Oregon Music Teachers Association in partnership with the Oregon Community Foundation and the Nellie Tholen Fund present statewide teacher enrichment events. These valuable and varying presentations are free and open to all music educators, members and non-members alike.

For more information about our OMTA/OCF Nellie Tholen District Enrichment Project Programs, contact our grant coordinator, Karen Huntsberger, NCTM.

Upcoming Events

Incorporating Composing into Your Studio Teaching

Date/Time: Tuesday, January 9, 2024 10:15 AM – 11:45 AM
Location: Studio of Ginny Redfield, 975 NW Conifer Blvd, Corvallis, OR 97330
Contact: Mary Ann Guenther
Presenting District: Linn-Benton
Dr. Lisa Neher

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New music powerhouse Dr. Lisa Neher (she/her) is an award-winning composer, mezzo-soprano, and actress on a mission to transform audiences through sound, story, and vulnerability. Described as a “visionary composer” (Willamette Week), “maestro of beautifully wacky noises” (Oregon ArtsWatch), and a composer of “varied and imitable” vocal lines (Contemporary Classical), Neher writes music inspired by the climate crisis, the tender love of friends, the ambiguities of death, and the eerie mystery of deep ocean life. Her EP Of Wind and Waves explores the currents of air, water, and emotions that define our natural and psychological world. Neher’s works have been commissioned and performed by Third Angle New Music, Fear No Music, Opera Elect, Opera Theatre Oregon, Dinosaur Annex, the Cortona Sessions for New Music, Delgani String Quartet, Choral Arts Ensemble, and others across the United States and Europe. She is the winner of the ICDA/ICF Choral Competition, the Flute New Music Consortium Composition Competition, and the Mirror Visions Ensemble Young Composer Competition, and was a NATS Composer Mentee, working with Tom Cipullo.

Praised as “a small woman with a very big voice” and “especially alive” (Oregon ArtsWatch), Neher captivates audiences as a performer with her electrifying dramatic commitment and unforgettable vocal colors. Her performance credits include Really Spicy Opera, Third Angle New Music, the Resonance Ensemble, New Music Gathering, Queer Opera, the International Saxophone Symposium, and Opera Theatre Oregon. She is a member of Portland Opera Chorus. She created the roles of Jennifer in Chamber Sounds of Singapore’s world premiere of One Thousand Paper Cranes for Japan by Rita Ueda, Julian of Norwich in Brook Joyce’s monodrama The Showing of Love, and the protagonist in Space Station 189, a sci-fi opera for Instagram by JL Marlor and Aiden Feltkamp. Neher is the curator of the One Voice Project, which champions unaccompanied solo vocal performance.

Neher is a sought-after clinician on topics including composing for singers, networking, music business and entrepreneurship, acting for singers and theatre tools for musicians. Her teaching credits include the Ultimate Music Business Summit, and theToolbox Sessions, as well as guest clinician appearances at Reed College, University of Iowa, Colorado State University, OMTA, Bandung Philharmonic in Indonesia, and more. Her thriving private studio provides graduate-level education and mentorship in singing, composition, and career building for musicians from Australia to Europe. Neher holds degrees from the University of Iowa (DMA), University of Kansas (MM), and Lewis & Clark College (BA). She is an alumnus of the Gabriela Lena Frank Creative Academy of Music and the Cortona Sessions for New Music. She spends her free time training for triathlons, watching science fiction movies, and baking delicious treats involving copious amounts of chocolate. Her last name is pronounced “NEER.” For more information, visit her website, www.lisanehermusic.com.

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In this workshop, learn methods for incorporating composing in your studio lessons. We will discuss existing resources for teachers and ways to create your own composition assignments and prompts, as well as how to break down the process of composing a piece into small pieces that can be achieved using just a few minutes of lesson time each week.

Stealing from the Masters

Date/Time: Saturday, January 20, 2024 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Location: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 850 SW 11th St, Hermiston OR 97838
Contact: Sarah Milburn
Presenting District: Umatilla-Morrow
Diane Davies

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Dianne Davies received a BA in music from Lewis and Clark College with piano emphasis and K-12 music education certification. Since then, Dianne has taught public and private school music and currently focuses on her private piano studio in Beaverton and performing. In 2010 Dianne created and performed her comedy show Dianne Davies Has Fallen Off Her Bench and in 2016, she created, produced, and performed a new show titled Attachments & Detachments–Tragedy to Triumph combining the music of Cascadia Composers, the Northwest Regions chapter of NACUSA (National Association of Composers USA), with dance, live art, and theatre to tell her own transparent story. In 2016, Dianne also began composing pieces for piano students. Since 2018, her student compositions have been performed each year at PSU in the Cascadia sponsored concert, In Good Hands, that connects living composers with young music students. Most recently, in December 2019 she produced another show with all her own compositions and arrangements for Christmas titled Soli Deo Gloria. Dianne created and performed original piano solo pieces, piano solo arrangements of Chopin Nocturnes fused with traditional carols (Romantic Christmas Suite), as well as a violin & piano duet, violin & cello duet, vocal solos and choral works. Again, she collaborated with live dancers and multi-media visual artist Collin Murphy. Dianne chairs the State Composition Celebration Virtual Event. Watch for her monthly column in the OMTA Music News on-line publication and her current performing and composing projects at musiqPOWER.com.

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Dianne has taken pieces from the pianists repertoire and used them as a guide to compose new works. Two compositions from her set of “Rainforest Animals” pieces were inspired by two Debussy Preludes from Book 1. Dianne will discuss how “The Sunken Cathedral” Prelude No. 10 inspires “The Amazonian Manatee” and “Minstrel” Prelude No. 12 inspires “The Golden Lion Tamarin.”  This workshop is to encourage teachers to present repertoire to students as a guide to their own creativity. 

Playing with Blocks

Date/Time: Friday, February 2, 2024 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Location: Broadway Coffeehouse, 1300 Broadway St NE, Salem, OR 97301
Contact: Deborah Butler
Presenting District: Salem
Dr. Lark Powers

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In demand as a solo and collaborative artist as well as an adjudicator and presenter, Dr. Lark Powers has performed at such venues as Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center, the 92nd Street Y in New York City and at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. Internationally she has been heard in Europe, Mexico and Canada. In addition to numerous collaborations with ensembles, including the Tacoma Symphony, Fort Collins Symphony, the Washington-Idaho Symphony, and the Baroque Chamber Orchestra of Colorado, she appears in frequent two-piano concerts as part of the duo she forms with pianist Ricardo de la Torre. Locally she is a frequent performer on the Listen Live at Lunch series at the First Lutheran Church of Tacoma, the Second City Chamber Series, and the faculty artist series at Pacific Lutheran University.

Lark received a DMA in piano performance from the University of Colorado Boulder, and holds three Master’s degrees (in piano, theory pedagogy and in harpsichord) and a graduate performance diploma in piano from the Peabody Institute. Her undergraduate studies occurred at the University of the Pacific, where she earned a BM in piano performance, summa cum laude, after which she attended the Conservatoire National de Région de Paris for three years where she won a premier prix. A Nationally Certified Teacher of Music and a Washington State Visiting Artist, Lark teaches at Pacific Lutheran University where she instructs applied lessons and accompanying, and coordinates the group keyboard program. Dr. Powers has presented on topics including managing performance anxiety, the creativity inherent in the Baroque repertoire, the pedagogy of keyboard harmony, and more. She is a proponent of new music, specializing in the music of Latin American composers, and can be heard on recordings with the Pan Pacific Ensemble on Albany records and the Cherry Creek Flute Duo.

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When students build a repertory of chord progressions, learning pieces becomes a process of assembling familiar blocks of harmony. This session will explore a series of keyboard harmony exercises from simple to complex, focusing on patterns most often found in student repertoire, and will examine passages where these progressions are found in the repertoire. Through these exercises, students can apply harmony in a hands-on way towards learning pieces, memorizing, and developing logical musical expression.

