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Autumn 2021: Life in Music

The new school year marks a time of beginnings and discoveries. As lifelong learners, we launch into the fall with aspirational plans for our students and for ourselves. The opportunity to synthesize newly acquired approaches, strategies, and skills inspires us to build on our craft and bring our best to our students.

Colleagues attending NCKP 2021 shared their passion for teaching excellence from all over the world. Throughout the rich preconference and main conference days, clear themes and calls to action for all of us in the piano education community became evident. It is a time for change and a time for action. As music educators, we have the privilege of impacting lives through the transformative power of music. As a result, we have the power to contribute to a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive world.

The themes that reverberated throughout NCKP2021 and this last year lead us to a number of key calls to action. There is finally a greater understanding that it is time to expand our repertoire knowledge and awareness. It is essential that we learn and teach the full and comprehensive music narrative, including much more diverse representation. Because of technology, we have access to extensive resources, and it is our responsibility to seek out underrepresented composers and commit to highlighting a more comprehensive cultural experience for students. Taking the initiative to learn more about each student's heritage connects music making to their own family backgrounds. These personal connections intensify artistic exploration and creativity. We can also begin to influence college admissions, competition requirements, festival and exam lists, and motivate publishers to provide access to a more inclusive canon.

Consider opening your professional circle to connect with a wider range of colleagues from different backgrounds and cultures. Engage with international colleagues to discover more about their music and pedagogy.

Another powerful call to action is to practice an inclusive teaching philosophy. All people have the right to meaningful music experiences. Have courage to accept a wider range of students in your studio. Delve into teacher education resources to support your learning and skills to facilitate learning for every student. Opening your teaching to adults and engaging in community programs will further enrich your life as well as advance your teaching.

It is important to recognize that the challenges of the last eighteen months have been crushing for new graduates and professionals. Identify and share opportunities to mentor and engage new members of the teaching community. By supporting new ideas and developing collaborative projects, valuable relationships with future leaders are nurtured. It is essential, for our long-term sustainability, to strengthen frameworks that facilitate the transition from university to professional life.

As we work to advance our profession and support our community, we at The Frances Clark Center are dedicated to these calls to action. We are expanding our courses to include more courses on underrepresented composers including offerings on music by Black composers, women composers, Asian composers, Latin American composers, and more. Our upcoming webinars are relevant and innovative with dedicated sessions on research, diversity, inclusive teaching, new professionals, and foundational pedagogy. We are deepening our work with an anti-discrimination project to develop resources that foster greater understanding. Our international programming will highlight international research and shared practice. We will continue to expand programs for new professionals with mentorship, teacher education, fellowships, internships, coursework, practicums, and more. Our publications will continue to curate the highest quality resources in the field.

When I recently interviewed British pianist Isata Kanneh-Mason for NCKP 2021, I asked her to finish the statement "Music is…". Without any hesitation she said, "Music is PEOPLE." I cannot imagine anything more true. If each of us pledges to discover a more diverse repertoire, to be more inclusive in our teaching, to continually advance our learning, and to serve our communities through the power of music, we will be making a difference individually and creating a movement for a more equitable world. Music inspires us to be greater and we will honor its transformative power as we work together for a more just world.

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Autumn 2021: Questions & Answers
Autumn 2021: First Looks: Recordings


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Piano Magazine is the leading resource for pianists, piano teachers, and piano enthusiasts. We bring you informative, interesting, and inspiring ideas on all aspects of piano teaching, learning, and performing. The official name of Clavier Companion magazine was changed to Piano Magazine in 2019.

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