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#960327 - 05/03/08 08:58 PM About National-State-Local Purpose & Ethics of MTNA Members
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
I thought it would be helpful to others, teachers, parents and students, who do not know about MTNA, to have information about the purpose and ethics the members of MTNA subscribe to with their membership.

Members of MTNA are part of National, State, and Local Chapter Associations. Each have written statements of purpose, bylaws, code of ethics to adhere to.

I belong to Mount Rainier Chapter - Washington State Music Teachers Association - Music Teachers National Association.

Our Purpose at Mount Rainier Chapter is:
To promote growth and professional development of our members by the exchange of ideas

To provide programs that encourage and support teaching, performance and composition

To elevate the standard of scholarship among music teachers

To further musical culture in the surrounding communities

To conform to the Code of Ethics of MTNA

The Mount Rainier Chapter, affiliated with Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) and WSMTA, is dedicated to the advancement of musical knowledge and education. It aims to promote the art and knowledge of music by providing educational programs that further the appreciation of music throughout the Puyallup area and surrounding communities.

From its inception in 1978, its members have included independent teachers with varied and diverse backgrounds. The organization is constantly upgrading and expanding educational opportunities for students, teachers, and our community.

The MTNA Code of Ethics
We, the members of Music Teachers National Association, having dedicated ourselves to the advancement of musical knowledge and education, recommend the following principles of ethical practice as standards of professional conduct.

Responsibilities to our students:
The relationship between teacher and student shall be established, maintained and terminated with an appropriate professional manner.

Members are responsible for encouraging, guiding and developing the musical potential of each student.

Members shall encourage pupils to participate in community music activities.

Responsibilities to our colleagues:
Members shall maintain a professional attitude and shall act with integrity in regard to colleagues in their profession.

Members shall participate as fully as possible in activities of Music Teachers National Association.

Members shall provide professional assistance to one another when such assistance is requested.

Members shall respect the rights of colleagues when speaking of other teachers' work and/or students and shall avoid conflict with the instruction of students' regular teacher when serving as an interim instructor.

Responsibilities to our public:
Members shall maintain the highest standard of moral conduct, professional conduct and personal integrity.

Members shall exhibit the highest standard of expertise by maintaining their professional abilities in their fields of teaching and performing.

Members shall maintain and increase the prestige of the art of teaching and shall promote the teaching of music as a culturally enriching profession.

When asked, members shall assist those seeking guidance in selecting an independent teacher by suggesting the names of two or more teachers in the community. The parent and student shall make the final choice.

Members shall refrain from making exaggerated claims or misleading statements concerning their teaching qualifications. Advertising copy shall be dignified, strictly truthful and representative of the art of music and its responsibility to the community.

I hope this information allows others to see the integrity, purpose, and responsibility members hold toward their clients and their associates in the teaching of music in the private sector.

You are welcome to visit web sites:
www.mtna.org
wsmta
mount rainier chapter wsmta

I appreciate the opportunity to share this information with you.

Betty Patnude

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#960328 - 05/04/08 12:31 AM Re: About National-State-Local Purpose & Ethics of MTNA Members
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5454
Loc: Orange County, CA
Thank you, Betty, for the wonderful, and NECESSARY post. Parents and students--please pay special attention to these two:

1) Members shall respect the rights of colleagues when speaking of other teachers' work and/or students and shall avoid conflict with the instruction of students' regular teacher when serving as an interim instructor.

2) Members shall maintain the highest standard of moral conduct, professional conduct and personal integrity.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#960329 - 05/04/08 02:11 AM Re: About National-State-Local Purpose & Ethics of MTNA Members
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11648
Loc: Canada
The document is full of noble and lofty values, as such documents are. "Real" things shine through beneath the surface.

There are a few things I am wondering about, howver. The document speaks of maintaining and improving skills, but what about the initial having of skills? I noticed that there is a certification program at 4 or 5 levels. At the most basic level, the teacher must be capable of performing, and must also have something similar to educational psychology - in other words knowledge in the subject to be taught, and knowledge of teaching. Is membership dependent upon certification? Should this matter?

I see a welcome wish to "encourage, guide and develop the musical potential of each student." and of course at some point ones has learned how to do so. For a student, having an indication of background is as important as values statements since it is difficult to know how to choose a teacher wisely.

