Saskatoon Registered Music Teachers' Association

Saskatoon Registered Music Teachers' Association


May 2017

Sight Reading Workshop Survey Results

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Michelle Aalders circulated a survey At our May 17th meeting, which featured a panel discussion about sight reading.  These are the results to the survey conducted:

Sight-reading Survey SRMTA Saskatoon 2017

  1. Do you consider yourself a good sight reader? Yes/No (please circle one)
    • Yes- 12 people
    • No- 2 people
  2. If you answered yes to #1- how did you become a good sight-reader?
    • Sight-reading a lot of music for fun
    • read through a lot of repertoire
    • “no idea”
    • playing in church/hymns/reading chords
    • playing in church at a young age
    • accompanying choirs & soloists
    • necessity/played at church/spontaneous sing-alongs/no notice to prepare/accompanist for singers& choirs & instrumentalists often on short notice/learned from Boris Berlin
    • variety of repertoire, especially church music/accompanying
    • playing for a choir/church
    • lots of learning music in a short time/always new scores/mostly chamber music/accompanying
    • accompanying/especially modern pieces
    • Piano Kids/Leila Fletcher/ABC
    • 4-Star, hymn reading, teaching
  3. If you answered no to #1- why do you think you are not a good sight-reader?
    • emphasis placed on learning repertoire
    • teacher didn’t emphasize it
    • “I am a non-fixed pitch instrument”
  4. What method did you use as a young student to learn how to read music?
    • Leila Fletcher/John Thompson
    • 4-Star
    • sight-reading and rhythm every day
    • 4-star
    • John Thompson
    • Michael Aaron/read as much music as I could
    • Leila Fletcher
    • Kelly Kirby Method
    • kno lo pla/Bastien
    • sang everything by ear until university age (17)
    • “sight-reading was only done a few weeks prior to examinations- and that was to be done only at home”
  5. What are some of the books you use with your students for sight reading?
    • Music Tree Activities/Piano Adventures Sight-reading books, Winning Rhythms, I Can Read
    • Music/Barbara Siemens piano workbooks/4-Star/Bennett & Capps
    • Melodia- complete sight-reading/solfege sheets that they generate/movable do
    • various easy duets/pronto pizazz/methods with duet parts (like Alfred Premiere or Piano Adventures)/rhythm cups (from website “compose/create”)
    • 4-star/supplementary material- easier music
    • RCM sight-reading/random books from my music library
    • Bastien/Four Star/Dozen-a-Day
    • Cora Ahrens/Frederick Harris
    • 4-Star/anything
    • sight-reading/rhythm every day/ Piano Adventures/Flashcards & Books
    • 4-Star
    • lots of ‘Pop’ music/Disney movie music/ for older students- any music that has a lot of accidentals & dynamic changes/prior to exams I use the new Sight-reading books put out by RCM
  6. If you are technologically savvy, what are some of the apps you use for sight reading?
    • piano maestro/rhythm lab/rhythm cat/rhythm cat 2/note rush/flash note derby
    • perfect ear
    • flashnote derby/rhythm cats/read ahead/rhythm cats
    • flashnote derby/mynotegames/note rush
  7. What are some of the techniques you use when asking a student to sightread?
    • cover up the music as they read it, so they look forward/give quick studies- one new piece
    • every week from a beginner method/play with CD so that if they get lost, they need to look
    • ahead and come back in/intervallic reading/chord shapes/ count off before beginning/name the key before beginning/look for patterns & changes in position/set a slow tempo
    • identifying chords/key/patterns
    • look over the music generally-time signature/key signature/work out difficult notes/highest & lowest notes/playing duets/counting difficulties such as dotted rhythms & irregular rhythms
    • find the key/correct breath before beginning
    • identify key of the piece/sing up & down the scale on syllables/identify the starting pitch
    • look at the music first & emphasize not stopping
    • duets at an early age
    • patterns/known already- e.g. broken triads, pentascales/technique 1 learned from Boris Berlin/doghouse game/flash cards/sight-reading games
    • slogans/intervals-steps & skips/magnet board
    • decide key/look at chords & triads of the keys/clap rhythm of piece/think ahead & keep going
    • try to see the picture- focus on melodies & barlines/less importance given to textures
    • cover the bars they are playing: eyes forced forward/count aloud for organization & fluency; use metronome/ visualization/audiation/play on lap/encourage expression & phrasing above all
    • looking ahead/patterns/key/rhythm
    • find a metronome tempo they can do (they set it)
    • key- basic chords- V-I/set the tempo, then fit the notes into that
  8. Please add any additional comments about sight-reading that you think might be helpful:
    • Christmas carol arrangements-expressive reading/modern pieces open minds to patterns & keys & rhythmic groupings
    • “I think it is important to teach this in connection to musical pieces, even simple ones (learn holistically)- e.g. phrasing, shape, tones (words, breathing)”
    • think of the whole piece
    • students are encouraged to sight-read their theory/have students play duets or accompany an instrument at sight
    • start small/be consistent/occasionally use simple, but well known tunes (e.g. Star Wars)
    • “I encourage my students to ‘play’ all types of music during holidays like Christmas, Easter, summer. I don’t encourage students to actually ‘practice’ during holidays, but to enjoy anything that they choose.”
    • “I enjoyed the workshop- going to incorporate in my studio”

