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NCKP 2021: Preconference Sneak Peek

The National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy invites you to attend thirteen stimulating days of preconference sessions that are guaranteed to reenergize your teaching!

The conference is taking full advantage of the virtual platform, giving each preconference track its own day and allowing you to immerse yourself in each topic. The following preconference descriptions, written by the chairs of the committees, offer a brief glimpse into the transformative experiences that await. 

July 13, 2021: Independent Music Teachers Preconference

by Jason Sifford

The Independent Music Teachers Committee is proud to raise the curtain on this year's National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy. Our committee was tasked with putting together a slate of preconference sessions that meet the needs of the modern piano teacher. To accomplish this, it was important that our committee represent the wide variety of situations in which teachers across the country find themselves. We come from a variety of geographical, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds. Many of us have "portfolio" careers, earning our income from a variety
of different sources. Some of us own and operate our own small businesses while others of us work as independent contractors or sole proprietors. While none of our working lives look exactly the same, all of us are united in a similar goal—to bring the gift of music to new generations of musicians.

We begin our day with sessions that explore the ways in which we help students navigate their musical lives. We'll learn about creating engaging, interesting spaces—both in person and online—that provide a nurturing and stimulating environment for students to flourish. We'll explore the realm of performance, from the traditional recital experience to new approaches aimed at helping students tell their own stories. And we'll hear from teachers across the country share the lessons learned as they've helped students through this difficult year.

Next, we offer a pair of sessions aimed at helping you develop and expand your pedagogical toolbox. We'll hear from experts about the benefits of rote teaching in the studio. (Spoiler alert—rote teaching doesn't hinder reading, it enhances it!) And in a world where students are increasingly tied to touch-screens, we'll learn some new ways to help them understand their bodies and develop a fluent,
healthy technique. 

Of course, no preconference day would be complete without a celebration of the music itself! Would it surprise you to hear that Debussy's Children's Corner (1908) is closer to Beethoven's Für Elise (1810) than to music written today? It's true! And it's our job as teachers to help introduce students to the music of the last few decades that are sure to become the classics of the future. We'll delve into the music of Black composers with an emphasis on finding music for students at a variety of skill levels. We'll learn how to incorporate non-Western traditions into our teaching, bringing together musical traditions from India, Asia, Africa, and the Americas. No matter how full your shelves are at home, we guarantee you'll find some new gems to add to your teaching repertoire.

At the end of our day, we welcome you to relax with a lecture- recital on one of the most beloved pedagogical composers of all time, William Gillock. Marvin Blickenstaff, Rebecca Pennington, and the faculty at the New School for Music Study will present the composer's Lyric Preludes in a lecture- recital format. Practical strategies for teaching the pieces will be presented alongside performances of each of the preludes, so grab a notebook, pour yourself a drink, and settle in for an informative and inspiring concert! 

July 14, 2021: Teaching Adults Preconference

by Jacqueline Edwards-Henry

The Committee on Teaching Adults is proud to present a preconference track entitled "Adult Students, the Now Frontier." Learning to play the piano, resuming piano study, or continuing to refine skills is becoming increasingly popular with adult students of all ages. Perhaps now, more than ever before, adults are realizing the value of including piano study to their list of hobbies or stress-reducing activities. Despite the pandemic, some piano dealers are experiencing an increase in sales of digital and acoustic pianos; and, eager piano enthusiasts have been gifted with a plethora of videos on YouTube to help them learn or refine skills. Indeed, now is the time to add adult students to teaching schedules. 

The Teaching Adults preconference track will pose and respond to a series of questions designed to benefit piano teachers, regardless of the level of experience with adult students: Who are they? Why teach them? How do we teach adult students? How do we teach adult students in groups?

Who are they? Dr. Pamela Pike and Dr. Thomas Swenson will help participants appreciate the difference between pedagogy and andragogy, and the very different needs of a 30-year-old adult student versus an 80-year-old adult student.

Why teach them? Adult students of a variety of ages and skill levels will share their experiences with piano study and the impact of piano study on their lives. Teachers will articulate the joys and challenges they have experienced with adult students, and the value of working with adults.

How do we teach adult students? Demonstrations of what works with adults at a variety of ages and backgrounds—the tried and true, and the pandemic new!

