Butler University students reflect on National Conference experience

This past March, members of the Butler MTNA Collegiate Chapter attended and presented at the MTNA National Conference in Chicago, thanks in large part to the generous support of the Indiana Music Teachers Association.  After writing proposals, learning that one was accepted out of over twenty applications, preparing and rehearsing for months, six of our members were able to present a session entitled, Creating a Musical Wonderland: Teaching Composition Through Storytelling.  Preparing a session and attending the conference was a fantastic experience for all of us. We were able to network with other music teachers, learn about new teaching products, and discover new ways to engage our students.  You can read more about each member’s experience below.
Over the four days at the MTNA conference, I attended numerous presentations directly applicable to my own lesson teaching, in addition to the presentation that our chapter gave. Our presentation was very well received and will hopefully inspire other teachers to incorporate composition and improvisation into their lessons. Some of the most beneficial presentations I attended were teaching master classes given by Jane McGrath and Marvin Blickenstaff, in which they taught children in a lesson setting in front of the audience. Watching these two master teachers provided me with practical strategies and points of view that I look forward to implementing in my lessons. I also attended many of the Young Professionals Track presentations, which were relevant to my plans to be an independent piano teacher. I feel the trip was highly beneficial, both because of the presentations I attended and the presentation I participated in. -Scott Keegan, 2nd year Masters Student in Composition
My experience of this year’s MTNA conference can be depicted as the commercial image – the Energizer bunny.  The conference is like the super charger that fills the energy to keep me going for a long time.  It’s funny that even though traveling, attending many sessions, visiting the exhibitor’s booths, and meeting lots of new people can be physically taxing, the heart and the soul to create beautiful music is renewed in the process.  No matter how many times I have attended the conference, there is always something new to be experienced.  The best thing in the conference, of course was our presentation.  It’s definitely rewarding to finally taste the fruits of many months’ hard works.  We cannot achieve this without the support of our teachers, friends, and the generous funding of IMTA.  Thank you. -Karen Lien, 2nd year Masters Student in Piano Pedagogy
The 2014 MTNA Conference was an enriching experience for me as a performer and a presenter. I have gained many creative and motivational tools to help my performance as well as teaching skills. The overall enthusiasm that the presenters and participants delivered was phenomenal. It was a wonderful opportunity to present and share my passion at the national level. It will serve to continually influence my professional and educational careers. -Emily Yoo, Freshman, Composition
The 2014 MTNA National Conference was packed with influential presentations and insightful conversations with other musicians and teachers. I especially enjoyed attending the Neil A. Kjos Music Company Exhibitor Showcase, which focused on games to make music theory more fun for our students. I also enjoyed talking to the exhibitors and learning more about the vast number of pedagogical books that exist. As a major Francophile, I was very excited to speak to a representative of Editions Henry Lemoine and to learn about some of the major method books that are still used in France today. Perhaps the most rewarding part of the conference was presenting with the Butler University MTNA Collegiate Chapter on teaching composition through storytelling. After several months of working with our young students on compositional activities and working with each other to create an effective presentation, I was very pleased to finally see our hard work come together. Even after the conference and our presentation, many of my students have been more enthusiastic about their lessons and their creative composition assignments, and a few of them still ask me for a new piece to write each week, whether or not I have included one in their lesson plan. -Cara Haxo, 1st year Masters Student in Composition
Thanks to IMTA’s generosity, this was my second year attending and first time presenting a session at the MTNA National Conference. The whole experience was exhilarating–from writing the proposal-to-present, to learning we were chosen, to doing all the hard work, to rehearsing late into the night, and to finally giving the presentation! On top of all the excitement of preparing a session, I was fortunate enough to be able to attend four days of the conference and take in all that I could.  I made connections with teachers from Canada, Nebraska and Wisconsin, and was an active participant in the Collegiate Chapters Forum.  I attended numerous sessions on opening a private studio and teaching group Recreational Music Making Classes, as well as teaching demonstrations by master teachers such as Jane Bastien, Marvin Blickenstaff and Jane Magrath. I also attended exhibitor showcases and was fortunate enough to meet one of my favorite composers from childhood, Martha Mier. I am so grateful to IMTA for supporting me, and the rest of our chapter, and allowing us to experience a truly unforgettable MTNA National Conference. -Erin Peyer, 2nd year Masters Student in Piano Pedagogy

Posted in Collegiate Chapters, Conference.