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ISME Forum for Instrumental and Vocal Teaching

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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.

Eckart Altenmueller



Eckart Altenmüller holds a Masters degree in Classical flute, and a MD and PhD degree in Neurology and Neurophysiology. Since 1994 he has been chair and director of the Institute of Music Physiology and Musicians' Medicine at the University of Music and Drama in Hannover, Germany. He continues research into the neurobiology of emotions and into movement disorders in musicians as well as motor, auditory and sensory learning. In his outpatient clinic he sees 500 musicians a year, mostly suffering from movement disorders such as focal dystonia, focal tremor or from chronic pain syndromes. During the last ten years he has received 20 grants from the German Research Society (DFG). He is currently Vice President of the German Society of Music Physiology and Musicians' Medicine and Member of the Göttingen Academy of Sciences. He is also co-editor of the book, Music, Motor Control and the Brain.

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


Paula Bujes



Brazilian violinist Paula Bujes is a Professor of Violin at the University of Pernambuco, Brazil. Dr. Bujes received her DMA in Violin Performance with a minor in Music Education at the Louisiana State University. She was a student of Espen Lilleslåtten, who co-advised her research with Dr. Sara J. Bartolome. Paula also holds a masters degree from the University of Tenessee, where she studied with Mark Zelmanovich and won the concerto competition with her husband, cellist Pedro Huff, with whom she has a duo for over 10 years.

Dr. Bujes acted as concertmaster of the Youth Orchestra of Porto Alegre Symphony, UFRGS Orchestra, University of Tennessee Symphony Orchestra, and the Louisiana State University Symphony Orchestra. She was a member of the Porto Alegre Symphony, the Baton Rouge Symphony and the Gulf Coast Symphony. Paula has taught master classes in the United States, Panama, and Brazil.

In conjunction with large class of students and a busy performance schedule, Bujes has been conducting research about the violin method of Trendafil Milanov, an accomplished Bulgarian pedagogue and subject of her dissertation. Her current research project at UFPE and aims at adapting Milanov's philosophy and methodology to the Brazilian culture.

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.



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



Dr. Yiannis Miralis is Associate Professor of Music Education and Saxophone, Vice-Dean and International Relations coordinator of the School of Arts and Education Sciences at European University Cyprus. He holds degrees from Lawrence University (BM), Bowling Green State University (MM) and Michigan State University (PhD). His areas of interest are world music and multicultural music education, instrumental music education and saxophone chamber music. He served as assistant professor at the Lionel Hampton School of Music at the University of Idaho and he has also taught at the University of Windsor in Canada and the University of Cyprus. He also has a rich teaching experience in all levels (K-10) and in various public and private schools in Cyprus and the United States. He has presented workshops and papers in various national and international conferences in the areas of music education, ethnomusicology and saxophone and is a member of a number of national and international music associations. His articles appear in international music journals.

As the first Cypriot classical saxophonist he has performed numerous times with the Cyprus Symphony Orchestra and has extensive performing experience as a solo and chamber music performer. Overall, he has performed in Cyprus, Italy, Greece, Lebanon, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Canada, Sweden and the USA. He is founding member of the Transcontinental Saxophone Quartet and the Mediterranean Trio. Miralis is also the conductor of the Symphonic Band of Strovolos Municipality-European University Cyprus. He is founding member of the Greek Saxophone Association, president of the Cyprus Saxophone Association and newly elected board member of the European Chamber Music Teachers’ Association (ECMTA).

Special Advisors

Graham Bartle



Graham Bartle joined the ISME family at the Perth conference in 1974 and has attended all but three conferences since that time.  He was a member of the ISME Board between 1996 and 2000, and was given Honorary Life Membership of the Society in 2008.  Following a period as member of the Commission for the Education of the Professional Musician, and recognising the gap in the outreach of ISME, he persuaded the Board of the Society to establish a Forum for Instrumental and Vocal Teaching which held its first fully official meeting at the conference in Thessaloniki in 2012.  Graham is currently a Special Advisor to the Forum.




Sylvia Schwarzenbach



Born in Bern, Switzerland, Schwarzenbach studied piano and theory at the conservatory in located there and clarinet at the Conservatory Lausanne with Professor Robert Kemblinsky. She finished her studies at Lausanne by earning the teaching diploma and the diploma of virtuosity. Schwarzenbach then studied with Professor Jacques Lancelot in Paris and Nice and Professor Heinrich Geuser in Berlin. For many years she was a clarinet teacher at the Bern’s Conservatory and the person responsible for the Woodwind Didactic at the HKB (Hochschule der Künste Bern). Concerts with various ensembles, workshops and lectures took her to many countries in Europe and to the United States and Latin America. She is a member of a diverse group of international associations dealing with music education, instrumental teaching and musicians’ health and, at the 2010 ISME conference in Bejing, was awarded with the ISME Honorary Life Membership.




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