“No man is an island …” wrote English poet John Donne in 1623. In 2019, that idea is especially true in the world of music education. That said, it is easy for music teachers to feel like we are on our own island, guiding our students in our particular way. A few years ago, a colleague of mine became a certified Suzuki Teacher in flute, and now we often combine our studios for group classes. During these classes, our students build friendships outside of their own teacher’s studio. Just as important, we both learn from each other’s methods of instruction and, as a result, raise the level of both of our teaching skills. Because as independent music teachers, we spend so many hours on our own “island,” it can be joyous and nurturing to come together with colleagues for teacher development and other programs. I therefore encourage everyone to attend the upcoming Quad State Conference in the fall (see link in the VMTA calendar listing) and have your students participate in a collaborative event such as the Monster Concert. Use your teaching expertise to be part of the planning for VMTA. Volunteer to help. If you know music teachers who are not members and who rarely venture off of their “island,” encourage them to attend an event … or join VMTA! To create a musical community that thrives and is relevant in 2019, we all need to occasionally leave our island!
Quad State Conference
October 5, 2019
North Andover, MA
VMTA Competitive Auditions
November 10, 2019
Lilly C. Ramsey
Sylvia Parker, NCTM
Patricia Cleary Bergeron
Quad State Fall Conference
Save the Date for Quad State Conference 2019!
Massachusetts Music Teachers Association President
Ellyses Kuan and Conference Chairperson Alison Barr
are excited to announce the Quad State Conference
entitled “Collaboration, Motivation and Empowerment in
the Music Studio,” to be held on
Saturday, October 5,
2019, at Merrimack College’s Rogers Center for the Arts
in North Andover, Massachusetts.
Held in partnership with Maine, New Hampshire and
Vermont’s Music Teachers Associations, the conference
will feature renowned inspirational speaker, pianist
William Westney. Dr. Westney is an internationally
noted educator and holds two endowed positions at
Texas Tech University – Paul Whitfield Horn Professor
of Piano and Eva Browning Artist-in-Residence. He won
a grant from the U.S. State Department's Fulbright
Senior Specialist program (Council for International
Exchange of Scholars,) to teach throughout Korea and
China in 2006.
Dr. Westney’s exciting and fresh approach to
music pedagogy has thrilled teachers at
MTNA Conferences and we are honored to have him!
Also featured on the conference will be a
"World Premier Commissioned Composition Concert,” a
product of the MTNA Commissioned Composer
Program, and a
"Student Chamber Music Concert.”
This conference will be relevant to teachers of all
instruments and voice and promises to offer something
meaningful to teachers at ALL levels. Please mark this
date on your calendar and plan to join your colleagues
for a beautiful and inspirational fall day in stunning
MTNA Member News
: Since September, I’ve revised, or composed over 50 compositions, including Symphony #1 in D, Triple Concerto for Brass Trio and Orchestra, Prelude and one Aria for an opera, an elegy and other incidental music. These are available on
Search for me and octavemode.
I have 4 openings, so any student wishing composition lessons is welcome to inquire.
I’ll play trombone again! My 20 year old pain finally responds to treatment and exercise feels good. Slow steady progress is the best way made.
t was the winner of the Vermont Youth Orchestra's Harry Hermance Prize, a scholarship award. Sebastiaan will attend the Oberlin Conservatory, after a "gap" year.
(violin) was a finalist for the Hermance Prize, and will attend Dartmouth College in the fall.
was the winner of the Vermont All-State Festival's solo scholarship award in piano. He performed Ravel's "Alborada del Gracioso" at this year's festival.
was the first prize winner in the Classical category, and the second prize in Sacred Music at a competition in Concord, NH.
I gave a master class for the piano students at the Walnut Hill School for the Performing Arts, in Natick MA, and worked with adults and gave a recital at the Sonatina School in Bennington, VT.
My performances of Bach Preludes and Fugues and Chopin Nocturnes were broadcast on VPR Classical radio to celebrate both composers' birthdays in March. The recordings can be found on the VPR Classical website under the title "Alchemy of Genius".
A PART OF THE VMTA BOARD!
