Conference Materials, Schedules and Links

Register now to attend the NCMTA Annual Conference

October 22-23, 2021!


Conference Artist and Pedagogy Clinician:


Ruggero Piano poster about Peter Mack Sponsorship
Meredith College poster

PETER MACK, President-Elect of the Music Teachers National Association, is in demand as a clinician and recitalist worldwide. He will give two pedagogy sessions Friday, play a recital Friday night, and teach a master class Saturday.

63rd Annual NCMTA Conference Schedule

Schedule subject to revision; this website has the most up-to-date information.

Friday, October 22, 2021

9:45 – 10:00 am: WELCOME

Jeanine Skinner, DMA, NCTM, NCMTA President

10:00 10:55 am: Conference Artist Session I

  • The Art of the Phrase

Peter Mack, DMA, NCTM, Conference Artist and MTNA President-Elect

It’s easy to teach our students to play more musically, once we understand the basic principles of phrasing.

In this entertaining and illuminating talk, Peter Mack teaches us how to recognize the basic phrase types, and how best to interpret them.  Everyone can sound better, once they understand the art of the phrase!
Kent Lyman, DM, NCTM, presiding


  • An Entrepreneurial Mindset in a Disrupted World

Karen Thickstun, MBA, MM, NCTM, MTNA National President

Join us for this special session from Karen Thickstun, National President of the Music Teachers National Association. She will be drawing on her extensive background in music and business to provide insights on exercising entrepreneurism, creativity and innovation in the midst of a rapidly changing world.

12:00 – 12:30 pm: Lunch

12:30 – 1:25 pm: General Interest Session

  • Broadening Diversity: Creating the first NCMTA “Virtual/Local” Association

Discussion of the creation of an NCMTA Virtual Chapter, led by Victoria Fischer Faw, DMA, NCTM, Laura Chu Stokes, NCTM, and Leonidas Lagrimas, PhD, NCTM. This session will include a short presentation describing the project, followed by a brainstorming session to gather feedback and ideas from the NCMTA membership.
Independent Music Teachers Forum, Ms. Dottie Buster, NCTM, NCMTA IMTF chair, presiding

NCMTA’s six Local Affiliates provide a rich variety of powerful professional opportunities for members, their students, and their communities. Because all operate in major NC cities, however, it can be challenging for teachers outside those areas to reap the benefits of a Local Affiliate membership. A large portion of NC is considered rural, and NCMTA membership in these areas is low. The goal is to apply newly acquired technology skills and tools for more impactful inclusion of NC’s underserved populations. Addressing the issues that face our profession (such as accessibility, affordability, and perceptions of elitism) can re-energize and grow our membership in rural areas, facilitate interconnectedness across our state, and generate a renewed sense of purpose. This, in turn, has the potential to engage more students who might not have considered participation in music education, attract and support young music professionals, and contribute to the musical culture of underserved communities. In the spring of 2021, the Executive Board of NCMTA approved an exploratory committee, led by Victoria Fischer Faw and Laura Chu Stokes to lay the groundwork for a new type of Affiliate: a Virtual-Local (NCVL) Chapter focused on the rural Western region of our state. NCMTA received an Affiliate Grant from MTNA to support the project. Although this project focuses on Western NC, it promises to provide a model for the entire state, and perhaps for rural communities in other states. This session will report the progress of this exciting project and solicit feedback and ideas from those attending.

Lauren Chu Stokes photo

Laura Chu Stokes, NCTM, has been a pianist and music educator for more than forty years. A graduate of Indiana University Jacobs School of Music in piano performance, Laura has taught hundreds of students in her private studio and as the director-instructor at Appalachian State University’s Community Music School (CMS). She has been a contributing author to the Alfred Music blog and Coordinator of the Hayes School of Music Piano Competition for pre-college pianists. Laura has been a staff accompanist at ASU and collaborative artist with her husband, trumpeter James Stokes. Her numerous concert performances include featured soloist with the Columbus and Cincinnati Symphony Orchestras. She frequently adjudicates MTNA state competitions and performance festivals. Since 1989, Laura has been invited by music teacher associations and music dealers/retailers nationally to present hands-on workshops and webinars for, a full line of music learning tools developed by her mother, Lucy Chu.

