Presidents Message, Fall 2017

Happy Fall to my fellow IMTA colleagues!

A tide has turned as does every couple of years with our organization as we honor our outgoing President, and welcome a new. Luckily, our outgoing President, Christina Whitlock can’t go far as we get to keep her on the IMTA Board’s Administrative Committee as Immediate Past President and welcome her onto our Board of Trustees, along with past Presidents Becky Baker, and chair of the trustees, Claudia Bossard.

Christina brought so much to our organization through her bubbly spirit, can-do attitude, and the gift of communication. She certainly is making my job easier! We honored her with a beautiful black desk clock at the 2017 annual meeting at the conference. To see photos and more highlights from the conference, click here.

IMTA was proud to offer free attendance to collegiate students at our conference this year which resulted in around 21 collegiate attendees!  Let’s continue to keep the future of our profession alive, fresh, and exciting for the next generation. If there’s anyone you know who is curious about teaching or just starting out as a music educator, do all you can to encourage and support them!

I promise to do my best to bring all that I have to IMTA over the next two years. I am looking forward to growing with you professionally and finding ways we can better serve you, our members. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you ever have any needs or concerns.

Amy Chaplin
IMTA President

Final President’s Message

Need a recipe for disbelief?  Take two years, add the blink of an eye, and you may end up with an IMTA State Presidency that is almost over.

The opportunity to serve a group of educators like ours has meant many things to me.  Today, in reflection, I am simply humbled by the opportunities afforded me in this role.

Have you ever stopped to think about the quality individuals our profession attracts?  I’m sure we can all name a few childhood teachers who had lasting impacts on our lives, but I’m even more blown away when I consider how many truly extraordinary colleagues I know with ties to IMTA/MTNA.

The teachers I’ve had the privilege of knowing here in Indiana (and beyond) are driven, charismatic, wildly-talented human beings, who, no matter what struggles life has thrown at them, have the remarkable ability to get things done.  We persevere, we inspire, and – most of the time – we even manage to tell a few jokes and keep smiles on our faces. 🙂

This year, I’ve had the pleasure of working with four of these determined individuals on our 2017 State Conference Planning Committee.  At any given moment, you could never imagine how many emails are flying between myself, our Conference Co-Chairs (Phoenix Park-Kim and Daniel Lin), Conference Liaison (D.J. Smith), and President-Elect (Amy Chaplin).  The variety of real-life obligations and outside distractions facing each individual on this committee is so overwhelming, it’s nearly comical. However, true to form, we’re making it happen in a BIG way.

With that, I am excited to tell you we are in the final stages of planning the 2017 IMTA State Conference, to be held September 29th-30th at Indiana Wesleyan University.

The Conference Committee is ecstatic to reveal the fruits of our labor to you!  The conference schedule is bursting with innovative session topics, and I hope you’ve taken note of Kevin Olson as the featured pedagogy clinician, as well as former Van Cliburn medalist, Aviram Reichert, as our featured artist.  I am also looking forward to introducing members of the IWU Percussion Ensemble to IMTA, as they will be debuting an original composition by our 2017 Commissioned Composer, Dr. Marc Wooldridge.

Please do not miss the opportunity to enjoy the company of your fellow teachers on the beautiful campus of Indiana Wesleyan University.  The program promises something for everyone (including the ridiculous amount of tears I will shed when I “pass the gavel” of the IMTA Presidency to the very-competent Amy Chaplin!).

Please accept my most sincere thanks for the support I’ve received in this role.

Cheers to the beginning of another fall semester!

 

Christina Whitlock, IMTA President

 

President’s Message: “Spring into Action”

 

I know many of you, like me, welcome spring with open arms.  Despite the end-of-semester panics over wrapping up another year’s work, the promise of sunshine and a change of pace are often enough to put at least a little more “oomph” in our step!

My very favorite presidential responsibility is representing Indiana at the MTNA National Conference.  I continue to find myself overwhelmingly proud of the work we do here.  This, of course, is a direct result of the passion and commitment of our IMTA members.

On the topic of passion and commitment:  as you likely know, the need to educate others about the importance of the arts has never been more urgent.  I wish I could adequately describe what it felt like to be at the MTNA National Conference just days after President Trump released his budget proposal, which suggests eliminating all funds for the NEA and the NEH.

