Members’ News

St George Community Award 2017

Posted on: 31 July 2018

From the office of Mark Coure MP, Member for Oatley

I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate you on your recent Community Group Achievement Award at the 7thAnnual St George Community Awards.

This was a great night and I was very inspired by the many amazing members of our community who are doing incredible things for our area.

The combined effort of all the volunteers make the St George area a better place to live and work.

Conference 2018 Flourish

Posted on: 31 July 2018

2018 Conference registration

2018 Conference session details

Conference 2018:  Flourish

Opening Address to be delivered by Richard Gill AO

This promises to be another outstanding Conference with wonderful presenters and a variety of sessions to make your teaching Flourish.

Some of the sessions include:-

  • Music and the Brain
  • Music Technology
  • Unlocking the Score
  • French Baroque Dance
  • Marketing Fundamentals
  • Teaching Gifted Students
  • New Music for Piano Duets
  • Working with Children
  • Building Bridges from Rhythm to Radio
  • Helping the 21st Century Student to Thrive

... and of course, a Forum of noted Music Educators.

Junior Music Festivals 2018

Posted on: 31 July 2018

2018 Junior Music Festival Entry

JMF Conditions 2018

2018 Junior Music Festival Entrant Details

Junior Music Festivals

The Junior Music Festivals were introduced in 1995, with the aim of offering young music students the opportunity to perform in a friendly, relaxed and encouraging environment.  They are held in various locations throughout Sydney and Country New South Wales.

They are open to students of both members and non-members of the MTA.

Prizes are awarded in all sections, with participants receiving a Certificate of Participation and a report from the adjudicator.  Entrants must be aged under 16 years of age as at 31st July and may enter at only one venue per year per instrument.

Each Festival is divided into sections, according to the grade/ability of the student.

Students may enter for more than one venue.

Novice Beginners to Preliminary
Elementary 1st and 2nd Grade
Intermediate 3rd and 4th Grade
Late Intermediate 5th and 6th Grade
Advanced* 7th and 8th Grade
The Miriam Hyde Piano Award** Beginners to 8th Grade
*Advanced section to be held at Northern Beaches, Hills District, St George/Sutherland and Wollongong venues only.

**The Miriam Hyde Award will be offered at any one of the above venues on the condition that 3 or more competitors have entered. Trophy prizes to be awarded at the adjudicator’s discretion. The competitor must play a piece composed by Miriam Hyde and the time limit will be 5 minutes. This award is open to piano students only.

Any recognised examination board grading system is acceptable.

2018 Dates

The Junior Music Festivals for 2018 will be held at the following locations:

Burwood 28th October
Hills District 9th September
Killara 19th August
Newcastle 24th June
Northern Beaches 5th August
St. George/ Sutherland 11th November
Wollongong 3rd November

Teaching fees – 2018

Posted on: 21 December 2017

The MTA Council has determined that the minimum Recommended Teaching Fees for Members of this Association are as follows:

$88.00 per hour (Private)
$96.80 per hour (Private) with GST included

$118.00 per hour
$129.80 per hour with GST included
(Group – based on 3-6 students)

Please note that these are recommended minimum fees.

Sample Article from The Studio

Posted on: 29 July 2015

The Studio journal offers articles of interest to members such as this one to assist teachers in preparing students for examinations.


Some thoughts on music examinations
by Sue Thompson

The main benefits derived from music examination are to provide: an unbiased assessment of both the student and teacher’s progress; opportunities for intensive preparation and fine tuning of repertoire; and long term goals for students to work towards.

For less experienced teachers, the graded technical work and repertoire within the examination syllabus, is helpful in providing guidelines for study. However this should not be treated as a complete study curriculum, and teachers should find ways of providing students with a broader musical education and not spend the entire year on examination preparation

Students sitting for lower grade examination should spend no more than one or two terms on exam preparation. Otherwise their repertoire and overall music education may be too restricted, leading to disenchantment and possible termination of music study.

It is sometimes beneficial for students to have a year off examination work in order to concentrate on reinforcing weaker areas or to introduce them to other areas of performance. Some students are unsuitable for examination work and should not be encouraged to follow this path. Apart from examinations, goals and incentives such as recitals, competitions and playing to their peers in small groups is sufficient motivation.

Between periods of examination study teachers should allow students to broaden their repertoire with a wide variety of pieces for sheer enjoyment and relaxation, quick study pieces to improve reading skills or reinforce weaknesses, duet and other ensemble material. Other areas are keyboard harmony and creativity and aural training for developing inner hearing and critical listening skills. Examination aural tests are for testing purposes and are not designed as a course in aural training; therefore teachers need to look at ways of building a solid foundation in aural awareness.

Suggestions for less experienced teachers preparing students for examination Before the examination, try not to transfer your anxieties to your students and persuade parents to do likewise.

• Explain to students that the examiner is there to provide helpful and constructive criticism.

• Warn students that the examiner may inadvertently ask something outside the student’s grade, for example a wrong scale or general knowledge question. There is no harm in politely pointing this out to the examiner. Examiners are fallible!

