NCMTA Certification

MTNA Professional Certification


Certification is a process that validates an individual's qualifications for a specific field of professional practice. New graduates and seasoned alike can benefit from becoming a Nationally Certified Teacher of Music.


The MTNA Professional Certification program exists for teachers who teach music to students of any age level in private or group settings. The program is based upon a set of five standards defining what a competent music teacher should know and be able to do. Upon fulfillment of these standards, applicants are granted the MTNA professional Certification credential with the designation, Nationally Certified Teacher of Music (NCTM).


To maintain the MTNA Professional Certification credential and designation, NCTM must continue fulfilling the program’s standards through the renewal process.


For more information on the certification process, visit To find a certified teacher or colleague anywhere in the MTNA membership click here.

Congratulations to our newest certified members!

Bridget O’Leary, NCTM

Bridget O’Leary, NCTM, lives in Raleigh, North Carolina where she maintains a strong musical presence, as well as in her hometown of Kansas City. Recent performance highlights include a solo recital at Kansas City’s Charlotte House Series, duo recitals with cellist Kirsten Jermé, recitals with her clarinet, violin, and piano ensemble Xiphias Trio (including featured performance at the American Single Reed Summit), and festival shows with her crossover quartet Fourscore. Her outreach work extends to projects like Classical Revolution KC which brings music to unconventional audiences, and KC Young Musicians Roundtable, an organization that helps musicians develop their professional careers.  She earned her Bachelor of Music and Master of Music in piano performance from the University of Missouri – Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance. Bridget maintains a full private home studio and enjoys working with motivated learners of all ages. She especially loves teaching adults returning to the instrument, competitive high schoolers, and has been actively teaching virtual lessons since 2017. To learn more about Bridget you can visit her website at 

Lindsay Alexandra Hopkins, NCTM

Lindsay Alexandra Hopkins, NCTM, is a 2020 graduate of Elon University in Elon, North Carolina with dual bachelor’s degrees in Elementary Education (K-6) and Music in the Liberal Arts, and a minor in piano pedagogy. Studying under Eden Esters Brown and Dr. Victoria Fischer Faw, she is the first graduate of the minor program to receive NCTM certification. A Maryland native, Lindsay has since returned to her hometown to open a private piano studio and teach in the local school system. She strives to foster a lifelong love of learning and music making to students of all abilities, backgrounds and interests, while practicing differentiated instruction to ensure that all students find what makes them love music just as much as she does.  

Kay Bagwell, NCTM

Kay Bagwell, NCTM, started teaching piano in Raleigh, NC, in 2016 and quickly learned to love all the amazing opportunities for piano teachers in Raleigh. Previously, she had served as a church and choir accompanist in Alabama. In 1998, she earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Secondary Education and Music where her focus was on collaborative playing. Teaching students of all ages and abilities energizes her on a daily basis. In addition to teaching in her home studio, she also accompanies at a local church and serves as treasurer for Raleigh Piano Teacher Association.  Any time not teaching and playing the piano is usually spent raising her two teen daughters and walking her dog, Friday. 

Heather Hills, NCTM

Heather Hills, NCTM, graduated from Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music in December 2014 with a Bachelor of Music in harp performance, finishing her studies with highest distinction. Her mentors included distinguished professor Susann McDonald, professor Elzbieta Szmyt, and internationally renowned harpist Maria Luisa Rayan. Although she decided against a double major, she continued studying piano throughout college and has recently added voice lessons as part of her continuing music education. After college, she relocated from her childhood home in Lambertville, NJ, to establish a studio in Raleigh. She actively performs and teaches in the Triangle area and beyond.

An avid musician, Heather has been studying music since the age of eight, when she began classical training in piano. Past awards have included performing on piano at Carnegie Hall as part of the American Fine Arts Festival; earning high honors in the NJMTA auditions, again on piano; and winning the concerto competition for the Youth Orchestra of Bucks County with a Vivaldi harp concerto. She was named a National Merit Scholar and an Indiana University Founder’s Scholar in recognition of sustained academic excellence. She recently completed five years as the accompanist and minister of music at Swift Creek Baptist Church and looks forward to growing her studio in the coming years.