NCKP 2019 Conference Saturday


Saturday at NCKP ended up being not at all what I had planned. My husband was supposed to meet me in Chicago at the conference hotel that afternoon so we could go on a road trip where I would be getting 5 additional states for my “50 by 50” goal.

But things changed abrubtly when the night prior my son ended up in the ER, extremely sick from ketoacidisis. It was at that time that we found out he had diabetes. Long story short, my husband cancelled his flight to Chicago, I ended up changing my flight to come home and then Saturday on the way to lunch I see a notification on my phone that flight got cancelled. So instead of attending the teaching demonstrations like I had originally planned, my roommate Lynnette and I (who were on the same flight I changed to) were on the phone changing our flights. We managed to find one that would get us home at 11pm.

I have to laugh because this is my 2nd time attending NCKP. This is also the 2nd time where I had quite a story to share. If you missed last years, you will want to read NCKP 2017 Saturday Sessions. Scroll down where it says “Chicago Midway Airport Escapade” for a laugh. At least that one I can look back on and laugh. While this year, I am truly thankful everything ended okay, I do hope 2021 is uneventful.

In case you are wondering… my son is doing well. He spent 6 days in the hospital which was 6 days longer than he would have liked but he is now home and we are learning our new normal.

I saw this in the hospital stairwell and just had to share as it is so relevant to us too!


I did manage to attend one session on Saturday. Read all about it below.

Goodbye Tears and Tantrums

Nancy O’Neill Breth

Check out her YouTube page for practice videos.

Encourage students to ask themselves, what is the problem? Then find the solution to the problem.

Guide to effective practicing tri-fold (I have used this with my students in practice workshops successfully! Affiliate link shared)

The parents guide to effective practicing is a guide for parents to help the younger students that need more guidance. (It’s a shorter/easier to read version of the other tri-fold. Affiliate link shared)

Start Smart- 10 steps to help you get to know your piece (with the guide)

  • Measure up
  • Alphabet soup- labeling sections
  • Note check
  • Identical Twins- similar patterns
  • Fraternal Twins
  • Melody
  • Harmony
  • Rhythm
  • Vocabulary
  • Copycat


  • Think about it (the score) before you practice it. There is some avoidance on learning the wrong notice when you go through the score first.

How many times should we repeat a section/piece?

  • Until it’s comfortable or can’t stand it anymore! Ha ha!

Keep Track- Tempo goals-

  • Write down your current tempo to keep track improvement.

Get Together-

  • Whatever speed the LH gets to you cut it in half and that is your practice tempo.

Fingering Clumping-

  • Find the “clumps” within a scale pattern and add one more at a time.
  • (CDEF might be a clump, then add G)
  • Work your way backwards a little at a time to move forward in the groups.
  • Don’t start with the first note of the phrase…, start towards the end and work backwards.

Regroup- (for older kids)

  • Instead of playing in 4’s, play in 3’s (scales) or 5’s…etc.

Have fun-  play it upside down to learn it right side up

Trill drill-

  • Use the metronome to keep track.

Double Duty-

“That was beautiful! Make it sound that way.”


  • Play last chord until comfortable, then 2nd to the last until feels comfortable, and work your way backwards.

Count down for a difficult passage- (especially one where they are wanting to pause)

  • Play section, then count 1234 play next section
  • Play section, then count 123 play next section
  • Play section, then count 12 play next section
  • Play section, then count 1 play next section
  • Play then play next section

Repertoire box-

  • Write down title of repertoire on an individual index card that you can play. Pull out an index card and play!


Last Minute Pictures and Goodbyes


With Deb Lentz

Me and Valerie Merrell enjoying our yummy croissants and crepes at the food court!

My conference roomies! Valerie Merrell and Lynnette Barney

Valerie Merrell, Clinton Pratt, me and Lynnette Barney

Me, Valerie and Lynnette with Nicola Cantan

Me, Lynnette and Valerie with Samantha Coates

Look who else was on the 11pm flight home?! Charlene, Sue, Lynnette and I


Missed Wednesday through Friday? Read them below…

NCKP 2019 Pre-Conference Wednesday

NCKP 2019 Pre-Conference Thursday

NCKP 2019 Pre-Conference Friday



  1. Barbara

    Prayers for your son AND his parents:) By the way, how old is he? Diabetes treatment has improved so much over the years, but you’re right, it will be a new life for you all. (I worked in a diabetes management clinic in a past life;) and have relatives with both Type 1 and 2.)

    You’re such a trooper to still be sending out messages and information to us. Love Nancy Breth, so thanks so much for that info.

    Sending you lots of blessings! Glad you FINALLY made it home!!

    • Jennifer Foxx

      Hi Barbara, thank you for the prayers. My son is a young adult. 🙂


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