Linda Witchie Named 2021 IMTA Teacher of the Year

Linda Larson Witchie, NCTM, with a degree in Piano Performance from the University of Colorado – Boulder and a Masters in Piano Performance from University of Michigan, was President of the South Bend Area Music Teachers Association from 1997-1999 and again in 2016-2018. In 1999, she was honored as “Member of the Year” by SBAMTA.

Throughout her involvement with SBAMTA, Linda has served in various capacities including President, Vice-President, Program Chair, and Treasurer, and most recently as Community Engagement Coordinator to bring music education to the forefront in the greater Michiana area. She created a link with the South Bend Symphony wherein Stickley Piano Competition Winners play in the lobby before concerts, obtained vouchers giving free symphony admission to local students, created a presence at the local Art Beat Festival, and an information booth at the Halloween festivities at the local Zoo. As a program director and advisor, she has brought in multiple grants allowing us to bring in well-known presenters and clinicians such as Randy Faber, Melody Bober, Catherine Rollin, Jane McGrath, Robert Vandall and Marvin Blickenstaff.

Linda was an Adjunct faculty member at IUSB and adjunct lecturer of music at St. Mary’s College and has been instrumental in numerous festivals and recitals. She has been a member of Indiana Music Teachers Association for more than 30 years and served as State Composition Chair of that organization for two years.  Linda is a nationally certified member of Music Teachers National Association, earning her “Permanent Professional” status in October of 2007.  She was also a faculty member of the National Guild of Piano Teachers. Linda piloted new piano teaching materials for Faber & Faber of F.J.H. Publishing for more than twenty years.  She also served as both Consulting Editor and New Publication Evaluator for F.J.H. Publishing from 1992-2003. She has spent the last 25 years either chairing or on the committee for the annual Stickley Piano Competition and has been very active with the Stickley Scholarship Fund since its establishment 28 years ago.

Modest and unassuming, Linda has a private studio that has consistently produced winners and honorable mentions at the annual Stickley Piano Competition every year for the past 20 years! Linda provides a steadying voice of reason, is always quick with helpful information, and is even quicker with a thank you. It is a marvel to see so much energy expended for music education across multiple decades while raising a family of her own. Her colleagues at SBAMTA find it a real pleasure to serve with Linda Witchie in the profession of music teaching.

Nominations Now Being Accepted for 2019 Teacher of the Year

Nominations are now being accepted for the 2019 Indiana MTA Teacher of the Year. This award is given annually at the State Conference and is one of IMTA’s highest honors.

This award recognizes an individual who demonstrates excellence in teaching and service to the music teaching profession and community.  Recipients are nominated by current members (individuals and/or local associations) and selected by the Teacher of the Year Chair and State President.

To see a list of all past recipients as well as details for submission, please click here.


IMTA Teacher of the Year winners at the 2018 State Conference at Sweetwater. From left to right: Lori Rhoden 2010), Margy Roby (2005), Reginald Rodgers (2004), Jim Helton (2016), Euni Rickey (2017), Marylee Morton (2018), Juliana Lockman (2014), Hamilton Tescarollo (2015), Karen Thickstun (2008), Cheryl Everett (1999)~Anonymous IMTA Member who nominated a fellow colleague


Marylee Morton named 2018 IMTA Teacher of the Year

Marylee Morton, an independent piano teacher from Fort Wayne Indiana was named the 2018 IMTA Teacher of the Year at the IMTA State Conference. Morton is a member of the Northeast Indiana Music Teacher’s Association (NIMTA).

