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Code of Ethics.

At the Annual Meeting of the MTNA membership at our 2004 National Conference on March 30, a revised MTNA Code of Ethics was recommended by the Board of Directors and adopted by the members. This new Code was drafted by a task force appointed by MTNA President Phyllis I. Pieffer, NCTM. It was chaired by Board member Sigrid Luther, NCTM, with members Suzanne Guy, NCTM; Chiu-Tze Lin; Mary Ellen Moore, NCTM; William Vessels; and President-elect Paul Stewart, NCTM. This revised Code is a significant step toward MTNA's commitment to cultivating and encouraging the right practices and behaviors among our members in the strongest possible ways.

Most associations have some sort of code of ethics that sets out minimum standards for honesty and reasonable practices and policies as a means of self-regulation. Will Rogers summed up the ideal when he said: "Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip."

Unfortunately, some people do not live up to this high standard. They believe that the maximum required in their profession is to obey the law. So long as they don't break any laws, they feel justified in any action, regardless of the ethics involved.

I am reminded of the story of the fisherman, who after fishing for crappie all day and not getting so much as a bite, went back to the shore, loaded up his boat, and began the drive home. Before reaching home, he stopped at a grocery store advertising fresh fish.

"Throw me a dozen of the biggest fish you have," he said to the woman at the counter.

"Throw them? Why?" she asked.

"Because I'm going to catch them. I may be a lousy fisherman, but I'm not a liar."

So it is that we need a Code of Ethics. One may obey the law but still mislead and be unethical. Codes of Ethics are meant to be an extension of the spirit of the law, to point out what is fair, and honest, and reasonable.

The MTNA Code of Ethics, therefore, is a compendium of principles of ethical practices for the professional music teacher. The Code establishes a standard of conduct and recommends a set of responsibilities teachers should have toward students, colleagues and the public. These guidelines assist the professional music teacher in gaining the respect of peers and avoiding conflicts and complaints with students and others. It points out to members what are and what are not considered fair, honest and reasonable practice when dealing with students, colleagues and the public, it provides guidance for such aspects as advertising practices, appropriate relationships, and personal and professional integrity.

MTNA recognizes that most of our members abide by the Code by choice, not because someone is keeping score or because they may be punished if caught. We believe that those members who choose to abide by the Code will be rewarded with satisfied students and supportive colleagues. And those who choose not to follow our ethical standards will reap consequences more severe than we as an association could ever dispense. That said, however, the new Code comes with a process for enforcement. An Ethical Concerns Committee has been established that will deal with alleged violations of the Code through procedures that assure due process to the member who is accused of an alleged violation.

It is our firm belief that one cannot have a successful and enriching career as a professional music teacher without a commitment to our Code of Ethics. MTNA members are strongly encouraged to adopt the Code of Ethics as their personal model of professional conduct. The revised Code may be found on page 56.

Also in this issue is the third installment of AMT's Visions series. Ingrid Jacobson Clarfield, NCTM, of Westminster Choir College, asks and answers the question, "Are we really preparing our students for the true and total life of being a musician?" in her article entitled "Preparing Our Students for Reality: Should We Really Be Encouraging So Many Performance Degrees?"

"Teaching vs. Coaching: Emphasis on Musicianship Building vs. Interpretation of Repertoire," by Jackson Leung, examines the fundamental differences between teaching and coaching.

Sheryl Iott Richardson examines ways to teach successful sight reading in her article, "Music as Language--Sight Playing Through Access to a Complete Musical Vocabulary."

Finally, in "Forming Your Teaching to the Teaching of Form," Timothy Sharer describes ways to use musical form as an integral part of teaching.

Gary L. Ingle.

Executive Director
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Title Annotation:Dear Reader; Music Teachers National Association
Author:Ingle, Gary L.
Publication:American Music Teacher
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 1, 2004
Previous Article:My "super teacher": Dorothy Taubman.
Next Article:Thank you.

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