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The benefits of MTNA: membership for the IMT.

As an independent music teacher, I have taught piano and group keyboard from 1980 through 1987 in Louisiana, very briefly in Texas and in Albuquerque, New Mexico, since 1994.

In my early years in Albuquerque, I was unable to be very involved in my local or state organizations because my two sons were preschoolers. In those years, there were times when I seriously considered dropping my MTNA membership because I felt I wasn't getting much out of it. A letter from Barbara English Marls, AMT's editor for articles and reviews at the time, made me reconsider what MTNA had to offer. I realized that benefits of membership were great, but I wasn't taking advantage of them.

Be sure you are getting the full benefits of your MTNA membership! Your membership dues are not well spent until you put in the time and effort to get your maximum benefit.

American Music Teacher--Teaching more than thirty students a week limits my professional reading during the school year, though 1 always skim AMT's collection of articles, reviews, columns, announcements and advertising on arrival. If this is your situation, make an effort to get your back issues of AMT out in the summer and really read the articles. Better yet, set up a discussion group with local teachers, which will force you to read and research!

Other Professional Publications--MTNA's Brief Legal Guide far the Independent Music Teacher proved very useful to a new local member who had to fight a zoning battle this fall. Other professional publications are listed in each issue of AMT.

National Conference--While I don't have the temporal, physical or financial resources to attend every year, MTNA's National Conference is a wonderful opportunity to get new ideas, hear new music and see new materials. It has been so helpful to meet and talk with the composers of my students' music. I've found that sharing insights from composers brings the music to life for students.

Insurance--My recital location requires insurance, and since 9-11, the cost of my previous policy had almost doubled. My new insurance policy through Robert H. Clarkson Agency (available for MTNA members) is much more affordable. The staff was courteous, and Clarkson's response time was rapid.

National Certification--Earning MTNA's NCTM (Nationally Certified Teacher of Music) status changes a member's perspective and commitment. As part of one of the first groups going through the latest certification process, I personally can verify that the process is rigorous and requires work, commitment, reflection and serious thought on the part of the applicant about teaching and music. I'm very sure MTNA statistics would back up my belief, which is that the dropout rate for certified teachers is much lower than for general members.

MTNA Website--The website provides a wealth of information. I found the Music Wellness Bibliography, under Resources and Services, of particular use. The Websites for Kids list, also under Resources and Services, is a great asset for teachers and parents.

Studio Festival Program and Music Achievement Award Program--These programs look intriguing. I hope to take some time this summer to study them and possibly add them to my studio curriculum.

Personal Interaction with Peers--While more a benefit of local and state membership, the personal interaction aspect of MTNA keeps me going when all else fails. Personal interaction with MTNA staffers (a very nice bunch!), national officers, conference presenters, industry representatives and fellow teachers makes such a difference!

Competitions--Many MTNA IMTs would list competitions much higher on their list of important services. I have always wanted to enter some of my students' compositions in the MTNA Composition Competition, but find the deadline too early in my teaching year and the fees rather high for my students' ability level. Competitions do play a large role at state and national conferences and certainly are very inspirational.

Internet, e-mail, conventional mail, telephone and television confront us with a bewildering, and seemingly limitless, series of opportunities. We are subjected to more information than we have time to consider, much less take advantage of, in our professional lives. How are we to identify the diamonds amid so much sand? MTNA membership is my not-so-secret weapon. It allows me to maximize my impact while teaching and allows for professional growth. Please be sure you are getting all you can from your MTNA membership!

Anne Brady earned a bachelor's degree in music composition from Louisiana State University in 1983. She has taught piano, group keyboard, guitar, recorder, classroom music, children's choir and served as church pianist. Brady is currently president of Albuquerque MTA and certification chair for the Professional Music Teachers of New Mexico.
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Title Annotation:Forum focus: independent music teachers
Author:Brady, Anne
Publication:American Music Teacher
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 1, 2004
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