Proposed Consent Agreement In the Matter of Music Teachers National Association, Inc. #00038

Submission Number:
Justin Nash
Initiative Name:
Proposed Consent Agreement In the Matter of Music Teachers National Association, Inc.
Matter Number:


The FTC is arguing that a clause from the Music Teacher's National Association (MTNA) Code of Ethics is somehow retraining competition among piano teachers. This is true. However the manner in which such restraint is applied and practice is not limiting, or inhibiting the free will of another teacher in any way. So how can it cause damages? Because it sets a moral framework which we must all agree and consent to, and it creates an atmosphere that is conducive to a higher standard professionalism and consideration for every student. The clause ironically, respects the free will of students to choose studios without being pressured. Furthermore, a clause in a code of ethics, which is unenforceable, and which is consented by prospective and active members can not physically restrain one from competing in their industry as they might like to. Any member, after having signed such Code, is absolutely free to go against it, and recruit other members at will. But at the very least however, those members who choose to do so, will have a moral imperative to orient themselves, and assume what actions might be appropriate or otherwise. The MTNA believes that students should choose their teachers and not the other way around. This is not the NCAA. As teachers we offer our services and the students come to us. We must also respect one another, and this includes the students of one another. Whether or not there is a code one must also measure the market climate as it is. Do music teachers not already have enough means to compete with one another, whether or not they might be allowed to recruit students from other studios? The answer is yes, they do. Especially in this internet age, studios can advertise, post videos of students, etc... A studio can advertise in local papers or through local church and school organizations. The Code of Ethics does not prevent a studio from marketing itself, it only sets a standard for doing so which makes inappropriate the active recruiting of students from other studios. Teachers are here to facilitate an educational experience, not to win or recruit students. I honor the Code of Ethics because it gives a moral framework with which to conduct an honorable practice. The claim that such a Code is resulting in loss begs the following questions. Who is loosing and what are the damages? How has this Code of Ethics clause caused such loss? Is the connection between the loss and the code provable in the court of law? The Code of Ethics is a mandatory contract. Can those who disagree with it, and who wish to compete in this industry by their own standards, simply conduct their business their own way without it? (The answer is yes). _Justin P. Nash