Professional Music Organizations

Yesterday's discussion on Competitions was blended with other musical pursuits and organizations and as the acronyms were being tossed around I think there was some confusion. Those of us who have made careers in music as performers, teachers, etc. have striven to elevate our professional status. Just like academic teachers take continuing education for professional certification and advanced degrees, so do those who choose to, in music. Private studio teachers do not have the same visibility as members of a college or university faculty member and for many, their studios consist of primarily pre college students and adults. One organization that encourages certification in music is the Music Teachers National Association or MTNA. To quote from the organization, "The MTNA certification plan is the first nationwide program through which teachers of high professional competence are given recognition. The initials NCTM (National Certified Teacher of Music) identify you to the public as a highly qualified teacher who has met nationally accepted standards." Certification can be earned in different categories of teaching from individual instruments to Theory and Composition. Julie Harbin and I both earned national certification through a rigorous process which included Academic Competency (transcripts from college and/or graduate schools); Performance Proficiency, Teaching Competence (letters of reference, adjudication sheets from students, videos of actual studio teaching); Certification Examination, a written practical examination in which the common body of knowledge will be applied to teaching situations; community partnerships, holding office in a local, state or national MTNA affiliates. Once certification has been earned, the holder must demonstrate for the following 10 years (renewal every 5 years) that they are continuing to maintain these high standards through a portfolio. Eventually, one can become permanently certified.

I know there are other vehicles for demonstrating and maintaining teaching excellence. Long story short, these sorts of activities are not requirements for the participation in competitions.

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