• Make sure young children understand terminology that may be used by the examiner. (For example, similar motion, harmonic minor, modulation etc.)

• Demonstrate to students how to adjust the stool heights, otherwise provide students with a firm cushion if the stool is too low.

• If necessary, provide a footstool for younger students and train them how to gauge how far away from the piano to sit so they are not too close.

• In order to avoid false starts, advise students not to rush into playing their technical work or pieces before they are mentally ready, and to wait a few moments between sonata movements. They need to imagine the tempo and mood of each piece before commencing.

• Immediately following a performance, students should not look up at the examiner or take their hands to abruptly off the instrument except in bravura type pieces

• Make sure that clothing worn to the exam is comfortable, neat and suitable for the occasion; shoes with low heels are more suitable for pedalling than high heels, platform soles or joggers.

• Don’t erase pencil marks from pieces at the last moment as this can be disconcerting for the student who is used to seeing them on the page. Only general knowledge and analysis marks need be erased, while fingering, phrasing and expression marks may be left to assist the student.

• Analysis of pieces should be introduced from the outset to facilitate learning and not left until close to the examination.

• Similarly, aural testing and sight-reading cannot be crammed at the last minute. Both skills require careful and frequent reinforcement to be successful.

• If students are having difficulty with aural work or sight-reading for their grade, it is better to go back and work through earlier grade levels. This will achieve better results and rebuild confidence.

• Close to the examination, allow students to play through each piece so they have a sense of continuity. Concentration is difficult when students are continually stopped for correction of errors and this can lead to ‘stuttering’ in performance. If necessary make a mental or written note of any critical feedback at the end of the performance. Advanced students need to play through their entire program a number of times in order to test concentration and endurance.

• If necessary, advanced students should arrange for, and rehearse with, a page turner.

• Arrange for opportunities for students to play their examination pieces in front of each other as well as to an invited audience close to the event. This often takes pressure off the actual examination. To be meaningful this recital should take place at least a week or 10 days before the exam so that corrections or alterations may be made in plenty of time.

• Cassette or videotaped recordings are an excellent means by which students can see and hear themselves play. However, it is important to allow students plenty of time to hear and see the replay so they may make necessary adjustments.

• To help new examination students prepare, it is helpful to arrange for a mock exam close to the real event. This can be conducted by the teacher or a colleague. During this mock examination, the ‘examiner’ should make written not verbal comments on the performance to be conveyed at the end of the session. Allow the mock exam to be as close a simulation of the exam as possible.

• Inexperienced teachers sometimes have difficulty knowing how soon before an examination to start teaching the list pieces. If started too late, the student may not be ready, too early and the student may lose enthusiasm and momentum and the performance its spontaneity. When unsure, it is advisable to start the pieces early, giving a date by which the pieces must be completed and performed. This could be in the form of one or two examination recitals given with other students, of either specified list pieces only, or all examination pieces. Following this, any completed pieces may be put aside to be revived and refined closer to the examination date.

• When an examination is held at a public centre, some teachers feel it is better not to accompany their students. Many students are over-anxious to please parents and teachers and may become more nervous with their teacher present. Before the examination teachers and parents should hide their own feelings of anxiety but give comfort and moral support both before and afterwards.

• Immediately before the examination, students should be kept calm and quiet and given the opportunity to look through their pieces to refresh their memories on points of interest. A few deep breaths will help steady the nerves and prevent hyperventilation.

• In cold weather advise students to dress warmly and if necessary carry a hot water bottle to keep their hands warm.

The following are suggestions for teachers who provide their home as a private centre for examinations.

• Provide a quiet, cheerful and relaxed atmosphere and a recently tuned and well maintained instrument.

• In the waiting room, which should be warm in winter, have some light refreshments and reading material such as comics, magazines etc. on hand.

• If there are several students sitting for the same grade, try to vary the choice of pieces. This allows the examiner greater scope for comments, while students have more opportunity to hear a wider repertoire.

Examination work should be very carefully introduced from the outset, with meticulous attention to detail if remedial teaching at later lessons is to be avoided. Therefore, proceed by teaching a little at a time, making sure the student understands how and what they need to practise each week.

Insist on quality practise and you will be well rewarded!

Reproduced with permission from "Bravura" July 2012, the magazine of the Music Teachers' Association of Queensland.

Give Aussie Kids The Full Deal

Posted on: 15 April 2014

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Now the Australian Curriculum has arrived, every Aussie kid should receive a quality classroom music education. Yet research tells us most states cannot deliver The Full Deal.

Doesn’t sound like a big deal? Think again. Research also shows that kids who study music properly not only gain skills in this beautiful artform: they may do better in other subjects and are more confident and happier in life. While many schools do offer a good music education (about three times more likely in private schools), what about the 63% of schools nationwide that don't have any classroom music?

Read more about giving kids The Full Deal at www.thefulldeal.com.au, or jump straight to the petition and send a message to your Minister: you want every Australian child to receive a quality music education in school.

Sign the Petition