UMTA History

The following is a condensed history of UMTA.
Scroll down to access more of UMTA’s history.

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.

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 teacher’s 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 500, UMTA has fourteen local associations spanning the State. Six collegiate chapters have organized to focus on the interests and needs of approximately 100 college students who are teachers. 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.


2019-2021 UMTA President -Paula Manwaring, NCTM
There is no question but that the two years serving as UMTA State President preceded by two years serving as UMTA Vice President have been nothing short of a life learning experience for me. One that I will treasure forever. There are certain things in life that we simply cannot fully appreciate without experiencing it first hand and I am so grateful and honored to have had the time to experience UMTA on this level. I have gained so much appreciation for each of our members as they work in their studio, family, community and church, and then find the energy and time to donate to this wonderful organization.

We have had a particularly challenging time during 2020-21, as we have all dealt with a world pandemic. Not being able to meet in person for all of our events was an extreme challenge and I can proudly say that everyone stepped up and met the challenge with strength and determination. Student lessons were all taught virtually online and members learned to teach through screens. All UMTA and MTNA events were held online throughout 2020 and into 2021.

UMTA’s State Conference for November 6-7, 2020 was a huge success as we invited surrounding states to join our conference at no cost to them. They were very appreciative. We registered 48 out-of-state members. Our keynote speaker was MTNA’s President, Martha Hilley, and our guest speaker was E.L. Lancaster. Dr. Yu-Jane Yang was honored as MTNA Teacher of the Year. We were honored to have MTNA CEO and Director, Gary Ingle attend and speak at YuJane’s reception. Due to this event being held online, we had guests join from around the world. The conference consisted of both live and recorded sessions. Our showcases and vendors created videos to show their product. Denise Frost, 1st VP did an excellent job using talent from within our membership to create and present this conference. Patrice Hunt’s ability to learn and implement necessary website changes has been invaluable during this time. All competitions, performance evaluations, state and executive board meetings have also been successfully held online. Although none of us are excited about it, everyone has adapted to the challenge in order to keep our programs moving forward.

Through the help of Terry Peterson and Barbara Gill, we have started a UMTA newsletter which is emailed out to all the members quarterly. This has been helpful as we do not see one another in person. It will also help with our history over the next few years.

The AIM program has been revised and refined during 2020-2021, focusing on correct theory principles. Piano Marvel has added all the AIM technique to their software and offered free access to the technique portion for our members. We have continued to work with RCM in training our interested members on their wonderful program.

In the early months of 2022, we are beginning to cautiously come together in person. The June State Board meeting for 2022 will be my first to conduct in person. We held our State Conference successfully in person (masks encouraged), Nov. 5-6, 2021 at Thanksgiving Point and everyone enjoyed being together once again. Our Keynote Speaker was Jon Schmidt, and our Guest Speakers and Recital was performed by Giorgi and Anna Latso. Denise Frost did a marvelous job and everyone stepped up to help make it a successful conferrence.

We have had incredible performances given by the students of Utah who have placed in both state and national competitions. Our Honors Recitals and Concerto Recital are immensely enjoyed as everyone attends to hear the result of hard work from students, parents, and teachers. Our membership continues to grow to 527, with 25 new collegiate and 30 new members. Again, I am grateful to have had the opportunity to serve the wonderful members of UMTA in this capacity. It has been a privilege and an honor that I will treasure for a life time.

