginations so they feel and think about the music. In this way, we can guide our students to play with artistic personality. She will demonstrate the value of teaching touch releases to young students. She will draw this information on sound, physical gesture, and imagination together with step-by-step examples using repertoire for each age group.
“♩ = 1 Beat” and Other Lies My Music Teacher Told Me
1:00PM | Friday, August 23
Why does music education typically teach false absolutes such as “a quarter note gets one beat”? Are we truly interested in teaching rhythm, or are we caught up in teaching rhythm notation? This session, based on tenants of Edwin E. Gordon’s Music Learning Theory (MLT), explores how rhythm instruction can be approached more naturally and effectively through movement-based activities and aural comprehension (“audiation”). Discover new avenues for building rhythm, reading, and performance skills in your students.
Tips for Teaching Alexander’s 24 Character Preludes
2:30PM | Friday, August 23
Numerous states now include this collection on their syllabi, and this session explores many aspects of technique and interpretation, while using the music from these colorful preludes that are written for the late intermediate to early advanced level student. The preludes are purposely short, and written in romantic, impressionistic, and contemporary styles. This unique presentation gives teachers and students a unique insight into teaching and performing these preludes in all major and minor keys.
Why Didn’t I Think of That?
9:30AM | Saturday, August 24
Over the years, Dennis Alexander has received hundreds of questions from piano teachers at workshops, conventions, and through correspondence. This session will highlight numerous questions that deal with technique, motivation, repertoire, sight reading, rhythm, artistry, memorization, teaching adults, stage fright, and other issues that every teacher must deal with, regardless of the level of the student. Mr. Alexander will share numerous “solutions” to these questions through an interactive PowerPoint presentation that will include input from members of the audience.