ASMTA Conference- Coming Soon!

The Arizona State Music Teachers Conference is coming the May 28-30, 2015! Ever wanted to come to Arizona? You should! Did you know that all the ASMTA conference info on my blog? You can find it on this page. I update as new information comes in!

I’m really excited about this conference. There a lot of GREAT presentations in store. Our theme this year is…



Jeremy Siskind is the concert artist and will also be presenting a couple sessions.

Arizona attorney, Susan Dallimore, Esq. will also be speaking to us about the Antitrust for Music Teachers after the FTC v. MTNA. This should be an informative presentation.

Though the theme is Jazz it Up, there are many other presentation topics that will interest all. I personally will be presenting on Engaged Learning. I’m super excited to share this presentation as it should be beneficial for all.

You can see the list of presenters and the current schedule (this will be updated again soon) and much more here. Hope you can make it!

MTNA Conference; Monday, March 23, 2015: Fueling the Flame- Strategies for Preventing Teacher Burnout

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Martha Fischer was a hoot to listen to. Poor lady, she started off with tech issues but all ended up well and she made what could have been a very stressful situation for a presenter (I totally empathized as I have had first hand experience with this) and turned it into humor. The thing I liked most about this session is how engaging she was. She wanted to hear what worked in other teachers studios and many teachers were more than willing to share!IMG_4791

Preventing burnout is always a hot topic because most of us at one time or another will experience this on varying levels and degrees. The

Martha begins by saying, when in a helping profession, burnout happens often. Your vital flame and energies are distinguished because of lack of fuel.

Are you burning more fuel than receiving?

Are you stuck in a routine? Not feeling valued? Feeling powerless to change? Creative energy is drying up? Work no longer feeds you?

There are many symptom’s to burnout varying from physical and psychological symptoms (depression, anxiety, chronic fatigue, digestive…)

Moslac burnout inventory (see handout for website)


3 dimensions of burnout:

-Emotional exhaustion


-Negative personal accomplishment


Excerpt online tool to help access where you are… (link on handout)

(personal not scientific)


Prevention and Cure for Burnout

Self care- move, (exercise…), eat well, stay hydrated, get together with friends, pamper yourself once in a while, (be intentional- do it as an act of self care), attend to your emotional health.

Address emotional problems, learn the power of “No”, embrace the power of “yes”, enjoy doing nothing once in a while, participate in the JOY of the music.

Don’t be afraid of getting professional help.

You have choices even when it may feel like you don’t.

When your instincts call you to do something, then do it.

When we are constantly doing, we don’t have time for reflecting, dreaming, creative thinking… Make the time!

Elevated playtime. (her husband measures a lesson if he and a student had a good laugh)

“Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way on purpose in the present moment and nonjudgmentally”. Jon Kabat-Zinn

Point- so many things we go through in our daily life that is mindless, the more we can be mindful, the more richness we are enjoying in our lives.

Interesting statistic: The average person takes in as much as 5 times as we did in 1996.

Task positive- engaged in task; Task negative- mind wondering. These cannot work at the same time.


Organize the Mind-

Partition our day into project periods (certain times of day)

Avoid multi-tasking and immerse in a task for sustained periods of time 30-50min.)

Allow time for daydreaming

Take a nap (even 10 min. does wonders) (I can personally vouch for this one!)

“Daydreaming leads to creativity, creative activity teach us agency…” Daniel….(missed the last name)


Professional development and validation

Ongoing reflection is a philosophy of teaching.

Join organizations

Professional business practices- studio policy

Promote achievements of your students and others

Fees should reflect your experience (under charging devalues your worth which is a sure way to burnout)


Ways to keep the flame burning bright

Remain a student (don’t pretend you know everything)

Nurture your own musical growth

Be an Arts advocate

Brainstorm with Peers


By the way I found this burnout self-test if you are curious where your burn out level is at right now. Click here.

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MTNA Conference; Sunday, March 22, 2015: Teaching Performance Skills

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Gerald Klickstein is the author of The Musician’s Way; A Guide to Practice Performance and Wellness and has a very informative website that has some free resources you can download and use. Click here.  (The Musician’s Way). You can like his Facebook here.


Gerald begins his presentation by telling us that we are performing when there are stakes involved in how well we perform.

There are 3 main skill sets in our performances.

Personal- success resulting from effort

Task-related- automated recall is effected by stress

Situational- can be unsettling if we are not ready

I love this quote “If we don’t teach performance skills are we teaching performance anxiety?”

Think about that a little more. If we just tell our students they have to participate in a recital, but give them no direction in how to perform, expectations or preparation how would they feel? How would you feel? My stomach would be in knots for sure. I personally like to know as much as possible before I do anything new and I’m sure most of our students are like that.

“The more we do, the less it affects them…”

With my mandatory recital I like to hold rehearsals the week of the recital in lieu of regular lessons. This gives us a chance to remind them (or teach them if they are new in the studio) of recital preparedness, etiquette, going up to the piano, bowing… literally go through the whole process of what to do and expect that day. Most of the time I don’t have the opportunity to hold the rehearsal at the recital location, so we do our best to imagine the stage and pretend to walk up the steps, etc…

Another thing that stood out to me in this particular presentation is this…

“If it’s something they are going to perform- it needs to be highly accessible (learned in a week) so we can concentrate on performance skills.”

