For over a decade, I gave a series of piano lecture-recitals held In the Kreeger Auditorium of the Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington (JCC) as part of the Gerber Senior Seminars Program. I also presented several eight week long surveys on classical music history and other topics as part of The Smithsonian Institution Resident Associate Program.
Click to enlarge
More recently, I have given lecture presentations for state and local affiliates of Music Teachers National Association (MTNA), mostly up and down the East Coast. These presentations offer a wide range of topics, some of which have been specifically requested. As the lecture proceeds, the musical examples are projected on a large screen. Detailed handouts are provided to all attendees. The handout includes my explanations, discussion and all musical examples, which are represented by a few measures for easy reference for attendees. Most presentations are 90 minutes but can be shortened to accommodate time restrictions. A good piano is necessary.
I would be pleased to present any of the topics described below or create one of special interest to your group.
I am also available for Master Classes. These can be conducted in a small setting, such as a teacher’s studio, or in a larger venue.
For further information, contact me.
Lecture / Presentation Topics
My Lessons With Leon Fleisher (click to play)
I was very fortunate to have had 6 years of piano lessons at Peabody Conservatory with the renowned artist Leon Fleisher. In this presentation, I offer examples of what it was like to be his student, to illustrate some of the central concepts of his thinking, and to explain ideas that I’ve incorporated into my teaching and that you might want to apply to your teaching as well. Early recordings by Fleisher allow us to hear his long line, sense of breathing, rhythmic drive, excitement and grittiness, plus extremely clear finger work and most evident, his bravura sound. I share portions of a recorded masterclass he gave at American University where I played the Brahms F minor Sonata. I also play brief excerpts of Artur Schnabel, Fleisher’s teacher and mentor, which offer opportunities to hear the influence of a great teacher and scholar on the young Fleisher. The meaning of the music was Fleisher's ultimate goal, and to share these insights with his students.
Analyze and Memorize – Effective Hints for Successful Memorizing
Kellert presents unique and diverse ideas, encompassing fundamental analysis. Multiple examples include: Map Making with shorthand, Color Coding, Intervallic Inspection, Chord Clusters, Awareness of Phrase Shape and Direction, Choreography, Inventing Storylines, and Silent Finger practice.
Effective and Successful Practicing Ideas: Innovative Suggestions
Students often sit down to practice, start playing but have no purpose of thought or plan. Practicing is equivalent to Study and Problem Solving. Teachers should demonstrate and teach effective practice techniques and listen to students practice as part of the lesson, making corrections and suggestions. In this way, students learn how to practice, what to listen for, and how to correct problems when on their own.
10 Technical Issues Facing Pianists and Suggested Solutions
Kellert demonstrates and explores technical challenges in Standard Repertoire: Creating Colors, Staccato Touches, Balancing Voices, Speed & Accuracy, Octaves with Ease, Large leaps, Dealing with Small Hands. She offers suggestions to solve challenges. Composers include: Liszt, Chopin, Brahms, Beethoven and Rachmaninoff. Includes suggested Exercises and Piano Repertoire for more advanced students.
Technical Challenges Facing Young Pianists
This lecture offers strategies for teaching how to practice pianistic technical challenges. Of importance: Detecting, Distinguishing and Determining a technical challenge before approaching and discovering solutions. Kellert demonstrates basic technique such as finger strength, building speed, assuring accuracy, and creating a wide palette of sound. Learning to listen & employing reliable concepts are vital for success.
Inspiring Your Students and Yourself
All of us want our students to love and enjoy music as well as their piano lessons. How can we maintain their interests, motivate and encourage them, keep them practicing? How can we inspire ourselves? Kellert’s suggestions: Re-evaluate your studio, introduce new practice schemes, employ imagery, reward students, hold creative workshops, reward hard work. For the Teacher: Form small teacher groups for support; Find a mentor for inspiration; Consider taking jazz lessons. Kellert, with characteristic enthusiasm, shares proven examples used in her studio.
Uncovering the Secrets of Pedaling
“The pedal is the soul of the piano”. Kellert explores how pedaling directly affects Coloring, Sound Production and Mood by performing varied composers and styles: J.S. Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Debussy, Prokofiev, Scriabin, Kabalevsky and Rachmaninoff. Varied pedaling choices are demonstrated, along with comparisons of pedaling in respected editions.