Photo of Past President Vicky Fisher Faw holding State Association of the Year plaque

Victoria Fischer Faw, NCTM, NCMTA Immediate Past President, is a pianist, teacher, scholar, and avid music advocate whose professional career includes activities at home and abroad. Her passions include playing and teaching a wide range of piano solo and collaborative repertoire, mentoring young teachers and scholars, and sharing her expertise and ideas through presentations and masterclasses. She is an acknowledged expert on the music of Béla Bartók, having won first prize at the International Bartók-Kabalevsky Competition in 1990, authored several publications, and presented many lecture-recitals on Bartók’s music. She is currently creating a pedagogical edition of “For Children.” Vicky received her musical education at Centenary College of Louisiana, The University of North Chapel Hill, the University of Texas at Austin, and the Vienna Conservatory. Having recently retired from a long career at Elon University and named Professor Emerita, she is excited about her next chapter of professional life.

Dr. Leonidas Lagrimas, NCTM, is in his first year as Assistant Professor of Piano and Piano Pedagogy at Western Carolina University. His duties include coordinating the Class Piano curriculum and teaching Applied Piano. Previous faculty appointments include SUNY-Fredonia and Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College. His research interests include collegiate group piano curriculum, piano recital repertoire, and pedagogical practices on Claude Debussy’s music. Leonidas holds a Ph.D. in Piano Pedagogy from Florida State University and has presented his research at regional, state, and national conferences. He has served as a state Executive Board member for the New York chapter of MTNA. Leonidas has served as a featured clinician for the Frances Clark Center’s webinar pedagogy series and a contributor for their online courses. Prior to his doctoral studies, he was a music teacher in the New York City public schools for 10 years.

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1:30 – 2:25 pm: Split Sessions

  • Bringing the Pop to Popular Music: Teaching Performance Practice in Pop, Rock, and R&B

Nicolas Lira, DMA, and Bridget O’Leary, MM, NCTM

How do we convey a pop musician’s style and communicate this to our students? This session will focus on realizing appropriate articulation, rhythm, and groove in examples from Elton John, Adele, Sara Bareilles, and Alicia Keys.
Sheila Dacus, NCTM, NCMTA Secretary, presiding

For many students, popular music may be the most important style they learn in piano lessons — the one that they return to again and again later in life. As educators and performers, we seek to teach and perform pop, rock, R&B, and electronic music, with the same authentic performance practice as repertoire from previous eras. We emphasize appropriate stylistic interpretation when teaching classical music: Bach differs from Chopin, Scarlatti differs from Grieg, and Schumann differs from Prokofiev. Similar to classical composers, many popular musicians have distinguishing stylistic elements and musical idioms. Using live performance and analysis, Bridget and Nicolas will demonstrate appropriate stylistic playing and detail suitable performance practices within these popular genres of piano music using transcriptions and arrangements. Songs from Alicia Keys, Sara Bareilles, Elton John, and others will be used to discuss methods of listening and understanding of aspects of their music. Like classical music, playing pop and rock requires learning what to listen for in a recording, how that influences the character of a song, and how to achieve it on the keyboard. We will break down the connection between articulation and rhythm and how these two elements define style. We will share strategies to teach this relationship and share examples of the ways popular musicians establish a groove ahead, on, or behind the beat. Also discussed will be the piano’s versatility in popular music – as soloist and rhythm section, often at the same time. This presentation will give music educators clarity and vocabulary to convincingly teach and perform these popular styles.

Nicolas Lira photo

Active as a performer, teacher, and scholar, Nicolas Lira explores a wide range of musical genres, stretching from classical music, to jazz, pop, and punk. In central North Carolina, he can be heard with the jazz quartet New Morning, the saxophone and piano trio Tresidig, and the new music and improvisation collective COLAPSS. He has performed and presented at national and regional meetings of the North American Saxophone Alliance, the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy (NCKP), Spectralisms 2019 in Paris, France, and the Brevard Music Center. His passion to promote the music of living composers has led to collaboration with the newEar ensemble in Kansas City, and COLAPSS in Greensboro, NC. Nicolas’ past teachers include Joe Lulloff, Taimur Sullivan, Derek Polischuk, and Minsoo Sohn. He holds his DMA degree in saxophone performance and MM degree in music theory from the Conservatory of Music and Dance at University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Brigit O'Leary photo

