In Their Words: Butler University Collegiate Chapter reflects on 2011 MTNA National Conference

Butler MTNA Collegiate Chapter attended the 2011 National MTNA Conference in Milwaukee, from March 26 through 28. Not only it was the first time for all of us attend a national MTNA conference, but also for a first time, we were chosen to present a session, “Grow and Play Together”, about preparing children to be successful collaborative musicians. We learned a lot from the process of preparation and the conference itself. It would not be possible for all of us to attend the conference without IMTA’s generous contribution to our trip. Thank you very much! Here are our reflections from the conference.

Attending the 2011 Conference in Milwaukee was truly an experience I will not forget! Hearing from experienced music educators expanded my thoughts on teaching and performing, with a wealth of new techniques and effective strategies. I particularly enjoyed this year’s keynote speaker, Bill Moore. His analysis of performance practice was fascinating, offering me great insight as I found myself learning more about not only my students’ varying performance traits, but also my own. Seeing the scope of publishing companies present at the various sessions and exhibit hall also reminded me of the expansive resources available to me as an independent teacher! In the process, I received many new ideas that I have already begun to implement in my students’ lessons. For example, while at the conference I had the pleasure of observing Scott McBride and Christopher Norton present their “American Popular Piano” method series. It was interesting to note the way these books effectively blend the processes of traditionally learning a piece with improvisation, and I have since incorporated similar improvisatory exercises with my student’s current repertoire.
-Caitlin Foster

The MTNA conference in Milwaukee was a wonderful experience; I was able to meet or listen to educators and clinicians whose materials I use regularly, I enjoyed many superb performances by both students and faculty, and I received valuable materials that will enhance my teaching. I really enjoyed the showcases because they showed the original thought behind the materials; for example, the Faber’s session on their Piano Adventures showed creative and useful ideas for their method.
The keynote session on performance anxiety was perhaps the most useful and inspiring of the sessions I attended; I know this new information will help me become a better performer and help me to better equip my students for future performances in any setting. MTNA did an excellent job of welcoming college students to the conference — the sessions for college students engaged us. I felt that MTNA really wanted to know our thoughts. I am thrilled with my MTNA conference, but would like to see a bigger variety of topics and sessions to choose from; often with our schedule we were only available for one session on a specific topic.  I would like to thank IMTA for their generous gift to the Butler MTNA chapter, which allowed us to go to the conference. That was so helpful to Butler, to our chapter, and to myself. Thank you!
-Catherine Moraga

The MTNA national conference was outstanding. From publisher showcases to fantastic session leaders, it was an experience any aspiring college-aged piano teacher would highly benefit from. The publisher showcases introduced new teaching materials and strategies for teachers from the authors themselves. G.Henle’s session consisted of a fascinating look into their special Urtext editions and how we can use them to make the best decisions for teaching and performing. The conference building had an exhibit hall full of booths for different music publishers, organizations, instruments makers, and more. A wealth of information about new teaching approaches was available in the exhibit hall, as well as free music to take home and try with our students. From the entire conference, I most enjoyed the keynote session on performance anxiety. It offered solutions for the issue of performance anxiety for teacher and student alike from the perspective of a specialist in sports performance anxiety.
-Ryan Greene

Through the conference, I have had a deeper understanding of MTNA as an organization, about how
they run and what kind of benefits independent teachers would get, and how a collegiate chapter runs just like as a miniature version. It was great to see other collegiate chapters and get to know them as well. I was amazed how much free music all of publishers were willing to give to teachers at
the conference. It was a great place for any teacher to keep up with current pedagogical topics, new
publications and professional development, while staying connected with other teachers.
The keynote speech about performance mindset, by Dr. Bill Moore, was an excellent
presentation, and I learned a lot from him. And I am excited to read his new book, Playing Your Best
When It Counts.  His tip about keeping a journal about personal successful performance experiences
in specific and descriptive words was very helpful and I will definitely try to use it with my students
-Jeeyoon Kim

Thank you so much for travel grant to attend the MTNA national conference. This was my first MTNA conference and I enjoyed it immensely. I found the conference to be very inspiring, and I cannot wait to try things that I have learned in my own practicing and performing as well as with my piano students. One session I particularly enjoyed was the keynote address by Bill Moore titled “Performing Your Best When It Counts”. In the session he presented some helpful ideas on how to develop your performance skills and emphasized that the skills needed in performance are different than the skills needed for practicing. I also enjoyed our opportunity to present as a collegiate chapter. From working together with my fellow chapter members to put on our session “Grow and Play Together: Preparing Children To Be Successful Collaborative Musicians,”  I learned quite a bit about ensemble activities for children and found some great resources for activities. I also learned that there are a variety of ways to incorporate ensemble activities even within private lessons by overlapping lesson times, asking parents or siblings to help, or simply playing a duet with your student.
I hope this is the first of many MTNA conferences I am able to attend.
-Emily Isenberg

I absolutely loved the conference!  There were so many opportunities to get to know teachers all around the country who are willing to help one another and aid in each other’s success.  It was great learning about new method books and teaching materials, especially being a beginner in this field.  Everybody that heard I was only a sophomore undergraduate  was so friendly and willing to help me learn as much as I could while I was at this conference.  It’s great to see such a community that is built around this profession. I loved Karen Thickstun’s presentation, Smart, Single, and Successful, (not because I’m biased!) because it made me understand that you should be prepared for any available opportunity that comes your way.  Not everything in your life is going to be planned so just go with the flow and cross bridges as you get to them.  I also enjoyed the keynote speaker because he reached out to all of the different performance types.  He explained how to deal with performance regarding each “personality type” and it has helped me understand that everybody goes through a different process when they are in the same situation. Having the opportunity to present at this conference has opened up so many doors.  I have discovered many paths that I can take regarding post-graduation plans, as well as new teaching techniques that I can use for the rest of my career.
-Lisa Delmedico

The conference seemed to go by so fast and I really learned a lot. It was so exciting to see and learn from some many accomplished people in the field. My favorite part of the conference was the keynote address entitled Performing Your Best When It Counts given by Bill Moore. I found it to be very eye opening, especially when he pointed out that performance has its own mindset and you can’t be successful unless you practice being in that mindset. That key concept was something that had never occurred to me before and I know I’ll use it my own practicing as well as in my teaching.
-Madalyn Mills

Posted in Collegiate Chapters, Conference.