ASTA is Awesome!

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I had a phenomenal time at the ASTA National Conference last week. Time to meet up with friends I don't see often enough, be star struck over "famous" string teachers and composers and performers, meet new friends, hang out with string-ers from school, and just learn so darn much! If you don't know, ASTA is the American String Teachers Association. I have not always been a member, partly for financial reasons and partly because I didn't always see the real value. But now that I am more involved I become more and more grateful for this community. It's a fantastic experience to be in a conference center surrounded by string educators. We all play string instruments, teach string instruments, and love string instruments. We share practical ideas and speak the same language.

Here are the great sessions I attended over 3 days:

Keynote by Gerald Klickstein & performance by Eugene Friesen & Berklee World Strings

Eclectic Strings Reading Session with Bert Ligon

Teacher Evaluation and the Rising Tide with Bret Smith

Kreutzer Cubed: A Trio of Pedagogues Share and Compare Teaching Strategies with Brenda Brenner, Elisabeth Small, and James Lyon

Bandroom Basics - Setting a Soundpost with Dalton Potter

The New Horizons Orchestra: A Research-Based Model for Lifelong Learning and Teacher Training with Andrew Dabczynski

Innovative Uses of Technology in the Orchestra Rehearsal with Joseph Brennan

Tune It Up! Intonation Tricks for String Orchestras with Karin Hendricks

The ASTA National Curriculum for Elementary Strings: A Roadmap to Success with Bob Phillips

A Demonstration of Interschool, Intergenerational, Intercommunity String Orchestra Rehearsal and Concert Techniques with Julie Lyonn Lieberman

Reach Your Audiences with Social Networking with Charles Laux

Teaching "Habits of Mind" in the School Orchestra Rehearsal with Scott Laird

Collegiate Roundtable Session

Collegiate Roundtable Business Meeting with research by Martin Norgaard

Research Session: Presentation of the 2013 String Researcher Award with David Sogin

Juried Research Poster Session

From First Glance to Fluency: An Organic Approach to Teaching Music Literacy with Winifred Crock & Laurie Scott

Mach I and Mach II with Mark Wood & Mark O'Connor

You Be the Judge! Tools for Hearing Your Orchestra Like it REALLY Sounds and Then Designing Warm Ups to Move Them to the Next Level with Robert Gillespie

Ten Easy Steps to Improve Your Conducting and Rehearsal Technique to Help String Players From the Podium with Michael Alexander

All in 3 days!! And as an ASTA member I can log into the website and watch a bunch of these sessions (or ones I missed) because they were recorded for us.

And I can't say enough about how awesome our vendors in the exhibit hall are. Not only were they helpful, not applying pressure to buy things, but they would recommend *other* vendors who had products that better fit my needs! What a supportive environment, even in business. (Just *some* of the vendors I visited: Alfred, Carl Fischer, Claire Givens Violins, Clemens Violins Violas & Cellos, Eastman Strings, Electric Violin Shop, Hal Leonard, JW Pepper, Johnson String Instruments, LudwigMasters, Music & Arts, NAfME, Kjos, O'Connor Method, Potter Violin Company, Royal Conservatory Music Development Program, Shar, Southwest Strings, The Strad, Tempo Press, William Harris Lee & Co, Winger-Jones)

It's also a plus that ASTA builds in time to visit the exhibits without missing sessions. *And* they offer snacks during those exhibit visit times!