Proposed Consent Agreement In the Matter of Music Teachers National Association, Inc. #00077

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


Greetings, I have been teaching piano/theory privately and in conservatory, college settings for 59 years. During that time, the many professional organizations of which I was an active and leading member adhered to a policy of non-solicitation of colleagues students. In fact, the first question I have for a prospective parent/student is if they are currently studying with another teacher. The US government may not have better things to do, but please be aware the the relationship between private teacher and student is one of the last one-on-one relationships a child will have with another adult outside of the family. This is to be treasured and guarded carefully. There are vehicles available for "changing instructors," but pirating or soliciting is not one of them. When one lets such behaviors exist, it deprives the current teacher of income and sends out a message to the public that disloyalty is to be sanctioned. Not every Independent Music Teacher (IMT) chooses to be a member of a professional organization. For those who don't, they are free to roam the range of student swap and solicitation. For us MTNA members (and I've belonged to chapters in Louisiana, Oklahoma, New York and Massachusetts), we prefer to adhere to an atmosphere of mutual respect and collegiality. We help one another to grow and develop in musicianship and pedagogy; we support each others students. We encourage excellence through programming, and use our energies toward growth processes, rather than to tear down, create suspicion and for the sake of personal aggrandizement ignore boundaries. While, a member of and past president of the Tulsa, Oklahoma Accredited Music Teachers Assn. we were proud to recognize two of four national winners from the studio of a senior member. You can imagine the pride we all felt. As Vice President in many capacities of the New York State MTA, we never had issues of pirating or solicitation of others' students. And that was a fourteen-year period of serving on the Board. And now, as a faculty member of the Cape Cod Conservatory, and a private teacher, we all recognize the respect me must observe for the singularity of the experience of private instruction. Of course we all wish to be recognized for the particular outstanding contribution we make to music education, but we are circumspect to use negative avenues to do so. A student does not benefit from having frequent changes of instructors. Most teachers can trace their pedagogical careers through a dynasty of teachers going back and even further. I can trace my lineage to Beethoven. Surely, there is some benefit to continuity, constancy and commitment. Further, a teacher does not waste energy in protecting his/her class from pirating, but can place those efforts in a more positive way. And, ask yourself, what message are we giving our young people by demonstrating that boundaries do not matter, and that respect is old-fashioned, or worse yet, anti-government. You might argue that if the current arrangement is positive, a parent would wish to maintain it. However, we know that situations can be fickle. There is no need to encourage same. Although, I've moved many times, my students have stayed with me for as long as I've been in their community. The relationship is strong. When there have been issues of "pirating" by other teachers, it leaves my students bewildered AND certainly does NOT promote feelings of cooperation and collegiality. I urge our government to take care of the poor and unhealthy, solve issues in inner cities and leave the governance of our professional organizations to its membership. Shame on you.