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#960330 - 05/04/08 12:09 PM Re: About National-State-Local Purpose & Ethics of MTNA Members
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
I am including here a short version of history about THEODORE PRESSER FOUNDER OF MTNA which I previously had posted in PWF:

"Betty Patnude Member # 23598 posted November 23, 2007

www.mtna.org is the website for more Music Teachers National Association information.
________________________________________
Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) was founded in 1876 by Theodore Presser and sixty-two colleagues in Delaware, Ohio. “The mission of Music Teachers National Association is to advance the value of music study and music making to society and to support the professionalism of music teachers.”

MTNA now boasts memberships of 24,000 independent and collegiate music teachers in the United States with 50 state affiliates grouped into seven divisions: Eastern, East Central, Northwest, Southern, Southwest, South Central, West Central; more than 500 local affiliates.

The Theodore Presser Company is the oldest continuing music publisher in the United States.

Its founder, Theodore Presser (1848-1925), is remembered not only as the publisher of The Etude music magazine and the founder of the publishing firm, but also as a philanthropist in the cause of music education.

With a background of study at the New England Conservatory in Boston and the Leipzig Conservatory in Germany and the experience as a college music instructor, Mr. Presser was sensitive to the needs of the music teachers in cities and towns throughout the United States.

His plan was to provide these teachers with the material they required in their work - music and practical guidance as well as information about the international music world - that would be available to them readily and inexpensively.

In October, 1883, with $250.00 in cash, Theodore Presser began publication of The Etude in Lynchburg, Virginia. The immediate success of his new music magazine prompted him to seek larger publishing facilities in Philadelphia in 1884. His need for music for The Etude led him not only to secure, but also to publish new music, at first only in the magazine and then later, separately.

The publishing company that Presser founded was so successful that in 1906 he was able to express his appreciation to those who made this success possible by establishing the Presser Home for Retired Music Teachers in a suburb of Philadelphia.

His philanthropic zeal is continued to this day through his foresight in forming the Presser Foundation in 1916, nine years before his death. Each year the Presser Foundation awards scholarships, grants and funds specifically to further the cause of music education and music in America.

Today the Theodore Presser Company is dedicated to carrying out the aims and goals Mr. Presser established more than a century ago: service, with integrity, to music and musicians, commitment to quality, and a vision for the future.
________________________________________
Posts: 1512 | From: Washington State | Registered: Jun 2007"

I hope this thread gives those who are not familiar with MTNA an appreciation for the long-term established association of music education in the United States.

Betty

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#960331 - 05/04/08 01:54 PM Re: About National-State-Local Purpose & Ethics of MTNA Members
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11648
Loc: Canada
I am reading that this organization serves the needs of teachers, providing them, among other things, with teaching materials. It further serves the needs of teachers by fostering an interest in music and musical culture, which will provide a market for teacher services. If a teacher's needs are served, that also enables him to provide a better service. Also, since I value classical music and the type of culture that is not shallow or superficial (which includes things that are not classical) this thrust is welcome.

Would the MTNA also address the needs of students and parents in any direct way? It does stress values. A skilled teacher without ethical values would not be a good teacher since ethics also govern aspects of teaching.

However an unskilled teacher with good ethical values cannot do what he sets out to do. A teacher must have sufficient knowledge of the instrument, music, performing, and know how to teach. Are there any membership criteria ensuring that teachers have a minimum background that will make this likely? As a student, this is what would interest me.

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#960332 - 05/04/08 01:57 PM Re: About National-State-Local Purpose & Ethics of MTNA Members
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11648
Loc: Canada
I should add that I am a freelance professional and member of a professional organization. To obtain membership we must have a certain background, experience in the field, and then gain certification through stringent examination. We have a code of ethics which reads a bit like the MTNA code of ethics (no mis-representation of skills). It is also possible for membership to be revoked after review if a complaint is received by the certifying body. this gives the client something reliable to lean on. Does this exist in regards to the MTNA?

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#960333 - 05/04/08 03:27 PM Re: About National-State-Local Purpose & Ethics of MTNA Members
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
My word, Keystring!

What is causing you to go in this direction when reading "information" about MTNA? It feels like you are busy puncturing members status, and you seem to have no idea that MTNA represents an educationally oriented association of long tenure. It is not a feel good elitism of music teachers, it is a group of accomplished musician-teachers at many levels of participation from college faculty members, teachers of long standing membership, leadership of volunteer teachers, student activities, academics as well as socialization. There are state and national conventions annually.

