Loading Events


NVMTA presents…. Ruta Starke

The Importance of Short Exercises in Mastering the Elements of Piano Technique

This lecture will focus on such elements of piano technique as scales, trills, arpeggios, double notes, chords, jumps and leaps and more as well as short exercises of Carl Czerny , Heinrich Neuhaus, Olga and Leon Conus, Charles Louis Hanon, Vasily Safonov and Joseph Lhevinne.  It will conclude with practical demonstration of F. Chopin’s Study Op. 10, No. 9 accompanied with short exercises suggested for practicing this study.

In this webinar, your ideas about practicing will be challenged. I will point out common mistakes we make as teachers because we care too much, prioritize our own knowledge, or don’t feel confident in ourselves. You’ll leave the session with a new perspective for confident teaching and better music-making, ready to make a positive and long-lasting impact.


Ruta Smedina-Starke is an adjunct piano faculty member at Virginia Commonwealth University Department of Music. She is a native of Latvia where she studied the piano at Jelgava City Music College. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English degree from the University of Riga, Latvia and a Master of Music in Piano Performance degree from VCU. Her main teachers are Larisa Olshtinskaya, Dr. Sonia Vlahcevic and Dr. Dmitri Steinberg. She has participated in masterclasses led by Jon Nakamatsu, Seymour Bernstein and Sir Stephen Hough.

Smedina-Starke is a member of Pi Kappa Lambda. She is a Nationally Certified Teacher of Music and the recipient of the Jordan Kitt’s Music 2006 Educator Grant and RMTA Teacher of the Year Awards for 2014 and 2018 and 2022.
Smedina-Starke has been an adjunct piano faculty member at Christopher Newport University. She also has a private piano studio where she works with talented young pianists who are amongst the winners of local and state piano competitions.
Smedina-Starke has given many solo piano recitals as well as lecture-recitals at VCU, Richmond Public Library, for the MCV Department of Gastroenterology, as well as Richmond Symphony School of Music. The titles of her lecture- recitals from 2006-2017 are the following : “Carl Maria von Weber and the Konzertstűck for the Piano Op. 79”, “Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky and The Seasons for the Piano Op. 37b” , “Robert Schumann: Scenes from Childhood Op. 15” and “Maurice Ravel: Mother Goose Suite”.
In 2015 and 2017 she presented lecture-workshops at the VCU Global Summer Institute of Music, as well as VCU Piano Fest. She has been the featured clinician at the WVMTA and VMTA conferences of 2016 and WVMTA and VMTA virtual conferences of 2020. In July of 2023 she will present a lecture piano recital about Latvian composer’s Peteris Vasks composition “In Memoriam” at CMS International Conference in Riga Conservatory.