2019 Opus Composition Festival Winners Announced

We are very pleased to announce that the 2019 Opus Competition Festival results are in and students did a fantastic job! We received many high-quality compositions and it made the festival very competitive. Congratulations to all the students who submitted entries!
Elementary: No winner in this category this year
Junior: Carter Jackson, student of Caroline Ahn, Abstract
Senior: Aidan Feeney, student of Jennifer Feeney,  Sonata 2 in C# minor (1st movement)
Young Artist: Jacob Zaring, student of Caroline Ahn, Rite of Growth for Saxophone Quartet
Judge: David Farrell
The winners in each category have the opportunity to perform their composition at the IMTA State Conference in the fall of 2019 at University of Indianapolis.
Winners of each category will receive their entry fee paid in full by IMTA into the state round of the MTNA Composition Competition in September 2019. (*Please note that IMTA will not pay any applicable non-teacher fees for entry into the MTNA Composition Competition.)

Reflections on attending the 2019 MTNA Conference

Members of the IMTA Board of Directors, as well as any student competitors from Indiana, are eligible to apply for the Stickley Grant. As part of the grant, recipients are asked to write a reflection of their time at the conference. We hope their words might encourage someone who has never attended a conference to go next year! The deadline for the grant is always January 31.
















From Daniel Lin:

The 2019 MTNA Conference in Spokane was incredibly memorable in so many ways.  Not only did I have the opportunity to connect with many esteemed colleagues around the world, the educational benefits of a wide variety of sessions featured were invaluable.  Lectures given by Midori Koga, Rose Grace, and Christine Guptill were eye-opening in the sense that they all dealt with teaching and practice strategies that do not directly involve the keyboard.  Some of these include using movements and gestures to cultivate a more musical phrase; the role of visualization in practicing; and taking care of our instrument (our body) in order to maximize performance.  The highlight of the conference must certainly be given to the preeminent scholar, Alan Walker, the keynote speaker.  His lecture on Chopin was simply breath-taking in every way, and I left the venue being reminded of this important truth—music is capable of expressing that which words cannot; and we, as music teachers, are responsible for conveying this important truth to our students.


From Christina Whitlock:

I don’t think it’s any secret how much I love attending conferences, but I must say – Spokane was one for the record books!  I feel as though I’ve come home with more ideas and practical applications to my everyday lessons than ever before.

Highlights, for me, included:

·         An inspired keynote address by renowned musicologist, Alan Walker

·         Exposure to new pedagogical materials, including Paula Dreyer’s latest Little Gems for Piano collaboration with Marilyn Lowe

·         Uni-nostril and alternate-nostril breathing techniques as coping methods for performance anxiety

·         Kazoos as a light-hearted alternative to singing

·         Dozens of simple techniques to expose students to the art of Prepared Piano

·         Oodles of new applications of Music Learning Theory

·         New-to-me repertoire by African-American Composers

…This list could go on for days.  However, what I’d most like to remind my fellow teachers is the fact that our biggest takeaways are often found over lunch, or while chit-chatting our way through the Exhibit Hall.  As Karen Thickstun so aptly noted in her session on Originals, peer groups and colleagues are our best sounding boards.  I have been so uplifted from spending several days with “my people”.   I am continually impressed with the individuals our profession attracts.  I love my partners in this art.

I’d like to offer my most heartfelt thanks to the Board of Trustees and the IMTA Board of Directors for assisting me in this trip through a Stickley Travel Grant.   If anyone is interested in reading a (much!)  longer overview of MTNA 2019, you are welcome to do so here.  (include link to www.whitlockpianostudio.com/blog).


From Lori Rhoden:

It was a great pleasure to be back at MTNA this year and I thoroughly enjoyed the entire trip.  Here are some of my highlights:

It is always fun to be a presenter, and I was happy to have a good group of folks in my session who were very attentive.  They asked a lot of questions and gave me some nice feedback at the end and during the next few days.  I enjoy talking to teachers about teaching music!

I was very proud of our Ball State alums Amy Chaplin and Christina Whitlock who were selected as presenters.  They are such great professionals who are really thriving and we are proud to have them represent Ball State University!

I really enjoyed the keynote speech on Chopin given by Alan Walker, a highly-respected music historian.  He pointed out some of the myths about Chopin we have heard for years – it was a reminder that not everything we read in books is necessarily accurate!  I was one of the fortunate ones to be able to purchase his lengthy new biography of Chopin and get him to autograph it.  Now that I have heard his voice, I will be able to imagine him reading the words to me as I delve into what promises to be a fascinating book on one of our most revered composers.

It was a thrill to hear Dominic Muzzi, the Indiana state Young Artist Piano winner who went on to win the East Central Division and then represent us at the national competition. Having been one of the judges when he won the state competition, it was exciting to hear him again and then to celebrate when he won the national competition.  We are all very proud of him.  By the way, we both got our undergraduate degrees at  FSU – I was just a few years earlier (haha)…… Go Seminoles!

