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New Jersey Music Teachers Association



"Technical Routines for Busy Teachers" by Marvin Blickenstaff

A successful technical routine involves more than a quick C Major scale, yet busy teachers have time for little more. This session will outline basic gestures such as rotations and wrist movement, as well as routines for scales, chords, and arpeggios that the teacher can incorporate into a daily technical routine. The result? Staying in technical shape!

Marvin Blickenstaff teaches in his home studio in Pennsylvania and at The New School for Music Study in Kingston. In 2018 he was nominated for an MTNA Fellowship by the NJMTA and received the Pennsylvania MTA Teacher of the Year Award.

"Unusual Repertoire for the Advancing Pianist" by Jason Gallagher

One of the great joys of performing and teaching others to perform at the piano is the vast amount of solo literature available. However, it can be challenging with our busy schedules to actively seek out and learn lesser-known works. This presentation will introduce attendees to some unfamiliar works, highlighting their historical context and musical challenges. It will encourage teachers to seek out, perform, and teach music that is new to them.

Jason Gallagher runs a private studio in Hamilton, NJ, in addition to being on the faculty of the New School for Music Study. He received his Master's degree in Piano Pedagogy and Performance from Westminster Choir College, and his Bachelor's degree in Music Theory from Ithaca College.

"Teaching Piano in the 21st Century: Preserving our values while exploring new directions" 

by Phyllis Lehrer


Pedagogy classes traditionally have included tools for teaching musicianship skills and musical communication: technique, reading, methods and materials, private and group teaching and a host of important and practical topics.  With the arrival of YouTube, computer assisted learning, and the opportunities for reaching wider audiences, what music values do we preserve, what new directions do we explore? 

Phyllis Lehrer will be joined by panelists Agnes Poltorak, Victoria Chow, Cristina Altamura, and Suzanne Lehrer.  Their topics will include:

  • Today’s Students-Making Adjustments to Fit Their Needs
  • The Importance of Rote Pieces in an Age of Reading
  • Exploring the BitKlavier: New Tech that Expands Musicianship
  • Superscore: An app to help our students enjoy sight reading and scales
  • Beyond Our Studios: Community Outreach

Phyllis Alpert Lehrer, NCTM, is professor of piano and directs the graduate piano pedagogy program at Westminster Choir College of Rider University. She is an MTNA Foundation Fellow and is known internationally as a performer, clinician and editor.

"When In Doubt, Don’t Leave It Out:  Teaching Ornamentation and Articulation in the 21st-Century"

by Kristin Cahill & Charl Louw

Teaching stylistic ornamentation and articulation with an emphasis on creativity and experimentation is a rewarding challenge. With a sequenced curriculum exploring interpretive possibilities in musical traditions and specific composers, students are guided to informed interpretations with contextual understanding of articulation and ornamentation. In this session, explore how to facilitate a performance practice project, introduce the study of ornamentation in an innovative way, and include a progressive overview of historical conventions.

Kristin Cahill is on the faculty at The New School for Music Study and has taught and performed in the United States and Spain. Ms. Cahill has published articles in Clavier Companion, co-directs the Legacy Arts bitKlavier course, and is an apprentice in the RCM College of Examiners.

Charl Louw has taught and performed extensively throughout the US and South Africa as soloist, collaborative pianist, and with orchestras. Dr. Louw is active as adjudicator and presenter and serves as Artistic Director of the Greater Princeton Steinway Competition and Co-Director of the Program for Excellence in Piano Studies at The New School for Music Studies.

Bastien New Traditions: Strategies for Engaging Today’s Piano Students

by Lisa Bastien 

Step inside the Bastien Piano Studio and experience fresh twists on pedagogy you love. Discover rich repertoire and effective approaches for students of all ages in the Bastien’s innovative All-In-One series. A FREE reference set for attending teachers!

Lisa Bastien adores teaching piano!  From the 20th floor of her Manhattan piano studio, she has shared her love of music with students of all ages and abilities for over 25 years. 

"The Magic Triangle: Ensuring Successful Relationships Between Teacher, Parent, and Student" 

by Rebecca Pennington

As teachers, we value greatly a harmonious and productive working relationship with the parents of our students. Many times, teachers find communications with parents to be one of the more difficult parts of their job, especially when it involves difficult or sensitive topics. However, open communications is one of the best indicators of student success, so it is imperative that we learn to do this effectively. Some of the topics will include: student motivation, student practice, navigating tense parent/student relationships, issues with student behavior, attendance issues, learning struggles, and more. Beginning with an overarching philosophy and progressing to specific strategies, Rebecca will share her experiences as an administrator, teacher, and parent.

Rebecca Mergen Pennington is the Administrative Director of The New School for Music Study, where she has been on the faculty for 11 years. She holds a DMA from the University of Kansas and is an avid performing, presenter, and adjudicator.

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