I had the pleasure of attending Curious Live ‘Redefining Expectations’ the Curious Piano Teachers conference in Oxford. The Curious Piano Teachers is dedicated to providing outstanding professional development for piano teachers worldwide. It is co-founded and directed by Dr. Sally Cathcart and Sharon Mark-Teggart.
It was such an inspiring day with high quality presentations from professionals in the music education world. Professor Susan Hallam from the Institute of Education delivered the keynote address with her findings on research into motivation and practise amongst students. This highlighted the many factors influencing whether a student progresses in the piano.
Dr. Julie Knerr and Katherine Fisher, authors and co-creators of the innovative research based Piano Safari series for children presented a session on Learning in the First Year and highlighted how learning rote pieces alongside other activities in the early stages of piano can develop important musicianship skills, such as creativity and improvisation. I couldn’t resist a photo with these musical celebrities!
Dr Christopher Fisher (Professor of Piano Pedagogy at Ohio University) provided many helpful tips on how piano parents can support their children’s learning. So piano parents out there, as a first step I shall be sending out an e-book with 7 steps on how you can support your child!
Samantha Coates, author and co-creator of Blitzbooks delivered a thought-provoking session on the importance of sight-reading and dispensed with the myth that mnemonics help us to read music. We read music by looking at patterns and relationships between notes!
Sharon Mark-Teggart delivered the final session and asked us to reflect on our Advice Monsters. In a nutshell, we considered how much we talk in lessons, whether we are asking the right questions and the power of demonstration.
Sally Cathcart started off the conference with a musical shower comprising of the whole room singing in a round and later in the second half delivered a beautiful interpretation of The Little Shepherd from Children’s Corner by Claude Debussy.
It was a fascinating day and thanks go to Sally Cathcart and Sharon Mark-Teggart for organising such an amazing high quality conference!