Attending MTNA for many years has given me a chance to see a lot of wonderful places in the USA. It was a treat to be able to explore Spokane, Idaho, and even a little bit of Montana.   I checked off two more states (Idaho and Montana) on my quest to see them all (only about 10 left to visit). Just beautiful…..

The best thing about attending MTNA is the opportunity to connect with my music teacher colleagues.  We had a blast at the Indiana dinner and it was so great to see so many of my friends from around the country whom I have met and gotten to know through MTNA. If you have never had the opportunity to attend one of the MTNA national conferences, I encourage you to plan now to attend the 2020 conference in Chicago – an easy trip for us Hoosiers!  Start making your plans now to be able to give yourself this opportunity – you won’t regret it!

RESULTS of the 24th Stickley Piano Competition & Festival

The Results of 24th Annual Hartman Stickley Memorial Piano Competition & Festival

From a field of 91 contestants, 16 winners and 15 honorable mentions were named last weekend in the twenty-fourth annual Hartman Stickley Memorial Piano Competition & Festival held at Northside Hall, Indiana University, South Bend, Indiana. The competition was sponsored by the South Bend Area Music Teachers Association and underwritten by the Elnora Hartman Stickley Scholarship Fund.
The competition was open to pre-college students up to age 18. All students named below will receive cash awards and the winners will perform at the Winners Recital on Sunday, March 24, 2:30 p.m., in the Louise E. Addicott and Yatish J. Joshi Performance Hall, Indiana University, South Bend. The recital is free and open to the public.
Cash awards will be distributed as follows:

Winners – Division VI $175; Division V $150; Division IV $125; Division III $100; Division II $75; Division I $50.

Honorable Mentions – Division VI $75; Division V $65; Division IV $55; Division III $45; Division II $35; Division I $25.


DIVISION I (age 7 & under)
Winners: City Grade School Teacher
Babajide Johnson Granger 2nd Prairie Vista Elementary Linda Witchie
Leonardo Lu Granger 1st Northpoint Elementary Dr. Patricia Collins Jones

Honorable Mention:
Xiaohe Wang Granger 1st Northpoint Elementary Melissa Luan

DIVISION II (ages 8 & 9)
Yuxuan Lin Granger 3rd Northpoint Elementary Dr. Patricia Collins Jones
Albert Lu Granger 4th Northpoint Elementary Linda Belleville
Jianan Qu Berrien Springs 3rd Ruth Murdock Elementary Dr. Sandra Camp

Honorable Mentions:
Alice Zhang Granger 4th Northpoint Elementary Melissa Luan
Ellen Zhang Granger 2nd Northpoint Elementary Dr. Patricia Collins Jones

DIVISION III (ages 10 & 11)
Nina Bauer South Bend 5th St. Pius X Catholic School Margie Collier
Omolabake Johnson Granger 6th Schmucker Middle School Linda Witchie
Emily Zhang Granger 5th Northpoint Elementary Dr. Patricia Collins Jones

Honorable Mentions:
Clara Walton South Bend 5th Good Shepherd Montessori School Kathleen Keasey
Megan Zhang Granger 6th Discovery Middle School Dr. Patricia Collins Jones

DIVISION IV (ages 12 & 13)
Luke Greising Elkhart 8th Concord Intermediate School Celia Weiss
Felix Zhang Granger 7th Discovery Middle School Melissa Luan

Honorable Mentions:
Etien Balorda Berrien Center 8th Homeschool Lydia Balorda
Grace Wang Granger 8th Schmucker Middle School Dr. Patricia Collins Jones
Jayden Wang Granger 7th Discovery Middle School Linda Belleville

DIVISION V (ages 14 & 15)
Elsa Lund Goshen 8th Northwood Middle School Dr. Luke Norell
Phillip Matous Granger 9th Penn High School Kathleen Keasey
Rachel Yuan Granger 9th Penn High School Linda Belleville

Honorable Mentions:
Courtney Donndelinger South Bend 9th Marian High School Gigi Cripe
Evelyn Theinert Elkhart 10th Concord High School Juliana Lockman
Gabbi Vincent Nappanee 10th Northwood High School Dr. Luke Norell

DIVISION VI (ages 16, 17 & 18)
Harmon Balorda Berrien Center 10th Homeschool Lydia Balorda
Ruben Balorda Berrien Center 12th Homeschool Lydia Balorda
Cecilia Horner South Bend 12th Homeschool Kathleen Keasey

Honorable Mentions:
Talinaiya Bao Culver 10th Culver Academies Dr. Yerin Kim
Joseph Coman South Bend 12th Riley High School Anthony Beer
Felix Perez Diener Goshen 12th Goshen High School Dr. Luke Norell
Gabriel Zhang South Bend 9th Clay High School Anthony Beer

Two Indiana Students Win Top Prizes in MTNA Performance Competitions

Dominic Muzzi, who studies with Robert Plano at Indiana University, won first place in the MTNA Young Artist Piano competition. Dominic performed in the winners recital on Tuesday afternoon and was awarded a $5,00 cash prize sponsored by Steinway.

