Monthly Coffee and Conversation with Colleagues!

Coffee and Conversation with Colleagues – what’s it all about?


To All Fellow Music Teachers – beginning with our inaugural meeting on 11/09/2021, we have met on the second Tuesday of each month at 8:45 am for candid discussions on a wide variety of topic of interest to all music teachers. We have always said “Expect coffee and conversation; experience personal and professional growth.” With Annette Stowe stepping down as Voice Chair, perhaps you would like to pick up this ball and run with it?

What have we been talking about?

Read below for recent and more remote topics and dates. While the Voice Section has made these talks happen, these conversations are open to all music teachers of all instruments, members of NCMTA or not. Email Voice Section Chair for access:

Our Summer 2023 Conversations

09/12/23 How do we know when our students are making progress?



(July) On a personal note:  Once again, I realize how much I learn about myself and my teaching when I attend these Coffee and Conversations. One of the tips shared for performance anxiety was to use mindful relaxation techniques (think about your breath, visualize your toes, tighten and relax them. Visualize your calves, tighten and relax them, etc.) and I had a moment of “this again!” before I realized that I DO THIS! Whenever I get my blood pressure taken, I consciously try to slow my breathing and will myself to relax so I will get a good reading. Whenever I am running late and dealing with traffic, I remind myself to breath deeply and let go of any tension, because this is out of my control and I’ll get there when I get there. I may not get horrible stage fright anymore, but I do always feel nervous/excited before a performance and that translates into energy that helps me succeed. We as teachers are leading by example, and passing along tips for life, not just for perfect high notes or amazing arpeggios. Annette Stowe

Our Next Conversation


Attention All Voice Teachers! It has been a pleasure serving as your chair, but it is time for me to step down. This year’s Conference will be my last as Voice Chair, so here is your opportunity to get involved! Please contact me ( if you are interested in the position, or for more information, and do please consider serving NCMTA as Voice Chair for the next two years. See you in Wilmington, Annette

Neat little summary of past topics

DateConversation Topic
We enjoyed our inaugural “Coffee and Conversation” with voice teacher colleagues on Tuesday, November 9th, 2021. We discussed how to generate solo opportunities for ourselves, so we can practice what we teach.
12/14/2021Practicing. How to: inspire, teach and model effective practice; initiate clear, direct, kind conversations with parents about optimizing the home practice environment; build relationships with students and their families so everyone is supporting the students in their studies.
01/11/2022Preparing students for music study in college: We had a lively discussion about the musical preparation college professors wish they saw more of with incoming freshman music majors.
02/08/2022Beyond Songs – everything else we teach. Methods and skills, patterns in music, rhythm, sight reading, solfeggio, intervals, harmonizing, listening, practical keyboard for singers: everything to help students become self-sufficient musicians. Piano and voice teachers talked, shared, and developed a list of resources.
03/08/2022Serving students with special needs. Know your student and what works each individual. Have a student teach a concept to you, get off the bench, get physical with rhythm, change up the lessons, work at the student’s pace – all good practices in general.
04/19/2022Working with adult students! One challenge older students may face is that they doubt their ability to learn. We discussed the power of “yet” as a mindset change. A simple statement such as, “I don’t have that skill yet” is so freeing!
05/10/2022Finding your voice through emotional blockageMental Voice and Mental Health. Working to help students “find their voice” can be the reason we teach, but it is also important to their development as humans and members of society .
06/14/2022A Conversation with the President. NCMTA President Kent Lyman led the discussion, recounting interesting experiences he has had with NCMTA and MTNA, reflecting on how it has enriched his professional life.
07/12/2022NCMTA Conference Topics. Sitting in for vacationing Annette Stowe, guest host and NCMTA Webmaster Cathy Pescevich Kreplin will lead the discussion. We had an open and lively conversation about topics members would like to see covered at conference!
08/09/2022Current repertoire, and how to include (and whether we should make it a point to include) pop music, diversity in musical styles, and new composers in our teaching.
09/13/2022Current repertoire, and how to include music from around the world in our teaching.
10/11/2022Post-conference conversation.
11/08/2022Conversation about NCMTA Voice Performance Festival changes. Activities to add value to the experience for teachers, students and parents alike were suggested: end-of-day honors recitals, masterclass and/or theory activities. To be continued next month.
12/13/2022Continuing conversation about the NCMTA Voice Performance Festivals.
01/10/2023Review of updates to the Coffee and Conversation format.
02/14/2023The young musician: How young is too young? Methods, apps and more were reviewed.
03/14/2023The young musician: How young is too young, continued Methods, apps and more were reviewed.
04/11/2023The Independent Studiohow and when to start it, grow it, and maintain it!
05/09/2023Practicing! Do we require it or not?
06/13/2023Summer break – yay or nay?!
07/11/2023Performance Anxiety. Join Performance Anxiety Coach Amber Nicole Dilger for this conversation that touches everyone.
08/08/23Physical Tension, with straightforward language and techniques to help identify and release it. 
09/12/23How do you (or the parent) know that the student is progressing? Discussion of ways we evaluate progress!

From Annette Stowe, Voice Section Chair.

Interested in joining us? Contact the Voice Section Chair.

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