Workshops and Lectures


Dr. Worcester offers lectures and workshops for conferences, local associations, and other events upon request.

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Repertoire Swaps: Advocating for Women Composers through Intermediate to Early Advanced Solo Piano Repertoire

Are you tired of assigning the same teaching repertoire year after year? Do you find that the repertoire you assign was composed mostly by men? In this session, we will look at how we can advocate for women composers through repertoire swaps—substituting standard piano repertoire composed by men with similar (and often more interesting!) repertoire by women. Twenty-five intermediate to early advanced Romantic and Impressionistic solo piano repertoire swaps will be represented.

Priming Gen Z for the Arts: Campaigning for College Music Study

A critical part of our job as music educators is to recruit and retain students to fill studios, ensembles, and fine arts programs. Despite the attractiveness and excitement of music, recruiting for the college music major presents growing challenges. As students advance their music studies in high school, interest in music may abate due to a cultural importance placed on academics, sports, and wealth-building considerations as a multitude of activities compete for attention. The difficulty, expense, and rigor of music study may also deter students from choosing the college music major quite on its own. However, for those that are passionate about music, choosing the college music major should be seen as an important path to intellectual, personal, and professional growth—one that can lead to a satisfying and rich career. I believe we must be more effective in persuading students, parents, administrators, and elementary educators that the college music major builds stronger, more tenacious, organized, and career-oriented graduates than other degree plans. Beyond recruiting, we are campaigning for our field of study from the moment a child touches an instrument. This research-based presentation will address challenges for music advocates and college recruiters, how to overcome common misperceptions of the music degree, the tangible and intangible benefits of majoring in music, interdisciplinary paths for musicians, resources for creating a desirable and rewarding music career, and approaches to navigating these important conversations with students and their parents.

Teach Them to Believe: 12 Strategies for Promoting Self-Efficacy Beliefs in Piano Students

Self-efficacy is the belief we have in our abilities to perform tasks successfully. As piano students advance through middle school and high school, it becomes essential that we become aware of a student's self of self-efficacy. The way a student feels about her ability to perform as a pianist is just as important as her actual ability. Perceived ability to execute skill sets under pressure can often play a more determining role in music achievement than actual ability. High self-efficacy beliefs are vital to music achievement, to foster a life-long relationship with music, and determine how students deal with setbacks under pressure. This presentation addresses strategies to build a sense of self-efficacy in advancing piano students including incorporating mastery experiences, social modeling, and verbal persuasion.

A Musical Treasure Trove: Federico Mompou’s Miniatures for Solo Piano

Repertoire selection is one of the most important decisions we make as it influences a student’s performance quality, practice motivation, self identity, acquired pianistic skill, music study satisfaction, and to a certain degree, the desire to continue piano study. This decision can be compounded in difficulty when teaching newly transferred, late intermediate students. Fortunately, a wealth of didactic and concert solo piano music exists. In order to equip and excite our advancing students with appropriately paced repertoire selections, we must delve deeper into the musical treasure troves of the standard piano repertoire and not rely solely on pedagogical favorites. Federico Mompou (1893-1987), a champion of the solo piano miniature, is considered the most significant Catalan composer of the twentieth century. Mompou’s sound world is delicate, unspectacular, intimate, and contemplative and his works cannot be bound to a label or category, such as Impressionism, as he was a fastidious, elusive and evocative composer. Accessible to the late intermediate pianist, his solo piano miniatures lack complexity on the printed page, often with an absence of changing key signatures, changing meters or complex rhythmic groupings common to twentieth-century repertoire. Rather, his works provide a healthy challenge to the advancing pianist in interpretation, compelling a child-like and introspective imagination. This presentation will explore representative pieces from Mompou’s solo piano miniatures including six Canciones Y Danzas (1921-1979) and Paisajes (1942-1960) through demonstration and explanations of their pedagogical value including voicing, rubato, flutter pedal, octaves, velocity, and the challenge of interpretation.

How to Approach New Repertoire: Solutions for Successful Teaching

The early stages of teaching new repertoire to piano students are vital to successful student performances. In this session, we will explore how to present and teach five popular and standard repertoire in the teaching literature in the first few lessons with intermediate to advanced students. The focus of the talk will include a discussion of detailed musical and technical concepts for each piece and preparing students for performance from the very beginning.

Improvisation Techniques for the Intermediate to Advanced Pianist (with Patrick Jones)

Teaching improvisation is an integral component to providing a well-rounded musical education for students and is often key to keeping middle school and high school students engaged in piano lessons. This workshop will present technical and theoretical pre-requisites needed for teaching improvisation, teaching demonstrations on improvising on popular tunes, and a discussion of curriculum of standard teaching literature to support the study of improvisation from the perspective of both a jazz and classical pianist.

Technical and Musical Concepts to Teach in the First Three Years of Piano Study for the Average Age Student

What can you add to a method book to ensure your student learns the technical and musical concepts desired by the end of three years of piano study? This workshop will present technical and musical concepts to teach to the beginning piano student, approximately ages seven to ten, using popular teaching method books and a variety of teaching pieces suitable for the average-age beginning student and the techniques and concepts to be taught for each piece. Recommendations will be made for the beginning to the elementary piano student for effective teaching strategies.