Ontario Registered Music Teachers' Association
Ontario Registered Music Teachers' Association (ORMTA) - Ontario Music Teachers' Association (OMTA) 1936-46. Organization formed in Toronto in 1936 to promote and maintain high musical and academic qualifications among its members. An earlier OMTA (Canadian Society of Musicians) was founded in 1885.
In 1936 several local teachers' associations, including those of Owen Sound, Stratford, Guelph, and Sarnia, banded together as the OMTA at a meeting 6 October in Toronto. W.B. Rothwell of Stratford was credited with the initiative. In 1942 the OMTA became affiliated with the CFMTA, and in 1946 it was incorporated as the ORMTA. The original membership of 131 subsequently grew to about 1400 active, associate, and honorary members by 1991.
The organization promotes high musical and academic qualifications among its teachers, progressive ideas on the teaching of music, continuing education for teachers, attendance at conventions, cultural events in the community, and an awareness of contemporary Canadian music. The ORMTA sponsors, or with the CFMTA helps to sponsor, workshops, scholarships, competitions, and Canada Music Week. A board of examiners evaluates the qualifications of applicants for membership.
The ORMTA is a not-for-profit provincial group of music teachers managed by a volunteer council. Members are registered music teachers from across Ontario who hold a degree or diploma from a recognized university or conservatory. Teachers must have a high level of training and be committed to professional music education. The association came to be organized in nine zones - Ottawa, Toronto, western, central, southern, eastern, north central, northeastern, and northwestern - and representatives of the zones formed an administrative council. The zones in turn were divided into branches (39 in 1991), each with its own president and executive and each responsible for its program of workshops, awards, and scholarships and for support of the CFMTA Canada Music Week project. The ORMTA has been responsible for the acceptance of music as an accredited subject in Ontario high schools, whether the studies are private or in-school.
Conventions and Publications
It became customary for a three- or four-day spring convention to be held annually in an Ontario city to bring together teachers from across the province to share ideas on music and music education. The ORMTA newsletter Notes began ca 1969. In 1991 it had a circulation of approximately 1400 and appears three times a year. Under the auspices of the Toronto branch the Contemporary Music Selection Committee (see Contemporary Showcase) prepared a series of annotated lists of Canadian piano music, first published in Musicanada (Jun-Jul, Aug-Sep 1968). A report commissioned in 1976 from Walter Kemp was presented in 1977 as To Listen and to Teach. The Ontario Provincial Archives hold taped interviews, edited for broadcast, with nine long-time members of the ORMTA. In 1976 William Vaisey established the ORMTA Provincial Archives in Toronto and in 1991 continued to serve as archivist.
Awards and Special Activities
ORMTA sponsors and promotes several activities and awards to encourage and promote musical excellence in the province. In 1980, ORMTA joined other CFMTA provinces to support the Young Artist Series (a program initiated by CFMTA in 1942). Students at the Associate level, who are winning finalists of the provincial competitions, tour other provinces to perform in recitals. Another award given at the provincial competitions is the Esther Su Memorial Award, which was set up in 1997 in memory of former ORMTA treasurer Esther Su. Two students are chosen to receive this award on the merits of their excellence in performance. Other awards include the annual Canada Music Week and Music Writing Competition, the Citation Award, the Cora B. Ahrens Award and the Special Teacher's Award.