Welcome to the official blog of the Organising Committee of the 12th Australasian Piano Pedagogy Conference: Beyond the Black and White, Melbourne, 2015. The conference runs from 6-10 July 2015 in Melbourne, the cultural capital of Australia. We look forward to welcoming delegates from around the globe to enjoy a week of exquisite piano recitals, informative lecture-demonstrations, research papers and discussions on the subject of piano pedagogy.
Our official corporate site may be found at: appca.com.au. Former Proceedings and all details related to the conference will shortly be available from that site.
On this blog you will find more informal news and information regarding the conference, our presenters and piano pedagogy in general. Our blog will be an integral platform for the dissemination of updates and teasers regarding the conference, as well as reviews and activities of the conference proper.

We hope you will join our conference, either as a delegate or participate by following this blog.
appc logo small


Draft of Sponsored Presenters

Draft APPC2015 Abstracts Sponsored Presentations as at 30 April 2015

Solutions Stream (Hal Leonard)

5 Streams –

Method Solutions

Repertoire Solutions

Business Solutions

Teaching Solutions

Technique Solutions


Presented by Randall Faber


Piano Adventures® from Elementary to Intermediate

This session explores the elementary-to-intermediate transition in knowledge and skill.

The processes of “chunking” patterns and “automatizing” motor skills provides the foundations for artistry.

Presented by Randall Faber

 Engaging the Early Learner

For the young beginner we often find different teaching challenges with wiggly bottoms, short attention spans and developing physical coordination.

At this young age, as teachers we have a wonderful opportunity to explore the world of sound with students, developing a foundation of aural awareness, eye tracking, rhythm and perceptual ability.

Activity based My First Piano Adventures is focused on development of aural perception and internal rhythm. Young students’ skills unfold while we engage the child’s inherent love of music.

This fun-filled session is particularly designed for teachers of young beginners.

Presented by Carly McDonald and Thembi Shears


The Pirate Challenge

Arghhhh me hearties! Are you tired of the same old lesson routine? Do you find yourself running out of time to fit in all the great ideas you have? Do your students need something new? You need to take a trip to Pirate Island! Come along and find out how to create your own curriculum that not only develops well-rounded musicians, but has your students counting the sleeps between lessons!

Presented by Thembi Shears

 New Repertoire Collections for the Next Generation

Angela Turner presents her new repertoire collection. (MORE BLURB TO COME HERE)

Presented by Angela Turner

Piano Repertoire to engage the Net Generation

Duets, Trios and all kinds of fun for young students. (MORE BLURB TO COME HERE)

Presented by Angela Turner


 Piano Camp – let’s play!

Have you ever thought about running a Piano Camp but weren’t quite sure where to start? There are so many benefits; not only to your students, but to the image and business of your studio, and of course, your bank balance! Come and discuss the logistics of planning, advertising and running a camp, and explore a range of games and activities to use with different age groups.

Presented by Thembi Shears

 The Art of Small Business

How to earn a million dollars teaching piano!

Want to earn more money teaching the piano? Come and find out what it takes to earn the average Australian full-time income from teaching piano lessons. Find out how to calculate your income with an easy to use formula and take the reins in your business.

Presented by Carly McDonald

Business Plan

How to write one, why you need one and how it will make your life immeasurably better.

Easy planning with effective results. By the end of this business planning session you will have the tools to create a simple and results driven business plan to implement in your studio. Bring your pen and an open mind!

Presented by Carly McDonald

Studio Policy

Are you experiencing any of the following symptoms; makeup madness, enrolment fatigue or admin avoidance?

These are all issues that teachers commonly face. We will delve into why you need a studio policy, how to write one and a variety of potential solutions for your studio. If you bring a laptop you can create a studio policy template in this workshop (paper templates are also available) ready to implement straight into your studio!

Presented by Carly McDonald

Website in an Hour

A studio website is the business card of the 21st century. Do you have a website? Do you need one? (YES!) Learn how to create your own studio website – better still, bring your laptop and we will teach you how to build one on the spot. It’s easy, it’s cheap and you don’t have to be a tech wiz to understand!

