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The Art of Teaching Piano by Christina Lai
Sometimes we, as teachers, find ourselves focused on piano technique and lose sight of the purpose of music. We find students that are playing like actors reading text with no purpose. As a musical community, we need to come together and remind ourselves that music is an art and we want to teach our students to create their own art. This presentation will include concrete ways to teach musicality in piano lessons through comparative listening, demonstration, and specific technique; all with the goal of teaching the student to develop musical independence and a musical ear. Other topics include physical technique to create the illusion of legato, finding ways for students to understand the manipulation of time, and the importance of form.
From Plantation, Florida, Christina Lai finds passion in all fields of music teaching and collaboration. She has become an advocate for female composers and has most recently performed works by Chen Yi, Missy Mazzoli, and Ellen Taaffe Zwilich. Christina debuted with the UNC Symphony Orchestra performing the Ravel Left Hand Piano Concerto and won various prizes in various competitions including the National Association of Negro Musicians Piano Competition, MTNA National Competition, and Rosen-Schaffel Competition. She was piano faculty at Good Sam Arts in Tallahassee, FL and now teaches privately in Tallahassee. In addition, she has taught at FSU, given lessons for UNC’s Musical Empowerment, a non-profit organization, and Aspen Music Festival and School’s Passes and Lessons Scholarship Program. Her students have been awarded scholarships and accepted into undergraduate college programs. Christina received her Doctorate of Music in Piano Performance with specialized studies in piano pedagogy under the guidance of Professors Read Gainsford and Diana Dumlavwalla.