Elina Rubio Pentcheva, student of Indiana teacher Mauricio Fuks was awarded 2nd place in the Young Artist strings competition. Ms. Pentcheva attends Indiana University School of Music. She was awarded a $1,500 cash prize made possible by the MTNA Foundation Fund.

Congratulations to both students for their hard work and dedication to their art!

Indiana Teacher Karen Thickstun Wins MTNA Election

Dear IMTA colleagues,

At the MTNA conference this month, the election results were officially announced and I was sworn in as MTNA President-elect. I am deeply honored and humbled by this awesome responsibility.  This means that I will be MTNA President-elect for the 2019-2021 biennium (and then MTNA President for 2021-2023 biennium, and Immediate Past President for the 2023-2025).

I am excited to serve MTNA in this capacity and to represent the great state of Indiana in doing so!  With immense gratitude, I thank all of you for being a part of this journey with me – who I am today is partially the result of everything that we have done together over the years for IMTA, starting way back in the ‘90s when I began my IMTA experience as newsletter editor.  Thank you for supporting me in the recent election (and prior elections too!).

All the best, Karen

Karen Thickstun

Karen Thickstun

MTNA Competition Winners Headed to National

James Helton, MTNA Competitions Chair

Here are the Indiana Winners that passed through ECD and are headed to the National Finals this weekend!! Please wish them luck in Spokane, and stop by to hear their performances if you can.

Young Artist Piano
Dominic Muzzi – student of Robert Plano

Young Artist Strings
Elina Rubio Pentcheva, violin – student of Mauricio Fuks

Stay on the lookout for the results of the Young Artist Composition Competition. Our representative, Katherine Bodor (student of Don Freund), had no competition at the division level, so she went directly to the national finals. Her piece will be performed if she wins.


Nancy Spahr-Huskey, Certification Chair

Are you going to the National Conference? If not, I certainly hope you plan to come to our State Conference September 20-21. This kind of continuing education is vital to our continued growth and rejuvenation as music teachers!

When you are at a conference, do keep your eyes open for these letters: NCTM. “Nationally Certified Teacher of Music “ means this individual has demonstrated knowledge and proficiency in their area of expertise and met these standards:

  • Professional preparation
  • Professional teaching practice
  • Professional business management
  • Professionalism and partnerships
  • Professional and personal renewal

Is it any wonder that you see so many NCTMs floating around at conferences? These are the people we learn from. If you don’t already have these initials after your name, you can! Visit www.mtna.org; click on “Engage” and then “MTNA Certification Program.” Feel free to contact me at nbspahr01@comcast.net with questions.

Passing of World-Renowned Choral Director Joseph Flummerfelt 

World-renowned choral director Joseph Flummerfelt passed on Friday, March 1.  He was the son of Mavorette Flummerfelt, a long time piano teacher and member of  IMTA for many years (who attended IMTA conferences into her 80’s). Flummerfelt was recently diagnosed with glioblastoma, but had a massive stroke before treatments could begin.

View the article “Joseph Flummerfelt, a Force Behind Mighty Choruses, Dies at 82” on the New York Times.

Proposals Now Being Accepted for 2019 Conference

The conference planning committee is seeking proposal submissions for the 2019 Indiana Music Teachers Association State Conference to be held at the University of Indianapolis on Friday and Saturday, September 20-21, 2019.

Proposals on all aspects of music teaching including teaching, learning, creation, performance, scholarship, career considerations, and other areas of interest to independent and college music teachers are welcome.

Full sessions are 50 min. in length including 5 min. Q&A time.
Lightning sessions are 7 min. in length including 2 min. Q&A time.

Submission deadline:  May 1, 2019.
Notification: The first presenter listed on the proposal will be notified by email of the committee’s decision no later than June 30, 2019.

Visit this page for more information.

Updated Details for Hoosier Auditions Districts A and C

Details for Hoosier Auditions for Districts A (Valparaiso) and C (Indianapolis) is now available!

District A

Audition Date: Saturday, April 13th, 2019
Postmark Deadline: Monday, April 1st, 2019
Location: Valparaiso University Center for the Arts. 1709 Chapel Dr., Valparaiso, IN 46383
District A Chair: Nicole Lee; nicole.lee@valpo.edu (253) 212-6411

Visit the District A Page

District C

Please note that because we were unable to secure a district chairman, all contestants will compete in District D (Anderson).

Please refer to the District D map for information on deadlines, date of the audition, and contact information.

District C contestants will compete in a separate room, and individual winners will be chosen from each category apart from those of district D.

For questions, please contact Daniel Lin, Hoosier Auditions Chair