The Alberta Piano Teachers’ Association (APTA) is another organization for piano teachers in Alberta. Unlike ARMTA (Alberta Registered Music Teachers’ Association), anyone can join. You don’t need any qualifications or experience. The yearly fee is very low and there are many good reasons to join.
I first joined about 10 years because of the non-competitive piano festival that APTA holds each spring. The timing is perfect for students who need a performance opportunity, and maybe some feedback, before the June exams. The non-competitive nature of the festival is perfect for those students for whom piano takes a bit of a back seat in life, or who are simply too nervous or otherwise disinclined to enter the more competitive Kiwanis Music Festival.
I quickly discovered the other benefits of belonging to APTA. First, our local chapter holds coffee parties a couple of times a year. A particular local teacher will share some topic in which he or she is well-versed, and friendships are made in this setting. Another big plus is the annual Conference. In the past we have had headliners like Nelita True, Randall Faber and Scott McBride Smith giving the main presentations. As with any conference, the sessions are only a portion of the overall fun and educational couple of days. A third good reason is the online teacher directory. Over the last couple of years I have had many inquiries from people who have seen my name on the APTA or ARMTA lists.
APTA is particularly good for the rural teachers. Being in a large city (over a million) there is no shortage of professional development opportunities for me and my fellow Calgarians. For the rural teachers, APTA will sponsor masterclasses by other teachers and local workshops. Quarterly newsletters keep us all informed of what is happening around the province, as well as providing good articles written on any number of topics.
Last week I mentioned my daughter Leslie and her friend Sarah in the context of ensemble playing at the APTA Fesitval. They were invited to play in the Final Concert where students of all ages and levels were showcased. Leslie and Sarah were the grand finale of the evening – number 41 on the program! The Master of Ceremonies acknowledged the ultimate importance of the teacher in the students’ lives.
If there is any kind of organization for piano teachers in your area, I encourage you to join. If not, the online community is alive and well.