2019 Conference  Program Presenters


Lecture Presentation

Honors vs High Honors:

“WHAT'S the difference and HOW do you get there?”

At the request of the NJMTA Conference Planning Committee, Professor Clarfield will share her opinion as to what distinguishes Honors vs High Honors rating in our NJMTA Annual Auditions. With her 40 years of experience of preparing students for these auditions, she will share her pedagogical insights into turning competent performances into outstanding performances that WOW  both the judges and the audience! Professor Clarfield will demonstrate and use videos that reveal how to teach these essential artistic elements. Her session will include repertoire at all levels and will address such issues as voicing, pedaling, rubato, choreography and characterization. 

Ingrid Jacobson Clarfield, nationally recognized teacher, clinician, pianist, and author is Professor of Piano and Head of the Piano Division at Westminster Choir College of Rider University in Princeton, New Jersey. She has given lecture-recitals, workshops, and masterclasses in more than 150 cities in forty states across North America, including many presentations at state and national conferences of The Music Teachers National Association. She has presented numerous master classes and pedagogy sessions at the National Conference of Keyboard Pedagogy, the TCU/Van Cliburn Institute, the National Piano Teachers Institute, the Music Teachers Association of California, World Piano Pedagogy Conference, and the Calgary Arts Summer School in Alberta, Canada. She has directed Westminster Choir College's Piano Week for High School Students since 1984.

Professor Clarfield’s life is the subject of a documentary TAKE A BOW, released in 2011. It tells her inspirational life story depicting her tenacious fight back to teaching after a devastating stroke that occurred in 2007. She has also received recognition from her peers in music education. In 2006, Professor Clarfield was selected as an MTNA Foundation Fellow, a program that “honors deserving individuals who have made significant contributions to the music world and the music teaching profession.” In 2009 she was the first recipient of the “Teacher of the Year Award” from the New Jersey Music Teachers Association. In  2012, Professor Clarfield was named the prestigious “Teacher of the Year” by the Music Teachers National Association and In 2015 received The Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy. In 2017, Professor Clarfield was named the first-ever recipient of the Jacobs Music Steinway, Al C. Rinaldi “Lifetime Achievement Award.” In 2018, Music Educators Association of N.J. awarded Professor Clarfield their “Lifetime Achievement Award.”

Ms. Clarfield has authored many collections for Alfred Publishing Company among them, Keys to Stylistic Mastery, and Keys to Artistic Performance co-authored with Dennis Alexander. Other series include Burgmüller, Czerny, and Hanon: Piano Studies Selected for Technique and Musicality, From Mystery to Mastery, and Artistic Preparation and Performance Series. Her newest series of five books, co-authored with Phyllis Lehrer, is Classics for the Developing Pianist: Core Repertoire for Study and Performance, and Study Guides are available as a companion series to the repertoire books.

 Ms. Clarfield holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Oberlin College where she studied with John Perry. She also holds a Master of Music degree from the Eastman School of Music. From 1976 -2007 she performed regularly in two-piano recitals with Lillian Livingston. Ms. Clarfield maintains an independent studio in Princeton, New Jersey.  Her students have performed concertos with several orchestras, were featured on NPR’s “From the Top” and have won top honors in state, national, and international competitions sponsored by the Music Teachers National Association, International Young Artist Piano Competition, the Steinway Society, David Dubois Piano Competition, Bosendorfer and Yamaha USASU International Piano Competition, and numerous others.  17 of her students have won the MTNA Competition at the State Level, with 7 having won the Eastern Division progressing to the National Finals. One student, Damien Dixon, was the First Prize National Winner. Professor Clarfield’s students have performed in such prestigious venues as Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, Weill Recital Hall, Kennedy Center, Merkin Concert Hall, Kimmel Center, Steinway Hall, and several concert halls in Beijing.  

Marianne Lauffer.png


Independent Music Teachers Forum Panel Discussion

Cultivating Artistic Expression from the Beginning

IMTF Chairperson Marianne Lauffer will moderate a panel discussion with three distinguished NJMTA member teachers: 

Julia Lam, Chiu-Ling Lin, Stella Xu

who will share their trade secrets on how they successfully introduce and cultivate an artistic approach in their students' lessons, regardless of age or level of ability.  

Each panelist will provide a list of repertoires that they have used successfully to achieve this goal.

