The Piano Teachers Forum (PTF) is an active professional association that has proudly served Central New Jersey area piano teachers since 1981. The friendly and supportive atmosphere of the PTF allows for an open exchange of ideas and fosters the development of valuable relationships among colleagues.
PTF is your go-to resource for continuing education and stimulating professional development. Membership gives you access to our monthly programs, Spring Festival, Composer Showcase, performance group, and media lending library.
We hope that you'll join us this year!
Please read this welcome message from our 2022-2023 President, Jason Gallagher:
I hope all of you are enjoying a wonderful summer! As we gear up for the new school year, there are many things to reflect on before we return to our busy schedules. Though my thoughts constantly evolve, I appreciate this chance to share some of my reflections with you.
First, it’s essential to remind ourselves what we do. We get to spend our days teaching children how to make art. Even on our toughest days, it’s a good deal better than filling out spreadsheets at the office. And children come to us for the joy of making music. So when we’re having an “off” day, it’s worth asking what went wrong.
I was recently listening to a Facebook Live conversation on the Grow Your Music Studio page about creating independent students. The big takeaway (though I urge you to find it and listen) is that, when it comes down to it, playing the piano is a physical skill. The sounds we produce are the result of physical action, not of intellectualizing. What leads a student to play with a steady beat is not understanding what a steady beat is, but instead the accumulated experience of playing with a steady beat.
Getting back to “off” days, it would be wrong to say I went through the entire summer without having one. If I reflect back on them, I can identify within those lessons long, tedious stretches of explanation. I still fall prey to the temptation to play “20 Questions” whenever a student has misread a passage. But these past few lessons, when students make mistakes I’ve asked myself, “what’s the quickest way to fix this and get back to making music?” Often, that’s not through explanation, but demonstration. In an art based on sound, it isn’t a terrible thing for students to hear how it’s supposed to go. Think of all the virtuosic music around the world based entirely on oral tradition.
This year, I will strive to help students experience the music first and understand it after. I will strive to keep my explanations clear and concise. I will strive to make all of my lessons music-centered and ensure that every student plays with new grace and beauty before they leave my studio.
I look forward to seeing all of you at our meetings this coming year. We have a number of excellent presentations lined up to expand your teaching repertoire and ideas within and beyond the private lesson.
I also want to say a big thank you to all of our board members. As a reminder, the board consists of volunteers who give generously of their time to keep our wonderful organization running year after year. None of this would be possible without them.
See you all in September, and I wish you all the best for the teaching year ahead.
Jason Gallagher, B.M., M.M.
President, Piano Teachers Forum of Central New Jersey