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About the Forum

This Forum encompasses all aspects of instrumental and vocal teaching and learning that may take place in the home or school, on a one-to-one or small group basis. This is of particular interest to the studio or peripatetic teacher who often works in isolation.

Areas covered are: methods, motivation, personal relationships between teacher and pupil, the role of examinations and competitions, the physiological and psychological needs of musicians including coping with performance anxiety, stage fright, stage presentation, assessment, small group teaching, teaching adult beginners, teaching students with disabilities, the all-round development of the performer, verbal and non-verbal communication between teacher and pupil, and the like.

This forum does not cover the training of choral and instrumental groups as such, but rather emphasises 'how to learn an instrument/voice' aspect of music education.

This is a new emphasis for ISME and those who feel that they may have something to contribute and share with their colleagues are invited to submit an application to ISME for presentation during the 2012 conference. Papers, workshops or masterclasses may be considered for inclusion. Applications from both Western and non-Western traditions are welcome.

Mission statement

The Forum views the opportunity for all persons, young and old, to learn an instrument or to sing, as an enrichment of the quality of life. It holds as a central value the dignity of the profession of instrumental and vocal music teaching. It is designed to reflect equally the general areas of individualized or group instruction in keyboard, wind, string and percussion instruments, and voice.

The vision for the Forum is:

  • to investigate methods and practices of teaching instrumental or vocal students in the diverse contexts of global music making; and
  • to explore and discuss the most recent relevant research that could assist instrumental/vocal teachers

To these ends it seeks to enter into dialogue with instrumental and vocal teachers with a view to:

  • Celebrating and promoting the profession of the instrumental and vocal teacher
  • Championing the rights of all to quality instrumental/vocal training
  • Promoting recognition of the unique value of the instrumental/vocal teaching profession within the local and national community
  • Advocating for greater governmental appreciation, recognition and support for the value of music teaching and learning to the well-being of citizens.
  • Recognising the many methods and processes used by teachers in various societies and cultures;
  • Encouraging the development of innovative approaches to beginning instruction for children and adult learners;
  • Providing an international perspective on common issues within instrumental and vocal music teaching and learning;
  • Providing a focus on arts medicine as it relates to attending to the physiological and psychological needs of musicians, keeping students injury-free, helping them to develop and efficient technique, manage and recover from playing-related or non playing-related injuries and discover strategies for coping with performance anxiety;
  • Embracing research into all aspects of the instrumental/vocal teaching profession, including performance and the effect of ability on social attitudes and personal intellectual capacities, and disseminating the findings to instrumental/vocal teaching bodies locally, nationally and internationally;
  • Serving as liaison between professional groups of instrumental/vocal teachers;
  • Defining and exploring potential overlapping content and subject matter areas, and embracing that overlap in formal collaborative activities with ISME Commissions during Commission seminars and world conference meetings; and
  • Facilitating the exchange of information on the practice, professional development, methodology and available resources of the instrumental and vocal teacher;
  • Promoting ethical principles for teaching and learning relationships which establish a culture of mutual respect between teachers and learners.

The Forum will disseminate information through articles in the ISME Journals; interactive web pages and social networking; workshops with instrumental and vocal teachers; and articles in industry journals and magazines.

Forum Committee

The Committee for the Forum balances the needs of geographic location and instrument, and includes both experienced and more recent ISME members. There are six members and three special advisors. No more than two individuals are elected to each of the instructional areas, and staggered terms ensure that each instructional area is represented in any one biennium.

Current Committee Members

*forum Chair. All following Forum committee members are presented in alphabetical order.

Gary Ingle*

United States of America

Gary IngleGary L. Ingle is Executive Director and CEO of Music Teachers National Association.

Dr. Ingle currently serves at the President of the National Music Council of the United States, having served as its President from 2003–2009 and Chairman of the Board from 2009–2011.

He is also Executive Vice President of the International Music Council and Co-President of the Music Council of the Three Americas.

A frequent speaker and panelist, Dr. Ingle has given addresses in 49 states as well as to music groups in Canada, the United Kingdom, China, Eastern and Western Europe, South America and Africa.


Ezra Abate


My name is Ezra Abate, born in 1961, studied piano at the famous Ethiopian music school which is named after the famous 6th century Ethiopian church music composer saint Yared. My first piano teacher and mentor was the Bulgarian pianist Mrs Vasileva, after four years training went to Bulgaria studied piano and composition under the famous Bulgarian composer Professor Ivan Spassov, and acquired an M.A degree in music pedagogy. After returning back from Bulgaria, I have engaged in teaching music, especially piano, polyphony(counterpoint),advanced harmony and Ethiopian Folklore. Also perform concerts, currently I am the Director of the Yared School of Music-Addis Ababa University. I have also two more M.A degrees in curriculum studies and development studies.

Gail Berenson

United States of America

Gail BerensonGail Berenson, Professor of Piano at Ohio University, Athens, is a dedicated teacher, active performer, passionate chamber music collaborator, and noted expert on musician wellness issues. Past President of Music Teachers National Association, an association of over 23,000 members, she has performed and lectured in over thirty states and eight countries. A presenter at the European Piano Teachers Conference in Manchester, England in 2005 and in Funchal, Madeira in 2006, she also presented at the International Society of Music Education's World Conference in Beijing, China in 2010. Ms. Berenson is a co-author of A Symposium for Pianists and Teachers: Strategies to Develop Mind and Body for Optimal Performance, and as a member of the Lorenz Advisory Board, contributed to the innovative piano method, Piano Discoveries. She is a co-author of Ask the Professor and authored several chapters for the fourth edition of James Lyke's book, Creative Piano Teaching. In recognition of her significant contributions to the music world and the music teaching profession, she was awarded an MTNA Foundation Fellow Award in 2007. Her students are performing and teaching in independent studios and on college faculties throughout the world. More information can be found at www.gailberenson.com.

Vaike Kiik-Salupere


Vaike Kiik-SalupereVaike Kiik-Salupere is a lecturer at the Tallinn University. She is the head of the BA program and the voice teacher at the Music Department of the Institute of Fine Arts.. From 2009 she is a member of the Council of the Institute of Fine Arts. She obtained MA in opera and recital singing and voice teaching from the Estonian Academy of Music. After debut in 1981 she performed in operas, operettas and musicals at the Estonian National Opera (ENO). She was a full time soloist (mezzo-soprano) at the ENO in 1999–2005. Her repertoire includes: Flora in La traviata, Olga in Eugen Onégin, Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus, Daisy Darlington in Ball im Savoy, Sally Bowles in Cabaret, Mercedes in Carmen, Miss Baggott in The Little Sweep etc. She has also performed in numerous chamber and organ concerts. In 2005 she obtained MA in Social Sciences from the Tallinn University. Currently she is finishing her PhD studies at the Institute of Educational Sciences in Tallinn University. Her research interests include performance anxiety and voice, perception of voice, optimal preparation for performance, sources of stress for students during lessons and performances, pre-performance routines used by classical singers.

Yiannis Miralis


Gareth Dylan Smith

United Kingdom

Gareth Dylan SmithGareth Dylan Smith is a drummer based in the UK. He plays drums with London-based punk band the Eruptors, Irish folk/punk band Neck, blues/folk singer Gillian Glover, and singer/songwriters Mark Ruebery and Stephen Wheel. He also likes plays for musical theatre productions in and around London, and likes to play bodhran in Celtic folk sessions. Gareth is Programme Leader for Further Education at London's Institute of Contemporary Music Performance in London, UK where he also teaches drum kit, Harmony & Theory and History of Popular Music. Prior to this Gareth taught drums and general music at schools in England and South Wales. Gareth's research interests include popular music, identity, curriculum, assessment and gender. With one publication to date (RSME, June 2006), he is currently writing book chapters on percussion teaching in US middle schools and popular music performance in higher education, both due for publication in 2011. He hopes to publish several further other papers in the next few months, and Gareth has just completed his doctoral thesis on the identity, practices and learning of kit drummers; his supervisor is Lucy Green. Gareth chairs the UK Musicians' Union Teaching Committee and is on the organising committee for the June 2011 Sociology of Music Education Symposium at Michigan State University.

Special Advisors

  • Graham Bartle
  • Gary Ingle
  • Sylvia Schwarzenbach