Spotlight on the Teachers
Twice a year, in February and September, local piano teachers and colleagues collaborate to bring you a delightful variety of music on stage at the Newport PAC. All donations go to the Suzanne Brown Memorial Student Aid Fund, which benefits our local students.
Ribbon Festival – March
Oregon Coast Community College, South Beach
An original event that is unique to Lincoln County District, and emphasizes a non-competitive, supportive and fun atmosphere. OMTA students may create and display original musical artwork and wear a student-designed t-shirt.
Students of all levels of experience will converge to perform solos, ensembles and original compositions. Duets, trios, quartets and other ensembles are a highlight. Helium balloons and displays of student artwork (with a musical theme) add to the upbeat, bustling atmosphere of the Ribbon Festival.
Syllabus Evaluations – April
A comprehensive syllabus consisting of ten levels provides the backbone of musical study in OMTA. Beginning with 5-finger patterns and quarter- and eighth-note rhythms in level I, moving steadily deeper each year; when they reach level X high school students will have mastered scales in all major and minor keys, arpeggios and chord progressions that modulate from one key to another. Syllabus provides a coordinated and cohesive path that is highly respected by universities. A number of our graduates have received college music scholarships based on the abilities they honed in OMTA syllabus program.
Students may perform and submit notation for their original compositions in the Ribbon Festival. They receive feedback to encourage their efforts from local composer Dr. Mary Lee Scoville. Several are selected to perform their work in the statewide OMTA Composition Celebration in May.
Lincoln County District Ensemble Festival
Newport Performing Arts Center
The first student festival of the school year is the OMTA Ensemble Festival. This is an opportunity to for our students to perform with one or more of their peers, with or without adjudication. Those who are selected as winners are invited to play at the OMTA State Ensemble Festival and hear their top-performing peers from other communities.
Lincoln County OMTA Suzanne Brown Student Aid Fund:
Since its inception ten years ago, the Student Aid Fund has assisted Lincoln County OMTA students for whom the expense of music lessons is a hardship. Several dozen students have already benefited over the years. Students must show consistent dedication by practicing regularly and participating with enthusiasm in OMTA events. Funds are distributed through a process of discernment between the parents and the teacher, and then taken to a vote at an OMTA teachers meeting. The Student Aid Fund is named in honor of the late Suzanne Brown, a beloved and accomplished pianist and OMTA teacher in Newport. See her memorial website at http://www.xoweb.com/Sue.htm
Monthly Meetings – First Friday of the Month
Local music teachers enjoy supporting each other through professional collaboration at monthly meetings held at the Oregon Coast Community College. The meeting content includes discussing the challenges and rewards of teaching applied music lessons, planning events for students and listening to guest presenters. Prospective members are always welcome; please check out the OMTA website (www.oregonmta.org)
Professional growth for music teachers is addressed through annual workshops provided by OMTA in the local area. These feature a guest speaker such as a university professor or Nationally Certified Teacher of Music. Many topics are addressed such as music for piano from a particular historical period, use of Dalcroze Eurhythmics, the Suzuki Method, Alexander Technique, teaching jazz piano, composition, etc. The possibilities are endless as we seek out and import musical expertise.
OMTA members honored at 2016 Community Legends event
Pictured left to right: Jess Smith, Sarah Ball, Jessie Treon, and Mary Lee Scoville
In the coastal community of Newport, there is an annual tradition of honoring a “Community Legend.” This is an opportunity to highlight the contributions of someone whose dedication has impacted the community in a positive manner, over many years. A formal dinner is scheduled, and the event serves as a fundraiser for Oregon Coast Council for the Arts.
This year instead of selecting an individual person, the performing arts groups were all honored, and Lincoln County OMTA was among the twelve groups who gathered recently to celebrate. Each group designated its most impactful leaders, who were presented with a special certificate and medal. Lincoln County OMTA’s community legend honorees were Sarah Ball (founding President and chair of the Ribbon Festival), Jess Smith (director emeritus from Brooklyn Conservatory and chair of the Lincoln County OMTA Junior Bach Festival), Jessie Treon (Treasurer and founder of the Spotlight on the Teachers concert series, also the Student Aid Fund), and Mary Lee Scoville (Composition chair, Ensemble Festival chair, and Community College liaison). Also receiving special mention was the late Suzanne Brown, who with her husband Al brought us into the digital age (and gave counsel generously from years of experience in Ohio MTA.)
The networking, collegiality and professional support in OMTA is a huge asset to music teachers on the coast. By maintaining a positive, creative and consistent presence we are able to serve the needs of students, teachers and families while enjoying a niche among the lively performing arts scene. We are delighted to be honored among the ” 2016 Community Legends” of Newport.