It has been a whirl-wind tour to Toowoomba for the 2013 Australian Piano Pedagogy Conference.
I somewhat stubbornly refused to fly up to the conference until Tuesday morning (the Pink concert was on Monday night in Adelaide……..it was fabulous!), which made for a very early flight up to Brisbane on Tuesday. After landing in Brisbane and getting myself sorted with the hire car, I headed back into the airport to meet Randall Faber, a keynote speaker for the conference. He had a long journey to Australia and was surprisingly chipper for the drive to Toowoomba.
It took just over two hours (with a sushi stop) to get to our destination. It was wonderful to spend time getting to know Randall, learning more about what he does and indoctrinating him into some Aussie music along the way.
Over the next two and a half days, the highlights for me included;
- Meeting piano teachers from all over Australia and the world. The range of teachers at this conference seemed much broader than the APPC in 2009. Teachers ranging from their early twenties to their seventies. It was a fabulous melting pot. It was great to talk to teachers about conferences in their cities happening in 2014- hopefully I will even get to some of them!
- Hearing Jovanni-Rey De Pedro premier new pieces by Christopher Norton (Piano Sonata) and Elissa Milne . I love hearing new compositions, especially from composers I admire!
- Seeing a new style of presentation: Tim Topham was a fabulous presenter. He clearly enjoys his teaching and uses lots of technology with new apps and heaps of different repertoire ideas- in particular for teenage boys!
- Spending time with Randall Faber. It was wonderful to spend time getting to know Randall and learning from him. He was so generous with his knowledge and seems a very down-to-earth kind of guy! Thembi and I even had time at the piano with Randall absorbing as much information as we could, playing for Randall and learning new tips!
- The energy of other teachers and everyone’s enthusiasm about learning and trying new things with our students. In particular, it was a pleasure to spend my time with the effervescent Gina of Diary of a Piano Mama fame and my partner in crime Thembi!
More than anything, I enjoyed the atmosphere created at the conference. I take my hat off to the organizers and their tireless efforts to create an engaging and diverse program. I was sad to leave the conference early and regretted not being able to take in more sessions while I was there. I am looking forward to the 2015 APPC conference in Melbourne. Hopefully in the mean time I will be able to get to more state based conferences in 2014.
I’m interested to find out what the highlights were for other attendees at this years conference. What were your “take-homes” from this conference? What would you most like to see in 2015?
And for any teachers considering attending a music teachers conference or APPC in the future, I would really encourage you to give it a try. Conferences are great places to meet like-minded people. Many attendees don’t know anyone, so if you go by yourself there are plenty of other teachers to meet. I’ve come home bubbling full of new ideas and a few new Facebook friends as an added bonus!