Karen Thickstun, NCTM, teaches piano pedagogy at Butler University, where she also directs the Butler Community Arts School and Butler Piano Camps, and advises the Butler MTNA Collegiate Chapter. She maintains an independent studio in Nashville, Indiana. Thickstun holds a bachelor’s degree in piano performance/economics from Duke University, a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Virginia and a master’s degree in piano pedagogy from Butler University.
Thickstun served as East Central Division director and on the MTNA Board of Directors from 2008–2010 and chaired the Local Associations Forum. She has served on the MTNA nominating committee, standing rules committee, Local Association of the Year committee and affiliate grants committee as chair. She is completing a two-year term as MTNA secretary-treasurer.
Thickstun authors a tri-annual column, “It’s All Your Business,” for American Music Teacher. She has presented multiple business-related sessions at MTNA National Conferences and other state and national conferences.
Thickstun has been active in the Indiana MTA as president, trustee, trustees’ chair, newsletter editor, syllabus chair, conference chair, commissioning chair, arts advocacy chair and currently is bylaws revision chair. She received the 2002 Distinguished Service Award and the 2008 Teacher of the Year award.
As founding director of the Butler Community Arts School, Thickstun provides leadership and vision. Serving 1,700 children through private lessons, group classes and camps, instruction is provided by more than 100 Butler University students that she mentors in professional teaching practices.
Working with after-school programs, community centers and United Way agencies, Thickstun has developed a network of community partners to provide access to the arts for inner-city youth. To fund outreach classes and provide need-based scholarships, she has written and received grants for more than $100,000 annually for the past five years.
“I believe everyone should have the opportunity to experience the arts in meaningful ways. MTNA programs and services provide essential leadership as we all ‘work for a more musical tomorrow.’ MTNA is integral to the music profession—enlightening and challenging its members, as well as students, colleagues and communities. MTNA has played a vital role in my own professional development. I pledge to bring my passion, integrity and work ethic to the position of MTNA vice president. I am honored to be nominated and will strive to maintain high quality programs and develop new ideas that engage and transform,” she says.
Martha Thomas, NCTM, is professor of piano and associate director for academic programs at the University of Georgia’s Hugh Hodgson School of Music. An active performer and clinician, she has given concerts and presentations in the United States, Canada, Australia, Europe and Kenya. Conference appearances include MTNA, College Music Society, American Liszt Society, Australasian Piano Pedagogy Conference and the World Piano Conference. Thomas is featured on eight recordings on the ACA Digital, Centaur and Albany labels, and her most recent recording, Max Reger: The Forgotten Romantic, was released in 2013. A native Texan, Thomas holds degrees through the doctorate from the Universities of Texas (BM and DMA) and Wisconsin (MM).
Thomas began her collegiate teaching career at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and was introduced to MTNA by Carol Winborne, an active WMTA member. Inspired by the WMTA leadership, especially President Joyce Grill, Thomas became one of the enthusiastic founding members of the Stevens Point Area MTA, a local association still in existence today, and she served as its first president.
Upon joining the University of Georgia faculty, Thomas immediately became active in her local and state associations. She served as Athens MTA President, and then served as chair of the Finance/Advisory Committee, vice president of MTNA Competitions, vice president of Conference Program and Georgia MTA Senior Competitions coordinator. As co-faculty advisor for UGA’s MTNA Collegiate Chapter, Thomas strongly encourages her students to become active in MTNA, and many of them are now assuming leadership roles at the local and state levels. In 2012, she was extremely honored to receive the GMTA “Teacher of the Year” Award.
Thomas’s national MTNA work includes Board of Directors, Southern Division director, Membership Committee and chair of the College Faculty Forum. In addition, she was elected chair of the State Presidents Advisory Council while serving as GMTA president.
“I am an ardent supporter of MTNA and firmly believe that this organization is our greatest professional resource as educators and musicians. MTNA has provided me with numerous opportunities for educational growth, networking, and leadership training, and many of my most wonderful friendships and strongest professional associations have been formed through MTNA. I am honored to be nominated for vice president and welcome the challenge of working in a visionary manner so that the present-day MTNA can develop and grow to meet the needs of our future members,” she says.