Spring 2019, Letter from the President
Greetings and Happy Spring!
For most of us, recital season is here and a more relaxed summer can’t come soon enough. This also means that it’s about time to renew those MTNA dues…
The MMTA board has been working on a few items that I’d like to share. The state auditions have been set for November 7-10 at Missouri State University in Springfield. We’re very grateful for MSU’s willingness to host us this fall!
One of the exciting new items for the auditions this fall is the inclusion of collegiate poster sessions. Since MMTA had decided to move away from a state summer conference several years ago, we have been brainstorming ways to provide more conference-like activities during the auditions. Collegiate poster sessions provide at least two major benefits: 1) professional development opportunities for teachers and students, and 2) it helps us involve future teachers in our organization. Please share this opportunity with the college students and teachers you know. Further details are coming soon.
Be on the lookout for an updated website and a simplified registration system later this summer. We’ll be working hard to revamp both in an attempt to mitigate the issues we experienced last fall. We realize such issues are incredibly frustrating for our teachers, and these problems are certainly very frustrating for everyone administering the competitions! Please encourage your fellow teachers to stay involved and keep students participating as we all work towards the goal of providing excellent educational opportunities for our students.
As always, feel free to contact me to share ideas or express concerns. I appreciate your involvement in MMTA and look forward to seeing you in November!
Robert D. Carney, DMA
President, Missouri Music Teachers Association
Associate Professor of Piano, Chair of the Department of Music, Southwest Baptist University
MMTA/MTNA Auditions 2019
1.MMTA/MTNA Audition dates
MMTA District Auditions: done by September 22 – Actual dates for each district will be determined by the District Chair
MMTA State Honors Auditions/MTNA Competitions: November 07-10 at Missouri State University
2. MMTA - New String and Piano Chamber Music for both Pre-Collegiate and Collegiate Level
Eligibility: Groups with string instruments or strings and piano (see “Eligibility for MMTA Honors Auditions” in MMTA Audition Handbook)
Repertoires: Two contrasting pieces in style, period, and tempo etc. Memorization is not required.
Categories and Time Limits (see “Classification of MMTA Honors Auditions” in MMTA Audition Handbook for different grade levels in a group)
Junior High Level (7th, 8th, 9th grade) - 8 min
Senior High Level (10th, 11th, 12th grade) – 10 min
Collegiate – 12 min (no district auditions required)
3. MMTA – Rule change for Senior High Level (10th, 11th, 12th grade) and Collegiate Chamber Ensemble
At least 2 contrasting pieces (in style, tempo, and period etc.) pieces in 12 min.
4. MTNA – Chamber Music Competition rule change
MTNA Competition Committee decided to have MTNA Chamber Music Competitions every two years. Therefore, there will be no MTNA Chamber Music Competition at the state level this November. For more information, please visit MTNA website, www.mtna.org
5. Information regarding application deadlines, fees, and registration – TBA
MMTA VP of Auditions
Jason Hausback & Kyu Butler
Show-Me State Lessons:
National Core Arts Standards for the Independent Music Studio
Rachel D. Hahn, PhD, NCTM – University of Missouri, Columbia
Individual lesson instruction for school aged children has been a pillar of music education for decades. In the United States, so-called “private lessons” are often viewed as a valuable experience by parents, teachers, and students. However, in many communities, independent study is primarily a luxury or supplement to school general music and ensembles. Given this view of music outside the school, it comes as no surprise to independent music teachers that private lessons are sometimes under-prioritized by students and parents.
When was the last time one of your students chose soccer practice or history homework over piano? If you’re about to vent frustration regarding your latest cancellation, take a breath and keep reading. I want to make it clear that I have nothing against soccer, history, or any other school activity. I also don’t have a problem with students pursuing these activities outside of school hours. Healthy growth and development require consistent practice and sometimes people need to prioritize other activities over music lessons. However, I believe that Missouri teachers can use the Show-Me state motto and a few national music education standards to help demonstrate the validity of our craft to parents, students, and the surrounding community.