VMTA is comprised of dedicated, independent music teachers like you. Teachers who want excellent performing opportunities for their students. Teachers who enjoy being inspired by lectures and classes from gifted and well known pedagogues. Teachers who simply want high standards of music education in the state of Vermont. The higher the level of teaching and student performance, the more students gain and are inspired. The VMTA board is happy to spend time and resources making these programs available to you and your students. We all know how beneficial it is to belong to this collective of teachers. Please ask yourself if you could donate some of your time to help. There are 3 board meetings a year. The meetings last 2 hours. The duties are light. But we do need more teachers to help out. Please let a board member know if you would like to contribute in this way. We are looking forward to hearing from you!
Join us on
! Please check out the latest VMTA programs and news on the Vermont Music Teachers Association Facebook page!”
Do you patronize a music store? Piano tuner? Instrument maker? Are they a VMTA sponsor? (See ads in this newsletter). If not, could you mention our sponsor program to them and let a board member know about them? Sponsors receive publicity to the market they are trying to reach-teachers, students and their families. Their support of music education in Vermont will also help their business.
MTNA 2019 National Convention Report
by Samuel Whitesell
This March I had the pleasure of attending the MTNA 2019 National Conference in scenic Spokane, Washington. My trip was partially sponsored by VMTA, in order that I might represent Vermont at the annual MTNA State Presidents Advisory Council Meeting and the Eastern Division Meeting in place of VMTA President Laurel Maurer who was unable to attend. The main portion of the conference took place Sunday, the 17th through the morning of Wednesday the 20th, but I flew out early in order to also attend the Pedagogy Saturday sessions on the 16th.
The conference took place at the Spokane Convention Center as well as on the stage at the adjacent First Interstate Center for the Arts. We enjoyed beautiful sunny and warm weather throughout the conference, the first real respite there after a particularly long winter. I enjoyed seeing various parts of the city on my morning Uber rides to the Conference Center from my AirBnB and and exploring some tasty local eateries with friends from the conference.
Pedagogy Saturday was an exciting and stimulating prelude to the Conference proper. There were 5 all-day tracks from which to choose among, and attendees could mix and match sessions. I chose to spend the day at the sessions for Teaching Students With Special Needs track with some of the top leaders in the field including Scott Price and Connie Wible. The main presentations were invaluable, and attendees also had the opportunity to sign up for brief one-on-one consultations with inidividual presenters. Highlights included a recital by a handful of special needs performances and a moderated open mic session with participants and presenters where we had the chance to share with each other our favorite “teach-niques” for our special learners.
With as many as 5 or so different offerings going on at an any given moment during the Conference, I was happy to have both a printed booklet for the conference as well as a guidebook app on my iPhone to help figure out where to go and what to do next. I chose to spend much of my free time attending some of the many wonderful workshops offered throughout the Conference, and I tried to get to the exhibit hall a bit as well. I did not get a chance to see any of the student competitions or winners’ concerts, although I did have the privilege of catching the winners of the MTNA collegiate-level chamber music competition, a piano trio of brilliant young Chinese students from the San Francisco Conservatory, in an impromptu performance on the immaculate 7-foot Fazioli concert grand in the exhibit hall. I also took the opportunity to sit down myself and enjoy trying out this beautiful hand-crafted Italian instrument.
Conference workshops covered all kinds of topics from ideas for teaching improvisation in groups to a survey of top pedagogical repertoire from Latin American countries. One workshop I attended that stuck out to me in particular was on historical keyboard improvisation practices with John Mortensen, exploring briefly the harmonic orientation and approaches that were taught to young improvising keyboard musicians in the 18th and 19th centuries and notated in figured bass. I enjoyed very much the chance to meet and spend time with so many different innovative and inspiring teachers throughout the conference, many of whom are authors of teaching materials many of us likely regularly use in our teaching studios.
In addition to the workshops, other highlights of the conference for me included an engaging keynote presentation by preeminent musical historian Alan Walker exploring the piano music and life of Frédéric Chopin, a piano masterclass with master teacher Barry Snyder, entertainment by jazz and classical pianist Jeremy Siskind at the Conference Gala, and an evening concert by featured artist pianist Ingrid Fliter performing Beethoven piano sonatas and selections by Chopin. It was also great to meet up with some old friends and professors from university who I found out were attending and presenting at the conference.
