In Their Words: BSU Collegiate Chapter reflects on 2010 MTNA National Conference

by Lori Rhoden
Three members of the Ball State University Collegiate Chap­ter represented the state of Indiana at the 2010 Music Teachers National Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  Each student submitted a conference retrospective on what this experience meant to them. We attended the collegiate chapters forum as well as the collegiate members reception and got to interact with a lot of other chapter members and their advisors. The national confer­ence will be in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on March 26-30, 2011.  Make your plans now to attend the conference – let’s have a great representation from Indiana next year!
Conference Retrospective from Yuka Nakayama, Doctor of Arts Candidate at BSU
While I have attended the IMTA state conference several times in the past, this was the first time for me to attend the MTNA national conference. I had a great experience; I made many musical contacts, was musically inspired by the master classes and performances, and gained a new respect for piano pedagogy. There were many sessions and master classes on Chopin’s works, some of which I have played in the past, but not to the level of detail that was taught. I especially enjoyed attending the master classes where the pianism as well as the teaching were of the highest caliber.
The performers in the evening concerts were also amazing, as well as free to attend. I learned so much just from watching these incredible performances! I made many good con­tacts at the conference, meeting a Japanese teacher who is tenured here in America. This was encouraging to hear that teachers from Japan can be tenured here in the USA, and made me excited about my possibilities in the future as an educator. I also learned about the many kinds of pedagogical systems practiced here in America which could help direct my teaching style in the future. Because of this, I have become more interested in piano pedagogy, and was amazed at how much thought and research has gone into this topic. I also enjoyed meeting other members of the colle­giate MTNA who were proud to be part of the collegiate MTNA chapter, and I hope to be able to inspire some of this pride to my classmates here at Ball State University.
The most inspirational event from the conference was a master class led by a former winner of the Chopin Competition. When I heard the performers, I couldn’t think of many things for them to improve because their level of playing was so high. However, the teacher was able to give them so many clear ideas that would make their playing better. He was able to direct their phrases and give their music a direction and depth that it lacked before. I was reminded that piano is an art that can be always improved, no matter what level of playing has been attained.
I also enjoyed going to sight-see after the conference, and had a great time with my colleagues from the collegiate MTNA chapter. Overall, I had a wonderful experience where I learned a lot, made contacts in the music world, and was musically inspired to become a better teacher and performer.
Conference Retrospective from Amy Chaplin, Master of Music in Piano Performance and Pedagogy Candidate at BSU
Dear members and officers of IMTA,
What a privilege it was to attend the MTNA Conference for the first time this year.  When I found out that there was an associa­tion for private studio teachers I was excited to begin my active membership—even before my advisor and teacher, Dr. Lori Rhoden mentioned it. Membership in an organization such as this is not new to me as I was a member of MENC for seven years through my undergraduate studies and my three years as a public school music teacher.  I am pleased at what both the IMTA Conference at Taylor University and the MTNA Conference in Albuquerque has provided me with as a student and professional.
The collegiate attendance was quite high this year from what I understand and MTNA presented opportunities for networking between students in the form of a collegiate reception with…yes, free food and also a Collegiate Forum that was overflowing with both students/advisors and ideas for collegiate activity.  The support IMTA shows to collegiate students by providing them with funds to attend these national conferences encouraged me to take hold of the opportunity that so many students in Indiana are not embracing. It is to those students that I hope my words will speak.
This year’s conference met and even exceeded my expectations through the sessions, recitals and exhibitors. We were presented with valid and up-to-date information during the sessions—informa­tion that both confirmed and expanded my knowledge of private music teaching. There is no better way to expand your credibility as a teacher than to learn from those who have been doing it for years. Not only are experienced teachers and professionals present­ing but MTNA is encouraging the next generation in leadership by supporting sessions presented by students. Two collegiate sessions were offered this year.  The first was called All Questions Answered: Using the World’s Collective Knowledge and Technology, presented by members of the collegiate chapter of the University of Iowa. The students at Iowa are building a website with “How-to” videos on piano technique and are looking for piano teachers everywhere to create videos for them. The second session was called Method Manipulation: When to Use it – When to Lose It, presented by four members of Texas Christian University’s collegiate chapter.  The “Ped-squad” as they called themselves, discussed ways to support the method books you use by incorporating activities that reinforce concepts through aural, kinesthetic, and visual means. They played video clips of them teaching students using these techniques.
I can’t emphasize enough though what I feel is the #1 reason for at­tending these conferences and that is NETWORKING. As a student who has already been out in the “real-world” as a professional, I cannot imagine being where I am today without networking. This is what it’s all about—meeting people, building relationships, making connections and growing your foundational professional contacts. That is how careers are made and directed. You see others out there that go through and believe in the same things you do.
The sessions were informational, inspirational and well worth at­tending and the free materials provided by the exhibitors and their sessions nearly make up for the conference fee itself, but networking provides something that these two areas cannot—camaraderie—and that, my friends is priceless.
Many Thanks,
Amy Chaplin
Conference Retrospective from Kelly Estes, Master of Music in Piano Performance Candidate at BSU
I would like to thank the Indiana Music Teachers Association for providing me with the opportunity to attend the 2010 MTNA Conference in Albuquerque. Because of the support of IMTA, this is the third national conference I have attended during my time at Ball State University. As I finish my graduate degree and head out into the “real world,” I am suddenly more aware of the importance of networking. Attending the conference allowed me to network with other college students, professors, and even potential job contacts. Along with meeting new people, I enjoyed attending the many ses­sions and outstanding performances that the conference had to offer. The most interesting session I attended was Robert Duke and Carla Cash’s research about the neuroscience of skill learning, and how to practice more efficiently. The data they presented was fascinating, and will definitely effect how I approach my practicing this week! This year’s collegiate forum was lively and enthusiastic, and I en­joyed hearing about successful chapters from all over the country. It also gave me ideas to pass onto members in our chapter at Ball State to use for the future. Although most of the time we spent was in the convention center, we were able to do a fun sightseeing activity on our last evening in Albuquerque. Our group from Ball State (Dr. Lori Rhoden, Amy Chaplin, Yuka Nakayama, and I) rode a tram from 5,000 feet to 10,000 feet to reach the top of the Sandia Peak right at sunset. It was beautiful, and I enjoyed seeing a completely different part of the country. Most of all, I enjoyed getting a chance to become closer with my colleagues, and am grateful for the networking that the conference offered. Thank you IMTA for giving me this incred­ible opportunity!
Kelly Estes

Posted in Collegiate Chapters, Conference.