2015 ASTA Conference Kicks off with 'Piano Guys' Cellist

March 19, 2015, 10:37 AM · SALT LAKE CITY — "You have more influence, at a deeper level, than any other teachers."

That was just one of the inspiring things that Tim Lautzenheiser said in a humorous and inspiring keynote address at the 2015 American String Teachers Association convention's opening ceremony, which also included a surprise performance by Piano Guys cellist Steven Sharp Nelson.

Steven Sharp Nelson
Cellist Steven Sharp Nelson with American Heritage Lyceum Philharmonic trombonist, Ben, and violinist, Julia.

The convention will continue in Salt Lake City through Saturday.

To elementary school music teachers, he said, "You are the most important teachers in our profession, if you don't do it, none of us will get to do it!"

Music teachers, he said, are first musicians. When other teachers begin school, often, the music teachers have been there already for an hour an a half, teaching orchestras. When other teachers go on vacations for spring break, music teachers are taking 70 middle schoolers on a special trip. When other teachers take a break from their discipline, music teachers spend their spare time practicing and going to continuing education events like the ASTA convention!

We also enjoyed watching a great performance by the the youth orchestra, American Heritage Lyceum Philharmonic, which played a special piece by Julie Lyonn Lieberman, with many references to the music all students play along the way: Twinkle, Kreutzer, Vivaldi a minor, Bach minuets and more. Two children behind me were delighted, singing along and brightening every time they recognized something!

And as for the surprise appearance by cellist Steven Sharp Nelson, known as the cellist in The Piano Guys, here it is! He kindly gave me permission to post a video of the performance. Here, he joins the youth orchestra, American Heritage Lyceum Philharmonic, conducted by Kayston Brown, to perform "The Five Secrets of Beethoven."

Steven Sharp Nelson also gave a short and moving speech to the teachers assembled at the convention, talking about the difference music education made in his life. Watch it if you need some inspiration!

Keep following Violinist.com, here on the website and on our Twitter account (@violinist), for coverage of #ASTA2015.

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