Last week, I wrote about the MusicEdConnect 2016 conference I attended last week.  To read about the advantages of this amazing conference, read “The Teacher Becomes the Student: Part 1”.  I highly recommend purchasing the Replay Pass to watch videos of each presenter’s workshop!  Each of the 4-post series is about the workshops for a particular day.  That’s right, 4 full days of piano ed goodness! 

What did I learn (Part 2)?

We started off Wednesday with a great keynote (more details below) & the ideas kept flowing from there!

Keynote: the Road Ahead

Pete Jutas started us off with a compelling look at the future of music education.  There is a lot of talk about 21st century teaching in the education blogs I follow & it was gratifying to hear that many of the same ideas are coming over to IMT studios as well.  Gone are the days when we could teach one style of music (classical) with 1 interpretation & a focus on testing.  Generation Z is the largest demographic in many of our studios … as of this year, this includes any pre-college students & younger. I would highly recommend watching the video to find out Pete’s 10 tips for reaching Generation Z.

Understanding Chord Symbols

Bradley Sowash was back & teaching us about chord symbols we see in a wide variety of music (i.e. pop, blues, jazz, etc.).  It has been close to 2 decades since I have read lead sheets on a weekly basis, so this was a workshop I was really looking forward to!  Thank goodness Bradley had included a cheat sheet for us because chord symbols look a lot more complicated than I remember them looking.  I will also be watching this workshop again & pausing often to practice each of the types of chords, as well as the rules Bradley presented. I am also highly thankful that we got a “Chords Pencil Practice” page which will help me become more confident in the chords discussed.

Choose Those Words Carefully

How many times have we explained & explained & explained something to a student … only to still see a ‘deer in the headlights’ look at the end of it all.  Sarah’s thoughtful look into how our teaching language can help or hinder our students’ understanding was a great start to the afternoon.  With a focus on questions, statements, & assessments, Sarah gave us plenty of examples on how to bring out the best in our student’s observations.  I have added a couple books on the meta cognition of teaching that she mentioned on my reading list!

Coping With Parents

Every year at the year-end recital I say that I have the best clients in the world.  And, I really do!  However, that doesn’t mean that I haven’t had clients where goodbye was a relief.  Scott’s discussion included looking at what type of teacher we are (competitive, sane/sensible, or fun) & how those effect our expectations of our students.  When we initially meet with parents, it is important to communicate our core teaching style & values to our clients, as well as find out if those match up with the parent & student expectations.  I’m of the belief that there are enough piano students to go around & have no qualms about recommending a student to another teacher if I think they’ll be a better fit.  If coping with parents is getting you down, Scott’s coping techniques may be just what you need to have a positive relationship with your clients!

Timewarp Tech (showcase)

While this was a showcase of Timewarp Techologies’ offerings, what blew me away was how much tech has changed even in the last year.  Some of the program that I had thought were only on the computer now are on iPad as well.  This has opened up a whole new world of tech for my studio!  If you are looking on how to integrate tech solutions into your studio (whether it is a physical location or traveling to your student’s homes), take a look at the Exhibit Hall or go to Timewarp Technologies for more info.

iPad Ideas

Michelle has long used tech in her studio, including a lab time for over 10 years.  Lucky for us, Michelle was willing to walk us through the process of setting up a lab time for students as well as some of the myriad of apps she uses to make lab time a success.  The app she demonstrated is no longer available, but is similar to The Most Addicting Sheep Game.  I downloaded it that night & all 3 of my men (husband & twin boys) were clamoring for a try.  Needless to say, the boys convinced me to add it to their iPad as well.  I am sure the response will be the same in the studio!

What were your favourite ideas?

If you attended the conference live or watched the videos, what were your favourite workshops?  Or, what was an ‘aha’ moment as you looked at something in a new way?

I look forward to your comments!


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