About WMTA

Since 1910, Wisconsin Music Teachers Association has continued in its goal to develop, maintain, and recognize high standards of music instruction and performance in Wisconsin. We accomplish this by supporting students and educators with events, resources and a powerful network of like-minded individuals.

By providing structure and activities at local, state, divisional, and national levels, we work together to accomplish goals which couldn’t be achieved by working alone. The first official meeting of the WMTA was held on June 22, 1910 in Appleton Wisconsin under the direction of the first president, Dean William Harper.

Our state now has 12 active local associations which provide regular meetings, student programs, teacher development, membership networking and so much more. As an affiliate of Music Teachers National Association, we share common objectives and values with musicians and musical educators in all 50 states. MTNA was founded in 1876 and is the oldest professional nonprofit music teachers association in the United States. We actively endorse the MTNA mission “to advance the value of music study and music making to society and to support the professionalism of music teachers”.

The History of WMTA

The Wisconsin Music Teachers’ Association held its first annual meeting in Appleton, Wisconsin on June 22-24, 1910. The Constitution, adopted at the first meeting, stated the purpose of the organization was:

The development of improved methods of musical instruction,

the interchange of thought,

the furtherance of professional fraternity,

the elevation of the standards of professional work and the musical taste of the public,

the advancement of American musical compositions, and,

the issuance of certificates of proficiency in the various departments of music.

The first President of WMTA was Dean William Harper of Appleton. At the first meeting, round table discussions were held on the topics of harmony, piano, voice and public school music. Recitals were presented in organ, voice, piano and violin. Members of the faculty of the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music presented a concert.

Highlights in WMTA History 1911-1973

1911 – The convention held at Beloit College had 75 members in attendance.

1912 – At the convention at Ripon College, a single ticket admission was fifty cents and was ‘good for any single session, recital or concert.’

1916 – The Wisconsin Music Teachers’ Association was incorporated by the State of Wisconsin as a non-stock, non-profit corporation.

1934 – Pianist, Leo Podolsky performed at the annual convention.

1943 – The annual convention was ‘postponed for patriotic reasons’. John W. Schaum was president.

1944 – Information about the upcoming convention in Fond du Lac stated, “Fond du Lac is easily reached by train, bus, or automobile if you have the gas.” Leo Podolsky presented a lecture-recital at this convention.

1945 – The annual convention was again cancelled due to the war.

1946 – Miss Elizabeth Hearding, age 86, or Delafield, was elected Honorary President. She had been the state treasurer for twenty years and was then the oldest active member of the organization, still teaching and composing.

1958 – Soulina Stravinsky, son of Igor Stravinsky, was ‘master critic’ for performances of high school students. Mr. Stravinsky also gave a lecture on ‘Post Romanticism’, and performed in concert compositions written by his father and by French composers.

1972 – Pianist Ruth Slenczynska performed at the annual convention.

1973 – There were two sets of officers for a period of time. This was due to questionable nominations from the floor. An election tie for office of president, conducted at the November 04 convention and a later mail-in ballot was eventually deemed improper. This was finally resolved on January 13, 1974, when a special meeting, was called (by specific written direction of the Music Teachers National Association President) to elect new officers.

1981 – Nelita True state conference presentation:  Mozart Sonatas and Inner Performance

1984 – Ludmila Lazar, conference artist

1985 – Barbara English Maris conference presenter

1987 – Ralph Votapek, born in Milwaukee, WI, as conference artist. Won the 1st Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in 1962

1988 – Dallas Weekley and Nancy Arganbright, Duets – The Pedagogy and the Repertoire

1989 – Maurice Hinson. – Amercian Piano Music from the colonies to the present

1991 – Alexander Braginsky, Moscow. – Prof. of Piano at University of Minnesota. – Teaching the Gifted Child

1993 – Penelope Crawford and Nancy Garrett – “Duo Cristofori”, Duo Piano Literature on 18th and 19th century pianos

1994 – Robert Weirich, writer for Clavier magazine

1995 – Erie Mills, soprano, with Jeffry Peterson

1996 – Jane Magrath – Pedagogy and Career Options

1997 – Rebecca Johnson – Teaching the Adult student, and Overcoming Teacher Burnout

1998 – Amanda Vick Lethco – Developing Music for a lifetime with our Students

1999  – Marvin Blickenstaff, author of Music Pathways and Sara Faye

2000 – N. Jane Tan presented, founder and director of “The Well Prepared Pianist Institute”

2002 – Robert Vandall

2004 – Elier Suarez, conference artist

2005 – Ralph Votapek and Weekley & Arganbright

2007 – Randall Faber. – Teaching Habits: the Good, Bad, and the Ugly

Historical data compiled here was found in the Wisconsin State Historical Society Archive Files in Milwaukee and/or compiled by Monica Scholz, WMTA Archivist.

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