2018 NCMTA State Conference Programs

Presentations, Programs and Performances

FRIDAY, Oct 12, 2018

9:15 – 9:50 AM           OPENING SESSION and WELCOME

10:00 – 10:50  AM      SPLIT SESSIONS

Unique New Teaching Resources for Non-Traditional Piano Techniques

Interactive Presentation Presented by Jeri-Mae G Astolfi

This interactive presentation explores new and unprecedented pedagogical repertoire and resources that are dedicated to guiding students through the art and soundscapes of non-traditional piano techniques. These materials, with content for students of all ages/levels, represent a variety of domestic and international authors and presentation formats; however, they are all united by the underlying mission to expose and prepare today’s piano student to confidently, musically, intelligently, and fluently, engage in music making of their own time as it includes non-traditional sounds and techniques – one of the many important avenues of Making Music Relevant for contemporary students. 

In tandem with presenting these new materials, commonly used non-traditional techniques of piano playing will be identified, defined, and demonstrated, along with the topic of piano safety. This hands-on presentation, primarily in the format of demonstration, explanation, and exploration (including student pianists and audience participation), will also include an extensive resource handout.


Gabriel Grovlez’ L’Almanach aux images: A Pedantic Effort to Leveling Music Literature

Lecture Demonstration Presented by Thomas Swenson

Leveling music for our students can be a tricky, but an important task! Choosing just the right selection can provide the perfect amount of challenge to motivate a student and avoid undue frustration. Despite the many resources we have at our disposal—including those by publishers—leveling is highly individualized. It is often based on our own strengths, weaknesses, and background. While one musician may determine a particular piece as early-intermediate (perhaps level 4), another might vehemently defend the same piece as early-advanced (or level 8)—a big difference. This presentation will focus on a lovely collection of eight pieces, “miniatures” that are two to three pages in length. Some of these pieces have recently appeared on the NCMTA Piano Performance Festival lists. Since few teachers likely already know the entire collection, these pieces invite an exploration and discussion into some guiding principles for understanding the unique complexities of every composition. Participants will be provided with tools, strategies, and ideas to assist them in choosing music that will thoughtfully challenge their students. 


11:00 – 11:50 AM       SPLIT SESSIONS

The innovative pianistic style of Claude Debussy's Book II Preludes associated with the Impressionistic Period and the relevance to us today as teachers and performers

Lecture Recital Presented by Sharyn R Edwards

This year, 2018 marks the celebration of Claude Debussy's life and the important contribution of his works in the Impressionistic Period.  The pianistic style of the Book II Preludes, which are the most innovative with regard to dissonant harmonies that illicit images and moods, are relevant to us today.  This program will include a description of the titles which add to the tonal vagueness and therefore the meaning of each prelude.  Features and influences that appear in the Bk. II Preludes will include parallel 4ths and 5ths from Medieval Music;  harmonic movement and chordal structures of 7ths, 9ths, 11ths;  different scale types such as whole tone, pentatonic, chromatic and octatonic;  the Javanese Gamelan with the use of dissonance and use of the sostenuto pedal;  bi-tonality.

The symbolist poetry and Impressionistic art were influences on Debussy's compositions.  In addition were the music influences of Wagner, some of the Baroque composers, and Liszt.

Hopefully the knowledge learned will impact teachers and students alike to a better understanding of these preludes with regard to dissonance, structure and meaning, leading to a comprehension of Debussy's pianistic style in a convincing, musical and expressive performance.  Thus a relevance today to the originality and pianistic style of Debussy is recognized and understood. 


Creating Original Works with Narrator for Use in Studio Recitals

Discussion and Demonstration Presented by Mark Tollefsen

Piano teachers can enliven their studio recitals by utilizing short stories alongside their student’s repertoire. In the spirit of Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf and Poulenc’s The Story of Babar, works in which lines from stories alternate with short musical pieces, teachers can create original piano/narrator works by carefully intermingling their student’s recital pieces with one or more entertaining stories. In addition to being an interesting project for teachers to construct, this type of recital contributes to the studio’s sense of community and heightens each student’s levels of interest and engagement during the performances of his/her peers. Most importantly, such a project increases the students’ understanding of music’s relevance and interdependence within the broader liberal arts and contributes to the development of their creative thinking skills. My presentation will include an example of such a recital in addition to several suggested programs/scripts.