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Feb 2016

Medieval and Renaissance Feast

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Saskatoon RMT’s “Medieval-Renaissance Feast & Festivity” was a very memorable evening, and an opportunity to revisit instruments and musique of Medieval times. We we enthralled by Weldon Gray of Graylore Lutes and his vast collection of medieval instruments; dined in 15th Century style to the music of Saskatoon’s medieval troubador group, Troubadors Du Bois; viewed displays of medieval art and illuminations thanks to the U of S’s Museum of Anthropology; and learned about the music of Orlande de Lassus through the words of Gerard Weber and the choral voices of Voci Strane.

Many thanks to the industrious and creative team who presented to Saskatoon a musical event like none other, on January 30th at Emmanual Church. Our thanks to organizers Michael Harris, Christina Tong, Bridget Olver, and Noreen Wensley. Bravo!

Check out our gallery for some pictures of the event!

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Jan 2016

Medieval Feast and Festivity – only 2 weeks away

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Announcing the Saskatoon Registered Music Teacher’s Association Feast and Festivity

Since our event is only two and a half weeks away, I thought I’d post some more detailed information about what you can expect at the event. Below you can find a list of the performers, as well as information on how to get tickets. You can also check out our Facebook event if you’d like.

If you were up early this morning, you might have caught Michael Harris and Weldon Gray on Global TV!  You can check out the video here!

Featured Performers:

  • Weldon Gray, Luthier
  • Troubadors du Bois
  • Voci Strani
  • Gerard Weber

Tickets are $35, (or $30 for RMT Members)

If you’d like tickets, please contact us at this number: 306-652-2335

Saturday, January 30, 2016 ~ 4:30 P.M.
Emmanuel Anglican Church.



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Nov 2015

Medieval and Renaissance Feast and Festivity

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We’re hosting an exciting event in January! Come join us for the Medieval and Renaissance Feast and Festivity.

With Guest Speakers Gerard Weber and Weldon Gray
Performances by Troubadors de Bois and Voci Strane
Medieval Feast catered by Prairie Meats and cash bar.

Tickets are $35, (or $30 for RMT Members)
If you’d like tickets, please contact us at this number: 306-652-2335


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Mar 2015

More internet resources for teaching

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As a follow up to the last post about piano teaching on the internet, I thought I’d make another short list of a few more great resources for information on the internet.

  • If you’re on facebook, there’s lots of great resouces to check out.  There are a number of groups on Facebook that piano teachers can join.  It can be exciting to hear ideas from piano teachers all over the world! Here’s our page.
  • Another place to check out is the website Colour in my piano.  This is another page with some great resources.
  • Thirdly, check out your local library’s website.  The library has great online resources, awesome books, and you can request books from anywhere in the province and pick them up at your local branch.

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Mar 2015

Walter Thiessen Festival Class

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The Walter Thiessen class is new to the Saskatoon Music Festival this year.  It was put together by the RMT Saskatoon Branch to honour Walter Thiessen, who was great piano teacher and long time member of our organization.  Below is a little information about this class, as found in the Saskatoon Music Festival’s local addenda to festival classes.  This can be found on the Saskatoon Music Festival’s website.

This class has been setup to support and celebratepiano students at the Grade 10 level. There is a $300 scholarship which will be decided at the discretion ofthe adjudicator. The competitor must prepare three (3) contrasting selections from the Grade 10 repertoire – RCM or Conservatory Canada. The scheduling of this class will happen towardsthe end of the General Festival week.

