The 2019 biennial Australasian Piano Pedagogy Conference, held in Brisbane from 8-12 July 2019, was once more full of ideas and information to improve our teaching. In addition, we were treated to several very fine concerts. The campus is like a magnificent spacious botanical park and the new auditorium in the Advanced Engineering Building was a superb space to hear the keynote speakers and most of the concerts. All with the background of a lakeside view behind the stage.
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In May this year, VMTA members were treated to a VIP event with New York based pianist and composer Dan Tepfer at the Yamaha Premium Piano Centre in South Melbourne. Using Yamaha’s Disklavier piano as his only instrument, Tepfer performed all 11 pieces from his new album Natural Machines – improvisations interacting with computer programs he’s invented on Yamaha’s Disklavier.
It was wonderful to participate in the opening of this amazing new facility located right next to The Recital Centre and the VCA, and home to the new Melbourne Conservatorium of Music. The event opened with a traditional smoking ceremony and Welcome to Country in Linear Park, with Boon Wurrung Elder, N’arweet Carolyn Briggs accompanied by student performers from the Wilin Centre for Indigenous Arts and Cultural Development. A fanfare composed by Mark Pollard invited all to enter the building.
Recently we caught up with VMTA member Emmet Brazil, who is the Founder and Director of Chasing Sound Music School in Footscray. Not only is this innovative music school providing great pathways for students and teachers, but it’s also opening up opportunities for local schools in the region.
When asked about school chairs, FM Alexander is quoted as saying “We need to educate our children, not our furniture.” The same can be said about the piano stool – it is far more profound and fundamental to learn to change one’s coordination than to learn where to put one’s stool. The former also informs the latter. We can look to Alexander Technique not for a prescribed position of piano stool, but for principles which can guide our decision making.