-Editor’s note, this post is a series of reflections by the members of the Butler University MTNA Collegiate Chapter
The Butler MTNA Collegiate Chapter attended their third MTNA National Conference this year, thanks in large part to the support of the Indiana Music Teachers Association. For all three members who attended, it was their first time experiencing the national conference. On Pedagogy Saturday, they presented a poster showing the chapter’s activities throughout the previous year. The conference was a fantastic and greatly fulfilling experience for all three members. You can read some of their personal reflections below:
This year’s MTNA National Conference in Anaheim, CA was my first time attending the conference, and my first time in California! I’m still wrapping my head around everything I learned in three short days. I attended many sessions, with topics ranging from recreational music making, to business for young professionals, to multi-sensory practicing. I also attended the Collegiate Chapters Forum Meeting, which was very energizing. It was great to see students, faculty advisors, and local association members come together to discuss ideas for getting more collegiate chapters to the national conference, as well as figuring out how to create lasting relationships between collegiate and local chapters. At the exhibitor showcases and in the exhibit hall, I got lots of great ideas for teaching students using new repertoire and learned ways to include more music making in my lessons. Although all the sessions I attended were fantastic and so educational, the best part of the conference was meeting teachers who are out there doing what they love. They are more than willing to help new teachers, and making those connections was so important and will continue to be invaluable to me as I start my own studio.
I feel very fortunate to have been able to attend the MTNA conference for the first time. It was an amazing experience and I came back with fresh perspectives and whole new ideas that I can’t wait to try with my students. The different presentation topics were as diversified as the background of the presenters – from Classical, Pop, Jazz to Recreational Music Making. What struck me is the high level of devotion each teacher showed. It can be daunting for college students like me to contemplate which path to take after graduation. I feel motivated and reassured that it is all right not knowing all the details about how to start a music studio. I have learned that the “Why-to” question is more important than the “How-to” question. The “know-how” changes daily but the “Why-to” question will always remain the driving force that helps teachers achieve excellence. In addition, the very idea that creativity is not knowing how to do it. I am inspired by Professor Thickstun’s presentation “Lessons Learned from Disney: Entrepreneurism for the Independent Teacher” when she shared ideas about “No Grand Plan”, “Open to options”, “Prepare to be wrong but don’t expect to be” and “Improve on the ideas of others or re-invent.” The conference also provided great opportunities to share and learn from other university students through the University Collegiate Chapter meetings and the poster presentations. I am very grateful for the wonderful learning experiences from the MTNA conference.
I appreciated the opportunity to travel to this year’s MTNA conference in Anaheim. Were it not for the generosity of several organizations including the IMTA, I would not have been able to attend this year’s conference. I thoroughly enjoyed the Pedagogy Saturday sessions in the Jazz/Pop track and found it refreshing to hear stories of classically trained musicians like myself who were able to grow into teaching jazz, popular and other genres of music that today’s students enjoy. I loved how attendees were shown tools to help their students make music on the spot. What enriching experiences these activities will be for my students. I also enjoyed meeting other music teachers from Indiana, Georgia and as far away as Canada who were kind enough to swap stories about teaching music. Everything from the presentations of individual studio teachers to those of other collegiate chapters and even exhibitors included many golden nuggets of information I hope to incorporate into my teaching. I learned memorization strategies and accompanying tips for my young students as well as ways to help teach reading to students with dyslexia. Finally, after hearing stories demonstrating “everything that ever happened almost didn’t,” I will never forget the name Ivan Vaughan and I am thankful that Handel wore clothing with big buttons. To top it all off, we were treated to wonderful performances of new music by some talented artists. Thanks, again, IMTA, for making this trip possible for me.