2017 recipient Euni Rickey awarding 2018 recipient Marylee Morton

IMTA Teacher of the Year winners from left to right: Lori Rhoden 2010), Margy Roby (2005), Reginald Rodgers (2004), Jim Helton (2016), Euni Rickey (2017), Marylee Morton (2018), Juliana Lockman (2014), Hamilton Tescarollo (2015), Karen Thickstun (2008), Cheryl Everett (1999)


2017 Conference Highlights

Another state conference has come and quickly passed! Indiana’s 2017 Fall State Conference at Indiana Wesleyan was full of our favorite conference events including sessions, featured artists, banquet and membership luncheon. It also hosted a new and exciting format of sessions called lightning sessions where 6 presenters presented a 5-minute “lightning” sessions in one hour slot.
If you were lucky enough to join us or if you had to sit this one out, enjoy these highlights and we’ll look forward to seeing you at the 2018 conference October 5-6, in Fort Wayne at Sweetwater Sound!
Be sure and follow the IMTA Facebook page to keep in touch with the most up-to-date happenings!

Featured Artist and Advanced Masterclass Clinician

Award-winning pianist Aviram Reichert performed a solo recital and presented an advanced piano masterclass. Reichert is a former medalist of the prestigious Van Cliburn International Competition.
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Teacher of the Year Nominations

09.25.2017 update: Submissions for Teacher of the Year are no longer being accepted for 2017.
At the upcoming Indiana state conference, we will be awarding our annual “Teacher of the Year” award – one of IMTA’s highest honors.
This award recognizes an individual who demonstrates excellence in teaching and service to the music teaching profession and community.  Recipients are nominated by current members and are selected by members of the Board of Directors.  Individuals and/or Local Associations may nominate someone for this award.
For more information or to nominate a teacher, please contact Robert Palmer.
The deadline is August 31, 2017.

2015 IMTA Teacher of the Year

It is my great pleasure to present the award for the IMTA ”Teacher of the Year” for 2015.  As it is our long-standing, tradition, during my speech I will keep the identity of the winner in the dark as long as I can.
This year’s IMTA Teacher of the Year is that special combination of a superb pianist, musician, and an inspiring /dedicated teacher.  This person is able to translate the many aspects and details of teaching into language that is understandable to this teacher’s students.  This person’s enthusiasm engages them, captures their imaginations. A giant creator of young musicians.   A person who has the passion and love of music.
As a colleague, this year’s Teacher of the Year is very supportive and generous with time.  “An inspiration to me in my own teaching.  If you need advice to guide you in your responsibility as a teacher, you can come to this person anytime because this person is approachable and so helpful to give you practical and valuable tips in teaching!”  “Kind and thoughtful judge. I really enjoy the comments. My students always enjoy performing for this person, because HE genuinely enjoys hearing them.”
From his students:   ” he was the driving force to transfer the piano art form from a hobby into a professional career.”  Another writes “He’s been a great inspiration to many of us as we’ve grown into our respected professions, and the fruits of his labor prove the level of musicianship he both possess as an individual and earnestly gave to us as his pupils.” “ He always gives his full energy to his students and is generous with his time. I am a much better teacher because of his efforts than I would have been otherwise.
In the midst of his busy schedule in the northeast corner of the state, he finds time to help with their annual AIM festivals and Hoosier auditions!  His masterclasses offers insightful teaching and practice techniques to teachers and students.  He is invaluable at our annual AIM festival, from judging the repertoire of students at all levels, to training college students and young teachers in adjudication skills, to helping set up for the facilities. He organized a monster concert with 32 pianists and two conductors that culminated with three musicians on each of eight Steinway grand pianos as part of a fundraiser to purchase a 9’ Steinway grand piano for the John and Ruth Rhinehart Music Building at IPFW.
He is the Director of Keyboard Studies at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne.  He coordinates the MTNA Young Artist and Chamber Music and is active in the local NIMTA group and contributes greatly to his position at IPFW.  He is a treasure to that community.  It is my honor to announce the Indiana Music Teachers Association Teacher of the Year for 2015– Dr. Hamilton Tescarollo.
2015 teacher of the year

