The South Dakota Music Teacher Association is having its annual conference at SDSU.
“We follow a rotation every five years,” said John Walker, assistant professor of music and director of keyboard studies. The SDMTA rotates between SDSU, Aberdeen, Augustana, Black Hills and USDSU.
The SDMTA is the state version of the Music Teachers National Association. According to the MTNA Web site, the purpose of MTNA is to advance the value of music study, music making to society and to support the professionalism of music teachers.
The SDMTA conference is scheduled for Nov. 6 through Nov. 8. According to Walker, there are usually 70 people who attend. Any person who is a member of SDMTA or MTNA can participate in the competition and any teacher from the state can send a student.
The first day of the conference includes competitions and master classes. According to the Web site, competitions are split up into four sections: collegiate, senior, junior and young artist. The categories range from vocal to woodwinds to brass.
One person competing in the young artist voice section is Sarah Boe, a vocal performing graduate of Augustana. Boe started competing in SDMTA in the sixth grade playing piano. In high school, she switched to vocal with the MTNA. While in college, Boe again competed with SDMTA.
Boe said she is competing again this year because she still falls into the age gap. “It’s a really good experience. Competing helps you stay in shape with auditions and performing. You also get to see your colleagues and what they are doing,” she said.
According to Walker, piano students are required to memorize pieces from three time periods to show versatility. Students are given up to 20 minutes to play the pieces. One judge is in the room rating the student’s ability. The judge can stop the student while playing and have them switch to a different piece. At the end of a category, the judge announces the places.
Walker has three students, one in college, competing. “We only send students who are ready,” he said.
According to Walker, other students who are competing include Brigitte Cyr, Ben Sieverding and Sarah Moklebust.
Moklebust, a senior voice and piano major, has done SDMTA for the past two to three years. “This has helped prepare me for when I get my master’s degree. … We have an extremely good vocal department,” she said.
On Nov. 7 at 7:30 p.m., there will be a free concert for all to attend. Opera singer Patrice Michaels and Ken Smith will perform in the Performing Arts Center.