Presented by Gina Wake

Goal Setting

So you’ve created a business plan? What comes next?

In this session we explore tips and strategies to get from where you are now, to where you want to be. There is no point having a lovely shiny business plan if you don’t set yourself goals and make it happen! This workshop is the catalyst to make it happen for your studio in 2015!

Presented by Carly McDonald

Growing your business

Do you want to grow your studio and business?

Ever wondered how to make your studio into multiple income stream producing entity? Why be dependent only on one way to produce income when there are other options. This reduces your risk and keeps your work life interesting.

For anyone who wants to expand their horizons!

Presented by Carly McDonald


Teaching students with ASD [formerly Asperger’s Disorder]

Teaching students with a ‘label’ doesn’t need to be daunting; in fact, it might be the most rewarding teaching you ever do. Learn about the individualities of students with Asperger’s Disorder, and discover practical strategies for effectively teaching these children in your studio.

Presented by Thembi Shears

Teaching students with ADD / ADHD

In the last decade there has been an increasing incidence of diagnosed learning difficulties, especially ADD and ADHD. Accepting a new student with one of these diagnoses can seem quite daunting, but it needn’t be that way. In this session we will discuss the specific learning needs of children with ADD and ADHD, and explore dozens of off-the-bench games and activities to keep students engaged in individual and group lessons.

Presented by Thembi Shears


Piano Adventures® Technique and Artistry

Learn how to resolve technical problems by addressing root causes. This sequence of “technique secrets” provides a winning path to virtuosity and artistic expression.

Presented by Randall Faber


Mark McGee

RE TECHNIQUE, I intend to dwell, chiefly but not exclusively, on a relatively neglected, unacknowledged, but vitally important, area of technique; that of developing a method of “conscious mental-mapping” that grows up along-side of, informs and synchronises itself with the act of playing. The ‘great Satan’, as far as I’m concerned, is that kind of mindless repetition leads a player to be more or less unconscious of what they are playing. This means that habits of playing remain unbreakable, change becomes difficult and boredom soon follows. It also means that the pressure of a performance situation, which always switches on a conscious inquiry by the player of what is being played, will lead the performer to discover — all too late — that they have almost no conscious access to what they are playing. These and innumerable other problems could be cited, and experiments designed, to illustrate all these effects. For we teachers, the challenge becomes one of working out a teaching method for youngsters which has them synchronise a consciousness of what they are playing with the act playing itself. To do this, it is vital that our learners are taught to draw upon their (ideally) growing storehouse of “cognitive schemes” that enables them to convert the written notation into meaningful instructions relating to thought and action in piano practice. The teachers’ job is to enrich the cognitive storehouse in order to use it as a learning and memorising tool that always encourages conscious doing and conscious affirmation of what is being done. Once this is achieved, a virtuous circle is created that is able, quite noticeably, to produce the meat it feeds upon. It will be noted that what is proposed here is nothing other than what very competent musicians, and indeed child prodigies, already do, albeit to a much greater and more far-reaching extent.

RE INTERPRETATION, I intend to challenge the approach that sees musicians as mere “followers of orders”. There are two types of listening, of musical perception, to teach from the beginning: “Structural” (or relational) hearing that enables me to phrase, to transcend what I am playing now to encompass increasing larger musical wholes. All these topological considerations are what enable me to shape music architecturally. The second type is theatrical in its essence and embraces typological considerations. It is never simply a case of being theatrical or emotive or atmospheric, etc, for its own sake; it is always a question of projecting a theatricality appropriate to the musical type. In a deep sense, a theatrical understanding has to do with a study of the semiotics of music. Despite all these complex, high-sounding words, this is exactly what good teachers teach; albeit some more consciously than others. What we call “interpretation” is resolving that tension between structural and theatrical hearing, in the context of which the musical instructions of the composer are then to be interpreted.

