Butler University students share reflections on the 2012 MTNA Conference

The Butler MTNA Collegiate Chapter attended their second MTNA National Conference this year thanks to the generous support of Indiana Music Teachers Association. At the conference they presented the collegiate session “Getting Started with Online Marketing,” which displayed strategies for online marketing specifically for music teachers. This was the chapter’s second presentation at a national conference, their first being “Grow and Play Together: Preparing Children to be Successful Collaborative Musicians” at the 2011 MTNA National Conference in Milwaukee, WI. The conference was a rich experience for all members of the chapter. You may read some of their personal reflections below:
My favorite part of the MTNA Conference was Pedagogy Saturday. The sessions on teaching artistry to elementary students were incredibly beneficial to me since most of my students are quite young. Also, some sessions under the Professional Studio Institute offered wonderful advice on finding and keeping students, which will be important in the coming year when I start my own studio. The session on the neuroscience of practicing interested me since it is relevant to my plans for graduate school. I would love to see more sessions like this! The collegiate forum focused on ways we can improve MTNA in future years, and one issue that was most discussed was the presence of non-pianists in MTNA and their impact on the organization. This was interested to talk about since we are focusing on recruiting non-pianists in our chapter. Overall, a great conference!
– Lisa Delmedico
Taking part in the MTNA National Conference was a wonderful opportunity. Meeting and learning from fellow music teachers, browsing new and familiar teaching materials in the exhibit hall, and hearing outstanding sessions were just a few of the ways to grow and learn. Amid these experiences, having the opportunity to present was a particular honor. I loved being able to join the “conversation” of music teachers at the conference, and benefitted by the gracious feedback and input of attendees. Overall, what I learned from the conference afforded me valuable insights into teaching, many of which I have already begun to implement in my own instruction!
– Caitlin Foster
The four days we spent in New York City were more amazing than I could have ever hoped they would be. I learned so much from all the sessions I attended. Our chapter attended a diverse range of exciting performances. Personally, I was able to see Chris Thile (mandolin) perform with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra in Carnegie Hall as well as Arturo O’Farrill’s Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra at Birdlands Jazz Club. Both concerts were absolutely spectacular. Although I did not make it to all masterclasses, I was able to see Yoheved Kaplinsky’s masterclass on Tuesday morning. I scribbled notes all over the small program given to me as I entered the room. Everyone could have learned something from her teaching; it was right on the money. The conference was a great opportunity for me to meet other collegiate MTNA members from chapters around the country – I made a lot of new friends! I also networked with numerous collegiate faculty and learned about their school’s degree programs. Lastly, I find MTNA always does a great job of picking keynote speakers, and this year’s certainly did not disappoint. Benjamin Zander spoke with a packed room of music teachers for over an hour on his personal philosophies on music and teaching. It was educational and highly entertaining. Although next year’s conference is even further away, I hope to attend! I am so grateful that our chapter was able to make it to the conference this year; we couldn’t have done it without IMTA!
– Ryan Greene
This year was my second opportunity to attend and present at the MTNA national conference and it was a great learning and growing experience. One of the highlights of the conference was a session Artistry for a Lifetime by Dr. Marianne Bryan. In this session Bryan had surveyed several of her adult students who had taken piano lessons as children then returned to piano lessons as adults. One of the points made that stood out was the adults who came back for lessons wished they would have developed more understanding in areas such as theory or skills such as sight reading, reading lead sheets, pedaling technique, technique in general, and having more opportunities to collaborate. Other sessions that I found particularly helpful were:  Finding and Keeping your Students, Ignorance is Not Bliss Legal Issues for the Independent Teacher, and Financial Success: Taking Control of the Present and Future. From these sessions I gained many new insights about finding students, setting rates, and avoiding legal issues which will be quite helpful as I transition into full time teaching after I graduate this spring.
– Emily Isenberg
The 2012 conference in NY has been my second national conference to attend, and I feel so lucky to be able to present the session for two years in a row as well! Besides all the excitement of the city, which provided extra energy to the conference, lots of sessions from the conference were more impressive than I remembered from the last one. Especially, I’ve got lots of insights about basic technical approaches from Theresa Bogard and Marvin Blickenstaff. While Bogard emphasized how to guide transfer students to a better and healthier way of playing piano, Marvin Blickenstaff focused on a technical training from the lesson one with a 5 years old student. Also the Steinway tour was so memorable to be able for me to see the process from the lumber to the most refined concert piano. Thank you very much for supporting our chapter and for our unforgettable experience of 2012 New York conference.
– Jeeyoon Kim
The 2012 MTNA conference in New York City was a wonderful opportunity for me to grow as a teacher and as a musician, and our chapter was blessed enough to attend the conference with little cost to us. This was possible due to the generosity of other organizations, including IMTA. On pedagogy Saturday, Marianne Bryan shared personal stories of her students and how music has enriched their lives. Her session was touching, and also useful, because she discussed different strategies she has for making music meaningful to each student. She also highlighted some negative experiences students’ had had, so we learned not only what to do, but what not to do. Also on Saturday, Theresa Bogard presented on piano technique. This session was incredible because it was lecture, demonstration and audience involved, and encompassed technique from the very beginning student to the significantly advanced. I enjoyed both of the mentioned sessions as well as the entire conference, and am grateful to have had the experience.
– Catherine Moraga

Posted in Collegiate Chapters, Conference.