003: Podcast Takeover – MTNA President Peter Mack Interviews Tim!

TMPiano Podcast 03 - Podcast Takeover - MTNA President Peter Mack Interviews Tim!

Welcome to a another episode of the TopMusic Piano Podcast, where we have a podcast takeover! In this special episode, Peter Mack, President of the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA), takes on the role of guest host and interviews Tim Topham. Peter and Tim delve into various topics, starting with an overview of the Integrated Music Teaching Podcast and its mission. Peter shares insights into the MTNA, discussing its history, mission, and the upcoming MTNA 2024 National Conference in Atlanta, Georgia.

Tim opens up about his background, career trajectory, and unconventional approach to teaching beginner piano students without traditional method books. He also introduces his new book, “No Book Beginners,” and reflects on the evolving landscape of music education. Throughout the discussion, they explore the shift towards embracing creativity, diversity, and modernization in music teaching, as well as the challenges and inspiration for music teachers in today’s educational environment. Stay tuned as Tim shares his personal musical preferences and favorite EDM tracks, adding a touch of personal flair to this insightful conversation.

  • Peter discusses the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA), of which he is the president, highlighting its history and mission.
  • Tim and Peter discuss the upcoming MTNA 2024 National Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, highlighting its workshops, competitions, masterclasses, and recitals.
  • Tim shares insights into his background and career trajectory.
  • His approach to teaching beginner piano students without traditional method books, emphasizing the importance of musical engagement and creativity.
  • His new book, “No Book Beginners,” which outlines his teaching approach and offers structured lesson plans for beginner piano students.
  • Tim expresses his gratitude for being invited as the keynote speaker for the MTNA 2024 National Conference.
  • The notable shift towards embracing creativity, diversity, and modernization in music teaching.
  • The traditional exam-based approach to teaching music being replaced by a more flexible and holistic approach that focuses on repertoire richness and individual student needs.
  • Some challenges for music teachers, including transitioning from being viewed as artists to business people.
  • Impact of changing educational priorities and decrease in music education due to focus on STEM fields in schools.
  • Some inspiration for teaching drawn from interactions with teachers who share their success stories and challenges
  • Tim talks about his personal musical preferences and favorite EDM tracks.

Links Mentioned

Today’s Guest Host

Peter Mack, is a nationally renowned performer, clinician and convention artist.  Originally from Ireland, he now lives in Seattle, Washington, where he runs a successful private studio. He was professor of piano at Cornish College for 33 years. A choral scholar at Trinity College Dublin, Peter received his master’s degree from the University of Cincinnati and his doctorate from the University of Washington. His students frequently win local, national and even international competitions. Peter is the proud teacher of 20 MTNA Competition national finalists and of three MTNA national first-place winners. He has written for Keyboard Companion, the Clarion and American Music Teacher.

Peter is currently Washington State’s Foundation chair and serves on its nominating committee.. Peter has adjudicated for Washington’s amazing MAP/adjudications program for 23 years.

About Rachel Ehring

Dr. Rachel Ehring is a pianist, teacher, music administrator, and lover of piano teaching gadgets. She holds a DMA in Collaborative Piano from the University of Colorado Boulder and a MM in Accompanying from the University of Kansas. She currently serves as Director at St. John’s Conservatory of the Arts in Orange County, CA. Previously, she held positions at Concordia University Irvine and Henderson State University. Rachel is passionate about empowering music teachers to create engaging and exciting lessons for students of all ages. When she isn’t playing the piano, you might find Rachel reading books with her son or walking her beagle Frieda.


Thank you for tuning in!

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