I think I can count on one hand how many of my students chose a piece they can learn in a week. Matter of fact, if they did usually they ask for a harder one because it was too easy. But Gerald suggests that it SHOULD be easy enough to learn in a week so we can fully concentrate on performance skills. “Accessible music promotes deep learning and facilitates artistic expression.”

Curious, what do you think?

What kinds of things do you do to teach your students performance skills?

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MTNA Conference; Sunday, March 22, 2015: Ultimate Music Theory

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Glory St. Germain and Shelagh McKibbon U’Ren are passionate about theory. They make it fun and have the best little tricks to help students remember. If you ever have a chance to watch them in person or one of the Ultimate music theory videos, you will always learn something. The presentation at conference focused on mnemonics and how they can help students remember especially when testing. Mnemonics ultimately increases test scores by 77%.

Did you know there are different kind of mnemonics? For example…

Connection Mnemonic is information connected to something we already know.

Expression Mnemonics is taking the letter of each letter key and making a sentence.

Spelling Mnemonics- combines word and pictures together.

Music Mnemonics- Music makes us feel something.


Me and Shelagh

Here is the Ultimate Music Theory Website and Facebook page.

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MTNA Conference; Sunday, March 22, 2015: Getting Them on Your Side: Today’s Piano Parents

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Sometimes when you attend sessions, they are more validating that you are on the right track with your studio. This one was one of those sessions for me. I liked the topic, and felt that it was one many teachers could use.

IMG_4771I was about 20 min. late in getting to this session. So upon arriving Sara Ernst was talking about the student. Encouraging, modeling, instructing, reinforcing. She asked, “Does the child believe it? What does the child perceive (which is most important)?

Then I love this- embrace the parent. Sometimes we are so wrapped up in the negative situations parents can bring into lessons that we forgot all the positive they can bring! She spoke about cultivating relationships in the triangle, including the studio community. Communicate successes and challenges, convey mission and goals and connect music learning to life.

A tip that I enjoyed is to give as much mileage out of activities that you can. For example if you are recording student performances when they play well, create a studio CD and then highlight those accomplishments in newsletters, Facebook, etc…

Sara went through the categories of struggle and what we can do when their is discord, differences in philosophy and miscommunication. And honestly it really is summed up in one word which was the main theme of this presentation. Communication. If we make sure we are communicating as much as possible: before they are official students and while they are students many struggles can be avoided. Will they all be avoided? Of course not, but communication goes a long way.

I’ll leave you with the 3 C’s she shares:

Cultivate: something authentic and positive

Communicate: the issue

Convey: your mission

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MTNA Conference; Sunday, March 22, 2015: Tools for Teaching Effortless Piano Technique

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IMG_4760I first saw Fred Karpoff present online at the conference. So when I saw he had a showcase I was very interested to see him live and find out more about the Entrada Piano Technique.

While having limited time, Fred shared some helpful technique tips that I was able to apply right away with my students when I returned. I thought I would share a few quotes as this presentation is really a more visual presentation.

IMG_4762“Allow finger to slide – forward motion so it’s not stopping the motion and tone is continuously connected.”

“2 note slur- transferring weight, dim. on 2nd note…, allow arm to be in motion and move forward as the 2nd note is played.”

“1 octave arpeggios- problem- playing with only fingers, fixed wrist. Instead- roll wrist, relaxed effortless playing.”

“If forearm is not fixed, lift forearm, upper arm moving forward allowing wrist to extend makes for a better vibrato.”

“When need to use the metronome play on the slowest beat possible and play on the macrobeat to allow for freedom within the beat.”

“Instead of simply counting, count with “lilt”, expression, singing, etc….”

“When playing look for the 3 dimensional motion.”

You can find more information on the Entrada Piano Technique here.


Be sure to ‘Like’ FPSResources on Facebook and follow FPSResources on TpT to stay up to date on giveaways, discounts, reviews and other music resources! starts tomorrow! starts tomorrow! Since it is an online conference you can sit back, grab your favorite snack or beverage and enjoy all the great presentations!


This year you have two options for the conference. You can register for the full access pass which is an on demand “live” version where you not only get to view the presentations live and ask questions at the end, but will have access to the recordings through Dec. 31, 2015 as they are available.

If the on demand doesn’t work for your schedule this week, then you can register for the “replay” pass which will allow you to access to the recordings until Dec. 31, 2015 as they are available. Regardless of what option you choose, don’t miss out!

It’s not too late to register! Just go to to see all the info!

While you are there, be sure to visit the virtual exhibit hall where you might find some specials from vendors to take advantage of!

You can see the exhibit hall and the exhibit hall preview video here.

I will be presenting “Creating a Studio Policy and Sticking to It!” on Friday! See you there! 🙂


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