Independent Music Teachers: 2009 Top Issues Project

Article excerpt

There is no such thing as a typical independent music teacher. In this group of people, who represent 75 percent of MTNA membership, there is a huge range of educational backgrounds, ages and musical training. Many live and work in rural and suburban America, while others run their studios in more metropolitan centers, teaching both full time and part time to provide income for their families. Yes, IMTs are a very diverse group of individuals, but as different as their lives and circumstances are, aren't there a few things they have in common?

In an effort to identify some of the top issues for IMTs, a short survey was developed and distributed throughout the country. State IMT Forum chairs were asked to send out the survey either by e-mail or hard copy at local and state meetings. The survey, which ran from February 1 through April 30, 2009, had participation from 46 states with 1,118 teachers who took the time to send in their answers.

While all music educators should be concerned with well-paced learning, repertoire and technical skills, the survey listed 16 aspects that were deemed unique to running an independent music studio. These choices were organized into four different areas: Money Issues, Parent/Student/Teacher Relationships, Community Relations, and Education and Networking. Teachers were asked to choose five of the items on the list that were most important to them; the top 11 results are listed in order below:

TOP ISSUES PROJECT 2009 IMT SURVEY PICKS

* Teaching students who are over scheduled in today's society: 768 votes

* Making a living at teaching, and setting fees accordingly: 533 votes

* Positive communication with parents and students: 503 votes

* Being connected to other teachers: 502 votes

* Developing and following through on studio policies: 377 votes

* Respect in the community for what I know and what I do: 357 votes

* Continue my own instrumental study: 306 votes

* Marketing myself as a music teacher: 294 votes

* Taxes, records and deductible expenses: 276 votes

* Continuing Education/Being an advocate for the arts in my community: 267 votes

Is the number one choice surprising to you? Teaching busy students in today's society is obviously a challenge for many teachers, with so many extracurricular sports, activities, academics and entertainment, the time it takes to help develop a well-rounded musician and performer does not seem to be possible. …