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67 Years of Outstanding Music Education

The Northern Virginia Music Teachers Association, voted the top local Music Teachers Association 2004 by the Music Teachers National Association, provides diverse educational opportunities for teachers and students in pursuit of personal growth in music.  Its mission:  to stimulate the study and enjoyment of music, to broaden the vision and expertise of its members, to promote musical culture in the community and to reinforce the objectives of its state and national organizations.  Join!

 May 31, 2017 Program

Using Variation as the Foundation of Practice

Dr. James Litzelman, NCTM

Practice, by definition, is repetition.  But repeating the same thing over and over tends to dull our internal cueing and feedback system—a crucial mechanism by which we judge our progress.  In this session, Jim will show how to improve our efforts by using variation as the foundation of our practice sessions.   Techniques such as transposition, rhythmic alteration, and mirror image playing will be demonstrated, using examples from standard repertoire.  Participants are invited to bring passages from their own repertoire that have proven to be problematic for them to see if alternative, more effective ways to practice can be found.

                                                                                                                  Jim Litzelman photo small

James Litzelman enjoys a successful career as a pianist, teacher, and lecturer, having performed and lectured in the United States, Mexico, Europe, China, and Russia.  In demand for master classes, adjudicating, and workshops, he presents lectures nationally and internationally to various music organizations, and has judged competitions throughout the eastern and southern United States.

Dr. Litzelman has presented collaborative concerts and master classes in Shenyang, China, and has performed solo and collaborative recitals at the Rachmaninoff Hall of the Moscow Conservatory and Sviatoslav Richter Museum in Moscow, Russia. He was a judge for the national finals of the MTNA piano competitions in New York City, and this past March he judged the Canadian MTA National Piano Competition.  He served on the faculty of the George Washington University Piano Academy in July 2012 for its summer program. He is heavily involved with regional music organizations, and served as president of NVMTA from 2009-2011.  Dr. Litzelman is a published writer with numerous articles appearing in musical journals such as Keyboard Companion and the American Music Teacher.  Dr. Litzelman currently serves as chairman of the editorial committee of the American Music Teacher magazine, and is a reviewer of new books and music for that periodical.

Near the end of his doctoral studies in piano performance at the Catholic University of America, he was diagnosed with focal dystonia, a neuromuscular disorder that afflicts classical pianists and guitarists in a disproportionate number.  Through retraining and physical therapy with a gifted Rolfer, Dr. Litzelman has regained his capability at the instrument. As a result of his dystonia diagnosis, Dr. Litzelman has become a passionate advocate for pianistic health, regularly lecturing on healthful piano technique, and researching extensively how one may play the piano in the most physiologically correct way.

Since 1993, Dr. Litzelman has been a member of the piano faculty at The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC  where he has directed the graduate piano pedagogy program since 2000. Most recently, Litzelman was invited to teach a course in piano pedagogy at the University of Maryland, College Park, in the fall of 2016.  Litzelman maintains an active independent studio at his home in Arlington, Virginia, where his students have been prize winners in many local and national competitions.


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