Manhattan Christian College
October 22-23, 2021

Friday, October 22

9:00 am

KMTA Board Meeting

11:30 am

Break for Lunch

12:30 pm


1:00 pm

Group Discussion: “We Had a Pandemic. Where Do We Go From Here?”

This is a chance for teachers to discuss changes to their studios in 2020 and 2021. Did you continue to teach lessons? Did you teach online? What platform(s) did you use? Do you teach in person lessons? When did you resume teaching in person? Do you currently teach online lessons? What adaptations did you make to accommodate online teaching? What do you do differently now that you did not do before? 


2:15 pm

Celeste Watson: “Recognizing Hypermobility (“Double-jointedness”) in Students and Developing the Hand Arch in Hypermobile Students”

“Double-jointedness,” also known as hypermobility or joint laxity, can have a significant impact on pianists. This condition is caused by defective collagen which allows joints to move beyond the normal range of motion. This unusual range of motion, especially for pianists, causes the body to compensate with excess muscles tension which can lead to various forms of chronic pain. 

Developing a solid hand arch is one of the first goals in piano technique, but when a student is experiencing joint instability or joint hypermobility, developing a hand arch can be very difficult. Joint instability, muscular weakness, and less than optimal arm/hand alignment may all contribute to struggles in arch development. This presentation offers useful tools and techniques for assisting pianists of all ages develop their arch. A variety of tools, games, and exercises will be shown, using materials teachers can find easily at Walmart, Target, or Amazon, and teachers will have an opportunity to experiment with these tools and resources to find ones that might work for their students. This presentation also includes a user-friendly conversation about anatomy of the hand and arm and a sequence of activities to help students understand their arm, hand, and finger structure better.


3:30 pm


4:00 pm

Dr. Lucy Tan: “Inspiring Students’ Artistry through Elements of Narrative and Imagery”

This session explores how manipulating narrative and imagery can enhance studies of various piano works. Works to be discussed include those that are intrinsically programmatic, those that are absolute in nature, and those that seem to embrace a sense of stasis or even disorder. The scope of this presentation examines works and excerpts from diverse levels of difficulty, from beginner to advanced, as well as different styles and genres. Through analysis and synthesis of musical elements, teleological narrative (or lack there-of), imagery, and metaphors, the goal is to show how one may link elements of narrative structure to formal sections within a given musical work. 

As we use narrative as a vehicle for interpretation of music, we can open the doors to learning music in a deeper, more emotionally charged way, rendering performances that are full of imagination. I hope to inspire and motivate students to share an appreciation of the piano literature that goes beyond playing the right notes and rhythms, that goes beyond following the fortes and pianos, that goes beyond simply listening to instructions and playing copy-cat. In this presentation, there will be examples of how to communicate elements of narrative and imagery to students, as well as tips on how to motivate students’ innate creativity. Lastly, one of the most important facets of inspiring students’ artistry is through awareness of listening versus simply imagining. We can endlessly encourage our students to imagine stories or landscapes or dreamy scenes, but I believe it is even more essential (if not equally so) to see that our students are able to execute their visions at the keyboard.


5:15 pm


6:00 pm

Conference Banquet

7:30 pm

Conference Recital: Slawomir Dobrzanski


Saturday, October 23

9:00 am

Kansas State University Student Chapter: “Piano Music for Pre-College Students by Composers from Underrepresented Groups”

Members of Kansas State University's Collegiate KMTA Chapter will share their pedagogical research on pre-college piano repertoire by composers from underrepresented groups. Join them to learn about rarely heard piano gems by Scott Joplin, Tan Dun, Florence Price, and others.

10:15 am

Brock Chart: “Speaking the Blues: Telling a Story with Two Notes”

Improvisation is difficult to teach students. How do you practice something that always changes? This was a question I struggled with while working with my own private students on blues improvisation. The answer I discovered was to tell a story. I’ve found that approaching improvisation with a two-note storytelling exercise is a relatable, creative and fun method of teaching a difficult subject. 

Stories are something everyone understands. Most of my students love to read books, watch movies and binge watch the latest Netflix series. Students are also learning about story development in Reading or English classes at school and I use the same terminology: Setting, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action and Resolution to talk about improvisation. 


11:30 am


12:00 pm


1:30 pm

Scott McBride Smith: “Memorization—Psychological Data and Practical Tips”

Does it really matter if you got it right?
Does it really matter what was wrong or right? (yeah)

The Backstreet Boys “MEMORIES” (2005)

Playing from memory. It’s easy for the Backstreet Boys to sing about it, but we piano teachers know that it’s not so easy to do. Join Scott for an enlightening look at the history of memorization, along with some practical tips to make memorization skills a strong point of each of your students.


2:45 pm

Master Class given by Slawomir Dobrzanski