2019 Award Recipients

Presented March 16–20
Spokane, Washington

MTNA Achievement Award
Jane Magrath, Norman, Oklahoma

Jane Magrath, NCTM, is professor and director of piano pedagogy at the University of Oklahoma in Norman. Her book The Pianist’s Guide to Standard Teaching and Performance Literature has become a classic reference work for pianists throughout the country and is published by Alfred Publishing. A native of South Carolina, Magrath received her education at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and at Wesleyan College, and was the first person to receive the DMA in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from Northwestern University. Magrath has given presentations at many conferences, including MTNA. She was named the first recipient of MTNA’s Frances Clark Keyboard Pedagogy Award for the Outstanding Contribution to Piano Pedagogy. She has contributed to American Music Teacher and currently serves as an editor for the Piano Pedagogy Forum.

MTNA Distinguished Service Award
Ann Rivers Witherspoon, Houston, Texas

Ann Witherspoon holds MM and DMA degrees in composition from the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University and a BS degree in fashion design from the University of Texas-Austin. Witherspoon currently teaches composition, piano performance, theory, ear training and improvisation in her private studio in Houston. She is also an active composer with compositions performed by orchestras (such as the Houston Symphony Orchestra), notable chamber ensembles and soloists. Witherspoon has served as the National Chair of the MTNA Composer Commissioning Program since 2005, is Chair of the MTNA Collaborative Music Commissioning Project, is a Trustee of the Texas MTA Educational Foundation, is Chair of Houston MTA’s TMTA Original Composition Contest, and is on several other committees. She was honored as an MTNA Foundation Fellow in 2015, Texas MTA Outstanding Pre-Collegiate Teacher of the Year in 2007, Texas MTA Commissioned Composer in 2001 and received the Houston MTA Teacher Service Award in 2002. She has served as President of Houston MTA, State Chair of Texas MTA Commissioned Composer Program, Trustee and President of the Houston MTA Educational Foundation, Texas Chair of the TMTA Original Composition Contest, and an Advisor for the MTNA Arts Awareness and Advocacy Forum.

MTNA Teacher of the Year
Frances Larimer, Evanston, Illinois

Frances Larimer, NCTM, Piano Professor Emerita, created the master's and doctoral degree programs in Piano Performance and Pedagogy at the Northwestern University School of Music and served as director of these programs for over 25 years. Prior to this, she established the group piano programs for music and non-music majors. Since her retirement in August 1998, Larimer has served as consultant in piano pedagogy for Yamaha. From 1975 to 1979, she served as national group piano chair for MTNA and has served 2 four-year terms on the editorial board of American Music Teacher. In July 2011, she received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy “for substantial and enduring contributions to the field of piano pedagogy.” Her international activities include lecture series for teacher workshops at the Rubin Academy of Music in Jerusalem, the International School of Music in Hong Kong and the St. Petersburg Conservatory of Music in Russia. Graduates from her pedagogy programs are well-known pedagogues, educators, performers and composers, who are nurturing future generations of teachers.

Frances Clark Keyboard Pedagogy Award
University of Iowa Piano Pedagogy Video Recording Project; Alan Huckleberry and Jason Sifford, NCTM, Iowa City, Iowa

Pianist Alan Huckleberry is recognized as a multi-faceted artist on the classical music scene, performing in recitals as a soloist and chamber musician in Europe, Australia, Central America, the United States and South America. He is currently professor of piano at the University of Iowa, as well as associate director for undergraduate studies. There, he heads the piano pedagogy program, which has become recognized as one of the leading programs in the nation. He is former president of the Iowa Music Teachers Association and has held a variety of board positions in IMTA. He began his affiliation with MTNA as president of the Collegiate Chapter at the University of Michigan, where he received his masters and doctoral degrees. Huckleberry’s love for new music, teaching, high-quality recordings for children, and performing has led to the University of Iowa Piano Pedagogy video recording project, which has garnered over 12.5 million views and 16,000 subscribers. Jason Sifford, NCTM, has a doctorate in piano performance and pedagogy from the University of Michigan and has served as a musician and music director for theater companies, church groups and jazz ensembles. He also performs regularly with other musicians in the area and maintains a studio of wonderfully talented students of all ages. With more than two decades of experience as an educator, Sifford focuses on helping students become the best musicians they can possibly be.

State Affiliate of the Year
Utah Music Teachers Association
Laurisa Cope, NCTM, president

The Utah Music Teachers Association uses four words or phrases to describe its members. The first is Unselfish. They give their time and talents not only to their own students and studios, but to the communities in which they live, and to make UMTA the best organization it can be. The second is Teacher Education and Communication. UMTA works tirelessly to update their website, Nationally Certify its members, execute an unparalleled conference, push their Achievement in Music Program, pursue ways to get to know and involve the collegiate members, and collaborate with local associations. The third is Achievement. From 2017-2018, UMTA had 77 students participate in the performance competitions, with student winners coming from 19 different teachers. They had 5 students participate in the composition competitions, with student winners coming from 5 different teachers. Finally, History! Utahans are known for their desire to keep a history of their roots. UMTA has a strong history that spans over 60 years. They have a a history of exceptional and distinctive teaching at all levels, including 33 MTNA Performance Competition 1st place winners, four Collegiate Chapter of the Year winners and two Studio Teacher Fellowship winners. Every member of UMTA contributes to its wonderful history and incredible future!