How do we teach adult students in groups? This session will help participants gain a better understanding of the benefits of studying piano in a group setting: Recreational Music Making (RMM), face-to-face and virtual piano classes, and partner lessons.

Finally, participants will have the opportunity to pose their own questions and share their own success stories during the closing Cata-tonic, Virtual Happy Hour. Randomly mixed break-out rooms will help create the experience of relaxed, small-group discussions while enjoying favorite snacks and beverages of choice. And no worries if furry friends photo- bomb the computer screen—they're welcome! 

July 15, 2021: Inclusive Teaching Preconference

by Beth Bauer

This year's preconference sessions on Teaching Students with Special Needs will be held on Thursday, July 15, 2021. Dr. Cherise Miller, independent studio owner, will kick-off the event with the keynote session "Undefined by Hearing Loss, My Career in Music." During this session, Dr. Miller will present how progressive hearing loss since age nine has influenced and affected her ability to play and teach the piano.

The first main session will feature doctoral student Jasmine Harry, who will present the session "Music, Autism, and ADHD: Successful Strategies and Resources for
Music Educators." This session will be especially helpful for teachers seeking specific strategies and techniques for students with special needs. This will be followed by a Parent Panel, a group of parents who have sought out inclusive learning opportunities for their children. This moderated panel will be a forum for parents of students with special needs to tell us what they desire in a music experience for their children and what they need from teachers.

The third session is by music therapist Dr. Michael Thaut, who will present "The Brain that Engages in Music is Changed by Engaging in Music." Dr. Thaut will show how applied music learning affects the brain and associated neuroplasticity. A second music therapist, Azuza Higotani, will present "Perspectives on Music and Human Wellness: Stories from Hospice." She will explore relationships between music and human wellness by merging her experiences as a music therapist and music educator. The final session will be "Keys to Autism: Out-of-the-Box Techniques for Out-of-the-Box Students," presented by independent studio owner Connie Wible. The preconference day will conclude with an interactive panel featuring all speakers and members of the conference committee for Inclusive Piano Teaching.

The NCKP Committee for Special Needs includes Dr. Beth Bauer, Dr. Melissa Martiros, Dr. Scott Price, and Dr. Derek Kaelii Polishuk. We look forward to seeing you this year! 

July 16, 2021: Young Musicians: Birth to Age Nine Preconference

by Janet Tschida

The Young Musicians—Birth to Age Nine Committee desires to cultivate an excitement for nurturing young musicians into lifelong musicians by creating a strong network of teachers and developing philosophical and practical resources. Building a community of teachers that significantly expands the overlap of proficient piano instructors with excellent early childhood music specialists has the potential to revolutionize our approach of teaching piano to young musicians. As our network grows, we specifically endeavor to support teachers aspiring to implement an aural/experiential approach as the pathway to literacy for young musicians. By offering opportunities for learning developmentally appropriate practices and activities, we hope teachers can more confidently

integrate experientially based activities such as whole- body movement, singing, improvisation, meaningful rote learning, self-expression, responsive listening, experiential learning, and music play into their teaching. Similarly, by understanding the difference between "piano play" versus "piano study" and what is appropriate when, teachers will be better equipped to help parents adjust their expectations of lessons for young musicians.

We invite teachers of all levels to participate in this year's preconference day. Even if we don't teach young children, understanding how young students learn music can transform our teaching! Numerous principles for developing young musicians apply to all levels of music instruction. Unquestionably, the interactive sessions will provide valuable strategies for successfully transitioning students from early childhood music to study on an instrument.

Our incredible line up of presenters promises to revitalize even the most experienced early childhood music specialists and teachers of young musicians. Most importantly, an emphasis on building professional connections with presenters and attendees will provide needed support as we prepare for another year of growing young musicians. 

The Theme for the Young Musicians Preconference Day is "Setting The Stage—Strategies for Developing Young Musicians" where we will answer the questions: Why - When - How - HELP!!

WHY: Teachers of all levels will be inspired by Linda Fields' presentation answering why setting the stage for a lifetime of music making starts with early childhood music and movement. In twenty brief lessons, Fields will convincingly demonstrate that all we need to know about artistic teaching and performing, we learn from early childhood music.