2014 IMTA Teacher of the Year

Congratulations to Juliana Lockman, IMTA’s 2014 Teacher of the year!
Juliana is a highly respected, caring, and talented piano teacher and has done so much promote piano in our region of Indiana.  She has been a tremendous mentor for area teachers, motivating, stimulating, and assisting new members to our piano association, including helping them to become nationally certified.
Juliana is talented, dedicated, responsible, conscientious, organized, energetic, hard-working, and a self-starter.  This individual is extremely dedicated to her students, matching her teaching style to the student’s needs.  She is always learning new ways to keep her students engaged; to make them better musicians.  She attends conferences regularly to keep her teaching fresh and to stay abreast of current teaching theories, always happy to share her findings at association meetings.
Juliana has served as the President of our Local Music Teachers Association twice and Vice President once. She commissioned a piece for the association to perform together and served on the highly respected area Piano Competition Committee and its Scholarship Fund Committee.  She has chaired and co-chaired AIM auditions numerous times and she has chaired the Piano Ensemble Concert twice. When her students had a long drive to South Bend for their National Guild Auditions, she started her own audition center for them in Elkhart.
Her students have been recipients of many awards through the years, most notably in the Stickley Piano Competition and the IMTA Composition Contest.  When one of our association members mentioned that she would like practice tests to help her students prepare for AIM auditions, she created practice tests for all twelve levels and sent them to every AIM teacher!
In addition to her volunteer and teaching responsibilities, she has motivated others with her regular chamber music performances. She has served as IMTA Treasurer for many years.  Juliana can always be counted on to step up and volunteer for whatever is needed. When she says she will do something, she will do it – VERY thoroughly!
Indiana Music Teachers Association appreciates her and everything she does! Congratulations!

Don Freund named 2013 IMTA Teacher of the Year

Editors note: As is customary with this annual presentation, the previous Teacher of the Year introduces the current recipient in a way that attempts to keep the identity of the recipient “secret” as long as possible. These are the comments read by 2012 Teacher of the Year, Bill Hughes.
This individual is described as a “total musician.”That musicianship is expressed in a variety of ways.
This very talented pianist’s performances have been described as “top notch.” This person’s playing displays finely developed technique and keen stylistic understanding in performances in a broad range of styles—from very early music through Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier to music written “yesterday.” This individual’s playing of recently composed music displays “intense energy” and a keen understanding of the music’s idioms and structures.Continue reading

Bill Hughes named 2012 Teacher of the Year

Dr. Claudia Bossard, IMTA president read the following presentation at the Friday evening banquet honoring Bill Hughes, Teacher of the Year

Good evening.  It is my pleasure to reveal the name of the 2012 IMTA “Teacher of the Year.”
As is customary with this annual presentation, during my remarks, I will attempt to keep the identity of our recipient “secret” as long as I can.  What follows are testimonials to this person’s career from former and current students and colleagues.
This individual is an extremely dedicated and inspiring  teacher.
This person is a “master teacher” in our state and community.
This human being is active in support of IMTA programs and colleagues.
By putting each student “at ease” in their lesson by focusing on the discovery process – of what is in the score and what it takes physically to produce the right sound – this individual makes learning contagious and gets students engaged in the process of learning.
Everyone is fond of this person!
As a teacher, this dynamo has that special combination of knowledge and personal warmth that I aspire to have!
This individual has earned my admiration as a musician, my respect as a teacher, and my friendship.
The disciplines HE has taught me have helped me as I face the challenges of work and life.
I commend his holistic approach to music and life as an example of how music can enrich multiple areas of life.
The commitment to his students and his art are extraordinary.
This gentleman has to be one of the most genuinely nice human beings on the planet!
This person has an endless reservoir of anecdotes and stories about composers and performers that add so much to the learning experience with him.
He is skilled in creative methods of teaching the piano.
It is a privilege to be one of his students.
He is one of the most complete musicians I know and he has dedicated his life to sharing it with students.
I consider the time I spent with him in his studio not only important to my development as a musician but as a leader.
I was prepared to quit playing the piano until I met this motivating teacher.
A former university professor, he is always supportive of pre-college students as he shares his knowledge and expertise with enthusiasm and a refreshing approach.
I consider my life to be abundantly richer for having him as a teacher and friend.
In case you do not know who this individual is yet, please join me in honoring Dr. Bill Hughes as our 2012 IMTA Teacher of the Year!