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The SMU Institute for Piano Teachers 2014

The Creative Piano Teacher

  • Are you searching for an experience that will ignite your creativity on and off the page?
  • Are you looking for an opportunity that will develop your innate ability to improvise and help your students do the same?
  • Do you need tech-savvy tips and resources that will re-ignite your teaching and connect with today’s young people?
  • Are you seeking fresh educational alternatives that are not only enlightening, but empowering?

If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, consider attending the SMU-Institute for Piano Teachers (SMU-IPT) 2014.


For years Bradley Sowash and Forrest Kinney have delighted teachers with approaches to teaching musical creativity that leave audiences feeling successful, confident, and inspired. At SMU-IPT 2014, for the first time in a multi-day workshop, both master teachers will join Leila Viss, Sam Holland, and others in offering a conference on developing creative musicianship. With dynamic and interactive sessions, you’ll have hands-on opportunities to experience and build the skills of making music in a variety of styles without depending on a printed page. What’s more, you will have the opportunity to learn how to incorporate these skills into your own teaching.

Not only is SMU-IPT 2014 about teaching creativity, it is about teaching creatively. Successful teachers bring high levels of creativity into everything they do. Leila Viss will illustrate the iPad as a basic tool in traditional teaching and share off-the-bench and summer activities that are sure to enhance your instruction and income. Kristin Yost will lead a session on arranging contemporary popular music for piano. Richard and Mona Rejino will present their celebrated review of the best new publications from all publishers.

SMU-IPT 2014 promises to engage, equip, enlighten, and empower all who attend. Enrollment is limited to the first 48. Act now. Sign up and don’t miss out!


Each day will include innovative hands-on sessions with a keyboard for each participant, interactive talks, teaching demonstrations, off-the-bench activities, tips on integrating the latest apps, flash talks given by fellow attendees, roundtable discussions, and more. In addition, we have planned unstructured social time for attendees and faculty, a banquet, and unique concert performances by Bradley and Forrest.

Sample Session Titles

  • Principles of Creativity-Based Pedagogy
  • Preparing Students for Jazz Band and Praise Team
  • Lesson APPlications
  • Teaching Fundamentals and Literature with Creativity
  • Going Further with Lead sheets
  • Creative Solutions to Common Problems
  • Beyond Anxiety
  • and MUCH more...

Presenter Bios

Forrest Kinney

Forrest Kinney, NCTM, has taught music for 35 years. He is the author of 19 books including the Pattern Play series on improvisation, the Chord Play series on arranging, and Creativity—Beyond Compare. Forrest has given hundreds of presentations for music educators throughout North America and Europe. He is a pianist and has played 21 times at the home of Bill Gates. He is also a composer who recently published two collections of original art songs.

Bradley Sowash

Bradley Sowash is a composer, creative pianist, multi-instrumentalist, recording artist, author, and educator specializing in improvisation. He teaches master classes nationwide, serves as Pop/Jazz chairperson for the Music Teachers National Association, and teaches at the 88 Creative Keys Camp with co-founder Leila Viss. The Neil A. Kjos Music Company publishes his many instructional books and Augsburg Fortress Press has published several volumes of his hymn arrangements.

Leila Viss

Leila Viss uses innovative, tech-savvy lesson plans to develop lifetime pianists at her independent piano studio. She holds a church organist position, blogs at, writes for Clavier Companion, authored The iPad Piano Studio and serves on the Musical Advisory Board of Joytunes. With Bradley Sowash, she is co-founder of 88 Creative Keys, a camp promoting creativity at the keys. She has assisted with the MTNA Jazz/Pop Tracks and serves on the NCKP 2015 leadership team.



The SMU Institute for Piano Teachers is offered at the Meadows School of the Arts, Southern Methodist University, Dallas,Texas in the summer of even-numbered years. The event is one of the regional outreach projects of the Frances Clark Center for Keyboard Pedagogy and presented jointly by SMU Division of Music and Pender’s Music Co. SMU-IPT is an incubator for the National Conference of Keyboard Pedagogy (NCKP) which meets during the summer of odd-numbered years in Chicago.

Always an inspiring, yet intimate program, the 2014 SMU Institute for Piano Teachers will be differentiated by its intensive focus on creative keyboard musicianship. Space is limited and therefore the conference can accept only the first 48 registrants. As this promises to be a one-of-a kind conference, you won’t want to miss it so register early. 

July 8-11, 2014

On or before May 1: $275
After May 1: $325

Campus housing and conference hotels are available.

One or two hours graduate credit available for additional fees.

To register online, click here.

To download a registration form and register by mail, click here.

See also SMU Institute for Young Pianists.

Areas of Study



Art History

Arts Management and Arts Entrepreneurship

Corporate Communication and Public Affairs

Creative Computation


Film and Media Arts



Welcome to the Division of Music

About the Division of Music

Undergraduate Studies

Graduate Studies




Prospective Student Class Schedule


Faculty and Staff

Student Resources

Student Internships & Collaborations

Meadows Artist Bridge

Dallas Resources

SMU Meadows Licensed Music Rights

Workshops and Special Programs

SMU Institute for Young Pianists

2016 SMU Music Educators Workshops

SMU Institute for Piano Teachers

Piano Preparatory Department

Double Bass Players

Opportunities for Non-Music Majors