Marianne Lauffer earned a BM and MM in piano performance at Indiana University, studying with Karen Shaw. A graduate of the Professional Studies Program at The Juilliard School, further studies were with Irwin Freundlich, Jacob Lateiner and German Diez. She has coached solo and chamber music literature with Menahem Pressler, George Bolet, Carl Ulrich Schnabel, and Rafael De Silva, and collaborated with flutists Gerald Carey and Carol Wincenc. Ms. Lauffer was the featured pianist with the American Repertory Ballet Company at McCarter Theater in Princeton, the State Theater and George Street Theaters in New Brunswick, and in New York City in a premier performance of Pas de dux to the music of John Field. Ms. Lauffer is the assistant director of faculty and extensions and director of the summer music camp program at Westminster Conservatory. She served as state president of NJMTA from 2000 to 2002 and received the MTNA/NJMTA Fellow Award in 2012. Marianne frequently adjudicates for festivals and competitions including NJMTA, MEA, PTF, SMEA, Golden Key Club, Music Fest, and Teen Arts Festival. She currently serves as the pianist/accompanist for Ewing Presbyterian Church. Marianne resides in Ewing Township with her husband Peter where they maintain a busy private studio.   


Julia Lam

Julia Lam

Pianist and pedagogue Dr. Julia Lam currently teaches out of her studio in Basking Ridge, New Jersey. She has served in the past as faculty at the Cleveland Institute of Music, Assistant Professor at Malone College and Wingate College. She has also taught at the Indiana University Summer Piano Academy and Northern Lights Music Festival. Julia holds a Ph.D. in piano, music theory and music history from Michigan State University, Masters of Music in piano from the Indiana University, and a Bachelor of Music in piano from Oberlin Conservatory of Music. Her teachers have included Menahem Pressler, John Perry, and Ralph Votapek. Dr. Lam has served as the President of the New Jersey Music Teachers Association from 1998-2000. Her students have excelled at state, national and international competitions, including the International Young Artists Piano Competition, the Music Teachers National Association’s competitions, the Steinway Society Scholarship Competition, the Cecilian Music Club Young Artists Competition, and the MEA competition of New Jersey. They have also been showcased at National Public Radio's From the Top program as well as on New Jersey's Crescent Concert Series.

Chiu-Ling Lin

Chiu-Ling Lin

Dr. Chiu-Ling Lin made her Carnegie Weill Recital Hall debut as the winner of the East and West Young Artist Auditions. Her appearances in New York, Boston, Chicago, England, Canada, and throughout the Far East have featured her unique mix of music by Chinese and Western composers. Dr. Lin received her bachelor’s degree from the New England Conservatory of Music and her master’s and doctoral degrees from Indiana University. She was Artist-in-Residence at Indiana Univ. at South Bend and is Emeritus Professor of Piano of Drake University in Des Moines, IA. She maintains a private piano studio in West Windsor. Her students have gone on to gain college positions, artist directors of opera companies and performed at major performance venues in US and abroad. She has also taught Graduate Piano Pedagogy Course at Mason Gross Rutgers University and Westminster Choir College. Dr. Lin also contributed to the Keyboard Companion Magazine and records for the FJH Company. She is past president of the NJMTA, the recipient of the 2014 Foundation Fellow, 2015 NJMTA Teacher of the Year and currently serves as Vice President of Student Activities of the NJMTA Board.

Stella Xu

Stella Xu

Pianist Stella Xu, received a full scholarship from the Juilliard schoolafter immigrating to the US, made her first appearance at Kennedy Center in D.C.. She performed extensively in American recital halls. Her premier European performance took place at Wigmore Hall in London and was followed by recitals throughout Europe. Ms. Xu has been a featured artist on the Dame Myra Hess Concert Series in both Chicago and Los Angeles. She has performed live for radio and television broadcasts in the US, France and England. Stella Xu has won many prizes and awards: include gold medal in the International Piano Recording Competition, England; the grand prize in the Bellini International Piano Competition, Italy; first prize in the Young Keyboard International Competition and International Stravinsky Awards Competition. In 1991 she received "The Most Promising Young Artist" Award from Holland Music Academy. Stella Xu has also done extensive work as an educator. She gave master classes all over in Europe, Canada, China, as well as some major cities in the US. Under her tutelage, students have placed in various state, national, and international competitions.