How Can I Get My Students to Play Like THAT! Attaining Greater Performance in Young Musicians
Kellert encourages cultivation and advancement of each student’s strengths by promoting proper practice habits, laying a strong foundation in all aspects of music making, adjusting teaching approaches for special needs, and adapting to diverse abilities when selecting repertoire. Strong Foundation means proper posture, ease of playing & confidence, tone production, musicianship and understanding stylistic differences. Teachers are encouraged to demonstrate for their students so they learn musical qualities in performance.
Exploring Piano Repertoire: A Revised Survey of Music for Elementary & Intermediate Students
Explore new repertoire ideas that encompass Easy to Intermediate levels of classical works of J.S. Bach, Bartok, Haydn, Turk, Alexandre Tansman, Kabalevsky, Shostakovich, Khachaturian, Norman Dello Joio, William Gillock, Jon George, David Kraehenbuehl, Vincent Persichetti and John Robert Poe. Kellert will discuss pedagogical issues while demonstrating examples.
Falling in Love with Mendelssohn / The Beauty of the Songs Without Words
Kellert performs and demonstrates Mendelssohn’s dramatic devices for expression: Beautiful Melodies, Sudden Dynamic Changes, Fortzandos & Surprise Harmonies. Also explored: Pedaling, Coloring, Vocal Melodic Influences, Counterpoint, Rhythmic Complexities, Technical Demands. Kellert also addresses Teaching concepts, Analyzing and Interpretative ideas. Detailed commentary available for many samples.
Chopin With Panache
Kellert’s performances of Chopin's music demonstrate varied approaches to different aspects of his pianistic style: Pedaling, Voicing, Coloring, Editions, Technical Issues, Practicing and Interpretation. All levels of repertoire represented by selections of Waltzes, Preludes, Etudes, Mazurkas, Nocturnes, in addition to the Ballade # 4, and the Fantasie in F minor.
Schubert: Master of Song
Who Wrote that Gorgeous Melody? Who Invented that Unique Harmony? Franz Schubert’s music is beloved for his gorgeous and melodious qualities. His pieces are imbued with sumptuous sounds and lyricism, alongside surprise harmonies. This presentation illuminates Schubert, a master of song.
Rediscovering Haydn: Listening, Analyzing and Performing His Music
This fascinating presentation will investigate varying interpretations, treatment of humor & surprise harmonies, structuring sequences, and technical issues such as articulating clear ornaments and sparkling trills. The following pianists’ interpretations will be represented: Horowitz, Richter, Brendel, Magaloff, Andsnes, Pogorelich, Derzhavina, Gould, in addition to others and live demonstrations by Kellert.
Approaches to Teaching Beethoven
Kellert performs and suggests strategies for solving Beethoven’s technical and musical challenges utilizing Physical Movements, Redistribution and Fingering Tricks. Challenges include: Constant Changes in Mood, Repetitive Chordal Accompaniments, Unusual and Fanciful Rhythms, Tremolos, Huge Leaps, Long, Extended Trills, Inventive Articulation, Pedal effects, Experimentation with Color and the Influence of Orchestration. Comparison of editions will be explored. This lecture–demonstration includes all levels.
In-Studio and Online Lecture / Presentations
Lecture-Presentations given in my studio for local teachers in the DC Metropolitan Area.
Mainline Music Teachers Association of Pennsylvania MTA
Steinway Webinar: Pandemic Pedagogy II
Frames from remote lecture / presentation: Technical Challenges Facing Young Pianists
Where Lecture / Presentations Have Been Given
Maryland State Music Teachers Association Conventions (MSMTA)
Virginia State Music Teachers Association Convention (VMTA)
Affiliates of Maryland Music Teachers Association:
Howard County MTA
Greater Columbia MTA
Montgomery County MTA
Greater Laurel MTA
Prince Georges MTA
MTA of Southern MD
Anne Arundel MTA
Frederick County MTA
Carroll County MTA
Affiliates of Pennsylvania Music Teachers Association:
Lehigh Valley MTA at Moravian College
Greater Pittsburgh MTA
Northern Delaware Valley Chapter of PAMTA
Capital Area MTA
Affiliates of Virginia Music Teachers Association:
Northern VA MTA
Affiliates of North Carolina Music Teachers Association:
Raleigh Piano Teachers Association
Affiliates of Tennessee Music Teachers Association:
Greater Memphis MTA
Affiliates of Ohio Music Teachers Association:
Central East Division of Ohio MTA
Affiliates of New Jersey Music Teachers Association:
South Jersey MTA
New England Piano Teachers Association
Levine School of Music, Washington, D.C.