Pianist Bridget O’Leary is active as a solo pianist, collaborator and educator. Hailing from Raleigh, North Carolina, she maintains a strong presence there as well as in her native Kansas City. She maintains a full studio, working with all ages of learners, and has taught virtual lessons since 2017. Recent performance highlights include a solo recital at Kansas City’s Charlotte House Series, recitals with cellist Kirsten Jermé at Carol Woods and White Memorial Presbyterian in Raleigh, featured performance at the American Single Reed Summit with Xiphias Trio, and festival shows with her crossover quartet Fourscore. While studying at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, Bridget was consistently named a winner in competitions including the Missouri Music Teachers Association and National Federation of Music Teachers, and was a winner of the 2012 UMKC concerto/aria competition. She has participated in master classes with Vladimir Feltsman, Jon Nakamatsu, and Stanislav Ioudenitch, among others. Her primary teachers include Jennifer Lim-Judd, Jane Solose, Robin Rysavy, and Scott McBride Smith.

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  • A System for Teaching Levels of Articulation at the Piano: It’s as Simple as 1, 2, 3, 4!

Dylan Savage, DM, NCTM

Diverse levels of articulation are vital to engaging and stylistically accurate piano performances. Dylan Savage will demonstrate his system for helping students master a wide range of articulations (touches) for higher levels of artistry.

Dylan will spend the last few minutes of his presentation talking about Arts and Advocacy in his capacity as the NCMTA Arts and Advocacy Forum chair.
Tonya Kirk, NCTM, MTNA Foundation Vice President, presiding

The ability to express multiple levels of articulation (also called modes of touch) is critical to achieving high-quality piano playing. Changes in articulation keep the listener engaged and their level of interest high. By developing a varied vocabulary of articulations, a pianist can dramatically expand their expressive palette and make clearer stylistic delineations. In between the commonly used articulations of staccato and legato reside many possible shadings of articulation, but which are often missed. In my almost three decades of university teaching, I rarely encounter a freshman student who demonstrates knowledge of multiple articulations, much less the ability to project nuanced shadings. In this lecture demonstration, I will demonstrate a system I have developed that will allow piano teachers to easily start their students on a path toward articulation awareness and sophistication. It begins with systematic use of staccato and legato articulations in scales and how to best physically manage them. When those touches are secure, the student learns how to vary them by making them either less and less staccato or less and less legato. I will demonstrate how to achieve very distinct levels of changes in articulation and why they should be used for stylistic reasons. The articulations in this system are delineated by a logical numbering system. Once students can demonstrate a range of at least four different touches in scales, they are ready to apply them to repertoire backed by an awareness of performance practice applications.

Dylan Savage photo

Dylan Savage is a Bösendorfer Concert Artist, a Capstone Records Recording Artist, a winner of the Rome Festival Orchestra Competition, and Professor of Piano at UNC Charlotte. He is author of the book The Transposed Musician: Teaching Universal Skills to Improve Performance and Benefit Life and co-author of the book A Symposium for Pianists and Teachers: Strategies to Develop the Mind and Body for Optimal Performance. He is the author of articles found in Clavier, Clavier Companion, American Music Teacher, and Pianoforte magazines. Dr. Savage pioneered the use of slow-motion video analysis to help pianists improve performance and minimize injury. His research in biomechanics, wellness, and entrepreneurship has resulted in numerous master-classes at top music schools and national / international conferences. Savage has used live music performance to teach universal skills and continuous improvement in non-music disciplines. His work has been featured in television spots on NBC and PBS affiliates.

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2:30 – 3:25 pm: SPLIT SESSIONS

  • Q&A Follow-up to the Fall Piano Workshop

Join clinicians Annie Jeng, DMA, and Elena Nezhdanova, DMA, for an opportunity to ask questions in real time as a follow-up to the fall piano workshop.
Yong Im Lee Federle, DMA, NCTM, presiding

Elena Nezhdanova photo

Many years of interest in and research of physiology of piano playing brought Dr. Elena Nezhdanova the opportunity to write a review of Irina Gorin’s piano method “Tales of a  Musical Journey” based on the Russian School of piano playing published by the  Clavier Companion Magazine (The Piano Magazine) in November 2017. In the Spring of 2021, she presented an online lecture on the Russian School of Piano Playing and “Tales of a Musical Journey” books for the Winston-Salem Piano Teachers Association. In addition, Elena presented at North Carolina’s Teacher’s Association chapters and North Carolina State’s conference. In June 2019, Dr. Nezhdanova was invited to give a three-hour lecture on new American piano methods for professional piano teachers in Olomouc, Czech Republic. During the same trip, she gave a master class to piano four-hands student ensembles from North London Collegiate School in the U.K. In May 2020, Elena was invited to appear as a guest speaker and gave master classes through YouTube live stream for The Piano League, and taught virtual guest master classes for East Tennessee State University and Opus Ithaca School of Music. 

Dr. Nezhdanova’s students received Highest Honors at various Young Artist competitions, participated and won awards at the North Carolina Bach Festival, and were invited to participate in the Live “Piano Star Showcase” for Young Pianists through  The Piano League featuring talented students from the US and Canada. Additionally, Dr.  Nezhdanova’s students won top prizes at Carmel Klavier International Competition for  Young Artists and Rocky Mountain International Competition and Festival (Canada). This Summer, Dr. Nezhdanova will continue her teaching activities at Opus Ithaca School of Music and collaborative work at Ithaca College, Cornell University, and Syracuse University in the Fall of 2021.

Annie Jeng photo

Dr. Annie Jeng is a Taiwanese-American pianist, educator, and collaborator. She is committed to listening, learning, and becoming a better member of society with the hopes of paving roads for justice, collaboration, and kindness in communities. She has performed widely in such settings as the Brancaleoni International Music Festival in Italy, the Gijón International Piano Festival in Spain, the Kennedy Center, Interlochen Arts Academy, and China. She also enjoys creating new ways to perform and engage with audiences outside of traditional venues in spaces such as living rooms, online mediums, and breweries. Recent performances have included Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy with UNCG’s University Symphony Orchestra, Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G major with the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra, Messiaen’s La Ville d’en Haut with the University of Michigan Symphony Band, and Messiaen’s Oiseaux Exotiques with the University of Michigan Contemporary Directions Ensemble. A Presser scholar, Annie has presented at Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) conferences at collegiate, state, and national levels, The National Conference of Keyboard Pedagogy (NCKP), and College Music Society (CMS) conferences. She is the Vice President of the Greensboro Music Teachers Association. 

Annie’s essential goal as an artist is to make communities richer and more meaningful through the arts. To this end, Annie strives to make music accessible to audiences of all backgrounds by expanding and rethinking the traditional recital format to include interdisciplinary and interactive elements, all with the aim of encouraging audiences to engage with the artistic experience. Recent projects include, “Music by the Barrel,” which was a concert series at the Ann Arbor Distilling Company in Ann Arbor, “Beyond the Keys: Unlocking Piano Works” which was an interactive  concert on the roof of a parking deck performed by her piano pedagogy students, and “Brews-keys” which featured UNCG piano faculty and students at Oden Brewing Company in Greensboro, North Carolina. She also led music workshops that focused on group singing and music as a form of expression through the Prison Creative Arts Project at University of Michigan. 

During the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Annie personally picked up and delivered keyboards to UNCG piano students in order to ensure that music within student’s lives would not be stopped. As a strong believer in creating a better and more equitable “normal,” she also founded A Seat at the Piano (ASAP)  in the summer of 2020 ( ASAP is a resource that is dedicated to the promotion of inclusion in the performance and study of solo piano repertoire. 