2006 – 2008 UMTA President: Lynda Broadbent
2006 – November 10-11, the State Conference celebrates 50 years of Utah Music Teachers Association, with “Hats off to Uma TA.” Dr. Kevin D. Olson, a Utah native, presents his work, Concerto Bravo, commissioned for the celebration, premiering during the conference. The Conference, held at Larry H. Miller Conference Center, Sandy for a third year, was organized by Dr. Lynn Dean, UMTA 1st Vice President and Conference Chair. Melody Bober is the Guest Clinician; other clinicians include Dr. Paul Stewart, MTNA President, Dr. Kevin Olson, Dr. Paul Pollei, Dr. David Glenn Hatch, Dr. Jeffrey Shumway, Dr. Nancy Allred, Dr. YuJane Yang, Dr. Scott Holden, Dr. Susan Duehlmeier, Laurisa Ward Cope, Karlyen Tan, Karen Haughey, Emily Jorgensen, Sheri Aston, Hope Holder, Carmen Hall, Virginia Folsom Merla Little, Carolee Eriksson, Cheryl Norman, Coila Robinson, and Shawna Gottfredson. Friday evening’s concert is presented by outstanding students of UMTA members. 2006- MTNA reorganizes Division leadership, eliminating one level of leadership, with officers now elected as Director-Elect, then MTNA Southwest Division Director. Lezlee Bishop, NCTM (Salt Lake Chapter), formerly Southwest Division President-Elect, wins election to become Southwest Division Director-Elect. Geri Cheney, NCTM, MTNA Director (Davis Chapter), steps down at the end of her term in 2006, as one of the last to serve as Division President-Elect and President, and MTNA Director, a total of 6 years. She is asked to run for MTNA 2nd Vice President.

2004 – 2006 UMTA President: Cheryl Norman, NCTM
“I was a public school teacher for a number of years before becoming an Independent Music Teacher. When I made the switch (after becoming a Mom), I sought a professional music organization for private piano teachers and was introduced to UMTA by Elaine Hadfield, founder of the Timpanogos Chapter in my area. Since I had certified in four states as a school teacher, I just assumed I should Certify in UMTA. I did, and have been able to attend monthly Chapter meetings, State Board and Conference Meetings, and MTNA Meetings. My teaching has become better with each meeting, my circle of friends are primarily music teachers, and I stay young in spirit with the special association that I have with the youth who are my music students. “THANKS UMTA for giving me the best opportunities in my world of music. My small pay-back to my musical friends has been to serve as your State President for the past 2 years.” Sincerely, Cheryl Norman, NCTM President Norman begins her term with an emphasis on retaining membership, as well as gaining new members, with a professionally designed pamphlet to be made available to stores for display. MTNA would also supply MTNA promotional materials to stores. During Cheryl’s term, Certification continues to be emphasized with many teachers completing certification requirements. In 2005, a compact disc of music played by NCTM’s is made available to the membership, with a follow-up CD to be released in 2006. Certification Chairman Emily Jorgensen, NCTM, organizes study guides, and cheers those working on towards certification. Nineteen teachers complete the program by early 2006, a large proportion of the certifying teachers nation-wide. Following the lead of MTNA, UMTA widens its use of the internet, thus saving paper and mailing costs. On the website: the membership is kept updated; teacher referral on the homepage, found by listing zip code, instrument, or last name of teacher; state newsletter; forms for various programs. A printed directory containing basic information and members’ phone numbers is mailed to all members. The state newsletter would be available online beginning with the March, 2005 issue, with only the conference issue printed and mailed to members. Emails sent by the President and other officers include Board Meeting minutes, agendas, and reminders for upcoming meetings, as well as last minute reminders for deadlines for conference registration, etc.

