The 2nd IFPS Conference 2014 was held in Tokyo!

The 2nd IFPS Conference 2014 was held in Tokyo!

On August 23rd, the 2nd meeting of IFPS (International Federation of Piano Societies) was held in Tokyo, having 13 attendees representing 6 piano societies and institutions, and 2 guests. This network was launched last November, after the preliminary meeting in Hong Kong, to exchange information for the advancement of piano teaching in each country.

At the beginning of the 2nd meeting, Mr. Seikoh Fukuda (CEO of PTNA) gave a greeting speech, and brief self-introductions of each member followed.

-Japan, Tokyo

Mr.Seikoh Fukuda, CEO of PTNA, explained about the organization and PTNA Piano Competition. This 2nd IFPS meeting was held in conjunction with the final round & awarding ceremony of 38th PTNA Piano Competition, and IFPS attendees were interested in every detail of the competition, as well as the efficient administration of the organization itself. Here are some questions from attendees; the membership services, administration of office and members, competition (fees and discount services for memberships, grades, required repertoires, judge system, teachers’ award, the pass rate, etc). If you would like to know about PTNA membership and activities, please see here.

-China, Shanghai
Dr. Tang Zhe from Shanghai (Associate Dean of Shanghai Conservatory of Music, Chair of Shanghai Professional Pianists Society, Artistic Director of the Shanghai International Piano Festival & Institute) reports that the “International Shanghai Piano Festival and Institution” was successfully finished in July, having 12 renowned guest professors and artists including Prof. Ewa Poblocka and the former teacher of pianist Lang Lang. They used a school at the center of Shanghai equipped with kitchen and dormitory, and installed Steinway pianos for concerts and practice by the sponsorship of Steinway China. (Next edition will be held in 2016).

He also introduced the “e-competition” on youku, Chinese version of youtube. After the online preliminary and the semi-final rounds (the most-viewed video reached 1,290,000pv!), finalists played live at the Shanghai Spring Festival. The winner was his students, who was also awarded 2nd prize at the Ettlingen Piano Competition in Germany this year. He also conducted the music examination in Shanghai in August, in which 70,000 people participated in 10 different levels. In this way, he tries to provide educational opportunities for top level pianists as well as all the piano lovers in the society. He hopes to share music resources among countries in Asian and Pacific area in the future.

-       Hong Kong / Japan
Ms.Takako Shinohara(Japan/HK) gave presentation about the “instrumental structure and sound making”, that followed the previous presentation "piano teaching and learning reform" in which she discussed good posture, character building, and whole personal development. She addressed that piano teachers must study further about the structure of piano instrument, how it was improved in the past 50-60 years, and above all, how slight speed changes of key descent bring large difference in volume and quality of sounds. She also distributed a handout with the visual description of the structure of grand piano.

Prof. Sharavtseren Tserenjigmed (head of the piano program at the State College of Music and Dance of Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar) introduced the curriculum of the piano department in details in the previous meeting. This time he accompanied Prof. Tungalag Chadraabal, his former teacher and current colleague, to Japan.
Prof. Chadraabal is among the first generation of young talented pianists who were dispatched to Yerevan (Armenia, former Soviet Union) to study music intensively. Back in Mongolia, she has been teaching piano for 35 years. According to her, music education is quite active in Mongolia in spite that the history is rather short. One of them is International Chopin Piano Competition ”Frederik Chopin and Mongolia in the 21st Century”, and the 2nd edition was held last February at the University.
She hopes to communicate with teachers among Asian countries, to collaborate each other, and to improve the music education in each country.

Ms. Julie Tan from Singapore (President, The Singapore Music Teachers' Association) addressed the importance of raising piano teachers' skills and awareness in the private sector, while the government supports major orchestras, concert halls, universities, etc. She also shared the current issue, that is, how to keep children to continue studying music even after they complete grade exams. The Singapore Music Teachers' Association tries to connect teachers of all levels and organizes Performers Festival every two years.

They have successfully finished 5th edition in June. In the festival, participants can play in public, obtain hand-written comments from jury, DVD recordings, certificates, and gold-silver-platinum medals.

Ms. Ang Hwie Lie from Indonesia (Pertemuan Musik Surabaya) introduces DVD of the live performance of contemporary music written by Indonesian composer. The work is for Piano and Gamelan, and played by French pianist at the 150th birth anniversary of Debussy.
She came together with Ms. Dessy Valentina Pranowo this time, who graduated from Kansas University in US, and now serves as a private music studio teacher as well as studying studio management. She talked about the current situation in Indonesia, and stated her wish to connect piano teachers to invigorate the music culture in Surabaya.


IFPS welcome 2 guests from InternationalChopin Piano Competition in ASIA (Japan).

Prof.Reiko Kikuchi, Senior Board member of Executive Committee, explained about the initial purpose of establishing the competition; a wide discrepancy between Polish and Japanese jury members regarding to the interpretation of Polonaise. She introduced an episode that two Polish jurors showed how to dance Polonaise.
Ms.Akiko Tani, the chief of Agent & Education department, explained the system and application procedure of the competition. The required repertoires are all Chopin, instead of the lower grades. For those grades, they require Bach, Mozart etc. in preparation for Chopin, and also publish Polish music for children as well as commission special concerto pieces to Japanese composers. They will hold Delegate Competition this year that corresponds to the Chopin International Piano Competition in Warsaw next year. (Applicants of Delegate competition must also apply to the preliminary round of Chopin Competition in Warsaw).

