Karen Thickstun, NCTM, teaches piano pedagogy at Butler University, directs the Butler Community Arts School, and maintains an independent studio. Thickstun holds degrees in piano performance/economics from Duke University, business administration from University of Virginia and piano pedagogy from Butler University.
Three of her pedagogy students have received the MarySue Harris Studio Fellowship award. She advises the Butler MTNA Collegiate Chapter, which has presented at state and national conferences. “I am devoted to mentoring young professionals. I believe they are essential to MTNA and our profession,” Thickstun says.
Thickstun served as MTNA Secretary-Treasurer from 2013–2015 and MTNA Vice President from 2015–2017. Recent national appointments include membership committee chair, grants and awards task force chair, MTNA Teacher of the Year committee chair and strategic planning committee. She served as director of East Central Division from 2008–2010, chairing the Local Associations Forum.
Thickstun authors a tri-annual business column for American Music Teacher. Her articles have also appeared in Keyboard Companion and Clavier Companion. She has presented business and pedagogy sessions at local, state and national conferences.
Thickstun has been active in Indiana MTA as state president, trustee chair, and various state and local positions. She received the Distinguished Service Award in 2002 and the Teacher of the Year award in 2008.
As founding director of the Butler Community Arts School, Thickstun provides leadership and vision. Serving more than 2,000 children through private lessons, group classes and camps, instruction is provided by more than 100 Butler University students that she mentors in professional teaching practices. Thickstun has developed a network of community partners to provide access to the arts for innercity youth. To fund outreach classes, Thickstun has written and received grants for more than $100,000 annually for the past eight years.
“I believe that everyone should have the opportunity to experience the arts in meaningful ways. MTNA programs enlighten and challenge our members, as well as students, colleagues, and communities. MTNA has played a vital role in my own professional development. I pledge to bring my passion, integrity, and work ethic to the position of MTNA President-elect. I am honored to be nominated and will strive to maintain high quality programs while developing new ideas that engage and transform,” she says.