If you are truly interested in MTNA from the point of view of knowing more about the teachers and the organization, I can provide you with articles from the "American Music Teacher" magazine which all members receive. I can direct you to the Convention Speakers and Programs information. The winners of State and National Competitions, and the Audition - Adjudication Program.

I would not react to a question of "can you tell me about....", but in this last posting you ask: " It is also possible for membership to be revoked after review if a complaint is received by the certifying body. This gives the client something reliable to lean on. Does this exist in regards to the MTNA?

What do you have in mind?

Each of your postings here seem to me to be antagonistic to what are defined as the purpose and ethics behind this fine organization.

If I can't originate this post in the Piano Teacher's Forum, where can it be posted!

It was not posted so that it could be ripped apart. I am very surprized by what I consider to be an attack.

While the questions may be totally valid, the tone of voice is not.

I apologize to MTNA and all affiliated for disturbing the peace, but I am hopeful that others learn about MTNA in it's most positive influence in the world of music.

Betty

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#960334 - 05/04/08 04:07 PM Re: About National-State-Local Purpose & Ethics of MTNA Members
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7344
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
keystring, one of the goals of MTNA is to improve both playing and teaching skills of its members. Doing so would seem to benefit students as well!

Many chapters offer opportunities for students to perform, opportunities otherwise unavailable.

Every organization that I can think of (off hand) primarily serves its members. Even the Christian Church!
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#960335 - 05/04/08 04:29 PM Re: About National-State-Local Purpose & Ethics of MTNA Members
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11648
Loc: Canada
Betty, there is no antagonism whatsoever. Please understand what I am trying to say and where I'm coming from.

We are in similar situations. I am member of a profession which is largely unregulated, has many freelance (self-employed) members, varying in expertise from none at all to incredibly impressive. We both serve a public that is uninformed of our profession and may carry false assumptions and demands. We are both trying to uphold high professional standards while possibly being inundated by the opposite. You have high credentials, but the 15 year old girl down the street can begin teaching piano just like you do. "Anybody can teach piano" and "anybody can translate". We are both, possibly, fighting misinformation and ignorance about our professions.

I am looking at this as a fellow professional from a different field. I hoped that this would be welcome and seen in the correct spirit.

The debate is going on with my colleagues across the world, trying to see what the merits, advantages, and roles of a professional organization might be. I am afraid that I brought those fresh thoughts into this forum. The purpose for probing is improving.

What I have concluded is that a professional organization must serve two purposes in order to be effective. It must serve and protect its members, ensure high standards, give support material and support etc. The MTNA does that. So does my professional organization, and its American counterpart, though I think less effectively. Not every translator is part of our organization yet can translate, and I assume that not everyone who teaches is part of the MTNA.

In a sense, a professional organization must also have the client's interest in mind. A medical association guarantees that member doctors are fully qualified, and we shun doctors who cannot prove qualification becuase they may harm us. In fact, we don't call them doctors.

Similarly, I have exclusive right to the use of my official stamp, to bear the title that I hold as member and place that after my name as a "member in good standing". A client knows that full membership means that I have the appropriate education, my abilities have been tested, and that I must adhere to given ethical standards.

In a profession as unregulated as ours, with people who are primarily working on a self-employed basis, and clients who are unfamiliar with our profession, some form of assurance is needed. This is to the advantage of the professional as well as to the client. This is the part that has the client's interest at heart.

Right now, in both professions, clients don't know who is a competent translator/music teacher, and who is incompetent. They have no way of judging. They are trying to wend their way through a jungle and they want to have some way of being able to tell.

If your organization has as stipulation to membership some kind of minimum standard of abilities in the areas of: does he know, can he teach it? - then this will induce students and parents to seek out MTNA members. That is a business advantage. Secondly, if such criteria exist, and if clients are known to seek them, then those who may not be interested in becoming fully qualified will want to do so. Currently we are hearing teachers deploring the situation of transfer students who have been incompetently taught, and needing difficult remediation.

I was looking at this document as a professional belonging to another professional organization. I gave my impressions in the same way that I would expect you to give your impressions if I came to your studio and played for you. I would not want pretty words, I would want to know where you see weaknesses and what might be done about them.

I have posted in this forum for five months, more than I should, and I believe I have been consistent in attitude. You should know me well enough by now to know that I do not attack and I do not gratuitously rip apart.

I perceive problems: not all teachers are teaching well or seem to have the tools to do so - there is a fair amount of distrust and misunderstanding between client and service provider. A professional organization can go a long way toward rectifying both things. These are exactly the same things plaguing my professions. Beyond this, I am also a trained teacher and that also colours my view in your favour.

