Andrea McAlister Named Yamaha Master Educator

Oberlin keyboard pedagogy professor among select group chosen in program’s inaugural year.

March 23, 2021

Erich Burnett

teacher working with students at keyboards in a piano pedagogy lab.
Andrea McAlister (left) works with students in the conservatory's piano pedagogy lab, which is outfitted with 12 Yamaha Clavinova stations.
Photo credit: Tanya Rosen-Jones '97

Andrea McAlister.Andrea McAlister, an associate professor of piano pedagogy at Oberlin Conservatory, has been named a Yamaha Master Educator by Yamaha Music U.S.A.

The Yamaha Master Educator Collective consists of 30 teachers—representing K-12 as well as post-secondary education—who offer mentorship, advice, and other guidance to music education teachers everywhere. The program includes specialists in band and orchestra, keyboard pedagogy, and music business and entrepreneurship. Master Educators interact with music teachers in their classrooms, in activities coordinated by state music education associations, and in clinics for educators and students, among other settings.

McAlister is one of only five teachers selected to represent keyboard pedagogy.

Part of the Division of Pedagogy, Advocacy, and Community Engagement (PACE), Oberlin’s piano pedagogy curriculum is available as a minor for students who major in piano performance. McAlister teaches piano pedagogy to conservatory students and class piano to college and conservatory students. She also teaches the course Diversity in Piano Literature, which explores repertoire by composers of diverse cultures, ethnicities, genders, and sexual orientations.

Oberlin's piano pedagogy lab received a complete renovation in 2014. Today it consists of 12 Yamaha Clavinova stations, each one linked to a teacher station at the front of the room. The system allows McAlister to communicate directly with any student—or all of them at once—and to hear any or all of them playing their keyboard.

In addition to her appointment at Oberlin, McAlister is director of digital content for the Frances Clark Center for Keyboard Pedagogy and a senior editor of Piano Magazine. She serves in leadership roles with the Music Teachers National Association, the Group Piano and Piano Pedagogy Forum, and the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy.

“I'm excited to share my research in areas such as neural development, group learning, language, and technology with teachers around the country,” she says. “While I have been able to do so through conferences and journals, the Master Educator program will introduce me to a new group of teachers.

"Excellence in teaching is a lifelong pursuit, and there is always room for advancement—no matter our background, age, and years of experience. This is what makes teaching such a rewarding profession; I am constantly learning and growing so that I can be the best teacher I can be for every student who walks through my door. Through the Master Educator program, I hope to continue my own journey of learning and inspire others to continue on their own paths to success.”

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