2016 MSMTA Conference Highlights

Published on 11/12/16

The conference this year was held in Great Falls, hosted by the Great Falls Music teachers, with guest artist, clinician Dr. Jody Graves. Her recital engagements as a soloist and collaborative pianist take her across the United States and abroad, and has performed concerts in Austria, Norway, France, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, Japan and has toured in the Persian Gulf serving as a Cultural Ambassador for the US State Department. She is currently Professor of Piano at Eastern Washington University, Cheney, WA.

As Dr. Jody Graves led our sessions, she gave us much to ponder in working with our students. Here are some quotes gleaned from her presentations:
What we do must have purpose. Remember your purpose; play for the people who cannot play.
Fear creeps in mostly due to what we are thinking. Confidence through competence, casts out fear.
What you think of me is none of my business.
Educare – to draw out (that which lies within), not to put in.
Don’t teach to our limitations, but to their possibilities.
Motivation vs Inspiration – motivation has an external impetus, but with inspiration the desire comes from within.
Bring the music out of the piano, don’t put it in. Don’t fight the piano, join the instrument.

She conducted a master class with two students, a ten-year old girl and a sixteen-year old boy. It was a joy to watch her masterful art of working with these students. As we watched, Jody put these students at ease while they performed in front of a room full of music teachers, and gave them each ideas, on their particular level, to further enhance the performance of their pieces.

Friday evening Dr. Graves performed in a concert for us. What a fabulous performance of Debussy’s “La Cathedral Engloutie”, “Ce q’ua vu le vent d’Ouest” and Liszt’s “Consolation in D-flat” and “Vallee d’Obermann”. Following a brief intermission we enjoyed some selections from the Sapphire Trio (Margaret Baldridge, violin, Maxine Ramey, clarinet and Jody Graves, piano). Of particular interest was a piece composed and arranged for the Sapphire Trio by our commissioned composer, Greg Bolin, “Corundum”. Their fine musicianship was an inspiration to all.

KAMTA’s own Diane Volkman was named teacher of the year by MSMTA. Congratulations, Diane, we are proud of you! Two of our teachers received their 40 year awards, Betty Hanzel and Marcy Holston, and Suzanne Rohrbach received her 15 year award. The Kalispell chapter was well represented at the conference, having eleven members in attendance.