The American String Teachers Association promotes excellence in string and orchestra teaching and playing. ASTA pursues its mission through an open sharing of ideas; benefits, services, and activities responsive of the needs of all members; development of strong state leadership and chapters; enhancing the image and visibility of string teaching and study; advocacy for string education; and an inclusive community of string teachers and players.
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Benefits of Membership
One of the greatest strengths of ASTA is the scope of its membership. We not only serve the private and public school educators but our organization services the private studio teachers, Suzuki private teachers, professional and amateur chamber musicians, performing symphony musicians, and university and college instructors. Quite an undertaking! For a reasonable memership fee, you have access to all these resources….
On a NATIONAL Level: ASTA provides you access to:
- Good, inexpensive instrument insurance
- Tri-yearly National journal ﬁlled with fabulous educational ideas, articles and ads.
- Your students have access to the National Honors Orchestra
- Your students have access to the National Solo competition
- State of the art computer communications, web site, and online resources
- A National chat web site that allows for virtually instant responses to your pressing questions. You can submit questions, answers, and pontiﬁcate to your heart’s content without the specter of professional judgment of someone not in your professional. What a great feeling!
- A yearly National convention that is FILLED with string professionals
- Both the Elizabeth Green and Louie Potter awards for Excellence in Education (designed and founded by MASTA!)
- Listing of summer camps and summer conferences nation-wide
- String Industry Council
- Archive of articles
- Advocacy materials
- National job postings
- National foundation to promote string teaching and playing: administers grants, awards, and competitions
- Instrument outreach: supplies bows and instruments for deserving schools and individuals
On a STATE level: MASTA provides you with:
- A membership with over 500 professional, private, and public string educators in Michigan
- Tri-yearly State MASTA publication written by fellow educators in this state that addresses concerns about the climate of string education in Michigan as well as articles on the various aspects of teaching, pedagogy, and events written by our membership.
- A yearly Chamber Music Festival with workshop and adjudication. This event, which selects the winning ensemble for Youth Arts Festival, also gives the winning ensemble access to the National level competition. The yearly winners are also featured at the MASTA luncheon at the Michigan Music Conference in Grand Rapids and in our newsletter.
- 2 Elementary Summer String camps designed for students in grade 4-6 with only 1st year playing experience-perfect for the emerging string students
- 1 Junior High Summer String camp designed for students in grades 6-9 with two or more year’s experience.
- Scholarships for ﬁnancial aid for students who are attending these camps – applications are reviewed on a per-family basis
- Three sessions of camp at Blue Lake for Suzuki families
- Both the Okemos (in the fall) and Troy (in the spring) Suzuki Workshops
- A workshop for bassists-only in the spring in Troy
- New string publication reading session(s)
- Award for MASTA String teacher of the Year
- Award for MASTA Administrator of the Year
- Grants for special programs you would like to see in your school district – applications are reviewed and awards presented throughout the year
- Professional Grants for personal growth
- Access to outreach support for new programs and young programs that need mentoring
Historically, the most inﬂuence that MASTA, as an organization, has ever had, was providing the foundation for the National ASTA! Bob Ritsma (retired cellist/conductor, Hope College) wrote a brilliant article years ago on the ﬁrst 25 years of ASTA. To think – our now National Organization founded by the leading visionary string educators of our own State of Michigan! Spread the word! You will be part of a larger string teaching community who want to share teaching ideas and, generally string teachers who want to belong to some type of group that understands their profession and share concerns. It is an organization that serves to connect the private and public teaching sectors as well as a range of fellowship of teachers pre K-professional musician. Let’s encourage the young and the older string educators in this state to be a part of the close camaraderie of string specialists who eagerly go to great lengths to work together…an organization with a huge data base of specialists just waiting to bring out the best in each and everyone of us!
submitted by Valerie M. Palmieri, MASTA Board Member, for submission in MASTA Notes. Edited for inclusion on this site.