It was wonderful to connect with with the other Easern Division presidents at the Eastern Division Meeting, and to hear a bit how other states’ chapters function, including some of the larger ones (Vermont currently has the smallest membership of the Eastern Division states). It was also interesting to attend the State Presidents Advisory Council Meeting and hear about a couple of the current higher-level considerations and concerns of the organization at the national level.
One thing I didn’t realize about the MTNA organization prior to attending the conference is that there is an international membership option, and at the conference not only were there many Americans, but also a large number of members from various other countries around the globe, including a significant contingent of the recently chartered MTNA China. At the Gala, the president of MTNA China spoke and expressed his appreciation for all that Chinese music teachers have gained so far through their association with MTNA and by attending the recent MTNA Conferences, adding that he hopes some day soon MTNA China will be able to reciprocate with a conference of their own and that we will all be invited to attend!
I hope to attend the annual conference some time again in the future. It’s an experience I’d highly recommend to other members, with so much to learn and lots of fun to be had!
VMTA Spring Festival 2019
Saturday, March 30, 2019
The VMTA held its 41st annual Spring Festival on Saturday, March 30th at Trinity Baptist Church in Williston. Eighty-eight students registered to perform programs from the studios of eleven member teachers in Vermont and New Hampshire: Patty Bergeron, Marie Johnson, Lilly Ramsey, Carleen Graff, Susan Nicholas, Petr Kepka, Sarah Vanegas, Lynn Smith, Jina Smith, Claire Black and Sam Whitesell.
We'd like to thank VMTA members Sarah Williams, Laurel Maurer, Samantha Angstman, Gale Hansen-Patenaude and Elizabeth Metcalfe for their judging contributions. Also, we would like to thank Trinity Baptist Church and School for allowing us to hold our event there. Thank you Jina Smith and Lynn Smith for your tremendous help in facilitating the use of this beautiful venue. We hope to have even more participants next year!
Thanks to all!
Stellaria Trio Presents:
Continuing their sixth season as the Stellaria Trio, violinist Letitia Quante, cellist John Dunlop, and pianist Claire Black present Joseph Haydn's Piano Trio No. 45 in E-flat Major; Johannes Brahms' Piano Trio No. 2 in C Major; and Pale Yellow from Jennifer Higdon's 2003 Piano Trio.
Friday 14 June, 7:30 pm
Unitarian Church of Montpelier, 130 Main Street, Montpelier VT 05602
Suggested donations: $20 General. $5 Limited Means. Children free.
Saturday 15 June, 7:30 pm
Brandon Music, 62 Country Club Rd, Brandon VT 05733
Sunday 16 June, 3:00 pm
Shelburne United Methodist Church, 30 Church St., Shelburne VT 05482
Suggested donations: $20 General. $5 Limited Means. Children free.
Saturday 22 June, 7:30 pm
College Street Congregational Church, 265 College Street, Burlington VT 05401
Suggested donations: $20 General. $5 Limited Means. Children free.
spring recital at Elley-Long Center
Tuesday, June 18, 6:50 pm.
Listen to vocalists, pianists, and trumpeters.
VMTA Website: vermontmta.net
Allan H. Day, R.P.T. Piano
8 Lincoln Road
Williston, VT 05495
Advance Music Center
75 Maple Street
Burlington, VT 05401
American College of Musicians
P.O. Box 1807
Austin, TX 78767
Ellis Music Company, Inc.
P.O. Box 437
Bethel, VT 05032
396 Howes Rd,
Moretown, VT 05660
40 Pleasant Street
Bristol, VT 05443
96 Tremont St.
Barre, VT 05641
Piano Service by Rose Kinnick, RPT
St Michael’s College
1 Winooski Park
Colchester, VT 05439
One Steinway Place
Astoria, NY 11105
Vermont Piano Service
64 Paquette Road
St. Albans, VT 05478
Music speaks what cannot be expressed, soothes the mind, and gives it rest, heals the heart, and makes it whole, flows from Heaven to the soul.