Conservatory Canada, based in London, Ontario, is a music examination board that was created in 1997 through the merger of the Western Ontario Conservatory of Music and the Western Board of Music (itself established in 1934 in Alberta to serve all of western Canada) Conservatory Canada now works with teachers and students throughout Canada and also in Kingston, Jamaica!
Conservatory Canada had already used some Microjazz pieces in its piano syllabus, with considerable success. When American Popular Piano came out, it seemed ideal for the new Contemporary Idioms syllabus, which contains an improvisation element. This tour gave me an opportunity to present the American Popular Piano repertoire but also to demonstrate how the Improvisation Etudes, Skills and Technic components of the course can be used to build confidence in terms of improvisation, ear-training and piano technique.
I toured with the Executive Director of Conservatory Canada, Victoria Warwick, who was demonstrating the other publications connected with the Contemporary Idioms syllabus – Hal Leonard books of popular songs, a new handbook for teachers and contemporary Canadian repertoire.
The presentations were lively and entertaining, with plenty of audience participation. Many of the teachers and students who came were interested in converting to the new syllabus. One comment from a participating dealer:
Thank you again for coming to Ottawa to give the workshop, I think it was a great success and everyone really enjoyed it - and are now hooked - as are we!
The places visited were:
Vancouver, British Columbia