Live and Online

Sunday – Wednesday

June 13-16, 2021

"Staying Connected and Looking Forward"

The 122nd annual convention of the Minnesota Music Teachers Association (MMTA) is scheduled for Sunday through Wednesday, June 13-16, 2021. The convention will be live and online, via Zoom Video.  Selected sessions will also be available for later viewing until August 31.


NOTE: registration will remain open until Labor Day (September 6) because recorded sessions will be available online until then.

ALSO NOTE: new MMTA members* and students get in free!  Everyone who registers will get online access to:

  • all keynote and breakout sessions
  • all performance events

Register for the convention

* anyone who became a member since the 2020 convention

Keynote Speakers

Noreen Wenjen, NCTM

Monday, June 14, 9:00 am CDT

Part 1 (9:00 am): "Finding Success Against the Odds: The Accidental Music Teacher Becomes the Entrepreneurial Music Teacher"

Part 2 (9:45 am): "Music Technology Sound and Vision: What to Strive for and Using What You Have"

Noreen Wenjen, NCTM, is a nationally recognized piano teacher and author of Two-Year Wait List:  An Entrepreneurial Guide for Music Teachers and Entrepreneurial Crash Course for Music Teachers.  She serves as Past President for the California Association of Professional Music Teachers, Southwest Division director-elect for the Music Teachers National Association, and is the Alignable 2020-2021 Local Business Person of the Year for Torrance, California.


Garrett McQueen

Tuesday, June 15, 9:00 am CDT

Part 1 (9:00 am): "Teaching In the Moment" (talk)
Part 2 (9:45 am):  "Teaching In the Moment" (workshop)

Garrett McQueen hosts the Trilloquy podcast.  He was a classical MPR host, and now has an active speaking career in the area of examining our assumptions about what constitutes things like "formal training" and "classical music".  He's encouraging all of us to push boundaries and look forward.

The past 12 months have forced most of the country's institutions to take a second look at what it really means to survive while engaging the world around us. The field of music education is one of those institutions, and if it is to survive we must all shift the conversation surrounding it. Garrett will offer a keynote on centering the relevance of music: Teaching in the Moment, in an effort not only to give students a broader perspective on how music can impact their lives, but to give students the tools they need to engage today's ever-evolving music industries.

Breakout Sessions

These will take place over THREE MORNINGS rather than two full days.  Overall schedule:

  • Monday morning (June 14) 8:00 am – 12:45 pm CDT
  • Tuesday morning (June 15) 8:00 am – 12:45 pm CDT
  • Wednesday morning (June 16) 8:00 am – 1:00 pm CDT *

* Sessions are spaced 45 minutes apart.  Final session on Wednesday will be slightly longer.

Breakout Sessions by Category

Biz / Tech


  • Janna Williamson: Schubert: Man of Melody and Mystery
  • Autumn L. Zander: Scenes from Childhood 2.0:  New Music for a New Generation (Lera Auerbach: Images From Childhood, Op. 52)
  • Yumiko Oshima-Ryan: Color and Timbre in Solo Piano Works by Karen Tanaka
  • Sue Ruby and Sally Ritchie: In Your Own Backyard:  Supporting Local Composers, Past, Present and Future

Cultural and Social Relevance

  • Kurt Ellenberger: Ghosts in the Machine: Jazz Musicians in Popular Music
  • Sue Wege: MusicLink--How to Change a Life through Music

MMTA Programs

  • Judge Education Committee: Bird's Eye View of Judging
  • Mary Goetz, Rebekah Richards and Sara Wandrei Langmead: Music Bridges: Not Just for Students Anymore!
  • MMTA Piano Exam Development Committee: 2022 repertoire reveal
  • Cheri Sykes: Become a Boogie Woogie Piano Stylist with the (Popular Styles Workbook) 12-Bar Blues Shuffle Patterns


  • Sara Wandrei Langmead, DMA: Teaching Musical Gesture (Piano): Finding Color in a Black and White Score
  • Valerie Merrell: Where the Magic Happens: Drilling In and Branching Out with Learning Clusters
  • Dr. Diana Shapiro: Congratulations, You Have a Partner, and Now What? (Teaching Piano Duets)
  • Sarah Mensen: Recital Hacks from a Recital Director
  • Nancy Litten: How to sight sing: a teacher's guide
  • David Knott: Your Most Kid Focused Classroom Ever. A Tactical Approach To SEL in the Music Ensemble Classroom
  • Megan Durham: Meeting the Mood: Resources for Emotional and Vocal Wellbeing

Staying Connnected!

  • 8:15 coffee chats (Mon-Wed)
  • 12:00 lunchtime meetups (Mon-Wed)


Sunday, June 13, 4:00 pm CDT

Amelia Smith, clarinet
Matthew Harikian, piano

Valerie Coleman: Sonatine for Bb Clarinet and Piano
Johannes Brahms: Sonata in F minor, Op. 120, No. 1
Carlos Guastavino: Sonata para clarinete y piano

Originally from a small suburb west of Minneapolis, Amelia Smith holds degrees in clarinet performance from the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University (BM), the Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music (MM) at the University of Memphis, and the University of Minnesota Twin Cities (DMA). Her former instructors include Howard Klug, Dr. Robyn Jones, Alexander Fiterstein, and Timothy Zavadil.

Amelia most enjoys collaborating with others through chamber music and performs frequently with her Memphis-based friend and colleague, Delara Hashemi (flute) in their duo, Gemini Winds. Over the years they have offered numerous concerts and masterclasses throughout the Midwest and Mid-South regions of the country. In 2016, she was invited to perform the Mozart Clarinet Concerto with the Sinfonietta Orchestra of Memphis, regularly performs with Wayzata Symphony Orchestra, and has also performed with the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra, Mankato Symphony Orchestra, Buffalo Symphony Orchestra, Memphis Symphony Orchestra and Memphis Repertory Orchestra.  

In Spring 2018, Amelia was an audition finalist with the President’s Own Marine Band in Washington, D.C., and shortly after, was awarded first prize in the graduate division of the Schubert Club Scholarship Competition with a performance at the Ordway Performing Arts Center in St. Paul. Amelia is also a very passionate and dedicated educator, having taught private and group clarinet lessons for several years in both Tennessee and Minnesota. In Fall 2018 she held a brief position serving as interim clarinet faculty teaching lessons, a Woodwind techniques class and studio class. She currently teaches at Wayzata High School and works as a Clarinet Specialist at Midwest Musical Imports, a specialty woodwind store in Minneapolis. Amelia also served for three years as Adjunct Instructor at Anoka-Ramsey Community College in MN.

A native of Fresno, California, Matthew Harikian has performed throughout Minnesota and California and has given concerto performances with the Lompoc Pops, Opera San Louis Obispo, and Buffalo Community orchestras. Matthew holds top prizes from the Minnesota Music Teacher Association’s Young Artist competition, the Schubert Club competition, the Glendale competition, and the Sylvia Ghiglieri competition in Turlock, CA.

He has taught music theory at St. Olaf College, Gustavus Adolphus College, and Augsburg University and currently teaches piano at the Hastings Arts Center. Matthew has participated in Pianofest in the Hamptons, a prestigious summer festival in East Hampton, NY which involved performing and studying with other international pianists, as well as the Meadowmount School of Music, where he performed as a chamber and solo pianist.

Sharing an equal interest in both performance and academia, he hopes for his future career to include teaching and researching in the field of music theory while also performing both solo and chamber music. Matthew has previously studied with Lydia Artymiw, Kent McWilliams, and Arlene Steffen. He holds two Master’s degrees from the University of Minnesota in Piano Performance and Music Theory.

Sunday, June 13, 7:30 pm CDT

MMTA Foundation recital and awards ceremony, featuring:
- MMTA Junior, Senior, and Collegiate Young Artist 1st, 2nd & 3rd place winners
- MTNA Performance Competition state-level winners and above
- MMTA student awards

Monday, June 14, 1:00 p.m. CDT

MMTA Student Composition Contest Winners Recital 

Monday, June 14, 7:30 pm CDT

Fanya Lin, piano
Muller: "Nostalgia Waltz"
Robert Schumann: Carnaval
Stravinski/Agosi: Firebird
Ginastera: Danzas Argenitas 

Described by Musical America and The New York Times as a “striking interpreter” who gives a “committed and heartfelt performance,” pianist Fanya Lin has captivated audiences worldwide.  Her orchestral appearances include the Toruń Symphony Orchestra, Utah Symphony, Savannah Philharmonic, Grand Junction Symphony, and Aurora Symphony. Fanya’s performance of Prokofiev Piano Concerto No. 3 with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra was depicted as “mesmerizing performance, it appeared as though a tornado had touched down through her body and lifted her, feathers fluttering, from the piano stool as she weighed into the keys” by Hastings Times and Festival Flyer.