Essentially I was asking whether there are prerequisite standards for membership such as there is in my organization, because if such standards to exist, parents and students would be likely to seek out MTNA members as teachers and insist on such membership. I asked my questions in a helpful spirit.

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#960336 - 05/04/08 04:42 PM Re: About National-State-Local Purpose & Ethics of MTNA Members
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11648
Loc: Canada
I would like to add that when I write that the organization serves the needs of the teachers, this is not a negative statement. It is absolutely essential that an organization serves the needs of its members. I am identifying one of two needs that a professional organization, in my opinion, must need.

If such an organization protects members, makes sure that one member does to criticize another member in front of a client (which can be done in order to lure the client/student away), then it must also have a mechanism in place if there are grievances. There is usually some way of upholding standards, and this is an assurance also for the client.

In my profession recently a member lured a client away from me by promising a fee a fraction of my own. Three months later the client came in a panic, out some $300, with a useless document that was unreadable, and only a quarter of the work done. This is a matter of ethics. The client would have recourse to the professional body. If this does not exist, then our membership is meaningless. Philosophies of quality and ethics are "pretty words" if they cannot be backed up.

To be honest, I did not expect an emotional reaction. I expected to hear: yes, we do have standards for membership - or no, we don't have such standards but it's a good idea - or no, we don't have such standards and it is also not a good idea because....

I decided to take what was presented seriously. I took the time to read the material carefully and give it thought. I could have said "Oh, how lovely." or said nothing at all.

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#960337 - 05/04/08 04:49 PM Re: About National-State-Local Purpose & Ethics of MTNA Members
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11648
Loc: Canada
 Quote:
keystring, one of the goals of MTNA is to improve both playing and teaching skills of its members. Doing so would seem to benefit students as well!
Yes, John, I can see that. Is it, in fact, being done?

What concerns me is that "anybody can teach" and "anybody can translate". In both cases there has to be basic knowledge of the subject matter, as well as skill and knowledge of the activity. both disciplines are composites of two separate skills and bodies of knowledge.

I assume that this is an American organization. If I were American, and if I knew that the MTNA will give membership only to those who have a minimum set of skills in instrument, music, and teaching, then I would seek out such a teacher.

But the MTNA also describes 7 levels of certification. Is this administered by the MTNA? As a student, I would also seek out someone who has the lowest level of certification, which requires these twin skills. Otherwise I cannot assume that someone who has set up a shingle as a teacher does in fact have training in these two areas. We have unregulated professions.

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#960338 - 05/04/08 05:00 PM Re: About National-State-Local Purpose & Ethics of MTNA Members
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7344
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Well, I haven't kept track of what the current MTNA criteria are, so I cannot address the questions you pose about various levels. I have an ACM certification, which is based on student performance, not lofty credentials (the assumption being, I suppose, that you cannot teach what you yourself don't know!).

FYI, some of the state organizations, like California's MTAC, have very high entry requirements, where other states are more concerned with outreach.

The fact is you cannot prevent the aunt millies of the world from teaching their neices, nephews, and neighbors, not matter how onorous government regulations become, so MTNA's basic philosophy is to gather them up, then work to improve their skills. It seems like a win win to me.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#960339 - 05/04/08 05:26 PM Re: About National-State-Local Purpose & Ethics of MTNA Members
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11648
Loc: Canada
John, your mailbox is full.

 Quote:
The fact is you cannot prevent the aunt millies of the world from teaching their neices, nephews, and neighbors, not matter how onorous government regulations become, so MTNA's basic philosophy is to gather them up, then work to improve their skills.
I think that perhaps I identified too closely with our own organization and international debate on the same, expecting something similar. It is not the same kind of organization. If the MTNA seeks to improve things where they are, then that can only be a good thing.

Now I have a better understanding of the thrust and purpose of this organization. I did not fully grasp that before.

From a student point of view, I think the bearing it may have on parent/student choice of teacher may be this - membership would indicate an interest in improving excellence of teaching.

Thank you for the feedback.

