Greetings from the 2023 ASTA National Conference!

March 16, 2023, 10:16 PM · Greetings from Orlando, where I am attending the 2023 American String Teachers Association (ASTA) National Conference, which started on Wednesday and runs through Saturday at the Hyatt Regency in Orlando, Fla.

It was a wonderful and full day - you can follow what I'm doing in the moment on's Instagram account, and I'll also be posting more in-depth write-ups in coming days.

Laurie at ASTA

Day 1 started with a performance at the opening ceremony by violinist Adrian Anantawan with the Howard W. Blake High School Symphonic Orchestra of the first movement of the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto. Adrian, who among many accomplishments, graduated from Curtis Institute and teaches at Berklee College of Music in Boston, was born without a functioning right hand. He also runs a program at the Henderson Inclusion School, helping people with disabilities to find ways to adapt musical instruments so they can play. He told his fascinating story in a lecture that followed his performance - I'll be posting a write-up of that lecture in coming days.

Laurie and Adrian Anantawan
Laurie with violinist Adrian Anantawan.

I also enjoyed a lecture by Brigham Young University - Idaho violin professor Rebecca Roesler about "This Is Your Brain on Practice," as well as "10 Minute Teaching Strategies" with Shar Music founder Charles Avsharian. Again, more to come!

Laurie Niles and Charles Avsharian
Laurie and Shar's Charles Avsharian.

In the afternoon I bounced around to more lectures, including a fun master class with Freestyle Fiddler, composer, producer and educator Darol Anger that involved two highly talented young musicians - cellist Marco Melendez and violinist Max Brown, who each played on their own and then jammed with the master. What fun!

Marco Melendez, Darol Anger and Max Brown
Marco Melendez, Darol Anger and Max Brown.

I also learned a lot about "Engaging the Adult Learner" from Michigan-based violnist Megan Healy, who wrote her dissertation on the subject. Did you know that "pedagogy" is a word that officially refers to methods for teaching children, while the science of teaching adults is "andragogy"? New to me!

More to come!


March 17, 2023 at 01:04 PM · have fun Laurie! attending conference like that is very inspiring and fun.

March 17, 2023 at 05:27 PM · Have a great time. I saw Adrian play and met him at a Kennedy Center event sponsored by VSA when he was just getting his start. He is so impressive and friendly.

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