Can You Hear Me? – Navigating from Tumult to Triumph in the Virtual Studio

Ms. Barr, like so many other studio teachers, eschewed the idea of virtual teaching until March, 2020, when she realized that if her students were going to receive lessons, she would have to figure out how to teach remotely.  Not only to teach remotely, but to capture the essence of her teaching in this new medium, after 45 years of in-person teaching.  In this presentation, Ms. Barr will share the ways in which she reinvented her teaching.  These include how she maintained her core teaching values online, utilized best virtual practices and maintained positive growth in the studio.  She will include practical and philosophical tips and share her thoughts on what we have left behind and what we have gained.  Please note that many of you are likely more technologically adept than this presenter!  


Ms. Barr owns and operates an independent studio in Hanover, Massachusetts, where she teaches, currently virtually, forty students of all ages and levels. Her teaching specializations include middle school, high school and avocational adult students. For 24 years, she maintained a multi-teacher studio in Brookline, Mass. She holds the Music Teachers National Association National Certificate in piano.  In 2006, she originated  the Midsummer Adult Piano Retreat, a week-long retreat for adult avocational students and continues to serve as a faculty member for this retreat every summer at Williams College in the Berkshire region of Massachusetts.  She’s also taught in similar retreats in the Czech Republic and in South Florida.  This past summer, MAPR Reimagined was presented wholly online to extremely positive reviews. Ms. Barr holds the Master of Music degree in Piano Performance from Boston University and the Bachelor of Science Degree in Music Education from University of Maine in Orono.  

Ms. Barr is proud to have created, with the support of Massachusetts Music Teachers Association, MMTA’s Music Connect Program, which provides full private lesson scholarships to financially-compromised students of MMTA teachers.  Her “Music for Good” social action curriculum component encourages her piano students to think of ways to use their music to make the world a better place. 

An inveterate writer and commentator, Ms. Barr’s article, “Wild Rider in a Strange Land – Sustaining Relevance in the Independent Studio,” appeared in the April/May 2016 issue of American Music Teacher.  “Reversing the Pyramid — Maintaining High School Students in the Independent Studio,” was named Article of the Year for the same publication.  She also writes a weekly “Creative Practicing” blog for her website  Ms. Barr serves as a collaborative pianist, lecturer, adjudicator and choral pianist in the Boston area and throughout New England.

Ms. Barr is thrilled to serve as an international musical ambassador for American Voices YES Academy, where she teaches piano students in Beirut, Lebanon, every summer. American Voices provides positive learning and performance opportunities in music, theater and dance to students in recently peaceful areas.  Students in Ms. Barr’s program range in age from seven years old to young adult and come from Lebanon, Syria and Pakistan, among other places.  She profusely thanks Dr. Scott Donald, who, during his presentation at the 2018 MTNA National Conference in Orlando, inspired her to inquire about this amazing program.

Her professional appointments include State President for both the Maine and Massachusetts Music Teacher