2018 Award Recipients

Presented March 17–21
in Lake Buena Vista, Florida

MTNA Achievement Award
The Frances Clark Center for Keyboard Pedagogy, Kingston, New Jersey

According the Frances Clark Center’s website, Frances Clark, through her life’s work, "revolutionized the field of music education in the twentieth century." Many private and studio teachers, especially MTNA members, have found her work to be a transformative source of knowledge and inspiration. In recognition of her importance, Clark, herself, was conferred the MTNA Achievement Award in 1992. Frances Clark’s legacy continues to be championed by the Frances Clark Center for Keyboard Pedagogy. The center accomplishes its mission though the New School for Music Study in Kingston, New Jersey, the Clavier Companion magazine, the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy, and several print publications. All of these foci, in their own way, represent significant contributions to music teaching, and are destined to also be lasting contributions for generations.

MTNA Distinguished Service Award
Ann Gipson, NCTM, Aledo, Texas

Ann Milliman Gipson is serving her 13th year as associate professor of music and director of piano pedagogy studies at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas. She holds the bachelor of music degree from Eastern Illinois University, the MM and PhD in music education/piano pedagogy degrees from the University of Oklahoma, and is a Nationally Certified Teacher of Music. Prior to her appointment to TCU, she held faculty positions at Baylor University, Oklahoma Baptist University, The University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma, Delta State University and the University of Kentucky. Her articles have appeared in the American Music Teacher, Clavier Companion, Clavier, Keyboard Companion and the Piano Pedagogy Forum, and she has presented sessions at local, state and national venues. Gipson has been an active member of MTNA since joining as a collegiate member in 1978, while attending EIU. She currently has a MTNA Endowment Fund established in her name. Gipson also mentors teachers who are working toward MTNA Certification. She has actively supported collegiate members by serving as faculty advisor of MTNA Collegiate Chapters at Oklahoma Baptist University, Baylor University and now at TCU. As a member of the Oklahoma MTA, she became active at the state level holding offices of President, President-elect, and Vice president of Local Associations and Collegiate Chapters. At the national level, she was Conference Program Chair for the 2004 and 2005 MTNA National Conferences, and served on committees for Collegiate Certification and the RMM/Group Specialist Program. She has served as MTNA President-elect, MTNA President (2009–2011), and MTNA Immediate Past President. Recently, she served as the co-chair of the Committee on Collegiate Pedagogy Teaching for the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy and currently, she serves as the certification chair for the Fort Worth Music Teachers Association. Gipson was named a Coleman Faculty Entrepreneurship Fellow, 2011–2013, and was selected as the 2017 OMTA Distinguished Teacher of the Year by the Oklahoma Music Teachers Association. Gipson claims that her service is looking to the future as she mentors students and recent graduates as they assume leadership responsibilities in the local and state associations.

MTNA Teacher of the Year
Edward Francis (posthumously), Thousand Oaks, California

Ohio born, Edward Francis moved to California in 1965, where his major teachers were Mildred McGowen-Ryan and Peter Yazbeck. His principal teacher at Cal State University, Northridge was French pianist Francoise Regnat. Shortly after completing his master's degree, he was hired as music faculty at Oxnard College in Ventura County, where he taught for 20 years. He also taught at Pepperdine University, Moorpark College, and was on faculty at Cal State University, Northridge (CSUN) from 2010 until he passed in 2017. Francis performed in recitals and as soloist with orchestras in the United States and Canada. He founded and was chairman of the Thousand Oaks Philharmonic, which produces concerts featuring a professional orchestra with exceptional young artists as soloists. The Thousand Oaks Arts Commission presented him with its “Encore Award for Excellence in the Arts,” given to an individual who has made significant contributions to the cultural community of the city. He was presented the 2006 Presidential Scholar in the Arts Teacher Recognition Award by then Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium and the Kennedy Center Concert Hall in Washington, D.C. Under the auspices of the TO Phil, he started HAMMERED! The High School Honors Piano Performance Seminar, inviting pre-college students to participate in a monthly series of lectures and master classes. Francis was a beloved teacher with a teaching career that spanned over 40 years. In recent years, his longtime student, Sean Chen won the $100,000 American Pianists Association Classical Fellowship First Place Award. Chen was also the first American since 1997 to medal in the 2013 Van Cliburn International Competition and has gone on to establish a successful performing career. Another student, Peter Klimo, won second place in the 2014 International Franz Liszt competition in Holland (the first American ever to win a medal in that competition). Francis actively served and supported CAPMT and MTNA through leadership positions and presenting at many CAPMT state conferences and MTNA national conferences. He was the CAPMT Lifetime Achievement Award winner in 2015 and was recently nominated posthumously as CAPMT Teacher of Year for 2017.