WHEN: Next, the question of when to begin music with children will be addressed with Joy Morin's fascinating presentation highlighting her daughter's first year. In addition to gaining insights that can transform our pedagogy of young learners, seeing videos of her daughter's experiences and hearing her research will enable us to more effectively communicate the value of starting early childhood music from birth.

HOW: After answering the questions of why and when, the how will be explored through interactive workshops presented by Wendy Valerio and Amy Rucker and
an activity share sponsored by the Young Musicians Committee. We will experience activities that foster internalization of musical concepts by creating deep connections between the ear and the body. With a focus on playful moving, listening, breathing, singing, rhythm chanting, coordinating, and creativity, we will learn effective techniques for guiding our students to independent musicianship. By capitalizing on a young child's natural responses to music, our approach to teaching beginning pianists in group or private instruction will be rejuvenated.

HELP: Help will be offered during a "From Floundering to Flourishing Q & A" panel encouraging transparent discussion on "what is most difficult for us when teaching young students?" and "what is keeping us from teaching young students?" We will also enjoy collaborative sessions with colleagues on topics pertinent to developing young musicians. 

You won't want to miss this year's exciting line-up of engaging presenters with exceptional credentials in the field of developing young musicians. A renowned specialist, Dr. Wendy Valerio co-authored GIA's Music Play (1998 and 2020). She also serves as director of the Children's Music Development Center at the University of South Carolina, Columbia where she directs and conducts early childhood music development research. Another nationally recognized icon and immediate past-president of the Early Childhood Music and MovementAssociation, Amy Rucker invests in teachers as a national trainer for Musikgarten. In addition to Valerio and Rucker, Color In My Piano blogger Joy Morin earned two certifications from the Gordon Institute for Music Learning, and Linda Fields completed her Early Childhood Music and Movement Association Level III Certification. 

July 17, 2021: Creative Music Making Preconference

by Jeremy Siskind

Want to hear a "dirty little secret" about piano teachers? Most of them teach pop songs to their students but have no training at all in playing or teaching popular music.

To help fill in some of the gaps in piano teachers' knowledge, the Creative Track is offering a preconference day filled with everything pop. The day will start with a presentation by Todd Van Kekerix, Piano Pedagogy Professor at Houston's Moores School of Music, explaining how to build essential piano skills using popular pieces. Then, Korea National University of Education professor Dr. Sumi Kwon, will share how she uses the music of K-Pop groups like BTS and Blackpink to teach improvisation to young learners.

In the third session, Nicholas Lira and Bridget O'Leary will share insights on teaching students to interpret pop music with the stylistic precision that's usually reserved for playing classical masterworks. Musicians discussed will range from Sara Bareilles and Alicia Keys to Elton John, Lady Gaga, and BTS.

Following these presentations, we are pleased to welcome master-teacher Shane Adams, who will give a three-hour interactive session on songwriting. Adams is the president of Artist Accelerator, a twice Grammy-nominated music educator, award- winning producer/songwriter, and author.

He's a founding instructor for Berklee Online, where he has taught lyric-writing and songwriting to thousands of students since 2003, and a featured songwriter and instructor for the Taylor Swift Education Center at the Country Music Hall of Fame andMuseum,whogaveAdamstheir"TopTenHitmaker" award in 2014. He co-developed their current "Words & Music" and "Songwriting 101" outreach programs, which have enabled over 250,000 American students to learn to write songs.

For this session, Adams will invite participants to join his "Songwriting Custom Shop," in which he'll guide them through writing their own song, from creating a chord progression to writing a lyric, to organizing song sections into a recognizable form. All the while, Shane will share lesson-ready tips for teachers to help inspire their students' inner songwriters and encourage them to craft better songs. This is a preconference day you won't want to miss.

July 19, 2021: Teacher Education in Higher Education Preconference

by David Cartledge and Courtney Crappell

We are pleased to announce the upcoming preconference plans of the NCKP Teacher Education in Higher Ed committee. While this committee's title appears new to the roster of NCKP leadership, it has actually developed from its previous name, the Collegiate Pedagogy Teaching committee. This renaming and adjustment of mission is intended to refocus the purview of the committee with a broader mandate and a wider audience, in order to reflect the variety of ways in which teacher training enters our curriculum.

