MTNA E Journal November 2016 : Cover2

7 www.mtnaejournal.org From the Editorial Committee Expect The Unexpected ’m a planner. I meet every day with a to-do list and a detailed schedule. I know where and when I, and every member of my family, should be every minute of the day. Surprises aren’t on my agenda. I can improvise my way through some unexpect-ed bumps in the road, but I have probably planned in ways that make those bumps fairly innocuous. My personal, professional and musical happiness depend on my ability to be prepared. I have met many peda-gogues who fit this same description. Teachers are planners. Faced with a 5-year-old beginner or a class full of 18 year olds, we all have our detailed lesson plans of what, how and when concepts will be taught. We’re certainly flexi-ble enough to veer from our Andrea McAlister, NCTM lesson plans when neces-sary but we probably have multiple back-up activities at the tips of our fingers—because we know that, sometimes, things don’t go according to plan. We are prepared even for the unexpected. Having the ability to be musically and ped-agogically flexible is a pedagogical trademark. However, having confidence in our improvi-sational skills is a completely different arena. I Improvisation asks us to take a step into the unknown and vulnerable, a place we planners would rather avoid. But the reality is this: we improvise every day. We converse with peo-ple with no script from which to read, move from place to place without running into (too many) objects, and have the ability to change course when we realize our current paths aren’t working for us. With all of this sponta-neity occurring in our lives on a daily basis, one has to wonder why the word “improvise” strikes fear in the hearts of so many music students and educators. The Group Piano and Piano Pedagogy (GP3) Conference, held at Oberlin College August 5–6, 2016, challenged participants to look at improvisation with a new, creative perspective. Christopher Azzara offered accessible paths to improvisation at our instruments, Mary Dobrea-Grindahl provided innovative ideas to improvise through move-ment and Jeffrey Nytch expanded our ideas of what it means to be a professional musi-cian and entrepreneur. If the 21st century has shown us anything, it is that we have to be willing to expect the unexpected, even with-out a detailed lesson or life plan. GP3 helped us all feel more confident as we move into this unchartered world of musical possibilities. — Andrea J. McAlister, NCTM Oberlin Conservatory of Music Oberlin, Ohio

From The Editorial Committee

Expect The Unexpected

I’m a planner. I meet every day with a to-do list and a detailed schedule. I know where and when I, and every member of my family, should be every minute of the day. Surprises aren’t on my agenda. I can improvise my way through some unexpected bumps in the road, but I have probably planned in ways that make those bumps fairly innocuous. My personal, professional and musical happiness depend on my ability to be prepared.



Andrea McAlister, NCTM

I have met many pedagogues who fit this same description. Teachers are planners. Faced with a 5-year-old beginner or a class full of 18 year olds, we all have our detailed lesson plans of what, how and when concepts will be taught. We’re certainly flexible enough to veer from our lesson plans when necessary but we probably have multiple back-up activities at the tips of our fingers—because we know that, sometimes, things don’t go according to plan. We are prepared even for the unexpected.

Having the ability to be musically and pedagogically flexible is a pedagogical trademark. However, having confidence in our improvisational skills is a completely different arena. Improvisation asks us to take a step into the unknown and vulnerable, a place we planners would rather avoid. But the reality is this: we improvise every day. We converse with people with no script from which to read, move from place to place without running into (too many) objects, and have the ability to change course when we realize our current paths aren’t working for us. With all of this spontaneity occurring in our lives on a daily basis, one has to wonder why the word “improvise” strikes fear in the hearts of so many music students and educators.

The Group Piano and Piano Pedagogy (GP3) Conference, held at Oberlin College August 5–6, 2016, challenged participants to look at improvisation with a new, creative perspective. Christopher Azzara offered accessible paths to improvisation at our instruments, Mary Dobrea-Grindahl provided innovative ideas to improvise through movement and Jeffrey Nytch expanded our ideas of what it means to be a professional musician and entrepreneur. If the 21st century has shown us anything, it is that we have to be willing to expect the unexpected, even without a detailed lesson or life plan. GP3 helped us all feel more confident as we move into this unchartered world of musical possibilities.

—Andrea J. McAlister, NCTM

Oberlin Conservatory of Music Oberlin, Ohio

Read the full article at http://www.mtnaejournal.org/article/From+The+Editorial+Committee/2632578/354840/article.html.

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