Utah Music Teachers Association is the outgrowth of a meeting of teachers who sought to raise standards of music teaching in the state. Preliminary plans were made at a workshop conducted by Charlotte Dubois, University of Texas-Austin, and organized by J. Ellwood Jepson, held in Salt Lake City in 1955. At a formal organizational meeting in 1956, Jepson was elected President. Utah MTA became affiliated with MTNA, and held its first convention in the same year in connection with the Utah Educators Association.
UMTA immediately became active in working toward a program of state certification for its members. Within seven years, a number of teachers had been certified, and a few years later the Association enthusiastically embraced the MTNA program.
Student Achievement was inaugurated in 1965 by then-president Beulah B. Ford; in that 12 level program, students of certified members were tested annually in performance, written theory and ear training, sight-reading, and technique. The program was expanded in 1973 to include students of all members; and in 1974, almost four hundred students took part.
In 1992, Achievement in Music (AIM) replaced Student Achievement. AIM now includes the service-oriented organization, FAIM (Future Artists in Music) honoring students who successfully complete Level 6 and up in the 10 level AIM program.
Other programs sponsored by UMTA include: Performance Evaluations, a program for student evaluation on a regional level each fall. UMTA Concerto Competition, with students performing concertos in levels of elementary, junior high, high school, and college. The winners are invited to play a recital at Assembly Hall, Temple Square in Salt Lake City. Student Teacher of the Year honors an outstanding young teacher studying at a university or college, with outstanding preparation and/or achievement in the area of piano teaching. This award is presented annually at the UMTA State Conference Banquet.
UMTA Performance and Composition Competitions lead to MTNA Southwest Division and National Competitions for its winning students. Utah students frequently are winners or finalists in the national programs, bringing much honor to their teachers, UMTA, and the State of Utah.
UMTA honors those who have provided exceptional leadership to UMTA with the Legacy Award, recognizing the teacherís contribution to UMTA, the musical community, and the advancement of private music study. This award is presented annually at the UMTA State Conference Banquet.
Currently, with a membership of over 600, UMTA has eighteen local associations spanning the State. Four student chapters have organized to focus on the interests and needs of approximately 100 college and high school students who are teachers.
State conventions, alternating with piano workshops, were held biennially through 1969, and annually, thereafter. Presently, UMTA State Conferences are held annually, varying locations each year.
Utah Music Teachers Association members voted for incorporation of UMTA at the 1995 State Convention. Shortly after, UMTA received 501(c)3 status with the IRS, identifying it as a non-profit organization.
Our website launched in 1999 - - bringing UMTA into the 21st century!
(This article is quoted in part from A Centennial History of the Music Teachers National Association, by Homer Ulrich, pp. 148-250.)