Alabama Music Teachers Association
Affiliated with Music Teachers National Association

State Conference

71st Annual AMTA Conference


Make plans now to attend the 2023 AMTA State Conference held in person on the beautiful campus of Jacksonville State University.

Schedule: June 1-3, 2023 (Thursday - Saturday)
Place: Mason Hall, Jacksonville State University (JSU), Jacksonville, AL
Member’s Banquet: Thursday, June 1 st , 2023 @ 6pm
Merrill Hall, Atrium, JSU

[for complete schedule, scroll to page bottom & click on link]

Official Hotel: Hampton Inn, Jacksonville, AL

1041 JD L Drive Jacksonville, Alabama 36265 
Room Rate: $114 (May31-June3)
The special rate will be available until April 30th, 2023. 


Guest Artist

Dr. William John Newbrough is a Steinway Artist, Rochester-based concert pianist and owner of a competition and performance training piano studio in Rochester, NY, and Professor of Piano and Director of Piano Studies at Houghton University, Houghton, NY. He was awarded the Horne Blanchard Endowed Chair of Music at Houghton University in 2014 and 2019, and was named the Mabel Barnum Davidson Distinguished Professor of Fine Arts in 2012. He has earned the Artist Diploma, Doctor of Musical Arts degree, and Master of Music degree from the Peabody Conservatory of Music/ Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD, and the Bachelor of Arts degree with honors from the University of California at Berkeley. Newbrough studied piano with Leon Fleisher, Haggai Niv, Yoheved Kaplinsky, Dominique Weber, and Gilbert Kalish, and has participated in master classes with Richard Goode, Earl Wild, and Malcolm Bilson.
A veteran performer, Newbrough has won many international and national piano competitions and performed in numerous solo, chamber music, and concerto engagements in the United States, Canada, Mexico, England, France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Russia, South Korea, and Australia. Highlight venues have included Carnegie Hall, the Sydney Opera House, the French embassy in Washington, D.C., the Van Cliburn Piano Institute, the Dame Myra Hess Series in Chicago, the Chopin Foundation in San Francisco, and Artist Series performances with the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra. Newbrough was the only American of nine pianists worldwide chosen to perform at the prestigious Franz Liszt International Masterclasses and Festival in Utrecht, The Netherlands. He is also part of the chamber duet named “Acclaim Duo”.   
Newbrough has performed multiple times on the television series “Grand Piano,” and he was featured on “Great Discoveries” on the Discovery Channel. Many of his performances have also been broadcast on radio. Newbrough has been a recipient of many musical awards, including the Yale Gordon Honorary Medallion in Music, an Eisner Award, and BPAC Artist of the Year.
In addition to being a classical pianist, Newbrough performs his own hymn arrangements in churches, colleges, and charity and benefit concerts. Some of the churches at which he has played include the Crystal Cathedral in Los Angeles, Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Florida, Moody Church in Chicago, First Baptist Church in Atlanta, and First Baptist Church in Anchorage, Alaska. He has three sacred piano CDs, “The Sacred Tradition,” “Benediction,” and “Acclamation” on the Mark Custom Recordings label, and a full-length production DVD also entitled “Benediction.” One of his CDs became eligible for a Grammy nomination.

Gail Berenson


Guest Clinician

Gail Berenson, Ohio University Professor Emerita of Piano, is a dedicated teacher, performer, author and noted expert on musician wellness issues.  She is the recipient of the 2002 OU School of Music’s Distinguished Teaching Award and the School of Music’s 2016 Distinguished Service Award.  A powerful advocate on musicians’ health issues, she initiated both the College Music Society’s Committee on Musicians’ Health in 2015 and the International Society for Music Education’s Musicians’ Health and Wellness Special Interest Group in 2012 and was the founding chair of the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy’s Committee on Pianists’ Wellness in 1989.  Ms. Berenson is one of the co-authors of A Symposium for Pianists and Teachers: Strategies to Develop Mind and Body for Optimal Performance and has authored three chapters for the fourth edition of the Lyke, Haydon, Rollin book, Creative Piano Teaching.  She continues to be an active and passionate collaborative pianist and has performed and lectured in over thirty states and in eleven countries. Past President of Music Teachers National Association, an association of 23,000 members, she was the recipient of the 2015 MTNA Distinguished Service Award. She is also the recipient of the Frances Clark Center for Piano Pedagogy’s Outstanding Service Recognition Award in 2019 and, most recently, their Lifetime Achievement Award in 2021.  She currently serves on the Florida State Music Teachers Association’s Executive Board. Her students are performing and teaching in independent studios and on college faculties throughout the world.  More information can be found at

She will offer three sessions for us:

1. “The Art of Communication:  Nurturing Resourceful and Spirited Students” What is the magic spark that serves as the impetus that encourages a student to strive for a higher level of musicianship?  Although much of our focus is on teaching students a specific skill, helping them become resourceful pianists and reaching their musical potential, piano mastery is only a small portion of what we teach.  As a result of cumulative piano lesson experiences, students develop attitudes and beliefs about music, learning and themselves.  Teachers who are perceptive and skillful communicators are those most likely to succeed in instilling a love of music, building their students’ independence and self-confidence and helping them achieve their goals.  I hope to engage those in attendance at this session in a lively discussion that will include topics such as motivating students, offering feedback, the significance of responding to learning styles and balancing teaching approaches.
2. “Strategies for Coping with Performance Anxiety”
Some students perceive even their weekly lessons as a frightening performance. For those students, excessive performance anxiety can stand in the way of their achieving their potential. This session will address the issue of performance anxiety, presenting a wide range of options, enabling the teacher and/or the performer to determine which combination of approaches might be most helpful. The strategies to be discussed will include:  1. Breath control and Fitness; 2. Muscle relaxation; 3. Cognitive thinking; 4. Imagery; 5. Desensitization; 6. Medical advances; and 7. Practical advice. This session will assist teachers and students in viewing performance anxiety as a positive element, not the enemy.
3. “Healthy Practicing Strategies: An Injury-Preventive Prescription”
Practicing — it’s something we all do — young beginners and veteran professionals, alike.  Yet, it is too often viewed as tedious drudgery.  Efficient, healthy practicing strategies are the key to a lifetime of joyous, injury-free performing.  With pianists spending anywhere from three to as many as twenty-eight, or more, hours per week at the piano, we need to ensure that each student has cultivated a resourceful and imaginative attitude, has access to a healthy practice environment and has developed a thoughtful working agenda.  This session will examine the role of the teacher in helping students liberate their practice in an effort to free their musicality.  It will also address how to handle and recover from a playing-related or non-playing-related injury, should it occur.



Vocal Guest Artist

Shellie Beeman, Lyric Soprano and Associate Professor of Voice at Jacksonville State University, earned her D.A. degree in Voice Performance with a secondary emphasis in Speech-Language Pathology from Ball State University. As a voice technician and vocal health advocate, Vocal Pedagogy excites her. She delights in merging the gap between voice science, artistic musicianship, and the medical arts. Dr. Beeman is a Certified McClosky Voice Technician through the McClosky Institute of Voice which allows her to habilitate injured voices. In 2017 she completed the Contemporary and Commercial Music Vocal Pedagogy Institute Training at Shenandoah University. She is an active performer, clinician, and adjudicator, as well as a current member of the NATS, NAfME, NOA, CMS, and Classical Singer. Dr. Beeman has presented clinics for NATS and NAfME conferences on the McClosky Technique, Age-Appropriate Literature Selection for the Developing Voice, and Vocal Health in Indiana, Colorado, South Carolina, and Alabama. She will be presenting her beginning research of  “Unlocking the Universal Experience of Folk Song: A Look at Canteloube’s Chant D’Auvergne” at the College Music Society Regional Conference in Jacksonville, Florida in February of 2023. A lover of research, she is a published author with Elsevier's Journal of Voice, Classical Singer Magazine Online, and a contributing author for Garwood Whaley’s book series, Voice Teacher's Cookbook. In 2018 Shellie was invited to teach for the Interharmony International Summer Music Festival in Italy, giving applied lessons, coaching chamber music, leading master classes, and performing for Faculty Concerts. While she enjoys her opportunities to perform, her love for vocal music and pedagogy led her to the academic arena, where she could become the teacher behind the next generation of artists and teachers.

Dr. Beeman will offer a vocal masterclass and a vocal pedagogical session during our conference.


2023 Commissioned Composer

An international solo/chamber music performer, composer/guitarist Alan Goldspiel has performed world premieres at Carnegie/CAMI Halls, been featured on NPR radio stations from coast to coast, and<Dr. Alan Goldspielhas recorded and performed in the critically acclaimed Goldspiel/Provost Duo. Dr. Goldspiel received the 2023 and 2014 AMTA Composition Commission. Selected to be a Visiting Artist at the 2019 Convivio Conference in Postigliano, Italy, a 2018 honoree as “Friend of the Arts” from the SAI International Music Fraternity, and designated as a 2018 CMS GenNext Fellow by the NAMM Foundation, Goldspiel’s “compositions exhibit a variety in thematic melodies that are well suited for musicians and audiences. His work is imaginative and explores new musical ideas.” He is the recipient of the Alabama State Council on the Arts 2016-2017 Artist Fellowship Award for artistic excellence as well as professional commitment and maturity – awarded to outstanding individual artists from Alabama who create important works of art and make valuable contributions to the entire state. His music has been performed at international/national events, including the conferences of the International Low Flutes Festival, Research on Contemporary Composition, the College Music Society, National Association of College Wind and Percussion Instructors, North American Saxophone Alliance, International Clarinet Association, New Music on the Bayou, and National Association of Composers/USA. In 2013, he was awarded an Escape-to-Create Artist Residency and is the only guitarist to be honored with the Marshall Dodge Award from the Performing Artists Associates of New England. He has received numerous awards for excellence in teaching, research, and service including the Louisiana State Arts Council Artist Fellowship Award for artistic excellence. Dr. Goldspiel is Professor of Music and Head of Music Technology, Department of Music at the University of Montevallo. More information, including news, events, and catalog can be discovered at the website


2023 String Clinicians

The string guest artists are Dr. Kristin Pfeifer Yu and Dr. Laurel Yu from the Valdosta State University, GA. They will offer a masterclass and pedagogical session for us.  

Pedagogical Session Title: 
Finding the Balance with Proper Chinrest and Shoulder Rest Combinations

Kristin Pfeifer Yu, violin
Dr. Kristin Pfeifer Yu is an accomplished violinist and educator, serving as Senior Lecturer of Violin, and the Director and Master Teacher of the South Georgia String Project at Valdosta State University. Dr. Pfeifer has participated in numerous summer festivals, including the Brevard Music Center, Colorado College Summer Music Festival, andDr. Kristen Yu Domaine Forget. As an avid chamber musician, she has worked with notable ensembles such as the Ying Quartet, St. Martin in the Fields, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Ahn Trio, and Trio Solis, among others. She is currently Concertmaster of the Albany Symphony Orchestra, and the Valdosta Symphony Orchestra, where she was recently featured as soloist in Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante with her husband, violist Dr. Laurel Yu. Dr. Pfeifer’s research interests include holistic approaches to string pedagogy, incorporating her extensive training a Suzuki registered teacher. Dr. Pfeifer has presented clinics regionally and nationally including sessions at multiple American String Teachers Association national conferences, as keynote speaker at the Florida Chapter of the American String Teachers Association session, the Florida Orchestra Association annual conference, and performances at the International Society of Bassists Convention and the International Double Reed Society Conference. In high demand as a clinician, Dr. Pfeifer frequently gives workshops and clinics throughout the Southeast, including violin and viola setup clinics, chamber music and audition workshops. Dr. Pfeifer has studied with renowned pedagogues, including Eliot Chapo, Corinne Stillwell, Margie and Benjamin Karp, Daniel Mason, and Almita Vamos. 

Laurel Yu, viola
Dr. Laurel Yu is Assistant Professor of Viola at Valdosta State University. He proudly serves on the Board of the American Viola Society, serves as the Artistic Director of the Artist Series of Tallahassee, and works as the Artistic Administrator for Sinfonia Gulf Coast and the Sinfonia Gulf Coast Chamber Players based in Destin, Florida. He isDr. Laurel Yu currently Principal Viola of Sinfonia Gulf Coast, the Valdosta Symphony Orchestra, and Albany Symphony Orchestra, and former Principal Viola of the Mobile Symphony Orchestra. He is regularly invited to present lectures across the Southeast, including multiple presentations at American String Teachers Association conferences, the American Viola Society Festival, the Florida Orchestra Association’s annual conference, Florida Music Education Association’s annual conference, and was the key presenter at the Florida Chapter of the American String Teachers Association conference. In high demand as a clinician, Dr. Yu frequently gives audition workshops, violin/viola set-up clinics, master classes, All-State clinics, and chamber music pedagogy workshops. Dr. Yu’s mentors include Dr. Pamela Ryan, Michelle LaCourse, Ed Gazouleas, Corinne Stillwell, and Eliot Chapo. 


Member Presentation

The Power of the Pause: Applying Alexander Technique to Music Practice
Dr. MiJung Trepanier

Need to bring a yoga mat or a beach towel & a hand towel
Please wear comfort clothes instead of the formal attire

Dr. MiJung Trepanier is a concert pianist and Alexander Technique teacher. With over 20 years of experience, MiJung has performed around the world in Bolivia, Puerto Rico, South Korea, France, Austria, and the U.S. She MiJung Trepannedwas elected performing artist in the Michigan Council Humanities Council. MiJung received her DMA at Michigan State University, teaches students in her private studio and at colleges, and delivers workshops and presentations on piano performance and pedagogy. In addition to her career as a pianist and piano teacher, MiJung is a certified teacher of the Alexander Technique, a mind-body practice that helps people improve their movement and overall well-being. She has taught Alexander Technique at Interlochen music camp, universities, and in her private practice to musicians, dancers, actors, and other performing artists. She is committed to helping others actualize their potential as artists by facilitating a more integrated and embodied approach to performance.
Presentation Summary
Pause can be a powerful tool for creating space and time in the learning process, allowing students and teachers to step back, reflect, and integrate new information. During Pause, the principles and practices of the Alexander Technique help you to develop greater awareness and presence in your body and mind. By incorporating the Alexander Technique into your Pause practice, we can enhance the benefits of this powerful tool, and develop greater awareness, presence, and ease in your teaching and learning experiences. The presentation will begin with an introduction to the principles and benefits of the Alexander Technique, followed by invitation to experience Alexander Technique practices with hands-on guidance. Finally, this presentation will finish with how you apply these practices into your music teaching, learning and performing. Please bring your yoga mat or bath towel to lie down on the floor, along with your curiosity and open mind to explore how Alexander Technique can be helpful for your musical journey.

2023 AMTA State Conference Member Presentation Submission Form 

Member Presentations  

Please submit brief information about your presentation.  
The submission due date is March 31, 2023 (11:59 pm). 
The conference committee will select 2-3 presenters. 
The selected presenters will receive an email in early April. 
Member Presentation Proposal Submission Form



AMTA 2023 Conference Schedule 

Click on this link:

2023 AMTA Conference Schedule