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by Dr. Melissa Martiros

Registrations are now open for the 2017 National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy, scheduled for July 26-29 in Lombard, IL (a suburb of Chicago).  This year’s conference will feature many helpful and engaging sessions related to inclusive piano teaching. The conference program may be found on the NCKP website.  We would like to highlight some of these events and encourage all of our readers to attend NCKP 2017!

This year’s Pre-Conference Sessions on Teaching Students with Special Needs will be held on Wednesday, July 26.  Ms. Kaitlin Cooper, instructor for Beethoven’s Buddies at Wheaton College, will kick-off the event with her workshop Integrating Technology in the Piano Studio for Children with Special Needs. During this session, Ms. Cooper will address strategies for integrating technology into lessons in order to increase student engagement and facilitate the development of reading fluency, rhythm reading and performance, ear training, and other skills. Mrs. Michelle Bastien’s session on Preventing and Managing Challenging Behavior in the Piano Studio will be particularly helpful for teachers who struggle with behavior management in their studios.  Mrs. Bastien serves as Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) Coordinator and is highly experienced with Advanced Behavioral Analysis (ABA).  The final session will be led by Dr. Sarah Bauer, a developmental pediatrician at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Northwestern University.  Dr. Bauer’s session To Diagnose or Not To Diagnose: What is The Role of The Piano Teacher In This Process will focus on the diagnostic process and the myths and facts behind labels. The Pre-Conference Session will conclude with a panel featuring all speakers along with all three Inclusive Piano Teaching authors. 

Following the Pre-Conference Seminars will be two exciting days of workshops, panels, and presentations! Dr. Beth Bauer, Dr. Scott Price, and Dr. Melissa Martiros of Inclusive Piano Teaching will present a panel on the main conference program entitled Teaching Students with Special Needs--Your Questions Answered.  This interactive panel was well received at the MTNA 2016 conference in San Antonio and we are truly very excited to present it again at NCKP. Our main goal for this session is to be helpful as we provide evidenced-based responses to questions related to studio management, teaching techniques, repertoire, and performance situations. A call for questions will be sent out prior to the event but all teachers are invited to submit email questions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

In his session Every Student Can! - Inside Autism and the Piano Lesson, Dr. Scott Price will present a live lesson with one of his students. The lesson will be followed by a moderated question and answer period during which the “invisible” and non-traditional pedagogical techniques used in the lesson will be examined, along with discussion about teaching this very talented and deserving population of students. This will be a ground breaking session for NCKP and one you definitely won’t want to miss.

Also Inspiring will be Dr. Derek Kaelii Polishuk’s PedX 7 session Celebrating The Spectrum: A Festival of Music and Life. A first-of-its kind summer piano festival at Michigan State University is providing advanced music students on the autism spectrum a chance to preview life as a collegiate musician by immersing them in a daily schedule that emulates a week in the life of a music major.  Derek Polischuk will discuss the impact of this festival on the lives of these students, their families, and piano teachers. Dr. Polishuk currently serves as Associate Professor of Piano and Director of Piano Pedagogy at Michigan State University.

The NCKP Committee for Special Needs includes Dr. Beth Bauer, Dr. Melissa Martiros, Dr. Scott Price, and Dr. Derek Kaelii Polishuk.  More information on the NCKP 2017 Conference may be found at the conference website.

We look forward to seeing you in Lombard!