As the committee assembled early in Fall 2020 to discuss and construct plans for the NCKP preconference Higher Ed track, we were deeply interested in questions of diversity and equity, and the ways in which these causes can be advanced within our field. The dramatic social unrest of the summer of 2020 provided a powerful impetus to examine structures, curriculum, repertoire, and social organization in the higher education space, in order to make sure that our world of teaching and pedagogy is indeed welcome to all. Accordingly, committee discussions centered around how to view these concerns through our Higher Education lens. With this perspective in place, we have arranged a preconference session to allow for the exploration of these ideas in an accessible and welcoming way.

The Higher Ed preconference track will feature a two- part session dealing with aspects of microaggressions and bias experienced in the collegiate environment. The problem of microaggressions is of concern in many aspects of interpersonal interaction—we intend to direct our focus more narrowly here, with specific attention to issues that are of direct relevance in teacher training and professional life. We will begin with an extended exploration of microaggression focused against pedagogy specialists in the collegiate environment, with an introduction to microaggressions, followed by breakout sessions to explore microaggressions in the piano pedagogy environment. In the second half of our day, we will explore issues related to repertoire. A panel discussion will present concerns about the use of folk songs in the beginner and group piano curriculum. This will be followed by breakout discussions that explore problems of microaggressions, cultural appropriation and bias in the "canonic" repertoire for our instrument. We close with collaborative development of a call to action, so that the committee, and its friends, can provide leadership to the field of teacher training. Breakout rooms and other interactive activities will be led by members of the preconference committee. 

For those who attend the preconference, it will be both an insightful and a reflective experience. The idea that the problem of microaggressions extends across multiple domains can be a novel realization, and awareness of the problem can allow specialists in a variety of domains to avoid being marginalized. This awareness also allows for insights into the extent and nature of microaggressions in many aspects of society. These sessions will be introspective and revealing. The panel discussion on folk songs will explore how many of the corpus of tunes that are part of the pedagogical vernacular are in fact pieces of music with complex, and often problematic histories and meanings.

We anticipate that this discussion will challenge our ideas about what kinds of tunes are acceptable for use in classrooms where we hope to serve diverse populations. Our breakout sessions will examine how these concerns affect the repertory as a whole.

Overall, these discussions will allow us to explore fundamental challenges that are emergent and ongoing in the professional lives of all of us, coupling careful introspection with an assessment of constructive paths forward. We hope that you will choose to join us for this virtual event and look forward to reconnecting with many of our colleagues throughout the country. 

July 21, 2021: Research Preconference

by Joann Marie Kirchner and Grace Choi

If you have always wondered why research is important, how it is relevant to everyday piano teaching, and which innovative ideas can be successfully implemented, please join the Research Committee for the NCKP preconference on Wednesday, July 21. This three-hour preconference will feature a presentation by Dr. Gilles Comeau, Founder and Director of the Piano Pedagogy Research Laboratory at the University of Ottawa, a Panel Discussion with the Research Committee, and Open Social Hour.

The first preconference presentation will feature the topic "Scientific Research: What Has That to Do with Piano Pedagogy?" by Dr. Gilles Comeau. In this session,
Dr. Comeau will discuss the teaching of music and its long tradition based on the experience and intuition of teachers. In this context, what can research do to contribute to better knowledge about music teaching and learning? 

  • A high percentage of young students spend little time practicing their instrument or drop out of lessons— how can research help us motivate them?
  • Students have so much difficulty learning to read music— how can research explain why they have such mixed results in acquiring this skill?
  • Pain, injuries, and performance anxiety are on the rise— how can research help us address these problems? 

Research results can challenge our educational practices and help us gain a better understanding on how to help students achieve a good level of musical mastery. 

The Research Committee is excited to host a panel discussion of current trends and applications of research in piano pedagogy. We are enthusiastic piano teachers of various age groups and strongly believe in applying active research into piano teaching. We will discuss and demonstrate ways to integrate theory and practice that will help everyday piano teachers in a meaningful way. 

You are then invited to an open social hour to interact with fellow colleagues interested in research. Come as you are and unwind as we get to know educators from various backgrounds. This opportunity will offer the time and space for community networking around the world. You may come away with some fascinating avenues and ideas for integrating research or perhaps make a connection with someone that you may not have otherwise met at the conference! 

July 22, 2021: Diversity Preconference

by Leah Claiborne

The Diversity and Inclusion Committee is excited to present its first preconference at NCKP 2021, which will foster engagement with leading scholars in the field who champion equitable practices in teaching, scholarship, and performance. Since the conception of the Center's new committee, chairs Dr. Leah Claiborne and Dr. Desireé González-Miller have spearheaded town hall discussions, webinars, articles, a new course on Black composers, and a Diversity Summit—all which examine how teachers, students, and performers can begin to take steps to create a more inclusive field in piano pedagogy. The 2021 preconference will continue to highlight these efforts by providing various levels of engagement and scholarship centered around these practices.

The Diversity Committee has created a dynamic conference for participants to explore, engage, and reflect upon two areas in the pedagogy field: Diversifying Piano Repertoire and Building Anti-Racist Practices.

The preconference will begin with a ninety-minute workshop that will highlight beginning through advanced piano works which have largely been left out of the canon. Scholars and artists from across the country will present workshops and panel discussions on music from the Americas, Asia, and Eastern Europe. Pre-recorded performances will awaken the spirit of diversity within repertoire and showcase the beautiful variety of piano music available for our students. Information on where to locate the music will also be given. 

Panelists in the second ninety-minute workshop will discuss building anti-racist practices. The year of 2020 brought forth many social, political, and personal challenges, and a spotlight was placed on racism in our country. This spotlight has created an opportunity for professionals to learn how to shut down racist practices that they may or may not be aware of, and also equip members in our field with the tools necessary to create safe spaces for learning to occur. During the panel and subsequent breakout rooms, BIPOC panelists will share personal stories of their unfortunate experiences with racism in the piano field, and present action steps to prevent continued racist practices in piano pedagogy. Piano teachers have a great influence on opening the landscape of equity and fostering a positive change for the next generation of pianists. We invite you all to participate in this important discussion.

July 23, 2021: Collaborative Preconference 

by Alexandra Nguyen

2020 was a tumultuous year, with the COVID-19 pandemic and social justice crises significantly impacting our lives. The pandemic has upended the performing arts field, decimating musicians' work and professional lives. Organizations, historically considered pillars in the profession, such as the Metropolitan Opera, Broadway venues, and the Kennedy Center, have shut down. Teaching now entails massive investments in technology, energy, and time, not to mention major shifts in pedagogical approaches. Collaborative playing came to an abrupt halt with physical distancing and safety protocols, wreaking havoc in virtually every aspect of music performance and education. To add to that, social justice movements have forced us to question biases inherent in ourselves and our field, exposing vulnerabilities that we may not have wanted to acknowledge. 

As we begin 2021, depleted from the last year, these issues remain at the forefront of our consciousness. We all long for the ease, comfort, and routine of our pre-COVID lives. Yet, as Sonya Renee Taylor so eloquently posits, is that a life that we should wish to return to?

"We will not go back to normal. Normal never was. Our pre-corona existence was not normal other than we normalized greed, inequity, exhaustion, depletion, extraction, disconnection, confusion, rage, hoarding, hate, and lack. We should not long to return, my friends. We are being given the opportunity to stitch a new garment. One that fits all of humanity and nature." – Sonya Renee Taylor 

I cannot think of a better way to describe the spirit in which the Collaborative preconference day was conceived. The Collaborative committee felt strongly that the virtual gathering was an ideal occasion for active reflection and discussion of these issues. With these challenges came growth: lessons learned and knowledge gained in this difficult process will transform how we do things when life returns to "normal." To this end, the preconference sessions highlight topics that have been thrust into the spotlight through a collaborative lens: teaching and performing in times of physical distancing, professional development and evolution, recording, and exploration of repertoire by under-represented composers.

The day will open with an honest conversation about the pandemic's effects on how our work is delivered—the good, the bad, and the questionable: low-latency platforms, adjustments to pedagogical approaches, and an examination of what practices might continue to be constructive post-pandemic. What are the long-term implications for how we teach and perform collaboratively? Should low-latency platforms continue to develop and be used in the future, they would remove the limitation of geographic proximity, allowing for distanced ensemble performances across countries and continents.

Given the broad scope of possibilities, forging one's own path in the musical profession has always been a rite of passage for emerging pianists. As a new work landscape develops, reinventing oneself professionally will be critical to ensuring success in an unknown market. Our second session will present strategies for re-defining one's professional goals and activities, followed by a town hall forum where attendees can solicit individualized feedback on constructively engaging in this process. 

