Collaboration this semester between students from the Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music and Raleigh-Egypt Middle School students culminated Wednesday with a piano recital in the Psychology Auditorium at the University of Memphis.
Led by Dr. Artina McCain, assistant professor of piano at the UofM, the teaching project between the university and middle school brought young musicians together from both campuses. For nine weeks, undergraduate- and graduate-level piano majors enrolled in McCain’s pedagogy course instructed eighth-grade students on a variety of musical lessons, including note reading, technique and rhythm.
“The value of this program is two-fold,” McCain said. “Our UofM pedagogy students gain valuable independent teaching experience and grow in their process of analyzing and solving problems at the keyboard. For the Raleigh-Egypt middle school students, many of them don’t have access or the socioeconomic means to have a private piano-lesson instructor. Over the course of the semester these students gain personal instruction that is essential to their musical growth and tools they can use for their continual progress.”
UofM students welcomed the opportunity to mentor the middle-schoolers and apply the lessons they’d learned in Dr. McCain’s class.
“I love seeing their weekly progress,” said Marcus Browning, a sophomore pedagogy student at the UofM.
Jeriel Jorguenson, a second-year Master of Music pedagogy student, said he “found creative solutions and new explanations to help them work through their problems … To hear the students perform the pieces in recital that we worked on was very gratifying.”
Danyi Zhao, a first-year Doctor of Musical Arts pedagogy student, said that “through teaching students at the Raleigh Egypt middle school, I learned more about teaching methods that are effective for students.” The real payoff, though, was seen with the Raleigh-Egypt students. “More importantly,” Zhao said, “the students gained many piano skills and increased their enjoyment of playing the piano.”
McCain, coordinator of piano studies at the Scheidt School of Music, is the co-artistic director of the Memphis International Piano Festival and Competition and has enjoyed a renowned career in academics, performing and recordings.
— Phillip Tutor, CCFA media coordinator, email@example.com