-Next meeting

International Federation of Piano Societies (IFPS) will be held annually in each member's country by turns. Next meeting will be held in in Tianjin (2015) in conjunction with Amateur Piano Competition. Ms. Jin Kaihua (Vice President, Tianjin Piano Professional Council) will be the host.

International Federation of Piano Societies (IFPS) launched!

On November 13th-14th, the preliminary meeting of piano societies was held in Hong Kong, having 25 attendees representing 16 piano societies and institutions in 9 countries, including two guests from Canada. PTNA took initiatives to launch this network to connect individual association / group of piano teachers or music institutions mainly in Asia for mutual communication. After 2 days of exchanges and discussions, we came to conclusion that this network will hereafter be called "International Federation of Piano Societies" (IFPS), that aims at exchanging information for the advancement of piano teaching in each country. Meetings will be held annually. 

At the beginning of the 1st meeting on Nov.13th, Mr. Seikoh Fukuda (CEO of PTNA) gave a greeting speech. He mentioned that all of us learn and perform the common cultural asset, classical music, despite our differences in learning environment, education system, value of music in the society, etc. And he hoped that this meeting would bring us opportunities to know each other, share experiences and knowledge in the long run.

After self-introductions of each member, representatives of piano societies / institutions made brief introduction about their activities, as well as shared their challenges and issues. Here are the summaries (alphabetical order of the countries;

-China, Shanghai
Dr. Tang Zhe from Shanghai (Piano Department of Shanghai Conservatory of Music, Shanghai Piano Society) introduces the Shanghai Piano Festival and e-competition that he established. The e-competition is conducted online (twitter) from preliminary to the semi-final round, and finalists can play live at Shanghai Festival. In the previous session, the number of applicant exceeded 5,000 from everywhere in the world.

-China, Tianjin
Ms. Jin Kaihua (Vice President, Tianjin Piano Professional Council) serves as the president of the artist group at Tianjin Cultural Center to promote Chinese culture to the world. She addressed the next Amateur Piano Competition will be held in Tianjin in 2015. The 3rd IFPS meeting will be held in conjunction of this competition. 

-Hong Kong
From Hong Kong, Prof. Gabriel Kwok, the head of piano faculty at HK Academy for Performing Arts, introduced their junior course on Saturdays. This course consists of 1h musicianship and 1h piano lesson, and students can choose orchestral training or chorus as options. There are 90 students in piano course at present.

Ms.Takako Shinohara(Japan/HK), one of PTNA authorized members living in HK, gave presentation about the "piano teaching and learning reform" in terms of good posture, expression of one's own music in the heart, and whole personal development. 

Ms. Ang Hwie Lie from Indonesia (Pertemuan Musik Surabaya) introduces the monthly meeting of piano teachers to discuss, perform the music to learn in depth. (Stravinsky and Schoenberg) There are hundreds of thousands of piano teachers and students in Indonesia, but no national organization of piano teachers existed. 

Mr. Akinori Kato (PTNA, General Manager) introduced PTNA Piano Competition, PTNA Piano STEP, teachers learning program (*"ing program", teachers' passport, etc) and indicated how the association has been developed in the past 45 years. *PTNA "ing program" is a well-balanced study scheme for piano teaches that consists of 4 categories; teaching, performing, writing, and submitting reports. 

Ms Zhang Wennai(International Music Association, President) established China Music Competition in Kobe, Japan. To promote Chinese music, she has already published 6 volumes of sheet music in Japan. She believed that music would connect people as well as help endure the peace.

Prof. Sharavtseren Tserenjigmed is teaching piano at Music and Dance College, Ulaanbaatar (the head of the piano program). He introduced the academic background of the piano faculty, the curriculum of the piano department in details, and expected this network to be the platform of mutual exchanges. 

- Philippines
Mr. Anthony Y. Say introduced The Piano Teachers' Guild of the Philippines, which he serves as president. It was established in 1972 and has been organizing seminars and workshops for piano teachers, competition, festivals, community concerts etc. "Concert at Parks" is broadcasted nationally. Current concern is to raise teaching standard of regional areas to encourage young talents furthermore.

Ms. Julie Tan from Singapore (President, The Singapore Music Teachers' Association) explained the music education in Singapore both in the public and private sector, and emphasized the importance of piano teachers' improvement in the private sector. The Singapore Music Teachers' Association, established in 1966, aims at connecting teachers of all levels and recently started Performers Festival for one of their incentives. In the festival, participants can play in public, obtain hand-written comments from jury, DVD recordings, certificates, and even gold-silver-platinum medals. (recipients of 2 silver medals would obtain scholarship)

Mr. David Wu from LA introduced the activities and state conventions of MTAC (Music Teachers' Association of California), as well as "Teaching on Stage" program where teachers give teaching demonstrations on stage and receive advices from pianists.

-Canada *guest
Dr.Peter Simon (Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, President) explained their comprehensive music learning program and examination curriculum that is widely adopted in Canada and partly in North America. And he also introduced the Glenn Gould School that is exclusively focused on performance training and the new concert hall with world-class fine acoustic. 

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International Federation of Piano Societies (IFPS) will be held annually in each member's country by turns. Representatives of piano societies/associations/institutions, organizers of piano (music) competitions/festivals/events, key figures who intend to form equivalent associations, are eligible to join this federation. Next meeting will be held in Tokyo in 2014 August, followed by Tianjin (2015) and Kobe (2016).

Chinese version of this article is here