Monday, September 7, 2009

Handouts from NCKP Technology sessions

For those who were not able to attend NCKP, or were not able to attend all of the technology sessions, you can find the handouts from the sessions on the conference page or by going to Thanks to George Litterst and all the presenters for providing these electronically!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Mei-Ting Sun at NCKP

Mei-Ting Sun performing on the Yamaha Disklavier. He was in New York City, while the piano in Chicago played. Amazing technology, and an amazing performer.

Virtual Teaching

One of the most exciting sessions of the conference was teaching demonstration of Distance Learning via Technology. Using the Yamaha Disklavier (Click for info), students played in one location while the teachers taught from another. The first student played live in Chicago, and Paul Sheftel taught her from New York. It is amazing technology, aided also by Timewarp Technologies and their Internet MIDI program (Click for info). See the videos below for George Litterst's introduction and a short snippet of the teaching. You will notice that when one person plays one piano, the other piano plays exactly as they do, including pedal movement. Listen for the audience's reaction to get a feel for how amazing this technology is.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Jose Antonio Bowen NCKP Keynote

Jose Bowen's keynote address encouraged the audience to think about technology and how it is affecting piano teaching. How can we create a presence locally and globally, and do we need to have a global presence? We need to think about what we do well and focus on that, whether in our own town or around the world. He is a dynamic speaker and I'm sure the Meadows School of the Arts at Southern Methodist University must be thrilled to have him as their Dean. At the end of his address, he demonstrated making the music relevant to people from different cultures by playing Autumn Leaves in different styles. Check out the video below.

Research Posters at NCKP

Research poster sessions at NCKP offer researchers the opportunity to showcase their projects and results. This year there were many sight-reading studies done, emphasizing this essential skill and the constant struggle to help students become better.

Louis Nagel recital at NCKP

Louis Nagel gave a wonderful noontime recital at NCKP. Here are clips from Bach's French Suite in E-flat, BWV 815, and Haydn's Piano Sonata in F Major, Hob. XVI/23.

Brian Chung at NCKP

Brian's keynote address was "Life Shaper or Artist Maker". Another great speaker, engaging, and thought-provoking. Are you as a piano teacher focused on making an artist, or shaping a life? There needs to be both, but perhaps we as a profession focus too much on the artist makers and neglect the life shapers. If you get the chance to hear Brian Chung speak, take it.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Robert Duke at NCKP

My evening ended with sessions presented by Bob Duke. He is a very engaging speaker, and whether I agree with all he says or not, I always leave his sessions with new ideas and different teaching strategies to try. This is a really good way to prepare for the new teaching year - inspired.

Pedagogy, Wellness, Technology, and Success

The NCKP pre-conference sessions offered something for everyone. The technology sessions offered the option to build a website, which would be complete by the end of the day. There were also sessions on wellness, student assessment, and how to be successful as an independent piano teacher. See the photos for the various sessions that were offered. A full and thought-provoking day for all!

Marvin Blickenstaff, "From the other side of the coin" at NCKP

Marvin Blickenstaff gave great feedback to pedagogy teachers on how to prepare students for internships or job interviews. He is also a dynamic speaker, as well as a great piano teacher.

NCKP has begun!

Here we are at the Keynote address for the 30th National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy. We are looking forward to a great day of learning. The keynote speaker this year, appropriately, is Sam Holland. There are over 700 of us from around the world, with many countries represented. Sam is such an articulate and interesting speaker - he has the room in the palm of his hand.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Teaching Perfect Pitch

Tomoko Kanamaru, pianist and assistant professor of music at The College of New Jersey, will give a presentation titled "Can Perfect Pitch be Taught? Introduction to the Eguchi Method". The Washington Post published a wonderful article about the method, which also gives a good preview of the session. The Eguchi Method is used by more than 800 teachers around Japan to teach perfect pitch to very young children, claiming a success rate of almost 100 percent for those who start before they are 4 years old. At the end of the training, which starts by matching chords with colored flags, a teacher will play random notes on the piano and the child, without looking, can identify them. Check out the article at

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Create Your Studio Website at the Conference

One option available to NCKP attendees is an ongoing workshop to create a studio website. During the conference, participants will create and upload their studio website based on 4 different templates. The sample you can browse at is just one example of what participants may build during the workshop.