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#960340 - 05/05/08 01:26 AM Re: About National-State-Local Purpose & Ethics of MTNA Members
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5454
Loc: Orange County, CA
 Quote:
Originally posted by John v.d.Brook:
FYI, some of the state organizations, like California's MTAC, have very high entry requirements, where other states are more concerned with outreach. [/b]
Actually, MTAC just recently (within the last few years) mandated that all new teachers must have at least a BA or BM degree in the instrument that they teach. In addition, each applicant must have taught successfully for two years to become a full member. Students can join as "student members" and people in their first two years of teaching can become "associate members."

Unfortunately, all teachers who were accepted into the organization before the rule change have been grandfathered (or "grandmothered," which is more accurate).

There is another way to enter the organization called CALPLAN, in which the applicant has to take a series of tests, take some courses, pass a performance test, and have a master teacher observe his/her actual teaching. It's tough, but I know at least two teachers who have passed CALPLAN in lieu of getting a university degree.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#960341 - 05/05/08 01:52 AM Re: About National-State-Local Purpose & Ethics of MTNA Members
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11648
Loc: Canada
AZNpiano, on all counts that is identical to the Canadian translators organization. I apologize for having intruded in the teacher forum. The difficulties seem to be similar in the two professions, and I have been concerned. As a student what you describe leaves me feeling reassured and it would possibly be a deciding factor in choosing a teacher.

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#960342 - 05/05/08 04:59 AM Re: About National-State-Local Purpose & Ethics of MTNA Members
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11648
Loc: Canada
[large edit] Fwiw, I found an answer to the question that I asked originally:
web pagecertified teacher This page follows a page on "How to find a certified teacher" which is preceded by a page on "How to choose a teacher".

I do not know whether these criteria are even valid or necessary. Just that something exists.

We students are to invest ourselves in the instructions and guidance of a teacher, following closely, and it is stressed how important it is that this teacher be competent. We often have no experience and no way of judging such competency for sure.

We are presented with a professional organization of teachers. Does it not stand to reason that someone using the services of such teachers might ask whether some kind of standards are in place, which would help in finding a reliable teacher? Many, but not all, professional organizations do so. Such a question is not meant as an attack. The opening statement of this thread addresses "teachers, parents and students" and as one of such I felt welcome to explore and ask questions.

A bit further one of the teachers addresses parents and students --- therefore we are not being told to stay out, but to participate --- to pay special attention to the following:

 Quote:
1) Members shall respect the rights of colleagues when speaking of other teachers' work and/or students and shall avoid conflict with the instruction of students' regular teacher when serving as an interim instructor.
It was not clear to me then and it is not clear to me now why I, as a student, should pay special attention to how a teacher should behave toward another teacher. This has nothing to do with me. My job is to follow my teacher's guidance to the best of my ability, and trust that guidance, period. In what sense should I pay special attention to this? This admonishment however is addressed to me, a student.

The one thing that springs to mind is that students can be mistaught by teachers. We read over and over about teachers who get transfer students missing huge chunks of skills, and the great difficult of rectifying this. What happens if a teacher happens upon a student who he sees is being mistaught or not taught when this clause is in place that the observing teacher may not interfere, may not redirect, may not change the teaching? This is a standard clause among professionals in any profession by the way, so it's not unreasonable. It is standard ethics. But what happens in that case? Is the student left struggling in darkness not able to progress because something is missing, but the observing teacher cannot help because he must not interfere or criticize?

My attention as a student, was directed to this clause. Usually where there is such a clause, which is standard, there are also standards which means it is unlikely that members of a professional organization would be teaching neglectfully or lacking taeching knowledge, and furthermore there is some way that such a student can be helped without the observing teacher having to break the ethics.

That is why I asked the questions that I did, not out of hostility or antagonism, but in the hope that I would find something positive to a tricky situation. Teaching music is an art and a science - it is not measurable in the same way as the skills of an accountant. We entrust ourselves to someone for a long time. If the worst happens, remediation is not only a chore for a teacher, but for every hour the teacher spends in rectifying what has happened, the student must spend many more, and never let up since habits are hard to break.

I am saddened that my input was taken in the manner that it was, and that it caused chagrin. It is probably wise for me to refrain from posting under such circumstances in the future and simply read without comment.

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#960343 - 05/05/08 04:46 PM Re: About National-State-Local Purpose & Ethics of MTNA Members
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
I am amazed at the scrutinizing of the OT and I posted a 2nd posting about the founding of MTNA.

I made a 3rd posting and said: "I apologize to MTNA and all affiliated for disturbing the peace, but I am hopeful that others learn about MTNA in it's most positive influence in the world of music."