Cheryl implements a Chapter Presidents’ full day retreat in May, with training on using the website, as well as information on state programs and presenters. Cheryl introduces “leadership tools” which help her conduct more organized state meetings. Cheryl also serves as Chairman of MTNA State Presidents’ Advisory Committee, elected in the Spring of 2005, presiding over meetings in Cincinnati in September, 2005, and in Austin, March, 2006. She gives a PowerPoint presentation on Certification at the 2006 MTNA conference in Austin. Cheryl organizes and handles the UMTA contributions to Hurricane Relief Fund, by encouraging members to contribute with both money and teaching materials: she ships the contributions to Louisiana and Mississippi MTA’s, for teachers returning to teaching, after recovering from damage caused by Hurricane Katrina, fall of 2005. AIM packets are made available in levels, organized by Carolyn Oldham, AIM committee. Fees were adjusted to turn into state treasury, with money returned to chapters to pay their judges and other necessary expenses. UMTA would continue to pay for medals, certificates, photocopying expenses, and administrating materials for region and chapter testing. 2004 Southwest Division is held in Hawaii, with Brandon Lee representing Utah in High School piano competition, wins division, and he advances to national. The 2004 UMTA Conference is held October 16-17, at Salt Lake Community College, Larry H. Miller Campus, Sandy, Utah, with guest clinician Dennis Alexander. Lynda Broadbent chairs the event, “Keys to Unlock Your Musical World.” Other clinicians include: Bryce Rytting, Debra Hadfield (from Texas, South Central Division Chair), Jon Schmidt, Dr. Jon Skidmore, Emily Jorgenson, Jay Beck, Cindy Hartley, Sharolynn Aston, Dr. Bonnie Gritton, Keith Snell, Amanda Nixon, Dr. YuJane Yang, Barbara Elison, Lori Edwards, and Kerry Murry, Dr. Kevin Olson, Rick Baldassin, and Dr. Scott Holden.

Publishers showcases featured Kevin Olson, FJH Music, and Keith Snell, Kjos Publications. Conference Artists are Drs. Jeff Shumway and Del Parkinson, duo-pianists, who also present on duo-piano music of Sergei Rachmaninoff. The 2005 UMTA conference is held 3-4 November, at the Salt Lake Community College Miller Campus, Sandy, with guest clinician Gail Smith presenting sessions on the music of Fanny Mendlessohn, in honor of her 200th birthday. E. L. Lancaster, Dr. Daniel Olsen, Mary Gae George, Carole Flatau, Diane Hardy, and others were also presenters. Lynda Broadbent again chairs the conference. Friday evening concert features young rising stars, John Sargeant, Jonathan Bowman, and Brandon Stewart, all awardwinning pianists. 2006 Southwest Division Performance Competitions are held in Las Vegas, Nevada, with UMTA students taking many of the competitions: Junior Woodwind: Helen McGarr (Laurel Maurer); Senior Woodwind: Gabriella Roderer (Cindy Henderson); Senior Piano: Joshua Wright (Susan Duehlmeier); Young Artist Woodwind: Susan Croft (Jaren Hinckley); Young Artist Brass: Dan Barrett (Will Kimball); Young Artist Piano: Jonathan Bowman, (Scott Holden); Young Artist String: Benjamin Chan (Monte Belknap); Chamber Music: BYU Honors Brass Quintet, Brigham Young University, comprised of Jason Bergman, Randy Lee, Robert Davis, Adam Bean, and Daniel Barrett (Will Kimball, coach). MTNA National Conference Performance Competitions are held March 25-27, in Austin, TX, with Helen McGarr and Gabriella Roderer winning their competitions, with Joshua Wright taking 3rd in his. Utah MTA charter member, Dora Curtis, Ogden Chapter, is honored at National Conference with a certificate and pin for 50 years of membership. An unusual event takes place at conference – a power outage, which shuts down the conference Sunday afternoon for several hours, and paralyses the Hilton Hotel, where most attendees are staying. The 2006 Concerto Competition winners perform March 8, 2006 at Assembly Hall, Temple Square, Salt Lake City. Performers include: Trenton His-Yu Chang, Krissy Bentley, Mary Nelson, Emilee Naylor, and Amanda Child.

2000 – 2002 UMTA President: Lezlee Bishop, NCTM, “To me, UMTA is a wonderful synthesis of dear people and beautiful music. What could make me happier than to be in a position to serve both of these things that I love?” – Lezlee J. Bishop With the assistance of a dynamic UMTA state board who represented many different areas of the state, President Bishop works to help UMTA members feel appreciated in whatever way they serve, and she visits many chapters to talk about teaching ideas. She recognizes people who make a difference in their chapters and discusses issues confronting UMTA. Along with the challenge of maintaining membership, Lezlee encourages college students to participate in the UMTA Student Teacher of the Year program, and certifying as soon as they graduate. Increasing the profile of UMTA programs in the community is important as well. MusicLink becomes independent of MTNA, and the UMTA state board chooses to continue the program as it offers an opportunity for Utah teachers to assist in the teaching of students who are financially challenged. A new certification program is instituted by MTNA, including testing on a common body of knowledge, teaching experience and performance. At this time, a new MTNA constitution and bylaws is made necessary because of the changes that 501(c)(3) status brings about.

