2018 MTNA Pedagogy Saturday Highlights (Part 2)



Part 1- Nan Baker Richardson Part 2- Amanda “Mandy” Schlegel

Part 1-

Reading on the grand staff

Reading on the grand staff can be confusing to an adult learner. Tells adults, “All of you are new to this. You are proficient at what you do and what you are good at because that is your profession. This is my profession, I don’t expect you to fully grasp, understand everything and that’s okay….” (So true!)

I loved Nan’s brilliant analogy’s to help understand reading on the grand staff. She likened the grand staff to telling time. Time is am or pm- need to specify or there might be some confusion. Gray areas- 11:45am-12:15pm. Likewise- we divide the piano keyboard into two categories (high- treble, low- bass). The gray area is the middle of the staff.

Then the Clefs are like the zip codes. Which area on the keyboard the notes on the staff belonged to.

Think of the computer keyboard, you place your hands on the most central part of the keyboard. Likewise, the treble/bass hands are placed in the most central part of piano keyboard.


Melody louder than another harmony

Teach balance within the first 6 weeks of an RMM adult class.

Again another wonderful analogy… When standing on a scale, weight can shift. Shifting weight on hands, “numbers” change. Take it to your fingers.

Activity: Have students partner up, taking two hands (one pair face up, one pair face down), one pushes down on the hand of their partner. First with the same weight of finger, then change one hand with the heavier finger and one hand lighter finger.

Play only melody forte

Play accompaniment piano

Shadow accompaniment

Play melody forte while shadow accompaniment

Play melody forte and accompaniment piano.


Part 2-

Here are some highlights from Mandy. She focused more on the the brain and how it relates to learning.

Those who were best self-regulated, practiced in larger chunks, used more strategies (writing on music, varying tempo)

Attention is a limited resource. We lose students attention after 10 min. Or sometimes they might be focusing on one thing but missing something else (example would be the video below if you haven’t seen it already).

We don’t hear inner voices well when it’s in a higher voice.

Inject novelty to help keep attention.

The focus of attention is the single most important thing to engagement.

The brain is a serial processor. We don’t multi-task, we attention shift.

Demonstrate in sound to really understand what it means.

Avoid mindlessness, habituation, perfunctory performance (play to play- no purpose)

No one knows you much you know until they know how much you care.



Part 1- Rebecca Bellelo Part 2- Josh Straub & Ruby Chou

Part 1-

Group should

  • Help students learn efficiently and effectively
  • Deliver in fun and engaging

NAFME standards

  • Creating– Improv, arrange, harmonizing, lead sheet, composing, transposing
  • Performing– singing, playing, moving, select repertoire
  • Responding– Reading/notating, interpreting, explaining, evaluating
  • Connecting– Connect all standards- total musicianship

Group class Sequencing

  • Outline class goals
  • Warmup
  • Review piece/activity #1
  • Listening activity
  • Piece/activity #2
  • Group activity- game, social time, project etc.
  • Piece/activity #3

Use Anchor Charts/Listening Activities

Anchor charts- poster chart to record your thinking. Highlights the important part of lesson or topic. Designed by the students.

Anchor Chart Example

  • What to include musically (scale, arpeggio, chord progressions, circle of 5ths, etc.)
  • Chart layout (title, keyboard and/or music staff, size/spacing, colors, page orientation, etc.)
  • Other considerations- (fingering, octave placement, labels)

Purpose- what they had to think about as they are making it.

Listening Activities-

  • Guided listening
  • Ask questions:
  • Major/minor, meter, mood, compare/contrast, form, history/cultural context

Rebecca divides her listening activities by units (so many weeks)


Part 2-

Elements of effective ideas:

  • Incorporate prior knowledge
  • Intrigue inner musician
  • Inspire musical growth



Best ideas is a unique session where teachers share a short 3 minute (and not a second over) “TedTalk” if you will, of a good idea they have used with their students. After we hear all the talks, we vote on who had the best idea.

  • Lynnette Barney- (who came in 1st place)

Use kazoos to sing. Great for those hesitant students.

Echo patterns, sing tunes, or play notation

West music kazoos can go into the dishwasher

  • Ruby Chou

Intergenerational Learning- structure with any age group.

  • Hannah Creviston

Making flashcards as the basis for improvisation or composition, demonstrate the answer, find the answer, make your own. Use the flashcards as a base for an activity. Show a flashcard- D major- improv in key, etc… Make sure they can find and demonstrate.

  • Jari Hulbert

The Whole Piano- unaffordable, sostenuto, prepared piano, inside the piano

Group piano activity using the whole piano. Guitar picks, clothespins, etc. look up video at artist music.

  • Hana Janatova

Get off the Bench- Integrate a metronome for off the bench. Do breathing/stretching exercises to set focus. Metronome dancing. Can mirror teacher. Then go back to metronome.

  • Lesley McAllister

Yoga for Seniors in RMM Classes

Breathing- Hoberman sphere

Chair pose: simple chair flow arms up and down with twist

Midline crossing pose- tap right hand with left knee (marching) Cross lateral movements: stork pose

Mudras: Haikini Madura with finger numbers – fingers tips are touched together (helps promote memory) tapping each of the finger numbers together.

  • Amy Perdew

Keeping Granny Hip- using resources that you use with your kids and teens. (Piano Maestro, Ultimate Guitar, Chord Tracker, learn pieces like Sound of Silence, Believer, Eye of the Tiger)

  • Gloria Singleton

Metronome Basics- Create a physical response to what they are hearing.

  • Lucia Unrau

Jumpin’ Jive- Lucia had us get up and do the Jumpin’ Jive to get our bodies moving and to help our brain get back to being focused.

  • Laura Williamson

Piano Man Project-

Triple Meter, Key of C

Same chords/melody for versus and chorus

Use LH pointer finger

3 beats per note

Red always follows blue

Red sometimes repeats (harmonica solos)

Don’t play during the “La, de da”

Have fun!




Brian Chung

I always enjoy hearing Brain Chung speak. He is a great motivational speaker who is passionate about music. Here are just some quick highlights that stood out while he was speaking.

  • Our traditional terms (type of lessons, kinds of music, practice requirement, measures of success) causes students to quit or not start lessons EVEN though they may really want to learn.
  • Someone who will LOVE making music will come if we go to the “golden quadrant”
  • Everybody Plays! (AYOSA Soccer slogan- very successful) Soccer became popular within just 15 years time and still popular today.
  • Accept where they are, on their terms, invite them in. Key to success is YOU.


Missed Part 1? Read it here.



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