PMEA Clinic 2009- Bridging The Gap Between The Composers, The Performers, And The Audience

Travis J. Weller and I presented a clinic at the 2009 PMEA conference held in Valley Forge, PA entitled Bridging the Gap Between the Composers, Performers, and the Audience.   This presentation outlines some of the reasons that bringing a composer into the classroom (and other similiar “golden opportunities”), whether “physical” or “virtual”, are important to our students -and to us!

Bridging the GapBriefly in this presentation, we attempted to explain some “common sense”, but usually –never thought about educational and performance related processes that happen during a music performance.  Also, to explain the educational impact that many of us never “think” about with regard to how our students perceive these types of special opportunities.  The presentation is a “little” cerebral at times and just the same -you may find yourself smiling at the simplicity…   The event itself and the survey information we gathered make for a very important qualitative-type study that allows us to gain insight into the minds of the student performers and some of the thoughts behind what the composers hope the audience and performers gain by this type of musical communication and interaction.

Travis and I both feel very strongly about giving these type of opportunities to our students.   We, as educators, have to be the catalyst to make these types of special experiences possible and many times “technology” provides the “vehicle” in which we can implement them.    While I have definite ideas about when and when-not to use technology in the classroom, I can summarize them in three concepts:

  1. If the technology allows you to do something with greater efficiency and accuracy, you have very good cause to utilize it.
  2. It the technology allows you to give your students an experience or opportunity that is not possible otherwise, you have very good cause to utilize it.
  3. If you do something well without using a particular type of technology or all the “features” of a particular technology, don’t change what you are doing…unless – see #1 & 2

We also know that all music educators are networked with academic experts in their field(s).  Whether a colleague, friend, or mentor, the opportunities to bring someone into the classroom (using technologies like SKYPE) are readily present and available to anyone who makes the small effort to utilize these technological avenues.   There are many reasons that these types of “virtual” experts can be a valued adjunct to our courses.   Have you ever thought about having one of your professors “SKYPED” into your public school classroom(s)?

The presentation consists of 26 slides.   Obviously, much of the dialogue is not present in the presentation itself (as Travis and I talked quite a bit), but it does provide a good outline of what we did and the thought process behind why we decided to present it.

The Presentation (full screen buttons  and controls at bottom):

Uploaded on authorSTREAM by pisanojm

Here are a number of additional related articles/posts about this subject here on MusTech.Net:

  • Out Of The Box, Connecting The Audience, Performers, And Composers Through Skype -Part 1
  • Connecting The Audience, Performers, And Composers Through Skype -Part II
  • Using Skype In The Educational Setting; Skyping Experts Into The Classroom
  • SKYPE for Education and Music Performance -Podcast E14


    Joseph M. Pisano, Ph.D. is the creator of many education websites, a lecturer, clinician, trumpeter, and conductor. He is currently the Associate Chair of Music and Director of Bands in the Calderwood School of Arts at Grove City College in PA. He been named a TI:ME Teacher of the Year, received the JEN Jazz Educator Award and the PA Citation of Excellence. He is a past Vice President of the Technology Institute for Music Educators and the current Vice-President of the PA Intercollegiate Bandmasters Association. He also writes for DCI Magazine, Teaching Music Magazine, and is the Educational Editor for In-Tune Monthly Magazine; he has contributed hundreds of articles to various publications. Find out more at his website
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    • Sounds like it was a great presentation! One suggestion for next time–in addition to the slides, perhaps it would be beneficial to create an audio recording of the session, so that all that dialogue (which I’m sure was extremely constructive) could be shared? You do a lot of presenting, I know, so you could even create a podcast feed of the audio recordings of your presentations. I believe Jim Frankel does this, and it’s been really nice getting to listen to some of his presentations that I missed!

    • Jim is a pioneer and in my opinion currently, “top of the game”. He does this many times.

      Most of the time, I don’t have the extra time or energy to do this…I’m just happy getting the power-point up for folks and especially for those that come to the session to have. The presentation was pretty “killer” though! :) It would be great if the organizations would assign some of the Collegiate MEA folks (or other technical types) to do this though… it would be a great way to get them involved, and at the presentations (maybe for free!). At this point (and most likely for the next decade or so), the majority of clinic presenters or those giving “papers” just aren’t savvy enough to pull this off. Many people I talk to though, don’t want to give their information out though for whatever reasons. We are losing a lot of great information though…

      I’m working on an upcoming “on the scene” podcast with Travis Weller and Owen Bradley… I’m going to Skype them after their upcoming band adjudication festival in Tennsesee and talk about the process and get their thoughts right after the event….I need to check if they are going to be close to Keith Mason…maybe we can have him in on it as well.. thinking out-loud!