This morning I attended the MTAC general meeting, held at the Castro Valley Center for the Performing Arts. All kinds of recriminations are threatened against active members who do not attend this meeting. Well, I made it to the meeting. My name is scrawled on the attendance sheet. Some 75 active MTAC members didn't show their faces. I guess they're gluttons for punishment.
This will be my 3rd year as a member of the Music Teachers Association of California (MTAC). Every meeting is awkward for me. I'm not great at casual banter. Usually I find a chair at the end of a row and keep quiet. My gender is poorly represented in my Southern Alameda branch. The ratio of females to males is literally 20 to 1. I do not exaggerate. Every time I step into one of these meetings I ask myself if I've taken a wrong turn at the Career Expo!
The assembled mass of teachers was talked at by various heads for about an hour and a half this morning. There are a few new rules related to the Certificate of Merit program going into effect this year, but nothing too significant. I will definitely plan to skip out of the meeting earlier next year.
Many of the female MTAC members have longtime friends that they rendezvous with at these meetings. Ladies are chatting it up like crazy before, during, and after the meeting, often to the detriment of whomever is speaking at the front of the room.
I enjoy my job as a teacher, and I am happy to be able to provide the Certificate of Merit program to my students. It is a program of study I undertook myself, all the way through to the end of high school. I can personally vouch for the benefits.
But the MTAC membership experience has been weird for me. I would love it if there was a more even balance between men and women members, but maybe that's unrealistic. I get to feeling like an alien after attending these things. Where do I fit in with this group? And other questions pop up, like, "Uh, does anyone here like Led Zeppelin?"
But we don't discuss the merits of John Bonham drum solos at these assemblages. Instead we reference William Bolcom piano etudes, and discuss performance practices for the music of Chopin. Fair enough, but too much of the dialogue is couched in antiquity.
I'll soldier on. As long as there's no obvious niche for me, I'll continue to work on hewing my own.