Article submitted by AMTA member, Raisa Isaacs for AMTA Newsletter (www.atlmta.org/recourses)
Ms. Isaacs was a member of the jury in the final round of the 3rd Pianovision International Competition in Sonata category
The 13th WORLD Piano Pedagogy Conference was held on October 22-25 in Dallas, TX this year.
The main device of the conference,” Back To Basics” reflected two meanings: as a teaching from fundamentals and as mastering, returning and sustaining “basics” as a preliminary requirement for success and progress of any level musician.
As usual, the conference was compiled of common formats for any music conference (Lectures, Teaching Demonstrations, Exhibitions) and of quite specific, featuring the only World Piano Pedagogy Conference:
Town Hall Meetings with discussion on a specific topic; Minisessions, offering close interactions with presenters in a small group of teachers with questions and exchange of ideas; Open Mic, a discussion forum where everyone is welcome to express their opinions and suggestions; lecture-paper presentation by any teacher who has new interesting thoughts and approaches in the world of the piano pedagogy.
WPPC gives and anticipates maximum involvement and collaboration with the teachers, up to having them an opportunity to participate in jury in the MostWanted Pianovision International Competition (by invitation only for the final round).
PianoWellness Seminar is an inseparable part of each WPPC. This year it featured a presentation of the experienced clinician Sheila Paige. She has a numerous DVDs exploring different aspects of the body–hand–finger motions based on the deep knowledge of the human physiology. She demonstrated work of body in octaves and staccato based on the principals, which can be taught to any age and any level (DVDs available on www.pianowellnessseminar.com “3-D Piano with Fred Karpoff” was offered as a concept of combination Alexander Technique and Feldenkrais ( www.fredkarpoff.com) and integrated with the whole body modalities with the new insights on piano playing. (Set of 6 DVD will be released in February 2009.)
Rozalie Levant presented her recently published book “The Anatomy of Musicality” with her own approach to piano pedagogy. Lectures about different problems of the piano performance have been given through the conference by well-known piano pedagogy faculty of the Music Conservatory at USC John Perry with Artistic Director of Chamber Music in Detmold Hochschule fur Music in Germany Stephen Perry (“Color”Techniques), Manhattan School of Music Phillip Kawin (Basics of Tone Production: No Bones in the Hand,No Stones in the Wrist), Koln Hochschule fur Music in Germany Arbo Valdma (Basic Practicing Techniques for Beginners to Advanced Level).
Independent and faculty of the different Schools of Music presented their Paper and Lectures on the “Tempo”, “Crescendo…”, “Adult and Young Beginners…” and other varies topics as well. Teaching Demonstrations at the WPPC gives a unique opportunity to observe pedagogical work of two outstanding teachers with one student simultaneously.
One can see and intellectually “digest”, altogether with the student, different techniques and different approaches in achieving of musical goals; sometimes clashing and even controversial but nevertheless enhancing and extremely beneficial for a growing musician. One can see “the boiling pot” of different world ideas that gives an incredibly vivid picture and understanding of the streams and tendencies in the modern piano pedagogy just at once!
Luis de Moura Castro-Arbe Valdma, John Perry-Phillip Kawin, Arbe Valdma-Toma Ungar — these top quality collaborations enriches you with their invaluable insights of the subtle nuances of piano teaching…(DVD Teaching Demonstrations can be obtained on www.pianovision.com for a very affordable price)
Exhibitions are the most colorful and enjoyable part of the conference. Leading Publishers (Hal Leonard, Faber&Faber, Henle and others) and manufactures presented their products and examined the most popular ones. Among of them – Piano Wizard Wanna Play? game for developing sight-reading; Music for Young Children ages 3 to 10 — course of a child-centered music-learning system that integrates keyboard, creative movements, rhythm, signing, ear training, music theory and composition; Notes Logic – a game with tactile, visual approach to teaching rhythms and so on…
Apparently it is impossible to describe all events during the conference in a brief article. You just have to be there!