The National Core Arts Standards for Music Education (NCAS) were updated in 2014 and include flexible guidelines pertaining to the skills that should be developed in grades K-12. The existence of these standards has assisted educators in defending their curricular decisions and has also helped those outside of music to see this subject in the same light as math, science, and other core academic areas. Because of the NCAS, music teachers have successfully advocated for additional program support so that music learning is viewed as essential instead of merely supplemental.
These national standards also provide an opportunity for independent music educators to evaluate their current studio practices and demonstrate the value of private lessons to students and parents. Created as a voluntary federal program written by practicing teachers and researchers, the NCAS guidelines provide a framework that emphasizes process over product. These guidelines were primarily intended for classroom use. However, the NCAS include 11 anchor standards (see below) that may be beneficial for independent teachers because they outline goals and purposes for creating, performing, responding to, and connecting with music. All teachers can benefit from using these anchor standards as a reflective tool to better understand how their actions impact student learning. In addition, the NCAS website offers a plethora of helpful tools for teachers, including lesson plans, assessments, and advocacy information. This article only scratches the surface of possibilities that independent teachers may glean from the NCAS.
When discussing the purposes and goals of private music lessons for children, many teachers focus on the development of technique, reading, and repertoire experience. These three topics are indeed important to ensure a solid foundation for future music learning, but they may not motivate a student or parent to prioritize piano lessons alongside homework or athletic events. Before you have another “show me” moment in your studio, try validating the worth of private lessons with these pre-existing national standards. Implementing the National Core Arts Standards for Music Education provides a framework and further inspiration through which independent studio music teachers might gauge their progress towards meeting the needs of all students. Reflective use of these standards can also assist teachers in facilitating comprehensive musicianship by connecting what is learned in the private lesson with what is learned in school music classes. The NCAS anchor standards do not promote or espouse one method of teaching over another, but rather are broad guidelines for high quality teaching based on the practices and research of experts in the field. Applying and referencing these standards should empower teachers to think beyond the method books, repertoire, and other materials, in order to focus on the steps and skills needed for all students to achieve lifelong music fluency. A lifetime of music proficiency is a powerful Show-Me state answer to validate the essential nature of the private music lesson.
NCAS Anchor Standards
1. Generate and conceptualize artistic ideas and work.
2. Organize and develop artistic ideas and work.
3. Refine and complete artistic work.
4. Select, analyze, and interpret artistic work for presentation.
5. Develop and refine artistic techniques and work for presentation.
6. Convey meaning through the presentation of artistic work.
7. Perceive and analyze artistic work.
8. Interpret intent and meaning in artistic work.
9. Apply criteria to evaluate artistic work.
10. Synthesize and relate knowledge and personal experiences to make art.
11. Relate artistic ideas and works with societal, cultural, and historical context to deepen understanding.
Rachel D. Hahn, PhD, NCTM recently completed her doctorate in music education at the University of Missouri. An active performer, teacher, and researcher, her interests include community music outreach, piano and general music curricula, and classroom technologies. Beginning in June 2019, she will serve as the Associate Director of Music Education & Worship at Immanuel Lutheran Church and School in St. Charles, Missouri.
MMTA Treasurer’s Report
May 24, 2019
Net Worth: $49,699.40
Commissioned Composer: 750.00
Total Auditions Expenses: 22,489.12
Total Business Expenses:
Website/Software/licenses : 1033.87
Total Conference Expen 1000.00
Total Payroll Expenses: 11,548.25
The Anxious iGen
Paul Hindemith, DMA
Over the last five years, I’ve noticed something disturbing: my teaching “bag of tricks,” developed over a 20-year career as a teacher and performer, just isn’t working like it used to. Students seem to handle their emotions and control their thoughts differently nowadays.
Teaching high-school right out of college in 1999, I taught the first of the Millennials (the generation born between 1980 and 1995 who are 25-40 now). When I moved to the college level, I was still teaching Millennials. But around 2014, I started to notice subtle changes in the way my students learned and how they were (and weren’t) motivated.
