Teachers/Speakers


Randall Faber performs extensively as a classical pianist and lectures on musical artistry and talent development around the world. His performances have aired on television and public radio. He was a master teacher for the World Piano Pedagogy Conference, the Music Teachers National Association Conference, and the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy, and has presented as guest artist at universities throughout North America and Asia. Randall holds three degrees from the University of Michigan and a Ph.D. in education and human development from Vanderbilt University. Together with his wife Nancy Faber, has authored over 200 publications, including the bestselling Piano Adventures® method and the PreTime® to BigTime® Piano Supplementary Library. 


Lauren Julius Harris is a Chicago native and was educated in its public schools. His belief that music matters, the topic of his presentation for this program, grows out of a love for music first nurtured by his parents, his best teachers. Thanks to them, he had the good fortune to begin learning about and enjoying music and other art forms while still a child, starting with piano lessons on his mother’s Baldwin grand. These were precious gifts and enriched his life. He also was lucky to attend public schools at a time when the arts were deemed worthy of support, and to grow up in Chicago, with its great orchestra, architecture, museums, festivals, and other cultural and educational programs and institutions. After high school, where he played cello in the orchestra, he enrolled at the University of Illinois to study psychology. Most of his coursework was at its main campus in the twin cities of Champaign and Urbana, the rest at its Chicago campus on Navy Pier. That gave him the chance to work as an usher for the Chicago Symphony at $5/concert. The "Pier" is now an amusement park, and the site of his classes is now a Ferris wheel. At Urbana-Champaign, a course in child psychology taught by a post-doc from the Institute of Child Development at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis led to graduate study in child psychology. There, along with coursework and research, he spent many hours watching small children in the Laboratory Preschool. In winter, he helped them put on and take off their coats, leggings, sweaters, scarves, boots, mittens, earmuffs, and hats — and learned a lesson never taught in class: before putting on all this stuff, ask them, "Do you have to go?" and if they say no, ask again. At Minnesota, he also studied philosophy of science and took a memorable course on the mind-body problem taught by the philosopher Herbert Feigl and the psychologist Paul Meehl. When not studying, he took advantage of the rich variety of arts in the city, including attendance at concerts by the Minneapolis Symphony (now the Minnesota Symphony), which, conveniently, were held in an auditorium on campus. They were wonderful. In the long winter, he also played games of broom hockey. They were awful.

In 1965, he joined the faculty in the Department of Psychology at Michigan State University, where, except for sabbaticals, he's been ever since. He’s a member of the program in Cognitive Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience and teaches courses in developmental psychology, history of psychology, and neuropsychology. His research has ranged from laboratory studies of cognition, emotion, and laterality of function, to studies in the history of psychology and neuroscience. Throughout, he's been fortunate to have outstanding colleagues and students. He's served on the editorial board of Developmental Psychology and the Journal of the History of the Neurosciences, and currently is on the editorial boards of Developmental Neuropsychology, Laterality, and Brain and Cognition. His office radio is always tuned to WKAR-FM, one of the last remaining classical music stations in Michigan. He feels lucky to be at MSU where he can enjoy and learn from the superb musicians in its College of Music, and he attends campus recitals and concerts as often as possible, and encourages his students to do the same.


Deborah Moriarty is professor of piano and chair of the piano area at the Michigan State University College of Music, where she is a recipient of the Distinguished Faculty Award.  A Massachusetts native, she made her debut with the Boston Symphony Orchestra at age 11. She has served on the piano faculty at the New England Conservatory of Music and the University of Lowell. Moriarty attended the Curtis Institute of Music, the Juilliard School, and the New England Conservatory of Music, where she received her Master of Music degree with honors. Major teachers include: Russell Sherman, Theodore Lettvin, and Beveridge Webster. A medal winner in the “Concours Debussy,” she is an active recitalist and soloist with orchestras throughout the eastern United States. She has also performed in Belgium, Japan, Colombia, Mexico, China, Italy, and the former Soviet Union. Moriarty is a founding member of the Fontana Ensemble of Michigan, and as an advocate of new music, has participated in numerous premiere performances including Milton Babbitt’s “Whirled Series” at Merkin Hall in New York City. She has recordings on the Crystal, CRI, Blue Griffin and Centaur labels.


Derek Kealii Polischuk is associate professor of piano and director of piano pedagogy at the Michigan State University College of Music.  Polischuk received the Doctor of Music Arts Degree from the University of Southern California where he studied with Daniel Pollack.  Polischuk has worked extensively with pianists on the Autism Spectrum for ten years, and has published articles on the subject in the MTNA e-Journal and American Music Teacher.  At MSU, Polischuk has been the recipient of the Curricular Service-Learning and Civic Engagement Award and the Teacher-Scholar Award.  In 2013, “Terra Incognita” Polischuk’s recording of Impromptus by Franz Schubert and Thomas Osborne was described in a review as a “thought-provoking mix of sensual pleasure and deep reflection.”


Michael H. Thaut received his Master's and PhD in music from Michigan State University. He is also a graduate of the Mozarteum Music Conservatory in Salzburg/Austria. He has also been a visiting scientist in Neurology at Duesseldorf University Medical School since 1995, and was appointed as visiting professor at Heidelberg University of Applied Sciences in the Dept. of Music Therapy. Thaut is currently with the University of Toronto as professor of music, professor of neuroscience, director of music and health research collaboratory MaHRC, and director of music and health sciences graduate programs.

Dr. Thaut's internationally recognized research focuses on brain function in music, especially time information processing in the brain related to rhythmicity and biomedical applications of music to neurologic rehabilitation of cognitive and motor function. He received the National Research Award in 1993, and the National Service Award in 2001 from the American Music Therapy Association. He has over 120 scientific publications and has authored and co-authored three books. His works have appeared in German, Japanese, Korean, Italian, and Spanish language. Popular TV media and numerous print media have featured his research nationally and internationally.

As a former professional violinist in the classic and folk genre he has recorded several recordings of chamber and folk music in the US and Germany and has toured in Europe extensively with folk bands and chamber groups. He is also the author of a landmark anthology of Northern European and American fiddle music. In 1995 his group Folk Chamber Ensemble played three invited concerts at the Northwest German Summer Music Festival entitled Folk Meets Classic. He continues to perform in small chamber and folk ensembles as time permits.