Mar 212011

Just came from the American String Teachers’ Association national conference in Kansas City. I’m fired up by new information and new connections, and warmed by deepened friendships. A highlight for me was Rachel Barton Pine’s master class. She is an extraordinary teacher as well as musician, eloquently conveying a wealth of information to the student in a style that’s direct but non-threatening—because she’s so clearly about the music and not anyone’s ego, and anyone would be happy to go with her on that! I also enjoyed Julie Lyonn Lieberman’s session on ergonomics and Martha Walvoord’s idea-rich presentation “Listen for Success: How to Develop Artist’s Ears.” I  presented The Exquisite World of Swedish Fiddling to about 40 people. The best part of all, for me, was meeting Melinda Crawford, a Scottish fiddler who has just completed a PhD in music education (she had to leave the conference early to go to graduation!), creating a manual for Scottish fiddle instruction so that classical teachers can introduce students to the broad wealth of the tradition, rather than just a tune or two. We had a great time talking about traditional music, our mutual love of teaching musicianship and building skill, and the growing respect for fiddle traditions in the classical world. A kindred spirit indeed!

As lagniappe: I love stairs (when they’re not on a machine) and I walked down the 15 flights from our hotel room at least 15 times (but only 5 times going up). Not the slightest sore muscle: crazy. Even my body was inspired by the energy of ASTA!

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