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Behind the Scenes: Music Organization Memberships

Enhancing my professional development and my students’ experience

As a piano teacher, I have joined several music organizations to continually enhance my professional development and to provide a variety of different opportunities for my students. My name is listed on their respective websites and through them I regularly acquire students to fill vacancies in my studio. Below is a list of the organizations and the benefits they provide.

Ontario Registered Music Teachers Association

The Ontario Registered Music Teachers Association (ORMTA) is an organization of independent music instructors across Ontario with branches in many major cities. To be a member you must be a music teacher, have a degree or diploma in music or pedagogical training, and have proof of students who have completed examinations or competitions successfully.

As an active member of the Ottawa Chapter, I am given the opportunity to attend professional development teacher training workshops several times a year hosted by ORMTA members or guest speakers. Discussion topics include

  • performance practices

  • piano technique

  • relevant technology (such as Zoom, audio workstations, and apps)

  • teacher well-being

The workshops for Ottawa teachers are hosted in-person at the Ottawa Pianos store or the University of Ottawa and online.

My ORMTA membership also allows my students to participate in ORMTA-led recitals and piano masterclasses throughout the school year. Most of these opportunities are either free or have a nominal fee. Additionally, advanced students of ORMTA members are eligible to win scholarships if they achieve high marks on examinations.

I have been a member for six years, and the membership is currently $196.87 CAD. The membership fee increases each year to correspond to the fee increase of the benefits provided to members.

Canadian Federation of Music Teachers Association

As a member of ORMTA, I am automatically made a member of the Canadian Federation of Music Teachers’ Association (CFMTA) which oversees the activities of all the individual provincial music organizations across Canada.

The CFMTA sends out regular newsletters to teachers outlining

  • professional development opportunities

  • lists of potential competitions

  • notable resources (e.g., apps, websites, programs)

  • updates on the organization

Different competitions for students of CFMTA members such as the Canada Music Recital (for all instruments) and the National Piano Competition (solely for pianists) are also offered.

I have had several students participate in the Canada Music Recital, and they benefited greatly from the performing experience. It brought them more awareness to the Canadian music in their repertoire list and allowed them to witness the diverse range of music at the recital. They each played a piece of Canadian music for a panel of judges and were awarded a certificate with their standing.

The National Piano Competition is aimed at advanced students l and in order to participate they first need to be recommended by an adjudicator at the respective provincial organization to compete at the national level. I haven’t had a student participate in this yet but hope to in the future.

Conservatory Canada

I am also a registered teacher with Conservatory Canada and attend their free weekly webinars online on a regular basis. Webinar topics have included

  • piano methods for children

  • how to conduct mock examinations

  • music by BIPOC and female composers

  • how to work with neurodiverse students

  • ornamentation in piano music

  • performance practices.

They are hosted by Derek Oger, the director of Conservatory Canada, with a specialist in each topic presenting the information.

Through accessing these resources, I am more knowledgeable of non-classical repertoire at different grades that my students can play. My students and I regularly consult the Contemporary Repertoire Syllabus for non-classical music repertoire ideas (eg. jazz, pop, blues, ragtime, and movie soundtracks) as well as their Classical Syllabus for an extensive list of compositions by Canadian composers.

At this time being a registered teacher with Conservatory Canada is completely free, and I greatly appreciate how many resources are readily available.

Royal Conservatory of Music

Being a Royal Conservatory Certified Teacher allows me to regularly enhance my knowledge of the Royal Conservatory of Music’s (RCM) curriculum of music theory, pedagogy, and music history that I teach in my lessons. The benefits of this certification include

  • auditing online theory and history courses

  • pedagogy training with sample lesson plans and recorded videos of lessons

  • articles on piano pedagogy topics (eg. technology in the studio; advice for exam preparation)

  • an exclusive Facebook group

  • top-tier listing in their National Music Teacher Directory

  • access to online ear training exercises

Through the teacher portal, I can login during a lesson and allow students to complete mock theory and history exams. RCM also gives one of my elementary students a free examination each year.

To be a certified teacher, I am charged $125 CAD per year.

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