Friday, June 12, 2009

Minnesota Music Teachers Convention

I love to catch up with teaching friends at our annual teachers convention. Rather than knowing our colleagues because we are in the same building, or because we work together and talk often, we independent music teachers only see each other at committee meetings, local group meetings, or at the annual convention. I did not attend last year’s convention, so I felt like it had really been a long time since I had seen some of these great people. Here we are taking copious notes. The piano on stage was wonderful; the tone, colors and sound of it were gorgeous.

The opening session was proceeded by a welcome from our president. MMTA is very close to 1000 members, and around 300 came to the convention this year. She greeted us and introduced our guest clinician for this year, Dr. Maurice Hinson. After some initial sound issues, the hotel produced a cordless lavalier microphone which worked better. Dr. Vanessa is concerning herself with getting it on just right!
Dr. Hinson is an amazing pedagogue. His love of details and editorial expertise has put him on the top of many people’s lists of great contributors to our profession. He did several sessions over the course of our two days, on the details behind the notes on the page, humor in music, and a master class, teaching young students in front of us.
There were also sessions about classical pedal technique, teaching “teeny weenies” (three to six year olds), how to become a new judge for our programs, behind the scenes of the making of an opera and many more. The range of classes was wide and varied. There was an exhibit hall that had music for our shopping pleasure, a booth or two representing colleges and universities our students might want information about, and a non-profit booth which had teacher-donated used music. We could take what we would use, and make a donation to the Foundation. The Foundation uses monies to award both students and teachers in their music endeavors.
The facility this year was distinctive. The price of the convention was higher than it has ever been but we got what we paid for! The food was fresh and continuous, the restrooms were clean and the meeting rooms well groomed. We have had some less than stellar facilities in the past. But this year I didn’t hear any complaints. This is quite remarkable considering that the three hundred of us are programmed to critique things.
These are our current president, middle, next president, left, and president elect, right. Yes, we did have a little fun in all that work, didn't we? Oh yeah.

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