One of the rather onerous tasks for pianists that has transpired thanks to the pandemic is the production of recorded tracks for singers and instrumentalists. Digital applications have also been used to supplement these, causing concern that pianists might be replaceable by electronic media—a sobering thought. Our third presentation of the day will provide strategies for best practices in this realm, and ways to retain a sense of artistry and the truly interactive nature of personal collaboration. 

Our day will conclude with a session dedicated to the music of voices not normally represented in our everyday teaching. The music of the Western canon that we encounter is predominantly by white men, yet the demographic of composers is far more diverse. An overview of vocal and instrumental repertoire by underrepresented composers will be shared, as will resources to research these works.

While the day's events might raise more questions than answers, the discussions will be thought-provoking and energizing. As chair of the Collaborative Committee, I am extremely excited and invite you to join us! Between our fantastic presenters and participants, I am looking forward to seeing how we can take this "opportunity to stitch a new garment" in the collaborative field. While this last year has felt as though all burst into flames, I am certain that we will rise from the ashes with inspiration, inclusivity, compassion, and humanity.

July 26, 2021: Career Development and Innovation Preconference

by Jani Parsons and Kellie Cunningham 

Do you wonder how to build your music studio? Are you searching for inspiration as you start out on your career path or looking for ways to claim your leadership potential and innovate your practice? Have you been hoping to rework, revamp, and renew your weekly lesson strategies? If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, NCKP's pre-conference session with the Career Development and Innovation Committee is just what you've been looking for!

Our newly-redesigned committee for Career Development and Innovation has been enthusiastically putting together a series of sessions to be held on July 26, 2021. Three broad categories are represented throughout the day as follows: time dedicated towards students and young professionals, a segment broadly speaking to all of us who long to develop our careers, and a final segment designed to foster leadership and innovation. 

We will launch our sessions by defining the nuts and bolts of career building at the initial stages, including successfully transitioning from college to a career. We will also look at best practices of teachers who have journeyed ahead and found productive strategies for overcoming common studio concerns. Though designed specifically for new and emerging teachers, even seasoned teachers will find these workshops helpful to sharpen their tools of the trade.

The midday sessions will highlight stories of mentors and teachers who are in the field, building their studios and developing and expanding their careers. The importance of mentorship—in building connections, fostering relationships, and finding meaning in our profession—is showcased through the powerful medium of story-telling. Panels and interviews with mentor/mentee teachers will be interspersed with short sessions on building soft skills as we constantly expand our personal resources. Breakout sessions throughout the time will allow for connecting with other attendees, providing for deeper thinking on the topics being presented. These stories, these relationships, are a part of what motivates us as teachers and mentors ourselves, and we cannot wait to share them.

In the final segment of the day we will focus on leadership and innovation, seeking to demystify some common leadership tropes and present actionable steps for engaging your leadership potential. We will also consider how you can innovate your practice in developing new projects from a seed of an idea into a pitch that others can get behind.

We hope you are able to join us as we forge new pathways, seek for deeper relationships, and lead another generation of innovative and inspired teachers and pianists. May you experience with us an unforgettable day as we continue our journey of personal growth during these new and exciting times!

July 27, 2021: New Technological Horizons for the Creative Teacher

by Christopher Madden

Without a doubt, piano teachers are looking forward to a post-COVID world in which live recitals and in-person lessons are once again the norm. While the shift to online instruction has been difficult, there is good news: piano teachers are now more technologically proficient than ever before! The Technology Committee hopes to leverage teachers' newfound familiarity and confidence with technology in order to "raise the technological bar" in piano pedagogy. Whether you hope to learn more about increasing audio/video quality in your lessons or create virtual collaborative performance opportunities for your students, the preconference Technology Track offers just what you need, and we hope you will join us for a day of practical sessions full of exciting possibilities!

This year's Technology Track will feature sessions that fall into two categories: 1) technology to enhance virtual performances and 2) technology to enhance online teaching. All presentations are designed to harness the unique opportunities presented by NCKP's virtual format. Specifically, because teachers will "attend"
the conference from their homes, they can prepare their technology ahead of time, allowing them to follow real-time tutorials on their own devices. NCKP's virtual registration process will allow the Technology Committee to contact attendees ahead of the conference with a list of software and apps to prepare in order to maximize teachers' experiences during each session. 

