ST. PAUL (April 25, 2013) — The Minnesota Music Teachers Association, founded in 1901, is a professional non-profit educational organization under the umbrella of the Music Teachers National Association that was founded in 1876. Its mission is to advance the profession of music teaching through education, certification, networking, and advocacy. It offers music theory tests, keyboard examinations, ensemble festivals, and the annual honors competition for students of members. It also offers various benefits for teacher members.
For the honors competition, thousands of members of the association, prepare students from age 5 to college level to learn one song from a list of compositions that are categorized into Pre-primary, Primary, Junior A, Junior B, Intermediate A, Intermediate B, Senior A and Senior B levels. They play the song at the preliminary at the end of January. Almost half will proceed to the finals in the middle of March and about 700 will be declared winners. They will perform in a two-hour long recital of four-hand and two-piano compositions on twenty pianos at the Minneapolis Convention Center on May 18 at 7:00 pm. Family, relatives and the public are invited to witness the biggest student recital in the country.
With so many Asian families residing in the Twin City, more and more students of Asian descent participate in this competition. This year, six students of Evelyn Lee , senior faculty at Saint Joseph’s School of Music in Saint Paul, have been designated as winners. They are: Julia Camacho, Calvin Gunawan, Amanda Khouw, Karla Nguyen, David Sun and Emma Wahyu. It is Calvin’s and Amanda’s first appearance at the honors recital, and Julia and Emma’s second appearance. Additionally, it is David’s third win and Karla’s fifth win. The six students will also be auditioning for the National Guild of Piano Teachers on May 22 and 23 at Northwestern College in Arden Hills. They will play seven to ten songs for an adjudicator appointed by the headquarter.
Students at Saint Joseph’s also have the opportunity to participate in an all-school honors competition. David won in the 2011 and 2013. This year he played Rhapsody by Maxwell Eckert. He played the same song at the Northwestern College Piano Festival earning him honorable mention. Karla played Chopin’s Nocturne in C minor, posthumous. Both Karla and David performed their winning solos at a benefit concert for the school.
In addition to the student competition, MMTA also presents a two-day convention for the one thousand members. This year it will be held in Crowne Plaza hotel in Golden Valley. Presenters from Minnesota and neighboring states, as well as MMTA members share their knowledge in 50-minute sessions. The sessions range from playing duet, to learning to play the piano without hurting oneself while achieving the highest technical and musical level. MMTA will also unveil their new syllabus on playing popular music as well as a new theory syllabus, how to transcribe music, and how to teach composition. One of the high lights of the convention is the master class. This year’s main speaker, nationally known Dr. Barbara Lister-Sink will listen to four students ranging in age from nine to fifteen years old and offer advice. One of them is nine -year old Emma Wahyu from Xin Xing Chinese immersion school. She will play “Teasing” from a collection of compositions called “Enfantines” by Ernest Bloch.
For the past few years, MMTA convention will also include a recital by selected winners of the E-junior competition, the brain child of Dr. Alex Lubet from the uUniversity of Minnesota school of Music. Young pre-college students residing in Minnesota, North Dakota or Wisconsin, can apply to perform at the e-Piano Junior Festival. Participants prepare one piece or a group of pieces no longer than 12 minutes. Twelve to eighteen will be selected to play for one of the International Jury Members of the e-Piano Junior Competition and perform in a concert on Friday, July 12 at noon at the Lloyd Ultan Hall, Ferguson Hall at the University of Minnesota School of Music. A professional audio recording will be created from the performance and given to each Festival participant.
For more information on MMTA, the E-Junior competition, the National Guild of Piano Teachers, and Saint Joseph’s School of Music, visit their respective websites.