Music Development Program Inspires Arizona Teacher

Annette Freston with students

Annette M. Freston (pictured with her students) is a music teacher and the founder of Music For Life in Kingman, Arizona, a Founding School of the Royal Conservatory Music Development Program. In this entry she shares her history with the program, as well as her students’ enthusiasm for its assessments.

Piano has always been my passion. I have been lucky enough to teach the most amazing students over the last 20 years. During my last semester of graduate school I chose as my capstone project to complete the requirements for the National Certification of Teaching Music (NCTM) as required by the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA). One of my goals was to open a music studio. I had hoped to partner with a reputable piano retailer but economically, it was just not feasible for a retail store in Kingman, Arizona. So I rented a building, moved in three acoustic pianos and three electronic keyboards, hired a flute, a second piano and a voice teacher. I left in the middle of this transition and went to New York City in March 2011 to attend the MTNA National Convention. I was invited to the honors reception for the new NCTM members, never realizing how involved I would become with the Royal Conservatory Music Development Program.                                

I attended a presentation about the program and knew immediately I wanted to bring its quality and benefits to Kingman. I was very excited about the innovative and solid repertoire as well as the possibility of becoming a Founding School. I hung around the program booth for a week, asking questions and gathering as much information as I could. As soon as flew home, I applied to be a Founding School. Once my application was granted, I started preparing my students for the December assessments. I also worked with a local percussion teacher to help his students prepare for the December assessment through my school. 

When I realized the only other assessment center in Arizona was a four-hour drive away, I applied to be an assessment center as well so my students would not have to drive so far. At our December assessment we had students travel from Las Vegas as well as the Phoenix area to Kingman for the assessment. My students were very nervous as this was the first time they had ever experienced anything like this. But they were very excited to be part of the first Founding School in Arizona. This is very cool for our small community! I hope to register flute voice, and violin, and piano students for the May 2013 assessment session. Students who have taken the assessment enjoyed the experience so much they are ready to practice for the next level!

Registration for May/June assessments is open until February 18.

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