The National School Orchestra Association (NSOA) was an organization founded to further the cause of school orchestra teachers in the United States. It operated between the years 1958 and 1998, at which point it merged with the American String Teachers Association (ASTA). The National School Orchestra Association records covers the period from 1958 to 1998; the bulk of the materials date from 1980 to 1995. The collection consists of numerous professional papers related to the administration of the Association, NSOA conferences (including multiple joint conferences), the NSOA Composition Contest, and the papers of several NSOA officers.
There are no restricted files in this collection.
Materials from this collection must be used in the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library's Irving and Margery Morgan Lowens Special Collections Room, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday. Please contact SCPA's curator to make an appointment: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel: 301.405.9220.
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The National School Orchestra Association records covers the period from 1958 to 1998; the bulk of the materials date from 1980 to 1995. The collection consists of professional papers including correspondence, newsletters and bulletins, reports, memos, meeting minutes and agendas, membership lists, surveys, programs, musical scores, videotapes, photographs, ledgers, and published articles related to the administration of the Association, NSOA conferences (including multiple joint conferences), the NSOA Composition Contest, and the papers of numerous NSOA officers, including Presidents Malvin N. Artley (1971–73), Robert S. Frost (1987–89), Arlene G. Witte (1991–93), Peter Miller (1995–97), and Doris Gazda (1997–98). There are also numerous organizations with which the NSOA frequently collaborated represented in the collection, including ASTA (in particular the Michigan chapter, or MASTA), MENC, the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP), the National High School Honors Orchestra (NHSHO), the International Society for Music Education (ISME), various State Music Educators Associations (MEAs), the Suzuki Association of the Americas (SAA), and the Midwest Clinic International Band and Orchestra Conference (MWIBOC).
The National School Orchestra Association (NSOA) was an organization founded to further the cause of school orchestra teachers in the United States, with two of its missions being to increase the status and quality of school orchestral instruction compared to school bands and to give support to school orchestra teachers leading string or full orchestras. It operated from 1958 until 1998, after which point it merged with the American String Teachers Association (ASTA). ASTA, founded in March 1946, was intended to further the interests of string playing in America, focusing on performance, research, development, planning, and teacher training. Yet by the late 1950s, there was a growing feeling among public school orchestra directors that ASTA was not addressing itself specifically to their needs, instead focusing its energies and resources on the interests of college/university and private studio instructors. As a result, NSOA was formed in August 1958 from a meeting of interested orchestra directors held at Interlochen, MI during the annual ASTA summer conference.
During its tenure, the Association published an annual bulletin and hosted a composition contest, and membership included a subscription to the Instrumentalist, a rival publication to ASTA’s American String Teacher published by Traugott Rohner, a founder and the first president of NSOA. In 1971, NSOA became an affiliated organization of MENC (the Music Educators National Conference, now known as the National Association for Music Education, or NAfME), wherein MENC membership was a prerequisite for NSOA membership. NSOA collaborated frequently with both ASTA and MENC on various publications on string instruction and repertoire, including The Complete String Guide (1988).
Despite their origins as separate entities, the idea of merging NSOA and ASTA in order to combine their resources to serve string and orchestra teachers had been around since the early 1970s, though it did not come to fruition until the 1990s. In April 1992, ASTA president Robert Culver initiated a meeting between the executive boards of ASTA, NSOA, the Suzuki Association of the Americas, and the International Society of Bassists at the ASTA National Convention. During a 3-hour meeting, the leadership of these groups discussed potential collaboration opportunities and agreed to continue emphasizing the importance of string and orchestra education in schools and communities. Upon his election in 1993, NSOA president Robert Greenwood remarked that the organization was at a place where change was a necessity and posited “the possibility of creating a new organization...a more effective umbrella for all orchestra teachers and studio teachers.” A proposal by the NSOA executive board was submitted to the ASTA board in the spring of 1994 concerning a potential unification of the two groups, with the general consensus being that string and orchestra programs would benefit from a more unified voice. The proposal was approved, and the Association moved toward transferring its memberships and resources to ASTA. After forty years of operation, NSOA was officially dissolved on July 1, 1998, and the new organization officially became “ASTA with NSOA.” “NSOA” disappeared from the title in 2006 for legal reasons, but ASTA has since continued to support the mission and objectives of NSOA brought to the organization with the merger.
This collection is organized into thirteen series, each representing a specific accession made to the NSOA records: