Convention 2018 Poster

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Teaching Music: Staying Relevant in Today’s World

SRMTA Convention and AGM 2018

The Parktown Hotel in Saskatoon

October 12 and 13


  • Dale Wheeler
  • Mary Joy Nelson
  • Karen Gerelus
  • Janice Elliott – Denike
  • Maria Case
  • Recital by 2018 Honens Piano Competition Lareate Winner Nicholas Namoradze

Convention 2018 Schedule & Registration

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Teaching Music: Staying Relevant in Today’s World

Park Town Hotel & University of Saskatchewan

Friday, October 12, 2018
12:30-1:20 Mini recital/talk by Honens Competition Laureate Winner – Nicholas Namoradze
Quance Theatre- U of S- (free to Convention registrants)

1:00 p.m. Registration at the Cedar Room, Park Town Hotel
Trade Show- Maple Room

1:30 p.m. Welcome & Introduction

1:45 p.m. Maria Case-The Royal Conservatory of Music- Part 1
The Royal Conservatory has been a leader in education for over 130 years and continues
to evolve in response to the changing world. Join Maria Case for an
exploration of recent initiatives, and an opportunity to have your questions answered.
This guided tour of new resources and tools developed by the RCM to support the
development of the complete musician will include: The Theory Syllabus, 2016 Edition,
and Celebrate Theory series; Engaging Digital Apps that serve as valuable practice tools;
Innovative online courses for students, and how to incorporate them into your teaching.

2:30 p.m. Maria Case-The Royal Conservatory of Music Part 2

3:30 p.m. Janice Elliott-Denike: During this centenary year of Debussy’s death, Janice will give a
practical, “hands-on’ presentation about teaching his piano music, looking at specific
pieces as well as an overall repertoire guideline. Bring your Debussy scores and a pencil!

4:30 p.m. Janice Elliott-Denike- Debussy Part 2

7:30 p.m. Concert Event: Convocation Hall- in the Peter MacKinnon Building (U of S Campus).
The Saskatoon Registered Music Teachers Association and the SSO are proud to present
a recital featuring one of the brand new 2018 Honens Piano Competition Laureates.
The Honens Piano Competition takes place every three years and is considered one of the
world’s most prestigious events of its kind. Honens prepares its Laureates for the rigours
and realities of professional careers in music and creates opportunities for growth and
exposure. The annual Honens Festival is one of Canada’s premier piano events.
President’s Reception to follow at the Park Town Hotel- Presidential Suite

Saturday, October 13, 2018

9:00 a.m. Brainstorm Session: “You Tube vs. You Teacher”.
Why would a student choose to learn a piece of music from one of us rather than the
internet? (Facilitator- Michelle Aalders)

9:30 a.m. Dale Wheeler: “Teacher Know Thyself”
How do our teaching practices contribute to our personal growth and ongoing
professional development. Explore how our studio environment, lesson procedure and
analytical and diagnostic skills contribute to our success as teachers, and as a result, the
success of our students.

10:45 a.m. Dale Wheeler: “Do You Hear What I Hear” Teaching Students to Listen.
One of the major tasks facing a teacher is getting students to listen to themselves. The
main difficulty is in teaching WHAT to listen for–the HOW to listen comes later
– strategies for helping students to become better listeners.

12:45-p.m. Annual General Meeting (AGM)- Cedar Room

1:45 p.m. Karen Gerelus: “It’s Not You, It’s Me”
Teachers often wonder why students quit piano lessons. This study is the first to use
Self-Determination Theory to assess levels of motivation in piano students and also
analyzed seven predictors of student attrition. This session will take the inverse of
the dropout results and offer recommendations on how to retain students.

3:00-4:00 Mary Joy Nelson- “From Bellini to Belt”
This presentation will focus on a specific branch of Contemporary
Commercial voice: the female belt voice. Classical pedagogical approaches will be
compared and contrasted with those used to train the female belt voice,
including similarities in breathing, posture, registration, tone quality/resonance, and
range. The benefits of cross training for both the musical theatre and
the classical voice student will be addressed. For the recital portion of the presentation,
a performance of song selections will allow the listener to compare and contrast aurally
the various sounds and approaches in classical and musical theatre singing described in
the lecture.

Sight Reading Workshop Survey Results

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”

Medieval and Renaissance Feast

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!

Medieval Feast and Festivity – only 2 weeks away

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.