Music Teacher's Helper Blog

How to Get Connected: National Organizations

Are you a member of any of the music organizations listed below? Maybe you can recommend a group that’s not on the list. Is there an organization, whether national or local, that you especially like (or dislike)? Please feel free to tell us, by adding a comment at the end of this article; we’d all appreciate hearing about your experiences.

Music teachers and performers are necessarily people-oriented, and yet many are freelancers, running their own teaching studios, and spend precious time alone practicing, listening, composing, arranging, preparing materials.

Bringing them together is the goal of professional music organizations, which offer networking opportunities, educational workshops and conferences, publications, grants, awards, competitions, insurance, websites, with annual dues ranging from $35 to $120.

Before listing some organizations and their websites, I must confess that the reason I first joined a national music organization was to get half-price instrument insurance. But I ended up finding some of the publications interesting, and gained ideas and contacts from a national conference and trade show that I was able to attend.

Apart from the expense of dues, there can be the downside of having to endure the occasional political shenanigans. It probably won’t surprise you if I observe that not all the people who gravitate towards volunteer leadership positions are fair, nurturing, and effective.

Many of the national organizations have great benefits. Some are not even publicized–for example, I recently discovered that my instrument insurance company was offering members of one group a low rate without publicizing it. It seems they wanted to hang onto customers and compete with the official insurance company partnering with that organization. So it can be worth a few inquiries to match up the services you want with the memberships you prefer.

Music Teacher National Association — 24,000 members; started in 1876; offers conferences, competitions, certification, financial aid for teacher education, has local groups in all states; online discussions; an Independent Music Teachers Forum; support for college music programs. Magazine: American Music Teacher. Dues depends on state, from $35-$50; about half price for college students.

National Association for Music Education 80,000 members; started in 1907. Also known as MENC, from before 1998 when the group was the Music Educators National Conference. Actively involved in political lobbying and promotion of music education in America; magazines–Teaching Music and Music Educators Journal and 3 online journals. Dues $70-$120 (college students $22-38). Lots of offerings like job center, credit card, various kinds of insurance, etc.

International Association of Jazz Educators 9,000 members; offers information and advice, product discounts, publications and resource materials, scholarship programs for teachers and students, technical assistance, an International Conference, Talent Recognition programs; magazine–Jazz Education Journal. Dues $70, students $30.

Technology Institute for Music Educators offers databases with lessons plans, research articles, software tutorials, online discussions, conventions, newsletter, and free subscriptions to magazines–Electronic Musician, Keyboard, Mix, and Music Education Technology. Dues $40, students $20.

National Guild of Piano Teachers 10,000 teacher members; offers auditions, awards, certification; magazine–Piano Guild Notes. Dues $50.

American String Teacher Association has national conference, online discussions, access to music books, employment help, promotes strings in schools including alternative strings, grants, awards, competitions, instrument insurance, magazine–American String Teacher. Dues about $90.

Guitar Foundation of America convention, teacher database for students to find teachers, out-of-print music, periodicals, low-rate instrument insurance, discounts, magazine–Soundboard. Dues $50, students $30.

National Association of Teachers of Singing 6500 members; master classes, workshops, and conferences, international organization (25 countries), grants, online discussions, teacher resources, studio advertising, auditions, employment help; magazine–Journal of Singing. Dues $80.

You get the idea! The following are similar organizations with self-explanatory titles–

International Clarinet Association

National Flute Association

International Horn Society

International Trombone Association

International Trumpet Guild

International Women’s Brass Conference

National Association of College Wind and Percussion Instructors

North American Saxophone Alliance

About the Author

Ed Pearlman
Ed Pearlman has focused on performing, teaching, and judging fiddle music for over 30 years, offering performances and workshops throughout the USA and in Canada and Scotland. His original training was with members of the Chicago and Boston Symphonies, and he played with orchestras and chamber groups at Yale and in Boston. He currently teaches privately in Maine and at workshops around the countr... [Read more]

1 Comment

  1. Betty Patnude

    This is a very helpful list for music teachers. Being affiliated with a local chapter is a big help in so many ways, state and national are part of the same package with MTNA. I joined in 1981 and have never regretted what has been contributed to my on-going education. Of course, I had to participate and do some of the work to contribute manpower, but a very small “sacrifice” that has helped me grown and also be proud of the person I have become as a teacher and as a businessperson. I recommend it.

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