Much of Annie’s research is devoted to contemporary music and studying the pedagogical capabilities of contemporary piano techniques. In 2018, Annie received the Rackham Predoctoral Fellowship from the University of Michigan to create a pedagogical resource called Circles and Lines that will feature newly commissioned works by female composers that introduce unconventional piano techniques to intermediate pianists. She is also the pianist of Khemia Ensemble (, a contemporary chamber ensemble that is dedicated to promoting contemporary classical music by cultivating inclusive place-making, collaborative mentorships, and authentic storytelling through immersive, multimedia performances. She released the album, “World Map ” with Parma Recordings as the former pianist of Four Corner’s Ensemble. Committed to supporting musicians in finding their unique career path, she also worked as a Programming Assistant at University of Michigan’s Excellence in Entrepreneurship, Career Empowerment & Leadership (EXCEL) Lab. She also serves as a member of the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy (NCKP) Career Development and Innovation Committee.  Annie received her MM in Piano Performance from the University of Michigan and her BM in Piano Performance with a minor in Public Health from New York University. She received her DMA in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from the University of Michigan in 2019. Her teachers include Logan Skelton, José Ramón Mendez, Miyoko Lotto, Anne-Marie McDermott, and Faye Bonner. She is currently the Assistant Professor of Piano and Piano Pedagogy at University of North Carolina at Greensboro. (

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  • Incorporating Classical Improvisation into Your Teaching Studio

Drea Wagner, NCTM

Explore proven ways of teaching classical-style improvisation to any student. This presentation is overflowing with accessible entry points (question and answer phrases, moods, form…many more!) and practical pedagogical tips. No prior improvisation experience required!
Allison Gagnon, DMA, presiding

Pianist, teacher, and improviser Drea Wagner will explore ways every teacher can include classical improvisation in their studios. No prior improvisation experience is required! Myths about improvisation being an innate skill possessed by a privileged few, or limited only to the world of jazz, will be dispelled, and teachers will be equipped with the knowledge and, dare it be said, courage to explore various entry points for the inclusion of classical-based improvisation in lessons with each student. These accessible entry points include exploring the basic elements of music, question and answer phrases and other forms, images or moods, and, most ideally, improvisation in the pattern of something the student is currently studying.

Throughout the presentation, Drea will share pedagogical tips from over fifteen years of teaching improvisation to her students. What to do if a student is hesitant to improvise, how to offer critique without squelching creativity, how to include improvisation in public recitals or competitions, and how to expand your own improvisational abilities are just some of the anticipated discussion points. Video clips of typical, “average Joe” students enjoying improvisation will be shared to invite teachers to consider improvisation as a viable, beneficial, and enjoyable activity with any student.

It is hard to think of a better way to sum up the purpose of this presentation than the teachers who, after this session, have responded: “I was never taught how to improvise myself, but I am excited to try these things with my own students now!”

Drea Wagner photo

Drea Wagner, NCTM, graduated from Lakeland University (Sheboygan, WI) with a degree in Piano Performance and Pedagogy. Drea began teaching in 2004, and her students have won many awards at local, state, and national competitions. While teaching in Wisconsin, she was an active member of the Michibago MTA and Wisconsin MTA, serving for over ten years on their executive boards. Drea joined the faculty of Ambassador Baptist College (Lattimore, NC) in 2019, where she teaches music theory, piano pedagogy, and applied piano. Drea’s work in teaching has been recognized with awards including the 2010, 2013, and 2014 Festival for Creative Pianists Creative Teaching Award (Grand Junction, CO); 2010 and 2016 WMTA Member of the Year Award; and 2010 MTNA StAR Award (one of six national finalists). Drea stays active in the music community, judging piano competitions, presenting lectures at teachers’ conferences, teaching at music camps, and performing.

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3:30 – 4:45 pm: Conference Artist Session II

  • Marvelous Moderns and their Needlessly Neglected Mid-Level Masterpieces

Dr. Peter Mack, NCTM, Conference Artist and MTNA President-Elect

In this repertoire lecture Peter Mack explores mostly modern shorter works, offering an alternative to the tried-and-true twentieth century favorites that we hear again and again.  There is a vast body of neglected repertoire out there.  This demonstration uncovers unknown pieces to spark the interest of students, teachers, adjudicators, and audiences alike. 
Kent Lyman, NCTM, presiding

Most of the pieces played are of mid-range difficulty.  Sections from over forty works are performed, and there is an extensive handout in which the difficulty for each piece is assessed, along with its publishing information.  It’s a fast-moving, fun talk.  Nothing in the lecture lasts too long, so if you don’t like a work that’s being played, don’t worry!  It will end soon, and there’ll be something different coming along right away!