As we all know, the study of music – for its own sake – is beneficial, even fundamental, to our existence.  However, in light of an administration claiming to be focused on economic growth and job development, it can be useful for us to remind our elected officials – and peers – of the following points:

  • The arts are heavy contributors to all aspects of industry (businesses, employers, and consumers)
  • The arts are a driving force of tourism (studies show arts patrons stay longer and spend more when traveling)
  • Creativity is being touted as one of the single most important qualities 21st-century employers are looking for in new hires
  • Arts industries bring in an international trade surplus each year

Supporting statistics for these, and other valid points can be found here.

I hope you will carefully consider – even in the midst of spring semester chaos – contacting your elected officials and urging them to continue full funding to the NEA and the NEH.  You can find your House reps here and your Senate reps here.

There’s never been a better time to let your voice be heard!  A phone call or email to your government representatives takes mere minutes (seconds, even!), but the impact of our efforts – together – can help ensure the flourishing of our craft for a great many years to come.

After all, if we do not advocate for the arts, who do we expect to do so?

President’s Message, Fall 2016 – Donuts, Fashion Choices, and Membership Benefits

Donuts, Fashion Choices, and Membership Benefits

christina headshotA new donut shop recently opened up near our home.  Early one Saturday, I decided to throw my shoes on, sneak out, and surprise my family with morning treats.  As I was making my purchase, the man behind the counter said, “I see you’re a teacher.  You get 10% off every day!”  I was a bit confused, trying to decide how the man figured out my occupation, when he pointed to my t-shirt.  I was wearing our IMTA t-shirt, offered at last year’s State Conference in Vincennes!  I thanked him, collected our goodies, and left.  On the drive back home, I smiled at my forty-nine cent savings, but I quickly began to wonder how many of us are missing out on valuable benefits from our IMTA/MTNA memberships?

The Members-Only section on the MTNA website lists a very impressive summation of corporate sponsorships secured by our organization, and these are not to be missed!  However, I would also argue many of us are missing benefits that can’t be measured in dollar signs.

For example, we just wrapped up our 2016 State Conference, and it was truly an event to remember!  Goshen College proved to be an incredible host, with top-notch facilities and featured presentations by incredible artists.  Highlights included:Continue reading

President’s Message, Summer 2016

christina headshotWhew!  Congratulations to each of you as we collectively celebrate the wrap of another successful Spring semester!

As musicians, we have an uncanny ability to take these next few months (meant, for many, to be full of rest and relaxation) and turn them into some of our fastest-paced weeks of the year.  Whether you are traveling, running summer camps, or simply maintaining status-quo, I do hope you will find opportunities to renew your spirit and get inspired for the start of a new school year (is it too soon to mention that?).

Many of you will be participating in workshops and running innovative summer programs.  Please consider taking photos of you with your fellow IMTA members at these events, and send them to me at cwpiano@comcast.net.  We would love to share some of your summer activities on the IMTA Facebook page.

As for me, my summer plans revolve around the birth of a new baby, coming in July.  There’s a good chance you’ll get a glimpse of the little lady at our 2016 State Conference!  Be sure to mark your calendars for what promises to be a terrific event:  September 30th – October 1st at Goshen College.

Here’s to sunshine, serenity, and your own summer lifestyle!

 

Christina Whitlock,
IMTA President

President’s Message, Spring 2016

Welcome to the Spring Semester, IMTA Members!christina headshot

Just as we count on the coming months to deliver us warmer temperatures and pleasant flowers, we also find this time of year heavy with expectations to bring our students’ efforts to fruition via countless festivals, competitions, and year-end performances. Whatever your personal teaching situation looks like, I wish you a successful spring term, complete with students who memorize their pieces ahead of deadline, travel plans unencumbered by weather conditions, and plenty of anxiety coping techniques! J

Like a teacher, constantly focused on equipping students with the most effective skills, I find myself considering how we, as an organization, can have a greater impact on music education and advocacy at the local, state, and national levels. Rest assured, your IMTA Board of Directors is a dynamic group of individuals who are volunteering their time to enhance the benefits of this fine organization.

In the coming months, I hope you will notice a positive difference in the communication you receive as an IMTA member, as well as enhanced features of our organization. If you see a need we could help fulfill, please contact me at your earliest convenience (cwpiano@comcast.net).

Wishing you the least-harried spring semester yet!

 

Christina L. Whitlock, M.M., N.C.T.M.
IMTA State President

President’s Message, Fall 2015

christina headshotFall greetings to you!

Whether you are an independent teacher or a university faculty member, one thing is sure:  the August/September rush is intense!   As educators, this time of year presents itself as an annual whirlwind of new schedules, fresh ideas, changing student rosters, and an endless list of things we would do “if we had the time”.