A great opportunity for some teachers to increase their online presence! Thanks, Alejandro.

Creating Blogs, Wikis, and Forums

Susan Capestro's NCKP session will show you how to create your own news and editorial webpage, your own mini-wikipedia, and initiate a public square online to discuss important issues. See how easy it is to use interactive features - many free - for Internet teaching, communicating with students, and networking with colleagues.

Susan said, "I can't wait to show you some great benefits for students, plus some ways my adult students have enjoyed collaborating. Online tools helped make them a much stronger group. At this point, it's hard to even imagine teaching teenagers without the Internet! It serves as a strong cultural connector, particularly if your teaching blends jazz and pop with traditional piano repertoire."

For more information on Susan and her studio, here are some links:, the Integral Approach to Piano and Keyboard Learning, Susan Capestro's YouTube Channel, Susan Capestro's website

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

NCKP Program

The complete program for the upcoming NCKP conference has now been posted on the Frances Clark website. Check it out at

If you need information on ground transportation, follow this link:

See you all there!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Carol Leone and the 7/8 keyboard

Carol Leone from SMU will present a session at the NCKP pre-conference wellness session on July 29th from 4:30-6:00, " Increasing Performance Potential." This session will present innovative means for improving technical efficiency and enhancing performance.

During her portion of the session she will present and demonstrate the 7/8 keyboard action. Here are two links of her performing on a Steinway piano using the 7/8 keyboard. Performances were at the 2007 NCKP conference:

These videos can also be found on you tube at these links:

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Learning piano with GarageBand

This is a very interesting article. Graham Barlow set out to learn the piano from GarageBand in 28 days, and this link is a summary of his experience. Pay close attention to how long he spent practicing - at least one hour per day. He even suggests how much better he would have been if he had devoted five hours per day. A good example of the amount of dedication and practice needed to learn how to play piano, or any new skill for that matter. After you hit the link, feel free to post your thoughts on the discussion board.

Click the title or click here to read the article.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Teaching Piano at 100 years old

I found this article and thought I would pass it along. A great article about a dedicated teacher.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Piano winner for YouTube Symphony competition

Congratulations to Tino Balsamello, winner of the piano portion of the YouTube Symphony competition. YouTube called for professionals and amateur musicians of all ages, locations and instruments to audition for the YouTube Symphony Orchestra by submitting a video performance of a new piece written for the occasion by the renowned Chinese composer Tan Dun.

Winners were announced on March 2nd will travel to New York in April 2009 to participate in the YouTube Symphony Orchestra summit and play at Carnegie Hall under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas. Follow the link (title of blog post) for more information.

We welcome comments and discussion - what are your thoughts on this type of competition?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Clavier Companion is here!

For those of you who have not heard, Keyboard Companion and Clavier Magazine have merged to form "Clavier Companion". If you had a subscription to both magazines, you will receive Clavier Companion instead, and your subscriptions have been extended to cover all paid issues. The new magazine combines elements of both, and in my opinion combines the best of each. I have always found Keyboard Companion helpful, although limited in scope to a certain teaching population. However, for many years now I have debated whether or not to renew my Clavier subscription - I usually spent about 10 minutes perusing it, then put it on the shelf. After receiving my new copy of Clavier Companion, I can honestly say that I sat down and read it.

This is a refreshing and necessary change for piano pedagogy and performance. If this issue is any indication, we will get great articles by columnists such as Robert Weirich, and teaching tips, in varied formats, at many levels. Future issues will also include reviews. And finally - icing on the cake - Louise Goss is doing Questions and Answers again. Bravo to the folks involved!