12:00 – 12:50 PM        LUNCH             30 MINUTE FOCUS TOPIC

Making Music Relevant by Providing Entertaining and Fulfilling Performance Opportunities for Your Students

Discussion and Demonstration Presented by Jacob Hahn

In this day of technology, cell phones, tablets, and instant gratification, it can be difficult for students to experience why their lessons are important or meaningful.  It is important for us as music instructors to provide opportunities for our students to make music relevant.  Many students lose interest in lessons due to the repetitive nature of learning one or two pieces from a method book and perhaps a few scales per week, only to then get stressed out about performing for a year-end recital.   This presentation will present different ideas, and invite open discussion to give students entertaining, and fulfilling performance opportunities to provide purpose and to make music relevant.

Ideas that will be presented will include the creation and use of visual aids such as lighting, video, pictures, and art to accompany performance.  The addition of visual creativity gives students more artistic ownership of their music making process.  Additionally, community outreach performance ideas will also be presented.  Performances at retirement homes, homeless shelters, public parks, hospitals, hospice centers, and similar areas provide students with a welcoming and appreciative audience that will leave both the performer and the audience with a renewed sense of purpose and relevance.  Through these creative opportunities, students will be more engaged and inspired knowing that they are serving their communities and families. 


1:00 – 1:50 PM            GENERAL SESSION       Annual NCMTA Business Meeting

Victoria Fischer Faw, NCTM, President, presiding


2:00 – 2:50 PM            PEDAGOGY SESSION  

Reconstructing the Transfer Student

Marvin Blickenstaff, Master Clinician


3:00 – 3:50 PM            SPLIT SESSIONS

Developing Mental Focus for Success in Music Performance

Discussion and Demonstration Presented by Yee Wing Chen 

Musicians have to overcome numerous psychological obstacles in order to perform at a high level of artistry.  However, most musicians experience some level of discomfort associated with negative emotions and distracting thoughts that detract from the performance.  We want to relax, stop worrying, and concentrate in a performance, but our attempts at this mental control may result in dwelling on the exact thought that we want to avoid.  Rather than attaining our goal, consequently, we end up acting in ways that are opposite to what is desired.  In the field of experimental psychology, this paradox is known as ironic processes of mental control.  

The purpose of this presentation is threefold: 1) to survey Daniel Wegner's ironic processes of mental control; 2) to discuss how the theory has been applied to sports, and how it can be applied to music performance; and 3) to offer recommendations for effectively countering ironic processes. Several suggestions for further research will be proposed.


Organ Recital             Timothy Olsen and UNC-SA Organ Students

Composition Recital   Premiere of the 2018 NCMTA Commissioned Composer Composition

2017 Composition Competition Winners Recital


4:00 – 4:50 PM            SPLIT SESSIONS

PEDAGOGY SESSION: Honeymoon or Havoc:  The First Week with New Repertoire        

Marvin Blickenstaff, Master Clinician

The Apps:  Teach Your Students How to Make Full Use of Their Smartphones

Lecture Presentation Presented by David Dash

Teach your students how to make full use of their smartphones, including Tonal Energy Chromatic Tuner (metronome, tuner, drone, recording, more); Pitch Lab (see the history of your pitch transgressions); Time Guru (next level of metronome use); and Rode Rec (listen back at half speed, down an octave). This presentation will include demonstrations of each functionality. Example 1: The student is working on a passage with running 16th notes. We turn on the TE Tuner metronome with 16th note subdivisions. Then open Rode Rec and record the passage. The student takes notes in the music on what needs to be fixed. Example 2: The student is struggling with keeping time. We turn on Time Guru Metronome at 0% muted- always playing. When that is good, we move to 10% muted, 20%, etc. Eventually the student takes responsibility for keeping steady time. Example 3: The student is having trouble hearing pitch tendencies. We record on the TE Tuner app and play back along with a drone on a relevant note. The student takes notes on what needs to be fixed. Example 4: The student hears that something isn't clean, but isn't sure what. We use Pitch Lab so that he can see the aberrations in each note- often at the articulation point.