Master Class

Date/Time: Saturday, February 3, 2024 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Location: Douglas County Library Ford Room, 1409 NE Diamond Lake Blvd, Roseburg, OR 97470
Contact: Tammy Johnson
Presenting District: Umpqua Valley-South Coast
Dr. Michelle Huang

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A native of Taiwan, pianist Michelle Huang has performed and taught extensively throughout the U.S. as well as abroad in the Czech Republic, Italy, Switzerland, and Taiwan. Described as a pianist with much sensibility and nuance, Michelle Huang is equally at home as soloist, chamber musician, and teacher. She has played numerous solo recitals, gave workshops and masterclasses, and collaborated frequently with vocalists and instrumentalists in the Mary L’Engle Ensemble, the River City Trio, the chamber group-in-residence at Friday Musicale in Jacksonville, Florida, and the Jacksonville Symphony and Richmond Symphony musicians. In 2017, she received a grant to commission ten paintings by two graduates of Virginia Commonwealth University art students. These paintings were presented alongside the complete performance of Mussorgsky’s piano suite Pictures at an Exhibition during her concert tour in 2018-19. Deeply committed to community outreach, she launched a concert series during her residency at Edward Waters College, in which high caliber artists performed concerts as well as conducted master classes, workshops, and lectures for the continuing enrichment and exposure of classical music to both the school and the community. She initiated the Mentoring Program as part of the Richmond Music Teachers Association, in which young music teachers can be paired with experienced teachers to help them with aspects of teaching. She is the co-founder of the Online Young Pianist Summer Symposium, which launched in May 2020 in the middle of the pandemic. The Symposium was conducted virtually for pre-college and college students as well as teachers, in which guest speakers were invited to present topics such as the art of practicing, the art of memorization, and Alexander Technique, as well as a masterclass.

Michelle Huang holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Tennessee, and Doctor of Music in Piano Performance from Florida State University. Her principal teachers include Barbara Rowan, David Northington, and Read Gainsford. Dr. Huang has held teaching positions at Walter State Community College and Lincoln Memorial University. In 2011- 2014, she served as the Assistant Professor of Piano at Edward Waters College in Jacksonville, Florida. Most recently, she was on the piano faculty at the Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. In the summer, she served on the faculty of East/West International Piano Festival in Seoul, Korea. In addition to teaching in the collegiate setting, Dr. Huang also maintains a private studio, where she works with talented pre-college students both in her Seattle studio and online. She has served as President and first Vice President of Programming for the Richmond Music Teachers Association. She is currently an active member of the Seattle Music Teachers Association and Eastside Music Teachers Association. Highly demanded as a frequent presenter and adjudicator, she is a Visiting Artist for the Washington State Music Teachers Association. Many of her students have won top awards and successfully pursued studies and careers in music.

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The masterclass teacher will work with piano students in a master class setting while the audience is invited to learn by observing.

Workshop Videos

(The following videos are available on this page below this list to active OMTA members only. Members will need to log in to view.)

Pilates For Musicians

Presented by Barbara Chapman NCTM

Nurturing Potential Into Passion

Presented by Leila Viss, 88PianoKeys.me

Starter Steps for Playing Eighteenth-Century Repertoire on the Modern Piano

Presented by Donna Gunn, M.M., NCTM

Teaching the Special Learner: Wisdom and Strategies for the Independent Music Teacher

Presented by Emily Ross, M.A., M.T. – B.C.

Tips For Preparing For Syllabus Exams

Presented by Heidi Evans NCTM

Succeeding With Sonatinas

Presented by Dr. Crystal Zimmerman NCTM, Professor of Piano, Willamette University

Music and the Brain – How We Hear And Understand Melody and Rhythm

Presented by Dr. Crystal Zimmerman NCTM, Professor of Piano, Willamette University

Authentic Baroque Dance

Presented by Daniel Stephens, M.F.A. and Judith Kennedy, M.A.

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