September 2010 MTNA e-Journal

The Use of Biofeedback In Retraining A Pianist’s Technical Approach To The Instrument
By Kathleen Riley
Pianists constantly work to improve technique, often repeating the same passage over and over again to get the right notes and to increase speed. Repetitive practicing often results in the pianist becoming disengaged from attentively listening to the sounds produced and from the awareness of the choreography of muscles and fine motor movement involved in production of sound.  Exercising the fingers in repetitive movements that are not intentionally directed may inhibit the success of achieving a note-perfect performance, or may achieve it at the risk of creating technical problems. Current research suggests that correct posture and body alignment are essential to preventing such problems and may be the answer to improved performance and mastery of technique. Kathleen Riley details her research regarding technique and biofeedback. [Read More]


WANTED: 3,000 String Teachers The Status Of String And Orchestra Programs In United States Schools
In 2002, the American String Teachers Association produced a White Paper that stated: “The United States is facing a severe shortage of teachers for its schools.” And while the percentage of school districts with string programs has increase and the shortage of string teachers has decreased during the past eight years, the United States is still facing a shortage of string teachers. This new White Paper highlights the2009 study conducted by two string education researchers, Michael Alexander, Baylor University, and Bret Smith, Central Washington University. Their study looked at the status of string programs in schools across the nation, with information about the growth of orchestra programs, the characteristics of these programs, and a profile of the teaching profession. It also looks at the demand for string teachers in the future, and documents the potential for a future string teacher shortage. [Read More]