I do feel antoginism and dissecting, and trying to fit the words found in our organization challenged. I posted this for informational purposes to give an idea of what piano teachers hold in common through membership in MTNA.

MTNA is an outstanding professional organization. That is not in question.

I am sorry to have had this entire turn of events and I again apologize to MTNA and it's members for being the catalyst of that. I had the best of intentions in sharing information about purpose and ethics.

Sincerely,

Betty Patnude

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#960344 - 05/05/08 05:07 PM Re: About National-State-Local Purpose & Ethics of MTNA Members
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11648
Loc: Canada
Betty, the apology is mine, and would be happy if you accepted it. However, I intended no attack or criticism of the organization or its members. What they are doing is wonderful in furthering music, the culture, and giving support in an area that gets so little of it.

I probably went about it in a clumsy manner as an outsider. Our professions face a difficulty as an art and science as well as not being regulated in the same way that many other professions are. Therefore as a student, with these concerns fresh in my mind, I looked to the MTNA in the hope of finding answers to the problem. In fact, I found that answer and have supplied it in my preceding post. I kept asking whether the MTNA has any mechanism for ensuring that teachers have the background that they need to carry out their task.

In this initially I asked the wrong question. That is because I understood the MTNA to be a body similar to my own organization. However, it has a different function. It embraces "Aunt Joan" or whoever may be teaching who does not have lofty qualifications, and then gives the people who have fallen into teaching in this manner a door through which they can improve and grow. Additionaly, it provides resources in the community, including outlets for performance. That does two things. Students can perform: the culture of live performances is brought to the community. The oft dying popularity of culture and music is given new life.

This is a function of an organization that was new to me.

I must say that it only did become clear by asking, by having the wrong ideas, and having those ideas explained. When one comes into new territory as an outsider the descriptions often do not go further than pretty words, because we don't have enough experience to put ourselves into the context. I am not happy that my questions caused such turmoil. I am happy that I have a much better picture, as well as the concept of some roles that were not fully imagined before.

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#960345 - 05/05/08 05:16 PM Re: About National-State-Local Purpose & Ethics of MTNA Members
bitWrangler Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/07
Posts: 1787
Loc: Central TX
Betty, though keystring's original reply may have been a bit brusque, I do think he does have a reasonable question with regard to membership criterion. You have to understand that from a "customers" point of view, that this is indeed an interesting question, and that like it or not, peoples opinions of the organization will be colored by the answer. Please don't view this as an attack, I know you were trying to give the MTNA more exposure and that is quite worthy. However, I think it best not to shy away from questions that are reasonable (even if they are not stated in the most friendly way). There is a huge difference in organizations where membership is simply a $75 annual check away, vs one in which you are tested, requires minimum levels of specific education, and requires continuing education.

That said, I don't think this thread is going to "turn anyone off" the MTNA. It's information and folks are going to take it in whatever way they will. If someone is likely to be turned off by the "loosey goosey" membership requirements of some MTNA chapters, then it's best that they know in advance. For others, it'll be a "oh, OK, that's interesting" and the points that you were trying to bring out will come through instead.

keystring, I would say that there is a world of difference between your two professions and the importance of rigorousness in qualifications for membership. My wife is a certified interpreter, not exactly the same as a translator, but similar. In both cases the potential ramifications of quality of service and ethics can be huge (and quite possibly on a global scale), so the need for things like strict membership requirements, CE requirements, etc make absolute sense. A piano teacher OTOH, while a worthy pursuit, does not have the same quality requirements.

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#960346 - 05/05/08 05:36 PM Re: About National-State-Local Purpose & Ethics of MTNA Members
keystring Online   content
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Bitwrangler, certified court interpreters is one thing. Translation is reaching the level of a joke in some corners. We are in very similar situations. In both cases you have the delicate balance between art and craft, a double expertise (teaching and musicianship/linguistics and translation), and the fact the the still untrained teen down the street may resort to the profession for pocket money, while other professionals may have 10 or 20 years of training behind them (consider the musician who began at age 4).

I have only seen a sliver, but I have seen enough in the music world that my appreciation and respect for teachers of this ancient craft that hales from the days of mastery is boundless. The potential that exists in terms of musicianship, instrumental proficiency, knowledge of interpretation, a physical and mental training that is subtle and difficult is mind boggling. The growth that can happen through the guidance of a master teacher who manages to weave all of this together - um, adjective-failure.

Anyway, this doesn't have to do with the MTNA anymore, but just to say there is more to it than meets the eye ... or can be.

There goes my resolution to stay out of the thread.

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#960347 - 05/06/08 02:29 AM Re: About National-State-Local Purpose & Ethics of MTNA Members
keyboardklutz Offline
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I agree with you bitwrangler. It is interesting to consider how a court interpreter will often hold someone's future in their hands. I do think you could 'up' the piano teacher's ramifications though - for many, they hold a person's quality of life.
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#960348 - 05/06/08 04:29 AM Re: About National-State-Local Purpose & Ethics of MTNA Members
AZNpiano Offline
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Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5454
Loc: Orange County, CA
Keystring:

I sort of see where you are coming from. I am not in MTNA, but I am actively involved in MTAC, which is the state association for California. Just like all volunteer organizations, it is the members that make each chapter/branch strong. It is unfortunate that there are teachers who do absolutely nothing except to pay their dues once a year--I don't even know why they bother; can't they just save $111 per year by not renewing their membership??

Worse yet, year after year we have to deal with teachers who do participate in events, but refuse to (or are reluctant to) accept any responsibilities. They pick the easiest jobs to do, and sometimes they just don't show up, so other people have to be called in to cover them.

So I do think, Keystring, that some of the concerns you raise about the professionalism of members _is_ warranted, because I have witnessed many examples that would corroborate your concern. Unfortunately, we can't kick members out for simply being lazy. They actually have to do something pretty bad (like stealing students, or claiming a transfer student as their own within the first six months of instruction) in order to be terminated from the association. Sheer teaching ineptitude, I'm afraid, isn't grounds for removal from membership.
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#960349 - 05/06/08 06:51 AM Re: About National-State-Local Purpose & Ethics of MTNA Members
keystring Online   content
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Keyboardklutz, a teacher's effect on a student's life can be much higher than that of a court interpreter. The kid who takes lessons because his parents want him to is not going to be that affected by a bad teacher, though he might develop a love of music through a good teacher and who knows where that will lead. But imagine someone taking lessons who does love music and has a passion for it. Imagine this person taking lessons from someone who does not know how to teach them to read music, or thinks for this group of students it's not all that necessary, or some of the other skills that have been identified among transfer students as "necessary but missing". The student struggles because he is missing essential skills enabling him to play. A teacher will know that is the case, and a new teacher can help him go from struggling to reasonable proficiency. Talent is good, but talent is not all there is.

A student does not know this, however. A student who has not been given the essential skills and building blocks knows playing through the lense of his experiences. Playing an instrument, any instrument, is a hit and miss thing full of struggle with no certainty of improvement, and worse, with that kind of experience he will believe that he personally lacks something since others can play and he can't. He has not experienced guidance toward proficiency. It is a learned impotence, learned helplesness, and a false view of how things are that stay with him and may lead to not playing music, or viewing it as a struggle, or viewing teacher input as useless. If he began with a passion for music such a false viewpoint can be painful. Every time such a student hears music the old yearning may come back but he "knows" that he "can't". The divorce settlement in court wends its way to a conclusion and is a single event. Music, however, is always there even in its absence.

Now, an organization such as the MTNA cannot be responsible for "all that". the fact they at they foster awareness, provide opportunities in the community plus handing teachers tools in various ways is something extremely positive. The impact of a single private teacher, including the positive impact, should not be under-estimated.

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#960350 - 05/06/08 07:07 AM Re: About National-State-Local Purpose & Ethics of MTNA Members
keystring Online   content
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 Quote:
...or claiming a transfer student as their own within the first six months of instruction
A-a-argh, determination not to post in this thread won't work. We students and parents should be sensitized to such issues, methinks.

It will strike most of us as odd to think of ourselves as having been "claimed" as though there were an ownership involved. I am certain that this parlance is aimed mostly in the direction of up and coming students because when that student becomes famous he will have a list of "student of...." which will make others want to run and learn from one of the of's.

By the same token, a finisher-type teacher (I understand they often do not want to lay the ground work and will have a beginner-intermediate teacher do that so that he can work with the results of that first foundation) is a ticket toward performance, coupled with how the new musician plays, of course. "Studied with..." I understand can be a door opener, directly or indirectly.

I think that we students can nicely dance around that by saying "I am currently studying with NewGuy. Until three weeks ago I was a student of OldGuy." If we don't know this convention, however, we would be saying "I am NewGuy's student." We ought to know.

