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#955013 - 07/17/07 09:54 AM re: Frances Clark National Conf.
laurencefurr Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/16/07
Posts: 13
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Hello. I am a new member as of yesterday. My question is about the Frances Clark National Conference coming up in August. Has anyone ever been to one of these?

Let me tell you, if I may, a little about myself. I have a BM and MM in organ performance and am full time minister of music and organist at a Lutheran church in Ft. Worth, Tx. I have a Ph.D. in humanities with emphasis in how we humans incorporate knowledge through cultural activities such as music and art. I was also a Fulbright scholar (studying harpsichord) in Madrid, Spain.

So, now, I am experiencing burnout at the church which, although it is fulltime, doesn't require loads of my time and neither does it pay loads of money! Part of my duties is teaching Kindermusik in the daycare center. I have three classes weekly during the school year -- so I know that I am good with children.

I am seriously contemplating starting a studio -- I taught 3 or 4 students off and on while pursuing my degrees but it has been a while now.

I have ordered several pedagogy books and have started the daunting task of looking at different methods and even studied Suzuki with a qualified teacher for a month to see if this approach was one I was interested in. (It seems like a good approach but I have elected to use other methods.)

I am trying to learn all I can before starting and one of the possibilities is to go to the Frances Clark Conference. I'm wondering and hoping that it will "pump me up" and if others here consider it a worthwhile endeavor.

I read a post yesterday about a woman wondering if she was a fraud. It really made me think. Some folks see the letters Ph.D. behind my name and assume that I am an authority on every aspect of music which I certainly am not. Especially when it comes to teaching.

I have consulted with teachers in the area (and am in the process of the local, state, and national MTNA). I've read many posts by several of you -- including John v. d. Brook and have read every word of his website which I like very much.

I know that my harpsichord professor in Spain was a drill sargeant and would scream at me during one lesson and the next lesson, she would literally dance to my Scarlatti all around her giant studio. One day I had "zero Spanish style" and the next I was brilliant. There were days I wanted to throw both her and her harpsichord out the window. (And yet, my harpsichord technique dramatically improved!) I had many teachers growing up who emphasized the negative over the positive and I know this is NOT the way I want to teach.

I want to be a good teacher and want to learn as much as I can about pedagogy. I was a performance major and took no pedagogy classes so I have much to learn. It's one thing to teach a group of 4 and 5 year olds and an adult choir, and quite a different talent to teach privately I'm sure.

Any hints, suggestions, words of wisdom, counsel, will be most welcome. And sorry I've rambled too long.


"When we have new perception, we shall gladly disburden the memory of its hoarded treasures as old rubbish." Ralph Waldo Emerson

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#955014 - 07/17/07 10:49 AM Re: re: Frances Clark National Conf.
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Lawrence, Welcome!

You've got a wonderful plan with the Frances Clark Conference. She is highly regarded and her work continues - quite a legacy!

Your quest for support in pedagogy is great to see. However, I would think that you will devise your own concepts (in the order you think they should be taught from beginner to advanced) given a little bit of hands on experience with students. It will take a year or two or five, but your thoughts and experiences are as valid as anything you would use "prescribed" by a school of thought. It is wise to be well read and study your influences, but don't feel you must be 100% prepared in order to test the waters.

The fraud part is the doubt about uncertainty. There is so much to be prepared for teaching in music, and you take your role very seriously as per all your accomplishments in academics.

I suggest you start thinking about what you have to offer and would like to share. Plan your program and what it would include for the 40 or so lessons you would give a private student per year. At the end of year 1 what would you want a beginner to know how to do? Work backward from the goal, by dividing the workload a student would do over lessons of 30 minutes (or 60) for 40 lessons.

You can continue your research over time and improve upon and make changes in your "curriculum" and "syllabus".

You are going to be one lively member of the forum. I look forward to hearing from you in your postings. And, yes, John Van Der Brook has many merits and I appreciate and respect him greatly, too.


#955015 - 07/17/07 11:31 AM Re: re: Frances Clark National Conf.
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7639
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Hi Laurence,

Also a big welcome from another Puget Sound area teacher.

I will be at the NCKP and if you decide to attend, drop me a private email so we can connect at the conference. In truth, this will be my first NCKP; I have been attending another national conference, the world piano pedagogy conference, which I like very much. I wanted to learn more about the offerings of this conference, which is why I am attending. I grew up in Kalamazoo, and my teacher, Ola Krudener worked closely with Francis Clark, and I had a chance to use a number of her early volumes.

The WPPC focuses on more on artistry and advancing teaching/performing issues (this is a good thing, by the way), and has many presenters from the top conservatories around the world. My suspicion is that NCKP is more focused on beginners, intermediates and training the "average" student.

"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA


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