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Organization Among Teachers

Beginning December 28th and continuing for three days the Music Teachers' National Association will hold its thirty-seventh annual convention in Buffalo, New York. This Association, started by the founder of The Etude with the aid of a group of zealous pioneers way back when Ulysses S. Grant was President of the United States, has passed through many vicissitudes and changing phases of activity. At first it was very directly concerned with the more practical problems of teaching. Then the festival idea took hold and many of the meetings were accompanied by huge concerts. Vast numbers attended the conventions and the Association was voted a most prosperous one.
Our country is large. The convention might be held in Pittsburgh and the members in Los Angeles might be very anxious to attend. But between them would stand over one hundred dollars in railroad fares, a week's travel and the additional expenses. Consequently the need for local or State associations rose. These were to be the larger numerically as a matter of course. Thus the Philadelphia Music Teachers' Association is much larger numerically than the National Association. There are now probably a score or more of strong state or local associations with a membership of upwards of five thousand teachers.
The National Association has in recent years become more directly representative of men engaged in institutional work,—colleges, seminaries, etc. It is the ambition of these men to make the National Association a kind of assembly or congress which shall be expressive of the American voice in musical education and in its way bring together the opinion of the music workers who may belong to the local associations. Accordingly at the coming Convention which will be presided over by J. Lawrence Erb, of the University of Illinois, there will be Round Tables upon Community Music, Standardization, Public School Music and other topics in addition to those frequently discussed at previous meetings.
This Association should not be permitted to become merely a little group of academics. It fills much the same purpose as the National Education Association does in relation to the public schools. That association has thousands of teachers from all parts of the country attending the conventions and there is no concert or festival put out as a bait. The meetings are animated, broad in their scope, and popular with the members. Why would it not be possible for teachers in all parts of the country to belong to the National Association even though they could attend only one convention in four—say the convention held nearest their homes? Those who desire to join the Association may obtain information through the secretary, Mr. Charles N. Boyd, 4259 Fifth Ave., Pittsburgh, Pa. Any person actively interested in music may become an annual member upon payment of $3.00 yearly.

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