Power up your group piano teaching
Available on-demand
Coming 2024


We’ve gathered some of the best names in group teaching today to offer you vision, clarity, and encouragement in your group piano teaching journey. Scroll to see which sessions each presenter offered during our 2023 conference (speakers listed alphabetically by last name).

Keynote Speaker:
Debra Perez

Kick off this fabulous conference with words of wisdom from a veteran group piano teacher, RMM pioneer, and the founder of Musical Moments, Way Cool Keyboarding, and Way Cool Keyboarding 4Kids.

Debra is a music educator, curriculum developer, and group piano specialist. Her creative and innovative teaching techniques, coupled with her philosophy of inclusiveness, resulted in the development of three group piano programs mentioned above.

Debra continues to share her love for collaborative learning as a featured speaker at conferences, workshops and training seminars.

In addition to her keynote, Debra will be providing a teaching demonstration video. You won’t want to miss the master in action!

Dorla Aparicio

Dorla knows that group piano is one of the best ways to keep the piano teaching world alive! She created the Piano Pyramid group method for multilevel classes, and mentors and supports piano teachers in building a group piano program for their studios through the Piano Pyramid Academy.


🎹 Assessment and Evaluation in Group Piano
🎹 Multilevel Group Teaching demonstration

Susan Staples Bell

Susan is equal parts composer and instructor, with a heart for helping piano teachers and their students.

Her goal is to create music that draws students in with fun and then engages them with deeper learning, both of which are staples in each of her Piano Sheet Music to Inspire! compositions found at SusanStaplesBellMusic.com. She also has arrangements of popular titles on Sheet Music Plus.


🎹 PEP talk! (Piano Ensemble Possibilities) What’s out there and what will work for you?

Melanie Bowes

Melanie is the founder of KeyNotes Music, a group piano program that focuses on collaborative group learning. She is currently working toward a Ph.D. in group piano teaching and is researching many fascinating topics related to group teaching.


🎹 Headphones: Help or Hinder?
🎹 Cyclical Curriculum Structures and Planning around Learning Objectives
🎹 Piano Prep & Musical Development for pre-school groups
🎹 Differentiation in Action – Teaching Demonstration

Leah Drake

Leah is an independent studio owner in Los Gatos, CA, with over 80 students ages 4-70. Her mission is to nurture tomorrow’s musicians through creativity, inspiration, and community. She teaches primarily in groups with both same-level and multi-level formats and loves to incorporate technology into her teaching and business admin.


🎹 Using Piano Safari in Group Classes
🎹 Organizational Hacks for Group Studios
🎹 Building Community in your Studio with a Welcome Wall
🎹 Group Teaching Demonstration

Gillian Erskine

As a young private piano teacher, Gillian knew to be a strong, independent woman she needed to make music her business, so she grew her music school to 800 students through group piano programs where students thrived and 40% of enquiries came from delighted parents.

In 1994 she co-founded Forte School of Music, and has co-written five courses, published 25 music books and coached piano teachers around the world to grow their own music schools and group piano studios.

Today, over 8,000 students learn music at 30 Forte Music Schools and 13 Forte Accredited Teachers studios in the US, Canada, UK, Australia, and New Zealand.


🎹 Group Piano Business #101 – It’s More than Just the $$$
🎹 Group Piano Business #102 – The Numbers… What Can You Make, and What Does It Take?
🎹 Group Piano Business #103 – What’s Marketing Got To Do With It?
🎹 Group Piano Business #104 – How Your Greatest Group Piano Asset Isn’t What You Think

Marie Lee

The creator of the popular “Group Teaching Blueprint,” Marie leverages group teaching methods to motivate and inspire musicians, both in her own group studio, and in the studios of those she mentors. Her strengths are reaching students of all learning styles in a variety of ways that are easy to implement for any studio.


🎹 Can’t Live Without ‘Em: group piano resources I can’t teach without.
🎹 Teaching Demonstration

Eik Mar

Eik has always been interested in making theory fun for students. Her love for theory games earned her the nickname of “Master of Games” in graduate school. She founded the SproutBeat app to provide theory and ear training resources that can be incorporated in all lessons.


🎹 Using Sproutbeat in a group studio

Paul Myatt

Paul is a passionate music teacher, performer, author, composer and workshop facilitator. His purpose in life is to continue to learn and help people develop their skills to achieve their goals.