Technology to Enhance Virtual Performances 

The Technology Track will begin with a presentation by Laura Silva, a former musician with El Sistema in Venezuela and a passionate advocate for piano ensembles. During COVID-19, Laura's inability to organize in-person piano ensembles did not deter her from creating performance opportunities for her students. Her presentation will highlight creative uses of technology that helped keep students engaged during this period of distance learning. Laura will also provide easy-to-follow ideas for assembling virtual piano ensembles and provide resources for finding appropriate sheet music. Members of the NCKP executive committee are also exploring a potential collaborative performance that will bring together attendees from around the globe during this opening session. Stay tuned for more details! 

Building upon Laura Silva's opening session, the Technology Track will feature several workshops that will help teachers enhance virtual performance opportunities for their students. Mario Ajero's session, "Distantly Social: Creating Meaningful Virtual Recital Experiences for Students, Families, and Communities," will help teachers harness the power of social media to grow their audiences for both live and pre-recorded virtual recitals.

Rachel Hahn and Lori Frazer will present two contrasting ideas to create engaging virtual student performances. Hahn will draw upon her experiences with remote learning in K–8 education to show attendees how they can "MacGyver" technology they already own to help students develop new skills and remain connected. Lori Frazer will show attendees how students can "snowball" their performances into a large ensemble using individually recorded parts.

Jonathan Scofield is passionate about bringing old works to new audiences, and he will share ideas for how to achieve this goal in a virtual world. His session, "Constructing Semiotic Bridges through Multimedia Performances," will demonstrate how virtual performances can help musicians better convey the symbolism and meaning behind the music they are playing. Similarly, Aaron Garner will draw upon principles from the art of cinematography to help teachers capture more engaging video footage during their students' performances.

Technology to Enhance Online Teaching 

Sessions designed to enhance attendees' online teaching will encourage teachers to use familiar technology in creative ways as well as incorporate new technology into their studios. Within the realm of familiar technology, Michelle Sisler will offer a highly practical session titled, "Google Drive Can Do All of That?" While we are all familiar with the basic functions of Google Drive, Michelle plans to show attendees how to use the technology for much more than file storage! Teachers will leave with ideas for creating interactive PDFs, drag-and-drop worksheets, escape rooms, auto-corrected worksheets, studio registration forms, and more.

Have you ever wondered how you can effectively teach young beginners online? If so, join Timothy Stephenson and Nicha Stapanukul for their session, "Remote Instruction and Young Beginners: A Little Bit of Technology, A Lot
of Creativity!" Drawing upon their experiences as faculty members at Indiana University's Young Pianists Program, Timothy and Nicha will share ideas for working with young beginners using simple technology in creative ways. Similarly, Lori Frazer will show attendees how to use familiar technology (digital accompaniments) to enhance students' musicality, sense of timing, and motivation. She will also provide attendees with a plethora of resources for finding digital accompaniments.

If the basics of Zoom teaching have become second nature for you, join João Paulo Casarotti and Daiane Raatz for a session that will boost your online teaching capabilities: "Bringing Your Online Teaching to the Next Level: Using OBS Studio and Creative/Fun Activities." During this workshop, attendees will learn how to maximize the features of Zoom, and they will also explore creative ways to engage students by using OBS (Open Broadcaster Software) in their teaching studios. 

Additional Opportunities 

The Technology Committee has organized the day to ensure attendees can interact with presenters during sessions and during pre-scheduled social activities. These will include lunch and dinner breakout rooms, during which teachers can share their own creative ideas and experiences with technology during the past year. Members of the Technology Committee will also host a Q&A style session titled, "Fast, Clear, and Musical: How to Solve Issues of Sound and Synchronicity." If you've ever asked, "What options do I have for high quality microphones and cameras?" or "What is the easiest way to sync audio and video?," this session is for you! Finally, following many years of tradition at NCKP, members of the Technology Committee will collaborate with presenters in a closing "Geeks on Stage" concert.

With sessions focusing on diverse topics to enhance your virtual teaching and performances, the 2021 NCKP Technology Track will truly be a unique opportunity to broaden your technological horizons. Join us for what promises to be an especially relevant and practical day full of learning and creative ideas! 

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