Lecture / Presentation on Chopin: Bangkok, Thailand
20 Dec 2008
Lecture / Presentation on Chopin given in Bangkok, Thailand 20 Dec 2008
Where Master Classes Have Been Given
McDaniel College (MD)
Columbia Institute (VA)
Levine School of Music (DC)
Greater Columbia MTA (MD)
Shanghai Conservatory of Music (Mainland China)
Master Class, Shanghai Conservatory, Mainland China, 9 Sep 2007
Liszt Sonata Details
Master Class, Shanghai Conservatory, Mainland China, 9 Sep 2007
Bonnie with Dr. Yang, Professor of Music & Participants
Comments from Lecture / Presentation Attendees
Once again your charm and talent awed the Senior Seminar audience. You are such an outstanding teacher that everyone has an opportunity to learn something new each time you come to perform. I heard from the people at the Hebrew Home who were enthralled by your performance and asked me to send a special thank you for sharing your music with them. You have become a cornerstone of our music course. The seniors look forward to your presentations with great anticipation and you've always more than lived up to their expectation. Thank you again for being so generous with your time and talent.
- Kandy Hutman, Coordinator
JCC Gerber Senior Seminars
That was the most fantastic lecture I have ever heard!! Thank you!
- Priscilla Yang
Your ability to play the examples with such virtuosity and expression was exhilarating.
- Ellen Johnson
Seeing and hearing it demonstrated by such a gifted pianist as you was indeed a joy.
- Marilyn Granahan
Thank you so much for sharing so much of yourself and your talents with our organization. The reactions I have heard ranged from "FANTASTIC!" to "the best one this year" to "she taught me so much"...and of course there was a chorus of "When can we have her back again?"
- Libby Pontillo
Just wanted to say again how good I thought your workshop was. Well organized along with well-focused examples -- of course it doesn't hurt that you are such a good pianist. Your audience was pretty educated, so the maturity of your concepts was probably very thought provoking for most everyone in attendance. Hearing you play the few excerpts made me want to hear you in a full recital.
- Doug Guiles
Your presentation yesterday was OUTSTANDING!!!!!!! So much useful information, presented with so much animation. And then the playing was just a knockout. … I hope you will do a program every year - we would all benefit so much.
- Marilyn Roth
It was wonderful to hear your lecture at the conference. You are one talented lady!
- Yoon Huh
Bonnie Kellert melds a deep understanding of music’s stylistic traditions with the intuitive instincts of a performing artist of the first order. As a pianist, her performance interpretations are informed by the past while revealing fresh insights into the musical score’s expressive possibilities. This inquisitive approach to music is exhibited in her engaging lectures where she explores the literature for the piano, the composers who created it, and the topics of pianistic technique and interpretation that are the concerns of all teachers and performers.
— Robert Bond Kelley
Bonnie Kellert’s lecture/demonstrations for the Pennsylvania Music Teachers Association invigorated and renewed my love for teaching piano. I was inspired by the profusion of pedagogical ideas she generously and lucidly set forth and was excited to begin to apply them in my own studio. They work! Her insights are diagnostic of the underlying problems that often confront piano students as they progress through elementary to advanced repertoire .The clearly conceived and soundly developmental approach that Bonnie set forth in her lectures ensure a smooth path to pianistic and musical mastery and preclude so many of the typical difficulties that developing piano students often confront. The originality and inventiveness of Bonnie’s approach to teaching reflect her expressive, creative and intellectual depth as a pianist, teacher and musician. The manner in which she fully and naturally engages with her audience, her warmth and her openness to entering into dialogue, leave you feeling that you have been personally mentored by a supportive master teacher and coached by a caring friend.
- Patricia Freeman
Arthur Judson Distinguished Faculty Chair at Settlement Music School, Philadelphia
Teacher of the Year Award, Pennsylvania MTA, 2000