Needs trump wants (after all, isn’t that what being an adult is all about?), yet it’s easy to let deadlines and expectations pull our focus from the things that nourish us the most.

At the annual IMTA membership meeting last month, I referenced this important truth:  We are better together.  Whether it’s “talking shop” at a state or national conference, attending a local association meeting, or simply reading your American Music Teacher journal, I think we can all agree:  We are better together.  Through the opportunities provided by IMTA, we learn about new materials, explore alternative learning models, empathize with one another, build professional standards, and challenge one another.  Each event leads me to find a stronger sense of self:  what I believe musically, who I wish to be professionally, and how our purpose fits into this crazy world.  I hope you do not overlook this important benefit of membership.

Since I mentioned being together, it is important to give our 2015 State Conference committee at Vincennes University another round of applause!  Matthew Latta, Lisa Miller, and Claudia Bossard worked together like a well-oiled machine to put on an innovative conference, full of many IMTA firsts.  Our traditional conference events featured Logan Skelton, Diane Hidy, and Marietta Simpson (in addition to seventeen other presenters!).  Additionally, this year’s committee organized new events, like the high school Festival Chorus with Greg Gilpin, and countless assiduous details.  I cannot wait to sport my IMTA State Conference t-shirt around town!

This early-semester rush will soon lead to the bustling holiday season, which will transition into the cold winter slump, culminating in the frenzy of spring.  I hope you will continue stay in close contact with your IMTA colleagues as your to-do lists continue to grow.  After all, we are better together.

Looking forward to an exhilarating two years of being President,

 

Christina L. Whitlock

President’s Message, Spring 2011

Greetings Colleagues,

Thanks go to Julianne Miranda, our new IMT Newsletter Editor, for initiating our foray into the first edition of the Indiana Music Teacher online!  You may remember that Julianne led us in the development of our website and she has done it again with our newsletter.  Not only was Julianne a president of IMTA from 2001 to 2004, but she has continued to play a large role in the technology area for IMTA and is returning as chair of Technology Development – I am excited to see what she has in store for our next conference.  Please give a big THANK YOU to Julianne for her continued support of IMTA.

The 2010 Conference was a big success at Wabash College and a warm thank you goes to Cheryl Everett and her committee members for all of their work.  In response to the previous year’s survey, two sessions were presented concurrently during each hour of the conference.  The response for this was positive and next conference will continue with this.  The 2011 Conference Session Call will go online in the next few weeks, so please submit your ideas.Continue reading

President’s Message, Fall 2010

Dear IMTA Members,

I am always thinking of ways to guide my students to learn music musically. How can I assist them to develop practicing habits for a musical performance? What is the very first  practicing habit my students need to learn to make music musical? Is it posture, hand position, rhythmic stability, note and finger accuracy, pattern recognition, phrasing, or musical  analysis? What are the other important practicing habits that need to become second nature during my students’ practicing?

As a young pianist prior to college, my practicing habit was to learn notes, rhythms and fingerings. As soon as those were established I went on to “making music.” Upon entering college, my piano professor told me to make music the first time I  looked at a piece of music. I thought he was kidding – I always learn notes, rhythms and fingerings before I make music. Lesson by lesson, he guided me to study and hear a score before touching the piano – to analyze a score musically and theoretically. He taught me to ask questions of the score. What is the meter at the beginning, the middle and the end, what are the  large parts, where are the repetitions, the variations and the contrasts, where is the climax, what moods are conveyed, and is this phrase a question or an answer? From there he  encouraged me to carefully practice the score by including accurate readings of the notes, rhythms and fingerings, while making beautiful phrase shapes, interesting colors, rhythmic  and metric vitality, and architectural sense of the piece.Continue reading

President’s Message, Spring 2010

Hello to my fellow members of IMTA!

This is a new adventure for me at the helm of our organization and a big thank you goes to Janet Piechocinski for making the transition seamless for me.  I hope to fill in the big shoes left from Janet and previous IMTA Presidents including Lori Rhoden, Julianne Miranda, Karen Thickstun and Joyanne Outland.

We have enjoyed a wonderful tradition of Conferences – the fabulous 2009 IMTA Conference we experienced at Taylor University.  A warm appreciation goes to Leon Harshenin and his committee members for organizing the concerts and interesting sessions. The 2010 IMTA Conference was held October 8-9, 2010, at Wabash College in Crawfordsville.  Special thanks to Cheryl Everett who chaired this conference.  Look for more information on our website about the 2011 conference to be held on the campus of Indiana University.Continue reading