Fall 2018 MMTA NOTES
From the President

Have you paid your MMTA/MTNA dues? Have you chosen repertoire for all your students? Set the lesson schedule? Discussed performance goals (reserved that studio recital date), determined which of your students will enter the MMTA auditions? There is so much to do as we enter into the “lazy” last days of summer can be overwhelming, but I urge you to take a moment to think of the range of activities that MTNA provides that can help rejuvenate you and help you to keep improving as a music teacher.
1.      First and foremost consider attending the MTNA National Conference that next year takes place March 16-20, 2019 in Spokane Washington. Be inspired by the myriad of presentations at the conference, enjoy interacting with like-minded colleagues from throughout the country and make new friends and contacts.
2.      Take advantage of the great articles about teaching found in the American Music Teacher, MTNA e-Journal, and MMTA’s Notes. Did you know the e-journal is fully archived on the mtna.org website? Take time to watch one of MTNA’s inspirational webinars. There are so many ways to refresh your teaching and learn more about the field.
3.      Use MTNA’s great programs to help yourself and your students. Challenge yourself to be certified NCTM. Get your students to participate in the new e-Festival. What a great way to have a low stress performance goal and to get feedback from world-class adjudicators.

My final suggestion would be to get involved with MMTA and its programs. Whether you would like to step up and chair one of our auditions, or join our leadership team, we welcome all to join the effort to make MMTA relevant and supportive to all music teachers in Missouri.

See you at the MMTA/MTNA Missouri State Auditions, scheduled for Nov 1-4 at the University of Missouri in Columbia. Our special Guest Artist will be pianist Dominic Cheli, who grew up in St. Louis, and was a recent recipient of the Concert Artist Guild Competition, so look for more information about all the weekend’s events. Don’t forget the MTNA Division Competition will no longer take place at a location, but instead all State Winners will have to submit a video (look for rules on the mtna.org website).

This is my last message to you as president – Robert Carney takes over the presidency in November. I thank you for allowing me to serve you, and look forward to seeing you all at MTNA/MMTA events in the future!


Peter Miyamoto
President, Missouri Music Teachers Association of MTNA
MMTA Collegiate Auditions Registration is Open

Please register at www.mmtaauditions.org
Please note that the   Profile page is not working yet so if you want to find out your username, please contact  website@mmtaauditions.org  

A Word from the Editor
Greetings! I am very pleased to have joined the board of Missouri MTA as Vice President of Publications and Public Relations, and in this capacity, as Editor of NOTES. To share just a little about my background, I am originally from the Twin Cities and currently serve as Assistant Professor of Music at Central Methodist University in Fayette. I am a classically trained pianist, but my professional focus is on choir, voice, and other academic music subjects. In recent years I have pursued training as a Dalcroze teacher, and will soon be certified. I am excited to to share this approach to music education with more teachers and students throughout the state of Missouri.
I look forward to meeting and getting to know many of you—please drop me a line any time. Also, I welcome any requests or suggestions related to how I can best assist you in the areas of Publications and Public Relations. This summer, I have been in touch with a number of members about writing articles for NOTES; please let me know if you are interested in becoming a contributor!
Laura Wiebe, DMA
Assistant Professor of Music
Central Methodist University
Musical Theater and More in the Voice Studio

Paul Hindemith, DMA

I once auditioned for a major young artist program that required a musical theatre piece and recall being sneered at for bringing in “Simple Song” from Bernstein’s Mass. I felt the choice was defensible enough -- it was in a “legit” style from what I considered to be a concert musical. I also had the mantra “If you haven’t sung it in public, don’t sing it at an audition” planted firmly in my brain. And, truth be told, other than “You’ll find me at Maxim’s” from The Merry Widow , it was the only thing I had in my book at that time that came close to actual musical theatre. Needless to say, I did not land the gig.

Given the amount of operetta and musical theatre I have ended up performing, I wish I had studied at least some musical theatre repertoire in school. I am sympathetic to my teachers, though, given what they were expected to do: provide a strong technical and musical foundation; encourage mastery of languages; explore a variety of repertoire including art song, oratorio, and opera; and develop performing skills in these genres. The “Musical Theatre is something you can learn on your own” approach that I encountered certainly seems defensible, given these constraints.

Unfortunately, job prospects for exclusively classical performers are fewer than ever, while opportunities in contemporary commercial music (CCM) genres including musical theatre are plentiful and lucrative. Opera companies have noticed the trend, and many now include musicals in their seasons. In the twenty-first century, the inclusion of musical theatre (let alone other CCM styles) in vocal study is no longer optional.

If that is not reason enough to change our thinking about the repertoire and styles we teach, consider the students who sense their teachers are not open to musical theatre and other CCM styles; they begin to compartmentalize their singing. I recall one young student who sang her classical repertoire fairly well, but who exhibited early signs of vocal pathology which perplexed me because her technique was good in general. Once we established rapport, I asked her about other singing and learned she participated in a lot of musical theatre and belted quite a bit. Due to a prior teacher who essentially had a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy about CCM styles, this young woman thought it was best not to tell me.

Something crystallized for me once I understood this young woman: I am my students’ vocal caretaker, regardless of genre or style. Despite being uncomfortable with belting in general at that point, I knew I was the only person in the small town I taught in who could help this young woman. I had her bring in some non-classical repertoire and immediately noticed the extreme vocal pressure she exerted when she belted; her voice began to improve once she started to trust me and find a less strenuous mode of production. On a side note, her classical performance improved markedly because she began to bring more character, honesty, freedom, and sense of self to her music.

In the end, I have decided it is not my place to judge someone’s musical tastes or goals but to help them become the artist they want to become. Furthermore, as a vocal pedagogue, I know it should be possible to comprehend the underlying technique of CCM styles and to pass that along to my students, given the existence of CCM performers who have had long careers while maintaining good vocal health. I allow them to bring repertoire to me that they feel fits them, and I am able to find even better-fitting repertoire going forward since I get to know them more authentically.

For those of us whose training was exclusively classical (as mine was), we have an opportunity to broaden our perspective. As vocal professionals and to some extent outsiders, we can bring the passion and knowledge we have gained from years of experience as artists and teachers to genres that may not be within our comfort zone. I won’t go so far as to say everyone must become an expert in CCM vocal technique, but at the very least, we owe it to our students to widen our musical and pedagogical views. We must honor our students’ musical tastes and goals, acknowledge the legitimacy of non-classical vocal styles, and help our students -- all our unique students -- grow into the artists they are destined to become.

Paul Hindemith is the coordinator of voice, music director for musical theatre, and co-director of the Light Opera Workshop at Missouri Western State University in Saint Joseph, Mo. He is Level 3 certified in Somatic Voicework™ The LoVetri Method and regularly presents on the intersection of classical and CCM vocal pedagogies.