Submitted by Mary Tickner


The flashing red light on the phone told me that I had a message! The person identified herself as the President of the CFMTA and that she had an important message for me. Since I was not going to attend the National CFMTA conference in Halifax, I was most curious. When I phoned the President, Lorna Wenzel, she informed me that I had been nominated as the Distinguished Teacher of the Year and that the award would be presented on July 4, 2013 at the Awards Luncheon. My first response was “What?” After getting over the shock (somewhat), I then (1) notified our co-presidents Keiko Alexander and Jammy Smith who had heard nothing since January; (2) booked a flight to Halifax for July 3; (3) booked a hotel reservation; (4) remembered to book a conference registration; and (5) checked a map to locate Halifax, which is very far away from Vancouver!

The rest is history. The conference had some excellent workshops and lectures. I renewed some old acquaintances and enjoyed seeing one of my former TA’s from UBC give a really first-rate workshop on Concertos and finally managed to put my foot in the Atlantic Ocean briefly – it was cold!

I am still recovering from receiving such a special honour and feel that it should be shared with the Executive Board, and fellow colleagues who were involved in putting forward the nomination, but most importantly, the many students who have studied with me over the years. It is because of them that I have learned and am still learning what and how to teach. I thank you from my heart.


All conferences have trade shows where a variety of business, mostly related to music, show, tell and sell their products (this conference even included home-made fudge blueberry juice). While browsing at the Long and McQuade booth, I found two books that are really unique in that they are about two very important issues in teaching: Parents and Teaching Styles.

Book 1: HELPING PARENTS PRACTICE (Ideas for Making it Easier) by Edmund Sprunger (pub. Yes Publishing. St. Louis, Missouri)

This is the only book that discusses the parent-student relationship in terms of what are normal and not normal problems and situations with possible solutions. It is divided into sections with each section having sub-topics which are really useful. For example: the section called Practice Basics has 26 sub -topics, all practical and with interesting titles such as #15 – ” You can’t learn as you go if you don’t take the trip”; #11 – “Attending lessons really matter”; #23 – “Ask-don’t tell”; and the most important one, I believe is #20 – “Develop the skill of acknowledging feelings”.

My very favorite section is the Appendix, which included 6 games that are special, useful, and fun. I look forward to playing cards and making paper chains.

Book 2: MUSIC TEACHING STYLE by Alan Gumm; (pub. By Meredith Music Publications)

This book is applicable to anyone who teaches, whether privately or in schools and is not a “quick” read but is worth it. It is divided into 4 parts with numerous chapters for each part plus questions for discussion at the conclusion of each chapter. Almost every page in the book is indicated with a subject title which makes it convenient in selecting a subject to read. There are several fine “exercises” in the book that make you really think. In the final pages, there is a “Music Teaching Style Inventory” and a “Learning Style Glossary” which I found fascinating. Final words are a few questions from the book:

Are you more controlled by internal or external controls? Explain.
Are you one who judges quickly or holds off judgment to collect more information?
How much have you remained a student of music as you have taught music?

A very thoughtful book!