2017 Conference Presenters

Conference Session Presenters

 Dr. Timothy Shafer -Bio

  Timothy Shafer has concertized extensively throughout the United States, performing, teaching, and discussing the rich heritage   of   piano repertoire. Shafer has appeared both as a soloist and a chamber musician in Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall,    maintains    an active solo recital and chamber music schedule in the United States, and is a frequent soloist with regional    orchestras, having    appeared in more than 40 concerto performances in his career. As a member of Duo Concertant with violinist   James Lyon, he has    recorded “Outstanding in Our Field,” a CD featuring works for piano and violin by Strauss, Debussy, and    Stravinsky. He performs    frequently in recital with his daughter, soprano Sarah Shafer, and has previously appeared as state and    division artist for several    MTNA organizations. 

  As Professor of Piano at Penn State University, Shafer has concertized, taught, and adjudicated in South America and Asia. He  is also well-known as a frequent masterclass clinician and competition adjudicator throughout the United States for professional music organizations and colleges. 

Shafer is the co-author of Class Piano for Adult Beginners, published by Prentice-Hall, and his articles on piano teaching and repertoire have appeared in the Piano Pedagogy Forum, Keyboard Companion, the American Music Teacher, and in both volumes of The Pianist’s Craft. Shafer served for many years as the national chair for the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy's Student Committee. Currently, he is serving as the senior music consultant for the Orthodox Presbyterian Church in their joint psalter-hymnal project with the United Reformed Church. The volume is slated for publication later this year. 

Among Shafer's projects for this year are soloist with the Centre Pennsylvania Orchestra in a performance of the Mendelssohn Double Concerto, and a recording of newly commissioned hymn arrangements for horn and piano with Penn State colleague Lisa Bontrager.

He is the recipient of Oberlin Conservatory’s “Rudolf Serkin Outstanding Pianist Award,” Indiana University School of Music’s annual Concerto Competition, and the Pennsylvania Music Teachers Association “Teacher of the Year” award. Dr. Shafer earned degrees in piano performance from Oberlin Conservatory and Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music.  

"The Intermediate Piano Music of Franz Liszt"  The intermediate music of Franz Liszt?  Is there such a thing?  Though not specifically writing for students, Liszt composed many excellent works across his compositional span that are accessible at earlier levels than most of us suspect.  We will investigate this wealth of repertoire that helps students become acquainted with the giant of the piano.

"Principles of Interpretation"   In this session we will look at useful, overarching musical principles that, with regular application, can help our students become independent learners and interpreters of their music.  Using a variety of intermediate repertoire, we will explore how to choose voicings, phrase shapes, inflections, rubati, and architectural dynamic plans to help students learn early on how to make wise musical decisions. 

  Dr. Jody Graves - Bio

  Jody Graves maintains an exciting, diverse and active performing career, and is recognized nationally as a distinguished artist and    teacher of piano.  Her recital engagements as a soloist and collaborative pianist take her across the United States and abroad.  She   has performed concerts in Austria, Norway, France, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, Japan, and has toured in the Persian Gulf serving     as a Cultural Ambassador for the U.S. State Department.  The Middle East Tour, with the Sapphire Trio, included concerts in    Bahrain,   Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.  The press reviews have called their performances “exciting…imaginative and    compelling.”  Her work in the Middle East since then has continued and in April, 2010, she was a judge for the National Palestinian    Piano Festival in Jerusalem, and following that event toured the West Bank region with the Sapphire Trio performing concerts and    giving master classes. The Sapphire Trio returned to the Middle East for a concert tour and master classes in April, 2011, and Dr.    Graves returned to the Middle East to perform concerts and give master classes and lectures in March 2012.  The Sapphire Trio    recently performed concerts and gave master classes in Bogota and Medellin, Colombia in June 2016.

  Dr. Graves is in great demand as an adjudicator for piano competitions and festivals.  Each season takes her across the country as   an MTA clinician, and she has an active schedule each year as a workshop presenter for teachers.  Ms. Graves has been a      presenter at the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy, and in 2015 was a Keynote Speaker for NCKP in Chicago, IL. She    has been a presenter and performer at numerous State and National MTNA conferences such as the National MTNA Conference  (Kansas City, Milwaukee, L.A.) and was invited to present at the national MTNA Conference again in 2015 in Las Vegas.  She was  the guest artist for the Utah State MTA conference in 2013, and has been invited to be the guest artist for the Idaho and Montana  State MTA conferences in 2016.  Dr. Graves has served as a judge for the International Piano Competition at the Eastman School of  Music in Rochester, New York,  and also served on the faculty for the Eastman Summer Session titled ‘Plays Well With Others’, f    featuring sessions on collaborative arts performance.  Additionally, Dr. Graves has authored articles for the American Music Teacher and Clavier magazines, and will join the editorial board for the AMT e-journal in 2017.

Her 4th recording project ‘ANANDA – Notes from the Heart’ was released in May 2015 featuring the music of Brahms, Liszt, Berg, Copland and others.  She has performed solo and chamber recitals across the country at university guest artist series and community concert events, and has been a featured performing artist several times on public radio. Ms. Graves has been a soloist with the Spokane Symphony, the Butte Symphony and the Wenatchee Symphony and has received rave reviews of her performance of ‘Rhapsody in Blue’.  Graves is the pianist with the nationally acclaimed Sapphire Trio and they have been featured guest artists at the National MTNA conference, the International Clarinet Festivals in Tokyo, Los Angeles, Assisi, Italy, Baton Rouge, LA, and Madrid, Spain in 2015.

Dr. Graves also offers her popular “Artists’ Retreat” seminars which focus on the “Heart of Performance” addressing everything from the issues of stage delivery, to living an artistic life.  Graves is especially interested in promoting concert art music, creating unique and contemporary ways to foster a collaborative experience between artist and listener, and is dedicated to maintaining the life of music in our schools and culture.  Ms. Graves is recognized for her creative ability to engage the audience during her concerts with anecdotes, historical perspectives and humor, and often uses multi-media to highlight the musical works.  The press has referred to her as “Victoria Borge”.

She holds a Doctorate Degree in Piano Performance and Literature from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York and is currently Professor of Piano at Eastern Washington University, in Cheney, WA.  She was recently awarded the EWU Fosseen-Kusaka Distinguished International Exchange Scholar Award which took her to Japan as a solo artist and master class clinician in 2014.

For more detailed information: www.drjodygraves.com

Over the Barline and Through the Notes”  “How do I foster good practicing through the week between lessons?” This workshop highlights specific practice techniques, and clear ways on how to guide your students in successful and creative practicing. It’s about developing musicians of integrity and ownership in all aspects of training. A fun, creative and productive approach to encouraging imagination and incentive for your students! Includes visuals, demonstrations and hand-out.

The Heart of Performance”  Do you ever hear a student or colleague say “I can’t wait until my recital is over!” Have you or your students ever approached a performance without any idea how to truly prepare for a joyful and successful experience? This workshop includes deep discussion on the pathway to successful performance, and how to foster that within ourselves as performers, and for our students.  The presentation includes interactive discussion, visual and audio illustrations, and hand-out.  Participants are invited to bring their questions and stories about performance as we explore the topic that seems to be the most elusive, and at times, the most mysterious.  Performance is the result of our process, and clarity of intention within the process can effect powerful changes in how we and our students approach and navigate through every performance. Humor and perspective are included in this seminar, along with specific tools to employ that can give the energy, perspective and confidence required for a beautiful outcome.

The heart of performance is the ultimate pursuit of excellence within, and the ability to deliver that excellence in performance.  It is a “communion” experience between the performer and the listener. The intersection of humanity vibrates between both participants, joining hearts that beat with the anticipation of a transforming experience.   The performer with an open heart, pours out their talent and intention, and the heart of the receiver is flooded with possibility and hope.  This unique experience treats the wounded spirit, and advances us a few steps further into enlightenment and joyous living. What could be more noble?

As you deepen your understanding of the miracle of you, the awareness of what you emit through words, attitudes and yes, your performance becomes clear and intentional. Your presence and energy has an impact on everyone and everything around you…how you mold and design your personhood is intimately tied to what comes from within you in performance…and you can change the world with that gift – one word, one gesture, one note at a time!


  Genevieve McDonald - Bio

  Genevieve McDonald is a music teacher in the Metro-Detroit area. She holds a Bachelor of Music from Wayne State University, a    Masters of  Music Education from the University of Michigan, and a certification in Orff-Schulwerk. She is in her 6th year of teaching    elementary general  music and currently works with K-5 and self-contained ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) students in the  Northville Public Schools. Along with  her public school teaching, Genevieve is an accomplished pianist and vocalist. She teaches  piano lessons to middle and high school students  and especially enjoys teaching students with Down Syndrome and Autism. She is  also the president of the Detroit Orff-Schulwerk chapter, as  well as an active member of the Michigan Music Educators Association,  and the National Association for Music Education.

 "Playing a Different Tune: Students with Special Needs and the Private Piano Studio"  Teaching students with special needs is a rewarding experience for both the teacher and learner. However, there are often many  challenges  that educators face when presenting traditional piano techniques and curriculum to these students. This session  highlights one teacher’s work  with a piano student with Down syndrome and the accommodations, adaptations and modifications  used in their lessons.  Come explore  various pedagogical approaches based on the techniques of Universal Design for Learning and  see how you can use them to help your  students succeed, especially those with special needs!