After almost thirty years of lecturing at a university, public speaking and presentations have become second nature, especially in connection with talking about my own music and composing in general.  Over the years I have given many talks on operas for the Kingston Opera Guild and pre-concert chats at Queen's University concerts and for the Kingston Symphony.  When I am teaching a class I usually avoid powerpoint support as I find it better to command the attention of the room by speaking without lecture notes, writing on the white board and playing musical examples at the piano as often as possible.  If I am teaching a harmony class, then chances are the students are going to be singing in four-part harmony.  However, for presentations at conferences, I do like to incorporate powerpoint slides and pre-recorded examples to better articulate the concepts and this also makes it very easy to repeat the presentation again.

The photos on the left are taken from a recent presentation made to the Ottawa Branch of the Ontario Registered Music Teachers' Association in 2014.  Entitled, The Art of Assessment: A Workshop in Adjudication for Piano Teachers, this session began with a quick summary of the important aspects that I focus on when adjudicating at music festivals (with a few funny stories) followed by the performances of five young pianists playing a wide range of repertoire (from Beginner to Diploma Levels).  Everyone was given a handout of all the music that was played that morning and ahead of time, five piano teachers had agreed to provide their own public adjudication.  My task was to assess the adjudicator's performance.  The piano teachers who volunteered deserved full credit for bravery, knowledge and eagerness.  It is always hard to perform before one's peers and the exchange of information and ideas was immediate and tangible.  Amy Boyes deserves full credit for designing the workshop and it is one I'd love to try again sometime. 


Provided below is a list of some of my recent presentation topics and the organizations where they have been given:

Piano Teaching Tricks I have Learned Over the Years [Description: John Burge had some fine piano teachers growing up in Calgary, Alberta and later at the University of Toronto.  Even more importantly, he observed some great teachers working with his son in both a private studio settings and as a master class participant.  In a lively presentation, John shares and demonstrates the best of these memories at the piano.  While the focus will be on teaching the piano, musical pedagogy is sufficiently expansive that all music teachers will find resonance in the ideas presented.]

  • Piano Pedagogy Class at the School of Music, Queen's University, Kingston, ON, October 8, 2014.
  • Alberta Piano Teachers' Association Annual Conference, Red Deer, AB, September 26, 2014
  • Ontario Registered Music Teachers' Annual Conference, Toronto, ON, July 28, 2014
  • Summer Sizzle Piano Camp for teachers and students, Mount Forest, ON, July 22, 2013.

Ten Approaches to Creativity–A Canadian Composer Works with a Snowdrift [Description: In 2012 John Burge was invited by the Queen's University Alma Mater Society to present that year's LAST LECTURE ON EARTH in which a professor gives a single talk on any topic that truly matters to them.  Having spent most of his life figuring out how to be creative and how to inspire his own students to pursue their own source of inspiration, "Creativity" seemed an ideal springboard.  To personalize the talk, all of the points of discussion find resonance in short excerpts from one of his short orchestral composition entitled, Snowdrift.]

  • Royal Conservatory of Music Summer Summit at Mount Royal University, Calgary, AB, August 27, 2017.
  • Artists in the Community Class, Faculty of Education, Queen's University, Kingston, ON, January 25, 2015.
  • Chad Valley Summer Program for gifted high school students, Queen's University, Kingston, ON, July 21, 2014.
  • Queen's University Innovation Summer Program, Kingston, ON, May 26, 2014.
  • Special Lecture at the Faculty of Music, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, November 17, 2013.
  • Special Lecture at the School of Music, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, October 8, 2013.
  • Alma Mater Society Event, Queen's University, Kingston, ON, March 13, 2013