With Catherine Thacker at the helm of AIM, we create new ways to make the testing program more flexible. The choice of participating in all 6 areas or choosing “clusters” gives more students the opportunity to participate as their needs and abilities demand. Teachers are invited to share their teaching aids and materials to make the program more accessible to more teachers. The program becomes more exciting and valuable with the addition of special medallions with the AIM logo, given annually to students who complete the 6 areas of the level. More activities and opportunities, and scholarship programs are created for FAIM students. Teachers are honored for their support of the program, with awards of AIM Novice Teacher of the Year and AIM Veteran Teacher of the Year.The addition of a President’s Roundtable after each state board meeting is made. This valuable time provides a forum for chapter presidents to express views, successes and problems they are having in their local areas with the state president and each other. It allows for discussion and networking that is not possible during the formal state board meeting. The Tooele chapter is re-established and the website is expanded under the continuing direction of Carol Burggraaf. The 2000 UMTA State Convention is November 10-11, at Utah Valley State College, Student Center, Orem, with Marvin Blickenstaff as Guest Clinician. “Musical Gems for a New Millennium” include “How children learn – a guide for the piano teacher,” with Marvin Blickenstaff, who also presents on Effective Interpretation, and the Joy of Group Teaching; Music, Mind and Body, presented by Dr. Bruce Saperston; Carolee Eriksson speaks on working with pre-school age children; Laurisa Ward Cope speaks on incorporating jazz styles and techniques in the studio; DJ Croft demonstrates various MIDI Technology; Mary Gae George discusses musical understanding through creativity; Russell Sorenson discusses piano care and repair; with college students Carrie Christensen (UofU), Jeff Francom (USU), Jennie Milstrup Maring (WSU), and Daniel Olsen (BYU) presenting a session on Learning to teach and Teaching to Learn. The Convention Recital features the winners of the recent Performance Competition.

The UMTA state convention for 2001 was held October 19 and 20 at Weber State University, in the Shepherd Student Union building. Nelita True was Convention Clinician. The theme is “Light the Torch: Teaching with Excellence to Develop the Whole Musician,” in anticipation of the Salt Lake Olympics taking place in a few months. Kevin Olson, representing FJH Music Company, presents a publisher’s show case as well as a presentation on encouraging students to compose. Catherine Thacker, AIM Chair, gives tips on preparing for AIM. Susan Duehlmeier speaks on Improvisation in the Classical Period. Cindy Henderson presents on financially organizing your studio. Eugene Watanabe speaks on Performance Anxiety – understanding and strategies for dealing with it. A Pedagogy Forum giving ideas for themed recitals is presented by Geri Cheney, Coila Robinson, and Carol Burggraff. Carolee Eriksson teaches about working with Teenagers. Shi Hwa Wang speaks on teaching violin. College Student Panel of Laurisa Ward Cope, Angela Ford, Daniel Olsen, Hope Holder, and Say Eow Quah discuss how to become a UMTA Student Teacher of theYear. Sandra Peterson speaks on successful recitals. A handout included in the registration packet, prepared by Lezlee, lists a chronology of UMTA 1956-2001, which would become the core of the 2006 history project.



UMTA History 1955-2008  This second history was compiled by Coila Robinson and Lezlee Bishop and presented at UMTA’s 50th anniversary in 2006. Additional years have been included in this report.

A UMTA history, 1955 to 1967, was prepared and presented by Jessie M. Perry on July 29, 1967. It details how UMTA came about from the beginning in 1955 and its growth and progress to 1967. Enjoy reading the details.