These subtleties would not tend to matter for casual pursuits, I would imagine, but would have to be upheld pro forma.
.......
Come to think of it, I can see a connection in some translation scenarios. In the translation of an artistic work, the name of the translator is published and sometimes there are royalties involved. The artistry of both the author and the translator is at stake - similar to the talent and work of the student combined with the work and talent of the teacher.

It has happened that a client will make changes to a translator's work, introducing error or faulty style. In that case (happened to me once) the translator will stipulate that he does NOT want any connection to this work and does not want his name to appear, because the translator's reputation is reflected by the impression created by the work.

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#960351 - 05/06/08 08:00 AM Re: About National-State-Local Purpose & Ethics of MTNA Members
keyboardklutz Offline
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 Quote:
Originally posted by keystring:
Keyboardklutz, a teacher's effect on a student's life can be much higher than that of a court interpreter.... But imagine someone taking lessons who does love music and has a passion for it. Imagine this person taking lessons from someone who does not know how to teach....[/b]
Well, apologies for paraphrasing but that does sum me up for the first 20 years of serious study. Luckily, in later life I fell into the arms of someone who knew how to play the piano. As someone who lives and breaths music, I suppose my life was nearly ruined.

I kinda baulked at the 'claiming' thing too.
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#960352 - 05/06/08 08:06 AM Re: About National-State-Local Purpose & Ethics of MTNA Members
keystring Online   content
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 Quote:
As someone who lives and breaths music, I suppose my life was nearly ruined.
That is quite a statement, and it is also quite plausible.

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#960353 - 05/06/08 08:52 AM Re: About National-State-Local Purpose & Ethics of MTNA Members
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13773
Loc: Iowa City, IA
Membership is not dependent on certification. Several years ago, MTNA had no certification whatsoever, then they started a certification program, but it was a joke and pretty much anybody with a little money and some paperwork could get certified.

Nowadays, they've tightened things up, and there is a general knowledge requirement (university coursework or an exam), and a peer-review of your performance and teaching (although the standards aren't very high.)

There are really two sides to MTNA. One is for the teachers and the other is for the students. There are student activities that are promoted, especially at the local level, but the national organization is mostly for the teachers. The code of ethics is basically a reaction to bad things people have done in the past, and I think it has some problems. (For example, you can't really say that another teacher is bad, even if every single one of their students has no sense of tone and can't play 8th notes.) But there are some good things - the magazine helps keep people connected to what's going on (although it's often more gossip than pedagogy), the group insurance plans are useful for private teachers, and the national conference is great fun.

I hope that clears some things up. MTNA is not without its problems, but it's basically a decent bunch of people.

 Quote:
Originally posted by keystring:
The document is full of noble and lofty values, as such documents are. "Real" things shine through beneath the surface.

There are a few things I am wondering about, howver. The document speaks of maintaining and improving skills, but what about the initial having of skills? I noticed that there is a certification program at 4 or 5 levels. At the most basic level, the teacher must be capable of performing, and must also have something similar to educational psychology - in other words knowledge in the subject to be taught, and knowledge of teaching. Is membership dependent upon certification? Should this matter?

I see a welcome wish to "encourage, guide and develop the musical potential of each student." and of course at some point ones has learned how to do so. For a student, having an indication of background is as important as values statements since it is difficult to know how to choose a teacher wisely. [/b]
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#960354 - 05/06/08 09:02 AM Re: About National-State-Local Purpose & Ethics of MTNA Members
keystring Online   content
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Kreisler, I actually edited the part that you have quoted because it was not well thought through and contained thoughts in the raw, and before I knew more about the MTNA. I wonder whether it would be good to have your quote reflect the current wording - or does it matter?

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#960355 - 05/06/08 02:13 PM Re: About National-State-Local Purpose & Ethics of MTNA Members
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13773
Loc: Iowa City, IA
Doesn't really matter. I was just posting some random thoughts on MTNA that I thought might add to the discussion.

\:D
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed

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#960356 - 05/07/08 03:01 AM Re: About National-State-Local Purpose & Ethics of MTNA Members
Candywoman Offline
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Registered: 07/14/03
Posts: 837
To Keystring,

I don't think I'd worry so much about the fate of piano students. Most piano teachers have something to teach a student, if not a list a mile long. A student also knows when his/her teacher is lacking knowledge, and will eventually quit if they feel the need to. Parents also notice things at recitals and elsewhere and make decisions for their children.

Everybody eventually finds the right path.

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