My intention here is to argue that teachers need to make intuitive knowledge and feeling conscious to themselves in order to be effective. This is the purpose of my approach to this kind of analysis.

Draft of Sponsored Presenters

Draft of Key Note Presentations and Recitals

A draft of Key Note Presentations and Recitals as at 30 April 2015

Key Note Presentations and Recitals


Monday 6 July 6:30 pm – Opening Cocktails and Recital (Malthouse)

Joe Chindamo and Zoe Black

 Two 15 minute brackets

 Tuesday 7 July 7:30 pm

Ian Munro – Music from Elsewhere

 Zhang Zhou (1963—) Melodies of China


Kangding love song

Weave a basket of flowers

Malan folk song


Flowing stream


Why are the flowers so red?

Wa folk song

Forest meditation


Yellow River boatmen’s song

Go to Jiangzhou


The stars


Ga Da Mei Lin

Jingpo folk song

Hani love song

Remote Xianggelila

Ian Munro (1963—)– Lucy’s Book

Lucy sleeps

Lucy’s garden

“How does the wind blow?”

train in the rain

lost child

annoying sisters

Lucy’s blues

with Georgie

Bryony’s little song

with nana

Bryony dreams

dad plays a sad piece

Baby’s waltz

Carlos Guastavino (1912—2000) – Cantilenas Argentinas

Santa fe para llorar



El ceibo 

Abelarda Olmos 



Santa Fe antiguo 


La Casa 

Approx. 60 minutes without interval

 Thursday 9 July 7:30 pm

Piers Lane: Myra Hess’s historical opening program for the National Gallery Concerts (10 October 1939).

Scarlatti: Sonata in B minor (Longo No. 33)

Scarlatti: Sonata in G major (Longo No. 347)

Bach: Prelude and Fugue in C# major, Bk.1, No.3

Bach: Prelude and Fugue in Bb minor, Bk.1, No.22

Beethoven: Sonata in F minor Op 57 (Appassionata)

Chopin: Nocturne in Db, Op 27 No 2

Chopin: Waltz in Eb, Op 18

Brahms: Intermezzi Op 119 No 1 in B minor

Brahms: Intermezzi Op 119 No 2 in E minor

Brahms: Intermezzi Op 119 No 3 in C major

Bach/Hess: Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring

Approx. 70 minutes without interval

Keynote Presentations

Dr Randall Faber: Developing Musical Minds & Hearts

Today’s digital world emphasizes and rewards logical, sequential thinking. But what about the richness of creativity, expression and personal artistry? These are developed in the heart…and in the piano lesson!

Dr Scott McBride Smith: Teaching vs Correcting: Every Teacher’s Dilemma


Randall Faber and Scott McBride Smith: Got Questions? We’ve got Answers.

This Informal but invaluable session is your opportunity to ask the experts!

 Ian Munro: The Beauty of Repertoire 

Pianists are both blessed and burdened by the enormous repertoire bequeathed to us by generations of composers, great, good and various. A loosely-accepted canon comprising significant compositions forms the basis of much of what we know, play and teach, but the sheer size of the wider repertoire available to us can be daunting, and much of it is entirely unknown to the majority of pianists. Yet the importance of getting to grips with just what is contained in our pianistic inheritance is essential, for many reasons. Failing to understand the connection between repertoire and musical development is a failure to avail oneself of the full richness of a musical life.

In this talk, I aim to draw some connections between a quest for knowledge of repertoire through first-hand experience and artistic development, and why I believe that it ought to be at the root of our teaching, learning and artistic practice.

Joe Chindamo: tba

Draft of Key Note Presentations and Recitals

Update: Piano Composition Prize

Please refer to this updated flyer for all information regarding the Piano Composition Prizes offered at the Australasian Piano Pedagogy Conference in July 2015.1-APPC2015 3MBS Composition Competition Flyer updated

Our sponsors for these prizes include Hal Leonard, Kawai and 3MBS:105.3FM

Update: Piano Composition Prize