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4:50 – 5:45 pm: SPLIT SESSIONS

  • Integrating Diverse Piano Literature for Intermediate students

Jeanetta Powell Hopkins

This presentation illuminates pedagogical methods to incorporating diverse piano works into the existing repertoire for intermediate level pianists. Attendees will engage with new repertoire and appropriate pedagogy.
Denise Pugliese, NCTM, presiding

This presentation illuminates pedagogical methods to incorporating diverse piano works into the existing repertoire for intermediate level pianists. As we progress as a global society, it is imperative the musical repertoire taught to piano students reflects the world in which they live. Often the repertoire can be advanced therefore making it inaccessible. Together, we uncover works of diverse literature for the intermediate pianist.

Jeanette Powell Hopkins photo

Jeanetta Powell Hopkins, pianist, music educator and entrepreneur, is a dedicated researcher of piano works by African American Women. During her tenure in the classroom, Jeanetta has taught elementary general music, middle school piano, middle and high school vocal arts. After serving in the public school system, Jeanetta chose the entrepreneurial path and opened the Bull City Music School with locations in Durham and Hillsborough, North Carolina. The demand for Bull City Music School birthed the virtual academy reaching across the United States. Jeanetta lives by the motto, “ To whom much is given, much is required” and created an outreach arm, Bull City Performing Arts Conservatory, to provide access to the arts for the community and underserved populations.

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Annette Stowe, Voice Teachers Chair, presiding



Peter Mack

Saturday, October 23, 2021


Jeanine Skinner, DMA, NCTM, presiding

10:00 – 11:25 am: Piano Master Class

Dr. Peter Mack, NCTM, Conference Artist and MTNA President-Elect

Eden Esters Brown, NCTM, NCMTA Piano Section Chair, presiding

Ryosei Sato-Choi
12 yo, 7th grade
J. S Bach: Prelude and Fugue in D minor, BWV 875, WTC II

Yvonne Shaoyi Shih
14 yo, 9th grade
Beethoven: Sonata No. 8  in C minor, Op. 13, III. Rondo-Allegro

Hrishikesh Ram
18 yo, 1st year college 
Maurice Ravel: Une barque sur l’ocean (from Miroirs)

11:30 am – 12:25 pm: Split sessions

  • Combatting Music Performance Anxiety in the Age of Digital Performances

Abigail Lockhart

Is there a difference between Music Performance Anxiety in live versus recorded performance? This session will explore this question and offer tips on how to overcome anxiety and find success while performing virtually.
Annie Jeng, DMA, presiding

Performing as we know it has been drastically changed by the current climate. Now, more than ever before, musicians are having to rely on digital modes of performance, either pre-recorded or live. Unfortunately, many musicians and students are having difficulties adapting to this new manner of performance, and research has found that Music Performance Anxiety is still prevalent, even without the element of a live audience. This session will explore the following idea: is there a difference between Music Performance Anxiety in live performance versus recorded performance? If so, what can performers do in order to mitigate the amount of effect that anxiety has on the performance?

This session will present original research on how students respond to virtual performances, before offering tips and suggestions for how to make digital means of presentation less uncomfortable and anxiety-inducing. As musicians in the twenty-first century, it is vital that we learn how to adapt, especially in uncertain times such as today. Anxiety can be a huge hurdle for many students and is a large reason for which many drop out of music. As educators, it is vital to enable students to find success in performing. Teachers should be educated on the various ways that performance anxiety affects the musician, in both live and virtual manners of performance, in order to appropriately help their students overcome this obstacle.

Abigail Lockhardt photo

Abigail Lockhart is currently working on her Master’s of Music in Piano Performance from the University of North Carolina – Greensboro, in addition to working as a private music teacher, church pianist, and freelance performing artist. She completed her Bachelor’s in 2019 from Liberty University, where she researched and published a thesis on Music Performance Anxiety as part of her graduation requirements. She hopes to continue doing work on this subject as part of her graduate degrees and to carry on this knowledge into her teaching studio.

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  • Gateways to Impressionism: Exploring Amy Beach’s Five Improvisations, Op. 148

Leonidas Lagrimas, PhD, NCTM

Although composer Amy Beach’s symphonic works and songs are repertoire staples, her solo piano works remain somewhat neglected. This session explores two of the Five Improvisations, Op. 148, as wonderful additions to the teaching repertoire.
Jennifer L. Paschal, PhD, presiding

A historical evaluation of female American classical music composers would place Amy Beach (1867-1944) at the very top of the list. Beach is generally credited as the first American female composer to enjoy a fair degree of success and acclaim, and she was most renowned for her symphonies and her art songs, works that reflected a largely Romantic-era idiom of bold orchestrations, lush harmonies, and intensely personal expression.

Along with being a successful composer, Amy Beach was also a prolific and talented virtuoso pianist, and she performed the premieres of her most significant chamber works, along with a large repertoire of standard concert works.

However, while Beach’s renown is rare for female composers of any era, with many of her works taking their place as repertoire staples, her solo piano works remain somewhat neglected. This is all the more unfortunate given Beach’s renown as a virtuoso pianist and her enormous output of solo works. My session explores two of her Five Improvisations, Op. 148, as wonderful additions to the teaching repertoire.

I believe that the work of giving neglected composers’ music their proper attention starts not in the concert stage or on recordings, but rather in the teaching studio. The Improvisations are pedagogical works that are suitable for late intermediate/early advanced pianists (listed in Jane Magrath’s repertoire text as level 9). The two movements presented showcase Beach’s innovative use of impressionist-like colors and modern harmonies, and provide an intriguing glimpse into this underappreciated female American composer.

Leonidas Lagrimas photo

Dr. Leonidas Lagrimas, NCTM, is in his first year as Assistant Professor of Piano and Piano Pedagogy at Western Carolina University. His duties include coordinating the Class Piano curriculum and teaching Applied Piano. Previous faculty appointments include SUNY-Fredonia and Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College. His research interests include collegiate group piano curriculum, piano recital repertoire, and pedagogical practices on Claude Debussy’s music. Leonidas holds a Ph.D. in Piano Pedagogy from Florida State University and has presented his research at regional, state, and national conferences. He has served as a state Executive Board member for the New York chapter of MTNA. Leonidas has served as a featured clinician for the Frances Clark Center’s webinar pedagogy series and a contributor for their online courses. Prior to his doctoral studies, he was a music teacher in the New York City public schools for 10 years.

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  • College Faculty Forum

Silver Linings: Moving Forward from the Pandemic
A discussion led by Leonidas Lagrimas, PhD, NCTM

This forum is an opportunity for collegiate faculty in NCMTA to discuss pedagogical issues directly related to the pandemic, in a positive and motivating light.  The hope is that we can use this opportunity to explore and share with others some of the “silver linings” that may have resulted from teaching during these unprecedented times:

    • Unexpected pedagogical success stories
    • Best practices from remote instruction (group piano/applied piano/private studio piano)
    • New and innovative ways to connect with students
    • Taking advantage of asynchronous learning
    • Remote performances/opportunities we have created
    • Any practices we may look to retain as we (hopefully) move beyond the pandemic
  • Senate Planning Committee Meeting


Eden Esters Brown, NCTM, Piano Section Chair, presiding

2:30 – 3:30 pm: NCMTA Young Composers Recital

Dr. Travis Alford, Composition and Theory Chair, presiding


Emily Morgan, NCTM, Piano Performance Festival Chair

Margot Hafner, Voice Performance Festival Chair

Nicolas Lira, DMA, Perc/Brass/String Performance Festival Chair

5:00 – 5:30 pm: Accolades and Achievements

Recognition of Newly Certified Members, Diane H. Blanchard, NCTM, MTNA Certification Chair

IMTF Scholarship Award Recipient, Ms. Dottie Buster, NCTM

NCMTA Teacher of the Year Award, Jeanine Skinner, DMA, NCTM

5:30 pm: MTNA Winners Recital

Mark Tollefsen, DMA, MTNA Competitions Chair

Closing remarks by Jeanine Skinner, DMA, NCTM, NCMTA President

Thank you for attending the 2021 Conference.
See you in 2022!