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.
The PTF is your go-to resource for continuing education and stimulating professional development. Membership gives you access to our monthly programs, Spring Festival, performance group, and media lending library.
Please read this welcome message from our 2019-2020 President, Victoria Chow:
Fitness and the Piano
It has been almost a year since I began seriously working out in the mornings. I started out taking kickboxing classes twice a week last November – these classes were a huge challenge and I wanted to give up many times! Since then, I have increased my exercise time to three kickboxing classes and three hot yoga classes a week; that’s six days of regular classes. Both kickboxing and hot yoga were never activities I thought I could do. The marked improvement in my mental, physical and spiritual health has been so astounding that I want to share the results with you.
Playing and teaching the piano is like many vocations in the world today; it is highly sedentary. According to the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, it is recommended that adults exercise for thirty minutes daily. I used to think this was an easy number to attain, but I was never able to maintain it. Thirty minutes isn’t much – we demand this at the very minimum from our student’s in daily practice time. So how come it’s so hard to stay motivated as an adult when we know that staying active is beneficial in so many ways?
For me, without attending actual classes, it was hard to stay accountable – going for a jog or doing YouTube workouts were mundane for me and I would lose interest after a few weeks (even if I was getting results). Fitness classes, like studio/performance classes and weekly private lessons, are a great way to stay motivated and accountable to your routine. Setting up “challenges” with friends to help you stay accountable has also helped me, much like incentive/sticker charts motivate students (I am currently doing a 100-day workout challenge with fellow PTF member Hope Osborn).
Since I began working out, the changes in my life have been extraordinary. I began seeing results about six months into my routine. My anxiety levels have dropped, I sleep deeper, my energy is higher, my endorphins are higher, I can focus much better and I’ve lost weight (which is an added bonus for me, because I have struggled with my weight since I was a child). All of this of course has had a positive impact on my teaching; my body awareness and critical thinking skills have skyrocketed. How many times have you asked a student to move with the music and they have absolutely no physical awareness? The ability to teach movement and choreography at the piano begins first with a confidence and awareness within the teacher. This confidence comes from a lifestyle and cultural practice of body awareness. Prioritizing a fitness routine is a great way to stay connected with your body and to pass this on to your students.
We spend so much of our lives developing our minds that we easily forget about the body. As pianists, our body is a vessel for conveying all that knowledge in our minds and the passion in our hearts. Some days I don’t want to workout or I want to give up, but I always remind myself I have been given one body, so I must take care of it. Nobody can do that, but me. This has taught me the courage to try new things and the discipline to maintain it. Aren’t these life lessons that we want to cultivate in our students? I challenge you to incorporate or change up your fitness routine this fall!
Victoria Chow, BM, MM, NCTM
PTF President and Festival Chairperson