CHADRON – Six Chadron State College students and two music department members attended the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) conference April 2-5, 2016, in San Antonio.
Brooks Hafey, a musical faculty member with the group, said over 2,000 music teachers, students, and industry specialists attend the MTNA conference each year. The event provides excellent opportunities to hear about the latest developments in music education, hear world class performers, and network, Hafey said.
The CSC students, comprised of instrumentalists and vocalists, attended educational sessions, demonstrations, competitions, and performances. They were Megan Anderson of Hill City, S.D., Jayne Barrow of Bassett, Neb., Kallie Bush of Kimball, Neb., Donica Enevoldsen of Potter, Neb., Talia Enevoldsen of Potter, Neb., and Emily Helsel of Brighton, Colo. Bobby Pace, CSC accompanist also traveled with the group.
“Chadron State College was well represented by six students from the department of music at the conference. They returned to Chadron feeling reinvigorated and inspired,” Hafey said.
Donica Enevoldsen said a national conference was a fantastic way to learn about different methods of teaching music.
“As a student hoping to open a private piano teaching studio in the future, the MTNA conference offered invaluable information and tips on teaching. Besides the great information from the conference, exploring the beautiful city of San Antonio and walking along the river walk was an unforgettable experience. I look forward to the 2017 MTNA conference in Baltimore,” Donica said.
Her sister, Talia Enevoldsen, said a conference highlight for her was meeting Randall Faber, a well-known method book composer.
“I grew up learning piano from his books, so this was a big moment for me. I also met a graduate student I confided in about the struggles piano students go through. I told her about my insecurities and doubts. Because of her I can know have faith in myself that no matter what. If I have ambition, people skills, and the love to teach, there are no limits to what I can achieve as a piano teacher,” Talia said.
She added that she learned about the importance of psychology and its relationship to music.
“To understand a child’s way of learning music you must be able to understand exactly how their brain is developing. We, as teachers, must understand their decision making skills and sense of judgement are not fully developed, so they usually can’t practice without motivation from peers, or parents. Psychology plays many roles in music, and especially in teaching music. This inspired me to take more psychology classes for my own personal benefit,” Talia said.
Barrow said sharing ideas and resources about new techniques for future piano students and her own personal practice was an aspect she appreciated.
“There were sessions solely describing new techniques. Some focused on understanding and relating to students and others were about how to make lessons and practice more like play rather than work,” she said. “One session in particular really inspired me to brainstorm ways I can use it in my future teaching. It was about the importance of play. Play is so important to children and adults.”
Anderson of Hill City, South Dakota, said one of her favorite sessions was about dealing with children in classrooms who are involved in sports and choosing athletics over music.
“This session taught us how to make our music classroom into a ‘team sport,’ therefore getting the attention of the athletic students. Another session I went to showed me how I could play Mozart on my flute and one day teach others as well. The conference was amazing and filled with lots of information for all instrumentalists and even vocalists,” Anderson said.
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