019: Integrated Piano Teaching with Dr. May Tsao-Lim

019: Integrated Piano Teaching with Dr. May Tsao-Lim

In this episode, we delve into the world of integrated piano teaching with Dr. May Tsao-Lim, a distinguished Professor of Piano at Henderson State University. With nearly four decades of experience teaching students of all ages, Dr. Lim brings a wealth of knowledge in piano pedagogy, adaptive teaching, and efficient practicing. Join us as we explore Dr. Lim’s philosophy of fostering independent learners through a comprehensive approach that intertwines theory, aural skills, and practical application. From discussing concept-based and repertoire-based teaching strategies to providing hands-on examples and advice, this episode offers invaluable insights for piano teachers aiming to enhance their instructional methods and student engagement.

  • Dr. May Lim shares a brief overview of her background and her extensive teaching experience.
  • She explains integrated piano teaching as correlating theory and aural skills with piano lessons.
  • The two approaches of integrated piano teaching: concept-based and repertoire-based teaching.
  • Examples and activities of concept-based teaching.
  • Incorporating composition projects and how this test students’ understanding of concepts and skills.
  • The importance of active learning through writing and creating music, enhancing overall musical understanding.
  • Some examples of the repertoire-based approach.
  • May highlights some key concepts to reinforce.
  • She demonstrates how to integrate theory, technique, and improvisation into teaching.
  • Teaching tips for teachers to develop their own techniques to expand their teaching repertoire.
  • Advice for teachers feeling overwhelmed by the repertoire-based approach.

Links Mentioned

Today’s Guest

May Tsao-Lim, Professor of Piano at Henderson State University in Arkansas, coordinates the group piano curriculum as well as teaches applied piano and piano pedagogy. Prior to joining Henderson State University, Dr. Lim taught at Iowa State University and University College Sedaya International in Malaysia.) Besides college-level instruction, she has taught students of all ages for almost 40 years. Her primary pedagogical foci include integrated teaching, adaptive teaching, effective learning, and efficient practicing.

As an active chamber pianist, Dr. Lim often collaborates with faculty, guest artists, and principal members of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra. Dr. Lim earned her B.M. in Piano Performance with highest honors and two Master’s degrees at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She completed her Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Piano Performance and Piano Pedagogy at the University of Oklahoma.

About Rachel Ehring

Dr. Rachel Ehring is a pianist, teacher, music administrator, and lover of piano teaching gadgets. She holds a DMA in Collaborative Piano from the University of Colorado Boulder and a MM in Accompanying from the University of Kansas. She currently serves as Director at St. John’s Conservatory of the Arts in Orange County, CA. Previously, she held positions at Concordia University Irvine and Henderson State University. Rachel is passionate about empowering music teachers to create engaging and exciting lessons for students of all ages. When she isn’t playing the piano, you might find Rachel reading books with her son or walking her beagle Frieda.


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