Arts & Humanities

USU Chapter of Music Teachers National Association Named MTNA Collegiate Chapter of the Year

By Whitney Schulte |

LOGAN — The USU Caine College of the Arts’ chapter of the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) is co-recipient of the 2023 MTNA Collegiate Chapter of the Year.

“The USU piano program has a vibrant collegiate MTNA chapter, consisting of nearly 30 piano majors and minors,” said Denise Frost, Utah Music Teachers Association president. “It has been recognized as the Utah Music Teacher Association Collegiate Chapter of the Year three of the past four years.”

The CCA’s chapter integrates UMTA events and other activities through the USU Youth Conservatory, a lab school where more than 150 pre-college pianists receive lessons and group classes taught by college students. Frost says that associating with members and advisers from the USU Collegiate Chapter always leaves one feeling joyful about the future of music education.

“The students are excited about the creative activities, and their advisers are having just as much fun,” Frost said. “The quality of instruction and standards of excellence within the chapter activities are superb.”

Some of the chapter’s noted activities in the 2021-22 academic year include:

  • Piano Around the World, where chapter members selected the theme and coordinated a recital in collaboration with USU’s Office of Global Engagement, featuring music from under-represented countries and presentations from USU international students from those countries. The concert garnered a standing-room only crowd and significant local press.
  • The popular USU Youth Conservatory Monster concert run by chapter members, featuring 20 pianos on stage with more than 140 students from around the community participating.
  • Rach Stars, a wildly popular outdoor concert on USU’s Quad, featuring performances of Rachmaninoff’s piano works performed by chapter members.
  • Guest Artists Gabriela Montero and Daria Rabotkina performed in the world-class Russell/Wanlass Performance Hall as part of the Wassermann Piano Series.
  • Along with CCA faculty, the chapter members hosted the USU Summer Piano Festival, a hybrid piano competition and teacher workshop. Presenters included Noa Kageyama, Irene Peery-Fox, and Jane Magrath.

New initiatives for the chapter include Gina Bachauer’s Music in Our Schools, contracted performances by chapter members and faculty at Utah K-12 schools; Piano and Strings Chamber Music, the first curricular piano and strings collaboration at USU prepared and presented by chapter members; and applications for grants to attend the 2022 UMTA Conference and 2023 Collegiate and MTNA conferences.

Along with the chapter’s recognition, Kevin Olson, professor and piano area coordinator in the CCA, has been selected as an MTNA Foundation Fellow. The MTNA presents this award to recognize excellence in music teaching, research and other significant contributions to music education.

“This is wonderful recognition of Kevin’s excellent record of commitment to improving piano teaching resources and positively impacting the profession so broadly and for such a sustained period,” said Cindy Dewey, head of the Department of Music in the CCA.

Olson is an active pianist, composer and professor, teaching courses in piano literature, pedagogy, accompanying, music theory, improvisation, commercial composition, and rock & roll history, among others. In addition to his teaching responsibilities, he coordinates the keyboard studies program in the CCA and oversees the USU Youth Conservatory. Olson maintains a large piano studio and teaches students of a variety of ages and abilities. For more information, visit


Whitney Schulte
Public Relations Specialist
Caine College of the Arts


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