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Dec 2014

FAQ: Why Join the RMT?

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So you’re wondering about the Registered Music Teachers Association. Why should you join them? Do you know what joining the RMT requires? This post is to help answer some common questions we have about our group.

  • What is the benefit to me?
    • The Saskatoon branch holds monthly meetings from September until May.  These events are a great way to keep educating yourself, as well as giving you the opportunity to network with other musicians and music teachers in your local branch area. You can check out our calendar to see what kinds of topics we discuss.
    • Participation in the Liability Insurance Plan.
    • Students of RMT can enter various competitions, and can apply for some of the organizations’ scholarships.
    • Belonging to our organization shows your students that you are a professional.
    • Our provincial branch has an even more comprehensive listing of benefits – check it out for more details!
  • Do I have to be a piano or a voice teacher to join?
    • Whilst there are a lot of piano teachers in our organization, our local Saskatoon branch includes members who teach saxophone and clarinet as well. Music teachers who have the necessary qualifications are welcome, no matter what instrument you play.  We would love to have a variety in our organization!
    • We regularly have workshops that apply to all kinds of students – for example, our past seasons have included subjects such as composition, playing by ear, and how to teach rhythm, to name only a few. There’s a lot teachers can learn from each other, no matter what your instrument is.  Your presence in our association would be beneficial for you as well as enriching our membership.
  • What credentials do I need to join the RMT?
    • Our provincial website has much information on this topic as well, as do we elsewhere on our local branch website.
    • There are a few levels of membership. These are all outlined wonderfully on the provincial and local website, but here’s a summary for your help. The three levels of membership are: Affiliate level 1, Affiliate level 2, and Full member.
    • A Full member can use the designation “RMT” and must have completed pedagogical training (either as part of their diploma/degree or as a supplement to their diploma/degree) or show  proof of successful teaching and have completed at least one of the following:
      • A music degree from a university recognized by the Executive, subject to approval by the Board of Examiners.
      • Associate Diploma or equivalent to that granted by the Royal Conservatory of Music, Conservatory Canada, Canadian National Conservatory of Music, or any university or school of music recognized by the Executive.
      • An Associate or Licentiate Teacher’s or Performer’s Diploma granted by Trinity College, London, England, any one of the Royal Schools of Music, London, England, accompanied by successful completion of all the Royal Conservatory Grade IV theory exams (Harmony, History, and Counterpoint) or their equivalent.
    • Affiliate Level 1 – Applicants may apply for this category if all requirements for Full Membership are not yet met, and must have completed a Grade 10 certificate from the Royal Conservatory of Music, Conservatory Canada, or the Canadian National Conservatory of Music, or the equivalent thereof.
    • Affiliate Level 2 – Applicants may apply for this category if all requirements for Affiliate Level 1 Membership are not yet met, and must have completed a Grade 9 certificate from the Royal Conservatory of Music, Conservatory Canada, or the Canadian National Conservatory of Music, or the equivalent thereof.
  • Do I have to charge a certain amount if I join your group?
    • The RMT has a suggested fee, the purpose of which is to sustain a province-wide minimum.  The RMT recommends this rate as it is important to assure professional music teachers are being fairly paid for their services.

If you’d like further information about us, please drop us a line, we’d love to hear from you!

If you’d like to join us, here’s links to our provincial membership application form, and also the local branch membership application form.

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Oct 2014

SRMTA Convention 2014 – day two (Cedar Room)

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Whilst some of us were having fun at Knox, there was more activity at the Parktown as well!  The morning was extremely interesting – attendees enjoyed Post-Romantic and Contemporary Style followed by a Masterclass on Teaching Chopin’s Most Popular Works by Marc Durand.  Later, Mark Durand and Thomas Yu did a clinic on The Piano Teacher – This is Your Life.

Marc Durand Masterclass

The AGM luncheon started with a great performance by Whitney Mather and Karen Reynaud.

Convention 2014

Penny Joynt won the 2014 SRMTA Outstanding Achievement Award.  Congrats, Penny!

Convention 2014

After lunch, another Masterclass: The Senior Student: Haydn, Debussy, Beethoven and Grieg.  Look how well attended it was.

Convention 2014

The conference ended with The Journey from Here with clinician Marc Durand and Pianist Thomas Yu.

Thomas Yu and Marc Durand

It was an excellent conference, and thanks to all the folks who worked so hard to put it all together.

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