His experience extends across: music education, business, technology and fitness.
Paul, along with his colleague and best friend, Gillian Erskine, created Forte School of Music, a 29-year-old thriving network of music schools with over 8,000 students across the USA, UK, Australia, New Zealand & South Africa.

Paul and Gillian developed Whole Body Learning, which is based on the educational ideas and concepts of Orff, Dalcroze and Kodály. Paul has also been part of a PhD study in Embedding embodied cognition and neuroscience in music pedagogy which has shown that the approach used in Whole Body Learning offers students some of the best practices in teaching.

Paul’s courses help teachers use the Whole Body Learning approach to engage students, explore creativity, and develop musicians and were initially developed in Group Classroom Teaching.


🎹 Just Do It! – What’s NIKE got to do with Group Piano?
🎹 Why movement is the key to Group Piano Success using Whole Body Learning
🎹 The Reading Tree and why every Group Piano Teacher needs to know about it
🎹 The 3Ms of Group Piano and how they will keep students learning in class for years!
🎹 Taking inspiration from Cold Play for Improvisation for any age
🎹 Group Teaching Demonstration

Linda Poelzer

Every year Linda creates a studio-wide theme that invites eager anticipation and participation, from students and parents alike!

Her multi-sensory approach to teaching immerses keyboard and technical skills with music history, stories, rhythm and composition. It is her goal to fully “Explore the Possibilities” offered by experiencing music with friends.


🎹 Creating Themes, Dreams and other Schemes: developing themes and interweaving student/parent dreams with pedagogical goals (schemes) into a successful year
🎹 Innovation: From Inspiration to Implementation – Unpack the practical aspect of making it happen in the classroom

Bradley Sowash

Bradley Sowash is a jazz pianist, composer, and educator specializing in improvisation.
After many years as a touring performer and recording artist, he turned his attention to introducing “recovering classical pianists” to the joys of musical creativity in online jazz piano classes, at teacher conferences, and through his widely-acclaimed publications.


🎹 Teaching Group Lessons Online – Glean pedagogical tips and best practices for successfully teaching online music classes from a pioneer of online group teaching.
🎹 Hanon Hacks: Creative tips about how to make classical Hanon technique exercises more relevant to contemporary styles.

Leila Viss

Leila generates imaginative, tech-savvy instruction and resources for her studio and website, LeilaViss.com. She is the past coordinator for the University of Denver’s Piano Preparatory Program, hosts the Key Ideas Podcast, and offers Composiums where she inspires pianists to nurture their creative voice through composition.

🎹 Leila is composing a commissioned Group Piano Ensemble for this conference, which will be given as a free gift to attendees.

What is an On-Demand Conference?

While we all have the best of intentions to “catch the replay later,” the truth is, most of the time, that doesn’t happen.

We’ve created this conference so you can have access to 100% of the presentations 100% of the time during the months of June and July.

Traveling? No problem.

Busy with teaching? No problem. Life gets a little crazy for a few days? No problem.

You won’t miss presentations that you really wanted to watch but that are only offered for 24 hours. You won’t have to wait for replay links and hope they align with your availability.

Take a deep breath, relax, and grab the content when you want it, when you have the time to enjoy it, and as often as you like.

Hey, group teaching is anything but conventional. Why should a conference about group teaching be?

It’s been a rich and steady month … I really love this approach of “view on your own time”. I have been taking loads of notes as I view each one.”

– Joan Hildebrand (2022 Attendee)

Opportunities to Connect

Perks of an in-person conference include meeting like-minded individuals and being able to ask questions.

We didn’t want to leave this part out, so we’ve created several online live meet-ups at different times during the two months of the conference where you can join in discussions about various aspects of group teaching. Come chat real-time with some of the presenters and other teachers who have valuable viewpoints, and please share yours, too!

These live meet-ups will not be recorded (remember those best intentions?) but they will be offered on different days of the week and different times during the day to accommodate different time zones and schedules. We also provide written notes from each live event that are easier to scan at a glance and include helpful links to resources discussed during the call.

The schedule for the live meet-ups will be shared with you shortly before the conference begins so you can put those dates on your calendar!

“Great ideas and not as intimidating as other live events I have been part of!

Elizabeth Melson (2022 Attendee)

What are you waiting for?
If you have questions you haven’t found the answers to here, please send them to support@groupilluminated.com. We’d love to have you join us and would hate to let a little thing like an unanswered question keep you from doing that!

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