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Alexandria Area Music Teachers Association provides music education

The Alexandria Area Music Teachers Association (AAMTA), a local music teachers' organization affiliated with state and national groups, has been bringing music education opportunities to students and teachers throughout the years.

Local membership consists of private music teachers in the area surrounding Alexandria, including Brandon, Dalton, Morris, Long Prairie, Farwell, Henning, Sebeka and Osakis.

It is affiliated with the Minnesota Music Teachers Association (MMTA) and the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA).

Each year, it sponsors several annual music events for students, including a fall ensemble festival. Students also receive comments from a judge on how they can improve their performance and teamwork.

Another opportunity for students is the piano contest, which culminates in a concert played in the Twin Cities in June. Students play one memorized piece from a graded repertoire list of high-quality music.

Other programs available to students through MMTA include theory, keyboard skills, sight playing, composition and comprehensive piano exams.

Additionally, two newer programs are music bridges, an event in which students are encouraged to combine creative arts developing their own program, and pop stylings, which is new this year.

The West District MMTA testing and event site for all local programs recently moved from Morris to Alexandria.

Teachers must be members of both the state and national associations for their students to qualify for participation in these events.

It holds meetings throughout the year for education, often led by members or featuring special presentations on items of interest to members.

Annual conventions, at both the state and national level, master classes and workshops provide more opportunities for further education and networking.

Officers for the 2013-2014 year are Annette Helder, president; Mercedes Hagen, vice president; Karen Erickson, secretary; and Marcia Benson, treasurer.

Some meetings planned for this year include a Dennis Alexander workshop, an Arts Advocacy and Douglas County Arts/Music Community workshop, and a sight reading and computer apps workshop.

For more information, contact Helder at or visit