Music Teacher's Helper Blog

The Eye Ear Revolution Has Begun

The Music Teachers National Association conference is held every year at different locations throughout the US and Canada. This year it was held at Disneyland (nuts!) and it was magical. The reason I say magical is that it seems the tides are changing.  Here’s how my colleague and business partner, Bradley Sowash called it:

Bradley unlocking the secrets of chord symbols. His tips are incredible!

I’ve just returned from the Music Teacher’s National Association conference in CA where I was fortunate to serve as chair of the jazz/pop track along with project manager Leila Viss [that’s me].  I’ve been swimming upstream on the subject of teaching creativity as a necessary ingredient to comprehensive musicianship at music teacher meetings all over the country for several years.  So it was with particular delight to find that we could attract a packed room of teachers for nine hours of sessions with experts on the subject of teaching popular music styles, improvisation and creativity. 

It seems the old model of only teaching the “masters” using only the written page is finally giving way to a more balanced approach or as someone at the conference quipped, “the Queen Mary (of music education) is slowly turning.”  I can get even more dramatic by declaring, “The eye/ear revolution has begun!” 

That’s me grooving with the crowd in a paper plate dance.

Session leaders for the track included: Barbara Kreader, Forrest Kinney, Leila Viss, Marti Ahern, Scott Houston, Kristin Yost and Bradley Sowash. Get a glimpse of what we did by checking out the handouts from the sessions and reading my thoughts on the day here.

While assembling this track for MTNA, Bradley and I discovered we worked well together so we decided to take our passion for creative music making “on the road”. More specifically, we’ve designed a camp, clinic and workshop for students and teachers called 88 Creative Keys. These events will be held in Denver, Colorado, July 28-Aug 2.  Our mantra: “build it and they will come”. If interested in learning more about the Denver events that promote creating “off the page”, click here. If that’s too far to travel, consider hosting a 88 Creative Keys event in your area. To stay posted of the latest events, sign up here for the newsletter.



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