SATURDAY, Oct 13, 2018


9:00 – 10:20 AM         PEDAGOGY SESSION

Guidelines to Effective Interpretation

Marvin Blickenstaff, Master Clinician


10:30 – 11:50 AM       PIANO MASTERCLASS

Selected Pianists Perform and Receive Insights and Guidance

Jeffrey Biegel, Conference Concert Artist


10:00 – 10:50 AM

Acting the Song        

Discussion and Demonstration Presented by Janine Hawley

The 21st century artist is interested in current trends in both musical theatre and opera and the myriad ways in which tradition and innovation are converging in these art forms. Making all vocal music, even if in a foreign language, more accessible by good storytelling, exposes and invites audiences who might never believe that this genre of music was relevant to their lives, to pay attention with new ears. I would like to have the participants let me know their pieces prior to the workshop and will ask them to be able to speak the text of their song as a monologue by heart. This is an exercise called “Songologuing” where the artist takes the lyrics of a song out of rhythm and makes it into a monologue. This exercise helps the artist to find acting beats, thought changes, discovery moments, and partner focuses they may not have realized when merely singing the song. After speaking their “Songologue”, the participant will sing the piece keeping in mind the storytelling aspects that were brought out in the text alone. Here are just a few things we will talk about and develop:

  • The Moment Before (what happened just before the song that made the stakes so high that mere words would not suffice?!)
  • Who they are talking to (one’s self, another person/s, the audience)
  • Clarity of thought changes and actions to play and how the text guides us

How the music informs our choices of movement, gesture and focus


11:00 – 11:50 AM      

For Singers and Pianists:  Tips for Teamwork

Discussion and Demonstration Presented by Ashley Clasen

The joys and challenges of teamwork between singers and their pianists are ageless, and brand new, all at the same time.  Performance repertoire is becoming ever more varied; situations for performance are unpredictable, and technology tools affect every stage of the process.  One unfortunate experience can turn off an aspiring singer or pianist at the very time when music making is already threatened by external forces.

Pianist Ashley Clasen leads this discussion of the preparation and performance process, drawing on her own experiences as pianist-coach and conductor, teacher and music worship leader.  Come with your questions, your real-life stories that you would wish had gone a different way, and your curiosity about ways to train our next generation of singer-pianist teams.

Situations and topics to be addressed include auditions, lessons, and communication on- and off-stage.  Highest Honors voice winners will participate and receive feedback on their materials from Ashley.



IMTF Scholarship Recipient Presentation                               Eden Esters, Presenter

Senate Planning Session                                                           Paul Stewart, Presiding

College Faculty Forum                                                               Rebecca Nussbaum, Presenter

UNCSA has a number of innovative models of engagement which use music as the catalyst for connecting with areas of need in the community with the goal of helping make long-term, systemic change.  ArtistCorps, the Vivaldi Project, Grace Notes and other programs are actively making a difference in the broader community and on our campus.  This workshop will explore some of the successes, challenges, and adventures of running and serving in these programs that create original content and approaches to serving community members ranging from preschool students to elders.   All of the programs highlighted will showcase how music engagement is relevant to: connecting with and helping enhance communities; invigorating classroom instruction; providing soft and hard skills in the children and youth reached; and in changing providing opportunities for growth in the UNCSA students and alumni who are serving.


1:00 – 1:50 PM            SPLIT SESSIONS

Honors Recitals #1 and #2                            Frank Pittman, Piano Performance Festival Director

Listening Back:  The Ever-Growing Relevance of Historical Recordings

Discussion and Demonstration Presented by Dmitri Shteinberg

The art of public performance may be hundreds of years old but its recorded history encompasses only a little over a hundred years. What incredible privilege would it be to hear Liszt or Paganini! We greedily devour every bit of contemporary evidence of their playing - and yet so few among us are well-versed in the records of their immediate students and descendants. As we march on through another (and fairly unsentimental) century, the greatness of Cortot and Furtwangler, Hindemith or Prokofiev seems to fade. Alongside current YouTube favorites who may have tens of thousands of views, an ageless Moritz Rosenthal recording boasts a few hundred. We are quickly becoming artists without history or lineage - to our own peril. This presentation aims to provide teachers with hands-on tools for researching and teaching historical recordings.