Frances Clark Keyboard Pedagogy Award
Piano Adventures by Nancy and Randall Faber, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Nancy and Randall Faber have combined their backgrounds as composer and performer to become leading supporters of piano teachers and students. The husband and wife team are co-founders of the Faber Piano Institute and have authored more than 300 publications, including Piano Adventures method libraries for students of all ages, the PreTime to BigTime Piano Supplementary Library for student motivation, and materials for building foundational skills such as sight reading, ear training, note reading and music theory. Their innovative, student-centered approach uses analysis, creativity and expression to help students "develop musical minds and hearts." Nancy Faber was named “Distinguished Composer of the Year” by the Music Teachers National Association for her award-winning composition Tennessee Suite for Piano and String Quartet. Her flute quartet Voices from Between Worlds was the winning composition for the National Flute Association’s Professional Chamber Music Competition. She was commissioned by MTNA for its Year of Collaborative Music. Nancy Faber’s music has been heard on network television, public radio, and in piano recitals of teachers around the world. She studied composition with Joan Tower, William Albright, Charles Ruggiero and British composer Nicholas Maw. Piano studies were at the Eastman School and Michigan State University where she was honored with the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2015. Randall Faber lectures on musical artistry and talent development around the world. An active recitalist, his piano performances have aired on television and public radio. He was a master teacher for the World Piano Pedagogy Conference, the Music Teachers National Association Conference, and the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy. He as presented as guest artist at universities and conservatories throughout North America and Asia. Faber holds three degrees from the University of Michigan and a PhD in education and human development from Vanderbilt University.

State Affiliate of the Year
Louisiana Music Teachers Association
Pamela D. Pike, NCTM, president

The Louisiana Music Teachers Association implemented creative ways to help flood victims (both teachers and students) following the devastating August floods in southern Lousiana. Music was donated by teachers from across the country, state and from the collegiate chapter at the University of Houston for Baton Rouge area teachers and students who lost everything. Baton Rouge MTA coordinated distribution of book donations. Monetary donations made by teachers, state associations and collegiate chapters were coordinated by an LMTA committee to ensure that the money helped to pay tuition and purchase needed books and supplies for teachers and students. Activities of special note that helped the cause include:

  • Greater Shreveport MTA held a Play-a-Thon with their students and recruited a local restaurant to donate 20 percent of one day of profits to the LMTA Save Our Students Fund.
  • Baton Rouge MTA contacted a patron in California who donated money to purchase keyboards and LMTA was able to give 10 keyboards to students who had lost their pianos in the floods.
  • Money from the Save Our Students Fund helped subsidize student tuition for families who have no discretionary money left for music lessons during rebuilding.

Local Association of the Year
Laramie Music Teachers Association (Wyoming)
Cheryl Hemphill, president

The Laramie Music Teachers Association held a successful series of collaborative fundraising recitals last April to raise money for an updated piano for the local assisted living facility, Spring Wind. Every two years, this local association seeks to benefit a local entity with collaborative benefit concerts. Other benefactors have included The Boys and Girls Club, and musical families with overwhelming medical needs. The Laramie chapter is also currently working hard to revamp the way local achievement day is set up and run. They are rewording the purpose statement, redesigning the evaluation forms, dividing the performances into a three-tiered system, and they are looking to put all forms and helpful information (for parents and teachers) onto the state website.