An avid soloist, Fanya promotes classical music to the general public by creating innovative concert programs and engages her audience by presenting interactive performances. Her solo recitals have been featured in numerous prestigious concert series, including the Schubert Club Musicians on the Rise, Stecher and Horowitz Young Artist Series, and Eslite Emerging Artist Series. Moreover, in part of group efforts, Fanya has encouraged and assisted younger generations of music students to continue their education and peruse their dreams through fundraising events such as the Saint Island Fundraising Concert, Weber State University All Steinway School Designation, and the Sid & Mary Foulgers School of Music. Fanya also dedicates herself to new music by performing with contemporary music organizations such as Focus and Axiom. 

As a chamber musician, Fanya has collaborated with world-class musicians including Noah Bendix-Balgley (concert master of Berlin Philharmonic), Romie de Guise-Langlois (clarinetist of Lincoln Center’s Chamber Music Society), and Ta’u Pupu’a (tenor in major opera productions including Metropolitan Opera and San Francisco Opera). Fanya’s festival concerts and masterclass series include Aspen, Music@Menlo, Rocky Mountain Audio Festival, Minnesota International Piano Camp, and Savannah Arts Academy.

A native of Taipei, Taiwan, Fanya is a top prizewinner of Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition, Concours International de Piano France-Amériques, New York International Piano Competition, and Seattle International Piano Competition. Fanya earned her Doctoral Degree at the University of Minnesota under the guidance of Distinguished McKnight Professor Lydia Artymiw; her Master’s Degree at The Juilliard School with Professor Hung-Kuan Chen and Jerome Lowenthal; and her Bachelor’s Degree at Weber State University with Dr. Yu-Jane Yang. In Fall 2019, Dr. Fanya Lin joined the University of Arizona in Tucson as Assistant Professor of Music in Piano, where she teaches applied lessons in piano and coaches chamber music.

Tuesday, June 15, 7:30 pm CDT

Ben Abrahamson, guitar
Dan Schwartz, guitar

Ben Abrahamson is a fresh, dynamic voice on the acoustic guitar. His compositions evoke the dexterity of flamenco and the harmonic storytelling of jazz.  ​

His passion for flamenco guitar drove him to Taller de Músics School of Music in Barcelona, where he studied under Juan Ramón Caro. He has composed works for the Minneapolis Guitar Quartet, Zorongo Flamenco Dance Theatre, Mac Jazz big band, and Muhlenberg College Theatre and Dance Dept.

Ben has shared the stage with mentors like Michael and Tony Hauser, Susana di Palma, La Conja, Chuscales, Billy Steele, Tonia Hughes, Pedro Cortes Jr., Joan Griffith, and Gary Lee Joyner. In 2019, he recorded his latest record, "Neolithic".





Dan Schwartz's dad's interest in The Grand Ole Opry and his mom’s fondness for American Bandstand immersed him in a wide variety of great music. This influence resonates in the range of music he composes, records and performs today in his solo work and with group: The Neighborhood Trio.

Dan has written and released ten CDs and has been featured on several internationally released acoustic guitar compilations including Narada Records Masters of Acoustic Guitar. His recordings have earned him a nomination for guitarists of the year (Minnesota Music Academy) and Folk/Roots album of the year (Mpls. St Paul Magazine).

While Dan does enjoy sharing his music center stage, some of his favorite musical moments have been as a side-man for friends and folk heroes Neal and Leandra, Peter Mayer, and Dan Navarro. His latest release, High Plains Gospel, is a collection of finger-style guitar tunes played on harp guitar and acoustic lap steel. 

MMTA Annual Meeting

Wednesday, June 16, 8:45 am CDT

Members need not be registered to attend

We will be welcoming incoming MMTA president Camille Buddeke, electing new board members, and announcing our volunteer of the year.  We are also holding space on the final morning of the convention to look forward and envision the future of our organization.

Submit a Proposal For 2022

You can submit a session proposal here.  Deadline for 2021 has passed but we would love to consider your ideas for 2022. 

Submit a Proposal For 2022