I now realize I was witnessing the arrival on the college campus of Generation Z, the Post-Millennials, or the iGeneration (they were born between 1995 and 2012, and are now 7-25). Of course my tricks weren’t working as well. With a new generation came new needs.
Our students enter their lessons with a host of things on their minds -- that’s nothing new. Telling them to “leave it at the door,” though, is less likely to be helpful advice for iGen students. With everything competing for their attention, actively trying to ignore thoughts and feelings during a lesson is just one more thing to feel overwhelmed and anxious about. And the iGen is already overwhelmed and anxious about a lot of things.
I have been working with mental health practitioners off and on over the years to handle my own anxiety issues. When I recently started seeing Diana Adams, I realized the Cognitive-Behavioral techniques I was learning could easily be incorporated in the classroom and studio. I would go so far as to say it is imperative to do so.
Learning to handle the animalistic fight-or-flight response is key. When we feel threatened, the body tries to protect itself by sending blood from the extremities to the heart, by pumping out adrenaline, and by increasing the awareness of our surroundings. When we are in fight-or-flight mode, we are reacting and not able to think clearly.
It concerns me that my students often seem on the verge of tears for no apparent reason. Today “What if’s,” “shoulds,” unrealistic expectations, and past trauma chase them and trigger fight-or-flight. So how do we help our students (and perhaps ourselves and other anxious people in our lives) move past those things and focus on the moment? Answer: stimulate the vagus nerve.
With eyes open and softly focused, notice your breath. (We need to be able to do this at any moment, not just when we’re in a spot that’s safe enough to close our eyes)
Breathe to your center (a spot two inches below your navel and in the center of your body). This should be a low breath and the abdomen should expand. Scan the body from head to toe, saying “My (body part) feels warm, calm, relaxed, and a little heavy.” Be as specific as you like, but pay special attention to the neck, jaw, tongue (which should not be pressed against the roof of the mouth), shoulders, and chest. Practice doing the breathing throughout the day, and doing a quick scan whenever tension starts to manifest itself.
When done correctly, the hands will be measurably warmer since the blood is now flowing to the extremities, and not being conserved for the core. Additionally, the back-chatter of the brain should be significantly reduced and the brain is more plastic. NOW, our tried-and-true teaching techniques have a chance of working.
Unfortunately, a student’s own thoughts can defeat them, even if they are focused and present. On the cognitive side, we need to help our students smash their ANTs (Automatic Negative Thoughts, a term coined by Dr. Daniel Amen). Once recognized, those thoughts can be identified as ridiculous, and rephrased positively.
We don’t need to flatter the students or pump them up unrealistically, but help them deconstruct their underlying concerns. The student who says, “I’ll never be able to learn this piece for contest” should be asked to elaborate, rather than being shut down. Assuming the piece is appropriate and the student is indeed capable, what is the underlying issue?
Maybe the student is afraid of disappointing someone (the shame ant)? Do they think they’re not good enough (guilt beating)? Do they only see “musicians” at contest and don’t consider themself a real musician (labeling)? Are they intimidated by eight pages of black ink (all-or-nothing)? Do they think the judge won’t like them (mind-reading)? Do they believe they won’t be able to perform in the moment (fortune telling)?
Tell the student, “That’s an ANT. Smash it!” Then have them rephrase it. (e.g., “Whatever rating I get, I will learn something, so I’m going to memorize this piece and take it to contest.”)
Music teachers are uniquely situated to help the iGen. Where else do students get the undivided attention of a mentor for thirty minutes once a week? Maybe, just maybe, if we take it upon ourselves to address our students’ anxiety problems with a few simple mental “etudes” we can help them function more effectively in a distracting world, destigmatize mental health issues, and still train smashing musicians and human beings in the process.
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 regularly presents on the intersection of classical and CCM vocal pedagogies.