MTNA Collegiate Chapter of the Year
University of Colorado Boulder
Sarah Rushing, president
Jennifer Hayghe, advisor

The University of Colorado Boulder Collegiate Chapter’s community service project was innovative and reached out to the community at large, not just the music community. This chapter already has a plan in place for next year’s service project. The exhibited commitment to state and local association service, to continuing education for their members and to peer support. They’re also active at the National level, as their chapter was one of those chose to present at this year’s conference.

American Music Teacher Article of the Year
Amanda Gunderson, Williamsport, Pennsylvania
“The Well-Crafted Question: Inspiring Students to Connect, Create and Think Critically”: Published April/May 2017

The 2018 American Music Teacher Article of the Year award is presented to Amanda Gunderson, for her article “The Well-Crafted Question: Inspiring Students to Connect, Create and Think Critically.” This article was published in the April/May 2017 issue of American Music Teacher magazine. Gunderson serves as assistant professor of music at Lycoming College. An active member of Pennsylvania Music Teachers Association, Gunderson serves as co-chair for PMTA state competitions. Gunderson earned the DMA in piano performance and pedagogy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison on a University Fellowship. She also holds master’s degrees in music theory and piano performance and pedagogy from Penn State University. She credits much of her success too outstanding teachers Jessica Johnson, Timothy Shafer and Christopher Taylor.

MTNA e-Journal Article of the Year
Diana Dumlavwalla, Tallahassee, Florida
“Transitioning From Traditional To Online Piano Lessons: Perceptions Of Students, Parents and Teacher”: Published February 2017

The 2018 MTNA eJournal Article of the Year Award is presented to Diana Dumlavwalla for her article “Transitioning From Traditional To Online Piano Lessons: Perceptions Of Students, Parents and Teacher.” The article was published in the February 2017 edition of the MTNA e-Journal. Dumlavwalla is an assistant professor of piano pedagogy at Florida State University. Dumlavwalla completed her doctor of musical arts performance degree at the University of Toronto, her master of music (piano performance) at the Royal College of Music in London, her Honours bachelor of music (piano performance and voice) at Wilfrid Laurier University and an associate diploma from the Royal Conservatory.

MarySue Harris Studio Teacher Fellowship Award
Katherine Acone, Ann Arbor, Michigan

This year’s recipient is Katherine Acone. Kate Acone recently graduated from the University of Michigan with her master's degree in piano performance and pedagogy. She previously obtained her bachelor’s of music degree at the University of Oklahoma. Acone is now based in Ann Arbor. She serves on faculty at the Faber Piano Institute and runs a private studio. A longtime MTNA member, Acone recently completed her two-year tenure of treasurer of the UM collegiate chapter, which included presenting at the MTNA Collegiate Chapters Piano Pedagogy Symposium, and is now active in the Ann Arbor Piano Teacher’s Guild.

Piano Technicians Guild Foundation Scholarship
Kirstin Ihde, NCTM, Oshkosh, Wisconsin

This year’s recipient of the Teacher Continuing Education and/or Performance Study Scholarship is Kirstin Ihde. Ihde is currently assistant professor of piano at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. She received a DMA degree in collaborative piano with a minor in opera coaching from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Additionally, Ihde holds an MM degree in piano performance from the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, Iowa, and a BA degree in piano performance from St. Ambrose University.

Piano Technicians Guild Scholarship
Brandon Bascom, NCTM, Clovis, California

Brandon Bascom holds degrees from Brigham Young University, Manhattan School of Music, University of Michigan and the University of Iowa. He has served as a state board member and vice-president of conferences for California Association of Professional Music Teachers, and was recently confirmed as the Southwest Division Commissioner to the National Certification Commission. Bascom is a Nationally Certified Teacher of Music, head of piano studies at Fresno City College and a collegiate chapter advisor.