2:00 – 2:50 PM            SPLIT SESSIONS 

Freedom to Embellish on Bach and Mozart                Geoffrey Biegel, Conference Concert Artist

Meaningful and Motivational Mentoring – taking your artistic creativity beyond the teaching studio and concert hall to inspire your students and engage your community


Interactive Lecture and Demonstration Presented by John R. Beck

This hands-on workshop will allow participants to:  Experience recreational music-making in the context of a Seniorchestra and HealthRHTYHMS drum circle. (using low volume instruments).  Learn   about the opportunities and benefits of using the performing arts in healthcare and for community engagement.  Have a conversation about how artists can perform “with their audience” instead of “for          their audience.”  Explore ways that the mentor/teacher can inspire students to look beyond traditional performance opportunities to enhance their careers.

In 2017, John Beck was granted a research leave to participate in a pilot study at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center to evaluate the effectiveness of group drumming with stem cell transplant patients to reduce pain, anxiety, and stress, and improve their hospital experience. He leads weekly drum circles in Pediatric Behavioral Health at Baptist Hospital, HealthRHTYHMS classes at the Gateway YWCA, and has taught senior citizens through the WFU Lifelong Learning Program. HealthRHYTHMS is a fun, evidence-based whole person strategy that promotes socialization and ensures a healthy non-strenuous workout. On a deeper level, it builds bridges while fostering nurturing, support, camaraderie, self-respect and respect for others. It is not primarily about drumming, but uses the drum as a tool for communication and personal expression.


3:00 – 3:50 PM            GENERAL SESSION

Preludes…A Journey of Beginnings:  Recapturing Audiences for Classical Music

Lecture Recital Presented by Olga Kleiankina

Preludes...a Journey of Beginnings is one of the programs that pianist Olga Kleiankina developed in her effort to introduce classical music to novice audiences while maintaining the interest of the regular concert-goers. It is an exploration of art and music of the 19thand 20thcenturies. It features five composers –Chopin, Rachmaninoff, Scriabin, Debussy and Shostakovich, each of whom wrote a set of 24 preludes. Olga Kleiankina treats the listeners as companions on a journey and offers them an emotional story that combines music and paintings. The compositions (both musical and visual) are not offered chronologically; rather, they explore the relevance to each other in an emotional context. Composers and artists, separated by time and space, meet on stage to “talk” about the eternal themes that represent us as humans.

Dr. Kleiankina’s talk before the performance will try to address why classical music appeals to fewer audiences if compared to pop culture and how can the performers attract less experienced listeners while gradually educating and engaging them. 

Classical Voice of North Carolina’s review of the featured program described “Kleiankina's keyboard mastery” as “simply breathtaking”. “With seeming ease, she moved from one style to another. Her articulation was extraordinarily clear, and her precision […] was a wonder to see and hear. Her palette of delicate color and dynamics […] was outstanding.”


Coping with the Challenge of Globalization by Enriching Pedagogical Repertoire with Music from China and the East

Lecture Recital Presented by Wei Jiao

There is no doubt that the advancement of technology and globalization is changing how we live, learn, and how we will need approach our work in the future.  Will this trend enable us to live closer in harmony or cause increased problems for future generations?   There is no doubt that this rapid change alerts all educators to a need for future adaptation in all aspects of music education.  As music educators and piano teachers, we should embrace cultural differences and use this opportunity to enrich the next generation of students so that they can develop an increased appreciation for all cultures and musical styles.  Music and education together help to provide common ground, and bridge the gap between different cultures from the East to the West. 

This lecture recital will present selections of Chinese pedagogical piano repertoire, and discuss their cultural significance and background in Chinese culture.  Through a survey of Chinese national grade tests for amateur piano students, we can do a comparison of different piano teaching styles and methods from China to America.  This comparison will give us insights and new ideas about how to make music relevant.  It will also show how we can make music education and keyboard pedagogy more relevant for the next generation.