MTNA Conference (March 2013)


Amazing! Simply one word to describe these several days in conference workshops, the exhibit hall, and meeting/reuniting with teaching friends from around the world.

*Jazz/Popular Music: Tuning Into the YouTube Generation: How Have Students Changed Over the Years?
*Young Professionals – “Making It” in the Academic World
*Advanced Piano & Teaching Artistry Track 2 – Creating Artists From the Very First Lesson
*RMM and the Adult Private Student
*Opening Session: Ahn Trio
*Faber Piano Adventures: Set Your Sights on Student Growth (Primer to 2B)
*My 10 Top Secrets for Teaching Adults
*Exhibit Hall Time (many hours)
*One For All Session: Lessons Learned From Disney – Entrepreneurism for the Independent Teacher
*One For All Session: Get Paid What You’re Worth
*Got Questions?
*JoyTunes Ltd: Motivation to Practice – New Tools for the Piano/Keyboard Educator
*One For All Session – Inspired Uses of iPads and Mobile Devices In Your Studio
*Learn At First Sight: A Review of the Current Research on Sight-Reading
*One For All Session – Speaking Their Language: Teaching the Child With Autism

My notes are many, and my mind is still spinning. ;) The timing of my return is perfect, simply because we have one week of lessons, and then Spring Break… an opportunity to reconnect with my students, hear their progress & struggles, and then take the time I have during the coming Spring Break week to strategize and plan for the rest of the school year’s strong conclusion.

I love teaching, and every teacher has something new and exciting to contribute. It was an honor to learn from many experts in the field, and an encouragement to realize we as a studio are doing this right.  It is vital to continue learning & growing as a teacher.

Some upcoming changes/updates/plans for the studio…
*adding some technological equipment
*incorporating group lessons again, as have been in the past
*clearer expectations & tips for playing/practicing artistically
*more performance opportunities (in & out of studio)
*new editions of some of our favorite method book series & a few others I’ve just discovered
*activities to round out the learning process – using all the learning styles (aural, visual, kinesthetic, etc)
*more improvisation (I LOVE teaching improv) using chord structures & patterns
*and in general, just tweaking my teaching style & skill. I love learning, and was delighted to gain new ideas and strategies for helping you all grow as musicians as you set your goals on the future.

Enjoy some photos taken during the trip. :)

5458_10151260751971362_1663727295_nPhoto #1: During one of the last days of the conference, I was walking through the hall, and recognized the name of one of my (not-yet-met) facebook teacher friends! :) Marci Pittman has contributed to the teaching world is so many ways, and many of my students have benefited from her creative expertise & feedback, even from many states away! :)

60437_10151260311091362_310881897_nPhoto #2: I brought two books with me to the conference, for reading during my downtime. One was The Hobbit ;) and the other was Making Music and Enriching Lives…

One of the authors, Bonnie Blanchard, gave one of the workshops and kindly agreed to sign the book I brought & the book I bought. :) Her kind, encouraging notes inside will be a constant reminder to keep doing what I love – teaching music.

72440_10151256998856362_199757587_nPhoto #3: Meeting Jennifer Foxx ( was a goal of this trip. We had been trying to coordinate an opportunity to meet, and even though we stayed in the same Disneyland Hotel tower, our paths only crossed once. But, we were able to capture this photo in a workshop – and even sit together! She has a fantastic blog and continues to do what she loves… a brilliant idea :)

598942_10151260750426362_1922534415_nPhoto #4: Natalie Wickham accomplished something superhuman. Every workshop she attended, she furiously took notes, and then, as it seemed, before we even left the room, she had a detailed blog post of the entire class! Her blog can be found at…

She found me in the hall, as I was getting a picture with Marci. Running into facebook/yahoo group teacher friends was such a delight! Thank you, Natalie, for the wonderful blog you provide for musicians around the world!



Photo #5: Randall Faber is the co-writer of Piano Adventures (, a method series we use extensively in the studio in one form or another. He presented a wonderful overview of the new 2nd edition of Level 2B (the orange set many of my students use – the Rock ‘n Roll book shown is a supplemental book for 2B, and doesn’t follow the orange color). I am VERY excited to introduce students currently in 2A (dark blue lesson books) to the new edition soon. In Photo #6, Randall is demonstrating improvisation he enjoys playing with the pieces in the supplemental Rock ‘n Roll book, using Alberti Bass & simple chord changes.

602194_10151255681011362_2128405853_nPhoto #7: Upstairs in the conference center… name tag, beautiful piano (earlier, a competition student was practicing), and Mickey Mouse themed carpet – after the conclusion of the last class of the conference. ;)


Photo #8: The beautiful, detailed map of the entire property and specific class locations inside the tower in which I stayed with my friend, Hilary, helped greatly as I worked hard to get to classes on time. Maps are so handy! Some very nice South Korean attendees were taking photos with the map, and when I asked them to take my photo, they happily agreed. :) Everyone here was so friendly and helpful = attendees, general public, and staff (known as cast members). Often, we did notice the teachers were rather serious as they’d speed from place to place, though – we’re people on a mission. ;)

481377_10151265577066362_191473034_n542847_10151265578891362_589156860_nPhoto #9: The night before heading home to Oregon, my brother, Michael (making a goofy face), joined us at the hotel. :) We swam in the pool and hot tub for several hours, watched some TV, listened to the outdoor Disney music, and then… we all went to dinner at Marri’s Pizza & Italian Restaurant (  Hilary and I didn’t rent a car for the trip, so we relied on transport by foot the entire time (shuttle to the hotel). Michael drove us to the restaurant, which had DELICIOUS food, and then the next morning when we checked out, he drove us to the beach (Huntington) where we walked on the sand, walked down the pier, perused the Saturday market, and then proceeded to the airport for our return home… sadly leaving Michael behind. Would have liked to take him with me. ;)



Photo #10: Hilary took this photo of me with HER camera (amazing camera!), as we sat by the outdoor fire. It was a beautiful spot. ( Hilary came with me on this trip, and made it even more amazing! We laughed, cried (Hey, the World of Color was just THAT amazing!), sang, walked miles AND miles AND miles, rode rides, and took MANY photos.

You’ll also notice some photos from actual Disneyland – what better place to have a Music Teacher’s National Association (MTNA) Annual Conference?! :) I think it’s perfect. We had a 3-day pass to the Disneyland Park, and enjoyed every moment of it – even with the blisters.










7 thoughts on “MTNA Conference (March 2013)

  1. Pingback: MTNA Conference 2013 | Kristin's Music Studio = BLOG :)


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