As WSU’s director of keyboard studies and a Brady Presidential Distinguished Professor, Yu-Jane Yang’s passion and dedication in teaching was rewarded in 2020 when she was recognized nationally as the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) Teacher of the Year, chosen from all the finalists nominated by the affiliated state Music Teachers Associations among all 50 states in the U.S.
Now in its 20th year, the award recognizes an individual teacher who has made a difference in students’ lives, has contributed to the advancement of music in their community and is an example of a professional music educator each year. MTNA has over 22,000 members across the U.S., primarily university music professors and independent studio teachers. This is the first time the award has been given to a teacher from Utah.
“I am extremely humbled by this totally unexpected national honor,” Yang said. “I would like to attribute this prestigious award to all of my inspirational former teachers and mentors, to my remarkable and diligent WSU students, and to President Mortensen and the administration, as well as many generous music donors of WSU, from whom I have continuously received their incredible support.”
Yang’s students join their professor in outstanding achievement this year.
The Utah Music Teachers Association (UMTA) State Collegiate Piano Concerto Competition is recognized as one of the two most competitive state events for collegiate piano students. In 2020, four of the top six awards went to Yang’s WSU students. Min-Shan “Susan” Tsai earned first-place state honors, and Ting-Yu “Cindy” Lu received third place. Shu-Han Shen and Miranda Hoggan were each awarded honorable mention.
Laurisa Cope, UMTA president commented, “Yu-Jane is the most dedicated, unselfish teacher, mentor and friend I know. Thank you for all you have shared with the teachers and students of Utah.”
The MTNA award ceremony was postponed to March 2021, but the award and praise were posted virtually at mtnafoundation.org.