Posted by: Marie | October 7, 2012

(723) If you can’t beat ’em

Post #723
[Private journal entry written on Thursday, November 10, 2011]

I’m still sorting through what I’m going to do about the music teachers association situation. There are many benefits to belonging, but I’m wondering if I could recreate those benefits by establishing a coalition of music teachers located in my own little town . . . a coalition not associated with my current group’s national association. That would allow us to do whatever we wanted to do, however we wanted to do it.

The Island by Martin Chen

But, that would be a lot of work – a lot of work that would likely rest heavily on my shoulders – and my plate is already overfull.

Maybe I could switch to a different local association of the same national association . . . my little town is situated centrally equidistant from three larger towns, all of which have a local chapter . . . the local chapter of which I’m currently a member is in one of those towns . . . maybe I could check out the local chapters in the other two towns . . . but, I might run into the same issues . . .

I decided to contact a husband and wife teaching team who have had their own similar battles with the group. They no longer attend meetings because of hard feelings, but they do enter their students in some of the events. They don’t have the option of switching local chapters like I do because they are located too far from the other two towns. They are highly educated, they offer a high-quality program through their studio . . . they are well-respected in the industry . . . I think they would have some great insight . . .


Hi, Rae & Jay –

May I solicit some guidance from you . . . if you feel comfortable sharing?

This week, my frustration with the strong personalities within the music teachers association rose to a boiling point. As a result, I am no longer willing to attend monthly meetings. I’m also contemplating my level of involvement going forward. I’m considering the following possibilities:

1) Stay involved in all the student activities, just not the monthly meetings (resign as secretary, continue as webmaster)

2) Participate only in Achievement Day and competitions

3) Switch to one of the other local chapters (living in where I do affords me that option) and participate fully

4) Abandon the entire association and recreate similar experiences for my students within my studio (I have 45 students now) and with other non-association teachers located in my town

Do you have any suggestions or guidance relating to any or all of these options? How important is remaining a member (even an inactive one) for my professional status and for student opportunities? What kind of pitfalls might I expect?

Thank you, in advance . . .

– Marie Smith


Hi Marie,

I had lunch with Sharon today and heard about how horrible the meeting was on Tuesday, and how it ended with you leaving in tears. I’m so sorry you had to go through that! Tonight I told Jay about it and said if they are going to treat the secretary that way, she should resign.

I don’t see any reason why you need to stay on as either secretary or webmaster.

As for your question about whether it is necessary to remain a member for your professional status or student activities, I suppose it depends on what your goals are for your students. Being of member of the national association provides students the opportunity to participate in competitions on a local, state, and national level, and of course, there’s Achievement Day and other festivals. However, I checked the website recently for the national competition info, and it looks like non-members can enter students, but just have to pay a fee. I wonder if there are other circumstances like that?

Without being affiliated, you could put together many of your own festivals and extra recitals (have an Achievement-Day-like event at your studio, or a themed recital with other teachers in your town at a church or school, have a select group of students perform at a nursing home, etc….).

There are also many other festivals in Colorado that are not affiliated with the national association, like the Clementi Festivals in Loveland and Denver, the Loveland young artist concerto competition, and the Colorado Piano festival at UNC coming up next weekend as examples.

As for being a member and your professional status, the organization, I assume, was designed to help teachers with their continuing education, and thus the monthly guest speakers and conferences. If you have found these guest speakers helpful, you might try the local associations in the other two towns. Those chapters are larger in size than ours and you might find them more professional.

Does being a member really affect one’s professional status? I’m not so sure it does. Nobody asks that question when we get phone calls for lessons :)

If you know anyone in the other two towns’ chapters, you might ask them about their activities and group dynamics.

All the best no matter what you decide!




Hi, Rae –

Thank you so much for taking the time to write a solid reply . . . I found it very useful. I like the ideas you presented, especially concerning the non-association events such as the Clementi Festivals, nursing homes, etc.

And, thank you for the expression of concern about what happened in the meeting. It was upsetting, but it was the last straw. That blow-up was a long time coming and once it occurred, it took me about 24 hours to get over the anger and frustration and to start moving on to bigger and better things. I was already halfway out the door . . . it wasn’t too hard to fall out the rest of the way. I’ve given up on trying to do the “right” thing for the organization. I’m going to do what is best for me and for my students.

I have contacted the two other local chapters and have arranged to attend their next meetings and to meet one-on-one with a member of their leadership. I think that will help me decide if either of them feels good to me.

I’m leaning towards finishing out the year with our local chapter – participating in the events but not attending the meetings. I will, for sure, resign as secretary (pretty tough to do that job if I’m not at the meetings). I’m still deciding about webmaster and about my assignment within Achievement Day.

I’ll figure it out . . . and I appreciate your help! If I get stuck figuring out all the different competitions and other events, could I shoot you an email? I think I can figure it out, but I might need a little help.

Thanks, again!
– Marie


Hi Marie,

I’m glad you found some of the ideas helpful.

I’d be happy to help any time you have any questions!

All the best,



  1. Nice that they were so helpful. With your local group I think it is a case of ‘let the dead bury the dead’. I’ll be interested to hear what you end up doing.

    • I love that saying (burying the dead) and think it fits so perfectly here!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: