September 2016

Greetings to AMTA Members!

As I write this, the rain continues to fall as do the outside temperatures, the hours of daylight, and the leaves. Most of us have started teaching and have tackled the piles of unfiled music and paperwork necessary to keep organized. The students arrive each day with various excuses for not practicing or stories of school day activities–or both!   As piano teachers, we are involved not only in the musical training of children, but are weekly observers of their growth as musicians and as human beings. What a responsibility! What a gift!

It was wonderful to see the members who were able to attend the recent AKTA/AMTA Conference in Anchorage. Anchorage Keyboard Teachers did an outstanding job of planning and organizing this great conference and Dr. Bruce Berr and his wife, Jennifer Merry were terrific presenters. It was gratifying to meet and hear the students who performed in the master class as well as those who performed their own compositions. Lunchtime provided a forum to meet and converse and an opportunity to get to know one another better. Our current membership statewide is 51 and, with 20 teachers in attendance, we had nearly 40% of our members at the conference which is an amazing figure.

Next on the schedule for AMTA are the Performance and Composition competitions. The deadline for entry is September 14, 2016 and registration is done on line via .   The Alaska performance competitions are scheduled for November 12, 2016 at UAA Arts Building and attendance is open to the public. Please contact me at for more information about this event.

Additionally, I’d like to encourage anyone who has never been to an MTNA National Conference to consider attending. This year’s conference is to be held in Baltimore, Maryland March 18-22, 2017. Go to to register or just to find out more information about the conference.

Finally, I was recently asked by MTNA leadership to share my experiences as an MTNA member and its influence on my life and career and have included my thoughts below. I would love to hear from any of our Alaska members with their particular experiences as a member of MTNA as well.

“Compared to many of my colleagues, my journey with MTNA has been atypical in several ways. Although I began college as a music major, my college education ended with a degree in nursing—a profession I practiced for many years. In 1986, due to a series of life events, I decided to begin teaching piano and joined MTNA almost immediately after attending a workshop sponsored by the local MTNA affiliate. From the very beginning, my membership in MTNA has provided opportunities for my growth and development. As I have participated in local and state events, I have learned how to choose repertoire, how to organize my studio, and best of all, I have become a better teacher. Over my 30 years of membership, I have met many wonderful teachers and musicians, attended and organized conferences, have become Nationally Certified, and have become a contributing member through on-going leadership in the organization. I can’t imagine a teaching career without membership in MTNA.”

Best wishes to all of you in the coming year!


Cindy Epperson, NCTM

Alaska State Music Teachers President