Professional Development

Strategies for Learning and Teaching Australian Classical Piano Repertoire with Dr Cathy Aggett and 2019 AGM

28th Apr - 1:00 pm - 4:45 pm
The Music Room, Killara

Cathy Aggett Workshop Registration Form

Fee: $40 MTA & UMTA members and $55 non-members
The MTA acknowledges the generous sponsorship of Pamela Hinde

This session will offer performers and teachers strategies for learning and teaching Australian Classical piano repertoire. As performers and teachers, it is always tempting to only learn and teach repertoire with which we and audiences are familiar. Performing repertoire that is less well known can be seen to be a risk when programming a concert or including it in any performance program.

Unfortunately, Australian repertoire often fits into that category. Australian piano works that are listed in various teaching syllabi will be presented, along with Larry Sitsky’s collection for piano, “Century” as a means of demystifying the process of learning and teaching unfamiliar repertoire. Participants will be given the opportunity to try the practical strategies during the workshop, with discussion following activities to consolidate people’s experiences. Accessing resources online, especially recordings, has become the norm when both selecting new repertoire and preparing it for performance. Australian piano repertoire is often in the categories of less or unknown, forcing those interested in a work to purchase a copy of the score without fully knowing what it will sound like.

The body of available recordings of Australian piano repertoire is always growing, but many works remain unrecorded and at times,
available only as handwritten scores.

Participants will be given a comprehensive handout of the strategies used and discussed, with available resources listed to assist them on their (possibly new) exploration of Australian piano repertoire.

Following the workshop the 2019 Annual General Meeting will be held.  Afternoon tea will be served prior to the meeting.

2019 Annual General Meeting

28th Apr - 4:00 pm - 4:45 pm
The Music Room, Killara

The 2019 Annual General Meeting will be held immediately following the Professional Development Session “Strategies for Learning and Teaching Australian Classical Piano Repertoire” with Dr Cathy Aggett.

Afternoon tea will be served.

Mind Your Meter with Andrea Calilhanna

2nd Jun - 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Inala School, Cherrybrook NSW

Andrea Meter Workshop Registration Form

Andrea M. Calilhanna

MMus Grad.Dip.T(Mus) DipMus LMusA AMusA FCSME

The Mind Your Meter workshop is aimed primarily but not exclusively at private music studio teachers wishing to learn more about teaching modern meter theory. Andrea will present a sequence of materials based on the recent redefinition of meter as “an inclusionally related set of distinct, notionally isochronous time point sets” (Cohn, 2018). Cohn’s approach also acknowledges that musical meter is located in the listener who responds to sound through the projection of pulses in the mind and entrainment of pulses in the body (Calilhanna, 2018a). The materials will demonstrate how visualizations and sonifications of meter and rhythm, through ski-hill and cyclic graphs, can deepen learning experiences for students as they grow in their understanding of the connections with music and mathematics. The workshop will be conducted with a relaxed, discussion-based approach, so that we can `have a conversation’ about the materials as we work through them and explore ways modern meter theory can be applied in the private music studio.

Date:    Sunday 2nd June, 2019

Time:     1.00pm to 5.00pm

Venue:   Inala School, Castle Hill Road, Cherrybrook

Fees:       $40 MEMBERS AND $55 NON-MEMBERS


Registrations close 17th May, 2019 – No late registrations can be accepted

Nuggets of Wisdom for Pianists with Slobodan Zivkovic

28th Jul - 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm
The Music Room, Killara NSW

Slobodan Workshop Registration Form

Drawing on his long piano teaching and performance career, Slobodan Zivkovic will unravel the mysteries of how to lay the foundation of good piano playing by understanding the underlying technical issues that confront the performer and how to resolve those various issues.

There will be an emphasis on scale playing to address such areas as how to avoid stiffness and how to increase speed; how to produce staccato and legato; the correct use of the thumb; dynamics in scale playing; the “breathing of hands” during play; playing double notes, octaves and chords and most importantly, how to practice. All these elements will be discussed and demonstrated. Understanding these issues will lead to improved overall performance. Some examples will be taken from the AMEB Piano Technical Workbook.

After discussion of technical issues and with examples from all periods, there will be a discussion on how to sight read and practice with counting aloud as an indispensable tool; the correct approach to a new piece including such rhythmic elements as two quavers against triplet quavers, the best approach to dynamics and tempo, how to perform rests and how to approach the fermata.

Lastly, Slobodan will talk about David Tong and Andrey Gugnin two interesting pianists who had different outcomes and finally he will discuss the difficulty that can be encountered in teaching young students of very ambitious parents.

Teachers are encouraged to bring along any piece they wish to have discussed and on registration, will be sent a list of pieces that will be used during the session.


Date:    Sunday 28th July, 2019

Time:     1.00pm to 5.00pm

Venue:   The Music Room, 131 Fiddens Wharf Road, Killara

Fees:       $40 MEMBERS AND $55 NON-MEMBERS


Registrations close 12th July, 2019 – No late registrations can be accepted

The MTA acknowledges the generous sponsorship of Pamela Hinde

Jazzin' it up - it's easier than you think! - with Julie Spithill

15th Sep - 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Adlib Music, Willoughby NSW

Julie Spithill Jazz Workshop Registration Form

Julie Spithill has for many years, taught jazz techniques to classical trained pianists (and emerging jazz pianists), both at the Conservatorium of Music Sydney and in her private studio.

This workshop, adaptable to all instruments including voice, aims to provide you with ideas and techniques using the musical language you already know such as intervals, scales and chords and rhythm to enable you to confidently ‘jazz it up’- and also help you interpret jazz speak as well. For example: Classical musicians would say, “Some musicians in our chamber ensemble are coming to a rehearsal to try out their technical abilities on a contemporary composition that has some interesting ostinato phrases.” Jazz musicians would say, “Some cats in our combo are coming to a jam session to try out their chops on a happening chart that has some cool riffs.”

Topics covered will include modes -and how to use them; chords and extensions; chord progressions; analysing a jazz lead sheet and basic improvisation techniques.

Come armed with questions – or send them along in advance – there will be ample time for discussion and lots of handouts to assist with creative ideas and practical issues.


Music Teacher Festival

11th Oct - 8:30 am - 5:30 pm
Hunter Valley Grammar School, Ashtonfield

Music Teacher Festival

Friday 11th October, 8.30am-5.30pm

Hunter Valley Grammar School

Norfolk St, Ashtonfield (East Maitland)

Upskill your teaching and join a number of guest presenters who will lead hands on workshops, forums and seminars in repertoire, pedagogy and industry specific topics for the instrumental music teacher.

Save the date! Program details and online registration information to follow.

Registrations will be available online: