February 2020 MTNA e-Journal

The Inclusive Studio: Teaching Students with Disabilities in the Private Piano and String Lesson Settings
By Diana Dumlavwalla, NCTM, and Katarzyna Bugaj

The tradition of private one-on-one lessons for piano and bowed string instruments has been prevalent in Western culture for several centuries. Pedagogical training in this realm has generally focused on teaching strategies for typical learners. However, there has been less focus on teaching students with disabilities within the private piano and string lesson environments. A stratified random sample of 100 teachers (50 piano and 50 string) was surveyed through a questionnaire. Participants answered questions related to teaching students with disabilities. The results illuminated issues related to the types of diagnoses teachers see among students in the private studio and highlighted the fact that teachers have experienced limited training and professional development related to teaching students with disabilities. There is also a lack of materials and curricula to assist them when working with this student population. Finally, statistical analysis compared the training and professional development of piano versus string teachers as well as those who graduated with a performance degree versus those who graduated with an education/pedagogy degree. [Read More]

Using Alexander Technique Principles with Beginning Piano Students: A Collaborative “Duet” Between an Alexander Technique Teacher and a Piano Teacher
By Gabriella Minnes Brandes, Jennifer Condie and Aleah Wielinga

This article describes a case study, which was designed to explore ways of applying principles of the Alexander Technique to increase whole-body awareness in young piano students, specifically by using activities to teach how to release shoulders, both standing at an adjustable surface away from the piano and while playing the piano. Through this study, the authors explored ways of developing vocabulary to be used by both the piano teacher and a young student that allows them to express the unique and specific experience of learning to play the piano. The interplay between piano pedagogy and the application of Alexander Technique principles in the context of teaching piano are also discussed. Time-specific comments about the piano lessons from four different perspectives are analyzed. Additionally, the authors make recommendations about the ways in which Alexander Technique could provide specific tools to enhance teachers’ repertoire of choices and approaches to the connections between the physical aspects of playing piano and the musical elements in the lesson. [Read More]

Poster Sessions

How Expertise Affects Learning: A Comparison of the Practice Behaviors of University Piano Students
By Carla Davis Cas and Laura Lennis Cortés  [View]

Trust-Based Relational Intervention Stragegies for the Trauma_Informed Piano Studio
By Gloria Tham-Haines [View]