Local Association of the Year
Central OklahomaTeachers Association (Wyoming)
Teri Joy Hlubek, NCTM, president

The Central Oklahoma Music Teachers Association (COMTA) is strongly devoted to staying at the forefront of innovative teaching strategies and has spent the past few years focused on finding ways to incorporate technology into both their programming and the administrative aspects of their organization. The result has been high-quality educational experiences for both students and teachers in the community and more efficiency in how they operate as an association. COMTA has used technology to meet the students where they live as “digital natives” through three innovative programs: Kamp Keyboard, Clavinova Ensemble Adventures and Christmas Clavinova Festival. These programs were specifically designed to keep students in music longer by making learning more social and creating a community of “music friends” that share the love of music. COMTA is now seeing the fruits of their labor as the programs are still flourishing.

MTNA Collegiate Chapter of the Year
Ohio University
Elizabeth Jackson, president
Christopher Fisher, NCTM, advisor

The Ohio University Collegiate Chapter has worked hard to establish an engaging relationship with the southeastern Ohio community through its projects. This year, they have continued their project from last year entitled “Piano Ensembles”, in which they create arrangements of large orchestral works for two pianos, eight hands and percussion. Through the ensemble, the chapter teaches students music theory, orchestration and how to follow conductor among other skills. This spring, the chapter will take the project to the Athens Public Library where audience members will create poetry as a product of the performance. The overall mission with this project has been to engage members of the community through interdisciplinary arts and diaglogue through music.

American Music Teacher Article of the Year
Jessica Johnson, NCTM, Madison, Wisconsin
“Awakening Rhythmic Intuition And Flow In The Developing Pianist”

Jessica Johnson serves on the piano faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison as professor of piano and piano pedagogy, where in 2006, she was the recipient of UW-Madison’s prestigious Emil Steiger Distinguished Teaching Award. Johnson frequently commissions and programs contemporary solo and chamber works. Passionate about community engagement and arts outreach, she serves as director of Piano Pioneers, a program that brings high quality piano instruction to low income community members and high risk youth in Wisconsin. Johnson holds a DMA and MM from the University of Michigan, and a BM from East Carolina University. She serves as the East Central Certification Commissioner for MTNA, and this is her third AMT Article of the Year Award!

MTNA e-Journal Article of the Year
Adrienne Wiley
“The Best Of The British: Selected Educational Piano Works By Alec Rowley”

Adrienne Wiley, NCTM, received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in piano performance from the University of Kansas, and her DMA in piano performance and pedagogy from the University of Oklahoma. Wiley is currently professor of music at Central Michigan University where she teaches and administers the piano pedagogy program at the bachelor’s degree level, and teaches applied and class piano. She has served MTNA in many capacities: most notably the Local Associations Awards Chair, the MTNA Senior Performance Competitions Chair, and other select committees. She has also been active in the Michigan Music Teachers Association as president, past president, vice president, and other select positions. Wiley now serves as the Collegiate Chapters Chair, on the Certification Committee for the state of Michigan, and as the East Central Division Certification Commissioner at the national level. In her spare time, you will find her teaching her private students, practicing both the piano and the organ, researching and writing, and performing her specialty: single-handed piano music.

MarySue Harris Studio Teacher Fellowship Award
Jessica Welsh, Dallas, Texas

Jessica Welsh, NCTM, is pursuing a DMA in piano pedagogy at Texas Christian University. She holds an MM in piano performance and an MM in performance and pedagogy from Southern Methodist University, as well as a BM in piano performance and a BME in music education from the University of Central Florida. Jessica has presented at MTNA's National Conference and Collegiate Pedagogy Symposium, and she has been published by Clavier Companion. She owns and operates Primo Piano Studios in East Dallas and serves as an accompanist for the Children’s Chorus of Greater Dallas.

Piano Technicians Guild Foundation Scholarship
Aubrey Faith-Slaker, NCTM, Chicago, Illinois

Aubrey Faith-Slaker, NCTM, is an established and dedicated music teacher in the Chicago area, teaching students ages 3 and up in English and in Spanish using both Suzuki and traditional methods. She has maintained a flourishing piano studio in Texas, Wyoming, Colorado, and currently Chicago, teaching piano, music history, music theory and piano pedagogy to students of all ages. Aubrey also works mentoring new teachers in piano pedagogy practices, pursuing further education and starting their own businesses. Aubrey teaches master classes in Chicago and Latin America, is part of the Suzuki Association and is steadily working towards becoming a Suzuki teacher trainer. Having studied Music Therapy in graduate school, Aubrey continues to research and explore music study as a means of healing.