Last week hundreds of music teachers and students gathered at Century II in Wichita for the annual KMEA In-Service. Each year, teachers attend a variety of professional development sessions that refresh their teaching strategies and students get to work with clinicians before giving honors performances. I had the exciting opportunity to attend two workshops with acclaimed composer, pianist, speaker and teacher Wendy Stevens during the conference.
I was already a dedicated follower of Wendy Stevens at her blog, ComposeCreate.com, but I experienced first hand just how applicable and enjoyable her innovative teaching tools are during her sessions! Wendy demonstrated how her collection of rhythm methods work to train piano students to be solid counters while internalizing the beat.
Rhythm Menagerie, Rhythm Manipulations, and Rhythm Cup Explorations will be making their way into my studio soon! I love how each method gets students up and moving, counting rhythms using different parts of their body to create new neural pathways that reinforce music concepts.
Wendy also presented some of her newest piano compositions which are written specifically with the student in mind. I’m looking forward to introducing some of her pieces with my students this year and trying out the 30 Piece Challenge!
Get a glimpse of the Rhythm Cup fun in this video from Wendy Stevens: