MTNA Certification Moment

[Below is the text of a short article I wrote for the May issue of our local Music Teachers Association (MTA) newsletter. I just received it in my inbox from MTNA as their July Certification Moment. If you are not a Nationally Certified Teacher of Music (NCTM), I definitely encourage you to pursue becoming one!]

The call came after I’d already arrived in Austin for the 2006 MTNA Conference. The timing couldn’t have been better! Years of hard work had paid off – I was officially a Nationally Certified Teacher of Music! Or, as my sister’s message declared, I was now qualified to put initials after my name. And you better believe I didn’t waste any time adding those long anticipated initials (NCTM) to my official studio information and correspondence!

My journey toward certification began several years ago under the mentorship of Sylvia Coats. With no college credits to my name, I was determined, nonetheless, to do whatever it took to become an NCTM. The benefits to myself would be numerous, and the overflow to my students even greater, as I embarked on my course and devoted myself to the goal set before me and clearly outlined by MTNA. The process itself has helped me grow immensely as a musician and as a teacher.

The longest part of the process was meeting the performance requirements. In the course of my private study with Dr. Coats, she helped me prepare for numerous “mini-recitals” as I completed the requirements specified in the MTNA repertoire list.

Once my performance requirements were met, I was ready to send in my application, along with three letters of reference.

The next step was taking proficiency exams in Music History/Literature, Music Theory and Piano Pedagogy. Utilizing the study guide provided by MTNA, I prepared for and passed these exams last fall.

The final step was to either submit a portfolio or take the final exam. I opted to go the portfolio route, as it also gave me a chance to document my experiences, evaluate my teaching practices and revise some of my studio materials.

I finished compiling my portfolio in early March and sent it off to MTNA with a sigh of relief and a prayer that it would be accepted!

Before the expected eight weeks had elapsed, my letter of acceptance arrived in the mail, along with a beautiful certificate declaring me a Nationally Certified Teacher of Music.

Of course the initials after my name don’t automatically make me a better teacher, but I have no doubt that I am a better teacher today because of the process I went through to get those initials after my name! I am so grateful to the Lord for enabling me to reach this milestone and to the many teachers who have invested in me and encouraged me along the way.

For more information about the MTNA Professional Certification Program, visit the website at

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