Posting Date: March 9, 2009
MTNA Conference to feature KSU School of Music and student
By Gina Gareri-Watkins
When 2,000 teachers and converge on Atlanta this month for the Music Teachers National Association’s annual conference, Kennesaw State University will have a strong presence. Held from March 28 to April 1, this year’s national conference will feature nearly 100 MTNA showcases, master classes, recitals and national competitions. KSU School of Music members David Watkins, Jana Young, and Robert Henry and music student Steven Bicknell will be on stage as judges, panelists and performers. In addition, retired Department of Music Chair Wayne Gibson will receive a Distinguished Service Award for his many years of dedication to the music profession and to the MTNA.
MTNA is a nonprofit organization of nearly 24,000 independent and collegiate music teachers committed to furthering the art of music through teaching, performance, composition and scholarly research. Founded in 1876, MTNA is the oldest professional music teachers’ association in the United States. Through the years, Gibson served MTNA in a variety of national positions and was president from May 2001 through April 2003. He is particularly proud of his past appointment. “The membership had been largely piano teachers, and I was the first voice professor to be elected president,” explained Gibson. “I’m especially honored to receive this year’s award.” Other MTNA positions for Gibson included the board of directors, president of the MTNA Southern Division, national treasurer and convention chair. Gibson was also president of the Georgia Music Teachers Association and taught voice and music history at the university level for 31 years, 25 of which were spent at Kennesaw prior to his retirement. “I’m looking forward to seeing old friends at the presentation,” added Gibson.
KSU Professor of Piano David Watkins will be on the judge’s panels for the conference’s national finals of the junior high, high school and collegiate artist performance piano competitions. This is his first time judging the national finals. The MTNA national competitions provide both educational experience and national recognition for exceptionally talented young artists and their teachers. “The performance standards for the competitors produce highly polished professional performances in all categories,” explained Watkins, “and I look forward to hearing these very talented pianists from all over the United States.” KSU artist-in-residence Jana Young will judge the National Finals for the voice competitions. A nationally known soprano and vocal instructor, Young brings a wealth of professional and educational experience to the judge’s stand.
KSU sophomore piano performance major, Steven Bicknell, will perform Chopin’s Ballade No. 2 in F Major, Op. 38 in the MTNA advanced master piano class with the award-winning Russian classical pianist, Olga Kern, on March 30. Bicknell was one of only three pianists selected, and the only undergraduate music student to perform with Kern. “Steven Bicknell is a very talented sophomore piano performance major,” said Watkins. “The university is proud that he will play alongside a graduate music student from Georgia State University and a doctoral student from the University of Georgia’s music program.”
Also, KSU artist-in-residence Robert Henry, and piano alumnus, will take part in the MTNA panel discussion titled, “Learning to Earning: From Student to Professional” as part of MTNA’s Saturday Collegiate Expo on March 28. This year’s panelists will discuss how to make the transition from student to professional and how to effectively build an independent studio or work from the other side of the desk. Other potential careers for music students will be highlighted, including careers in the music business and piano technician fields. Henry’s panel discussion will include ideas on how to build a resume, how to make the first business contact and how to successfully interview and market oneself. Henry will also judge the piano duo competition.