Friday, October 2, 2009

PIANO PROGRAMS-Minnesota Music Teachers Piano Exams

Our next program is a state rather than a national opportunity. The state of Minnesota has a very active and comprehensive association that has diverse and varied programs for students. They are working toward more events for non-pianists. I will be discussing some of the piano related events.

To be a member of the Minnesota Music Teachers Association, (MMTA), you must also pay dues to be a member of the Music Teachers National Association, (MTNA). These dues are in line with professional dues across other lines of industry, last year $105, combined national and state.

The state Piano Exam is a sliding fee, based on level of program, $16-48. There are three options to take the exam, Fall, Winter, and Spring in most parts of the state.

This exam is a piano solo, very comprehensive, and includes technique, theory, sightplaying, and repertoire performance. Memory is now optional, but if you don't perform for memory, your score is reduced so that it is nearly impossible to receive a high distinction score.

The repertoire consists 3 or 4 pieces, one from each time period. All repertoire must come from a list which is reviewed every decade to include works that are now available in print and remove others that have gone out of print. More advanced students perform more difficult, longer works. I think this program is similar to the Royal Conservatory exams held in Great Britain and Canada. They are distinctly by level.

Student receive a critique and certificate. Optional ribbons can be purchased through the state office at the teacher's discretion. There are some cash awards for high scores at the upper levels. These are awarded from the Minnesota Music Teachers Association Foundation, a non-profit arm of the MMTA.

This program is not for everyone in my opinion. It is a stricter, more serious program for traditional western study of classical piano. Students are held to a high standard and many do not take these exams annually, it is too challenging.
Although not mandatory, the state theory exam is listed as a prerequisite to many of the levels if you wish to be included in the possible awards.

Some of my students choose to do this exam in addition to the National Guild report card. Some students have transferred here, done both the exam and the report card, and decided they preferred the guild to the exam.

This is a complete assessment of student musicianship and a wonderful achievement for those who are able.

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