I am a firm believer in Continuing Education. There is always something to learn, no matter how many years I’ve been teaching. On October 14th, 2017, I attended a Quad State Conference in Concord, New Hampshire. Four MTNA State chapters participated: Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont. These conferences serve two important needs – reconnecting with our colleagues and learning, and I took full advantage of both!
Forrest Kinney was the keynote speaker. He is the composer of the Pattern Play and Chord Play series, which present creative ideas for improvisation even at the simplest levels. I have used his books for years with my students and can fully attest to the instant appeal to both teacher and student! His historical knowledge of improvisation, and his easy to use ideas of how to engage students in an exploration of their musical imaginations were as crisp as the fall weather and sent us home with shining examples to try out with our students.
We also attended a recital of three pieces, each commissioned by individual state chapters – Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.
The performances were preceded by comments from each composer. I may have never had the opportunity to meet Beethoven, but now I’ve met Daniel Sonenberg, Romeo Melloni and David Gunn. Who knows who the next Beethoven will be?!
Whether at the national level of Music Teachers National Association, or at the state level, this organization continues to provide opportunities for teachers to grow. I always come home from these conferences inspired and excited about sharing all the new ideas with my students. Happy Autumn!