Student Levels: Advanced and Competition
Student Ages: Ten and up
A.J. Collins began her piano studies at age 7. Under the Stable’s Music Scholarship and the Presidential Academic Scholarship, Ms. Collins attended Trinity University to study Piano Performance and Pedagogy with Eastman graduate Dr. Carolyn True. Because of her work in the accompanying program, Ms. Collins had the opportunity to work with Eastman’s Dr. Jean Barr on vocal and instrumental accompanying as well as piano music for four hands.
While at Trinity, A.J. worked for Elssy Martin Piano Studios, performed solo recitals, accompanied, and was active in the Symphony Docents program. Besides piano, Ms. Collins has additional studies in voice, guitar, flute, and a minor in Psychology. She was fortunate enough to conduct the Parker Chapel Handbell Choir and has taught various styles of ballroom dance. Her talent for dance allowed her the opportunity to perform on TNT’s Club Dance and the IMAX movie Swing.
After graduating Magna cum Laude, Ms. Collins served as the Chapel Pianist for Brooks Air Force Base. She was accepted to several top music therapy programs but instead accepted the offer to become the Musical Arts Center of San Antonio’s Assistant Director and began teaching piano and theory full time. She has since become one of the top teachers in Texas.
A.J.’s students have won top prizes in local, state and national level competitions including the Texas Music Teachers Association’s Performance Contest (Solo, Concerto and Ensemble divisions), Junior Tuesday Musical Club Competition, Hodge’s Contemporary Piano Competition, Petroff Competition, McLennan Competition, Texas State Young Pianist Competition, Baylor Waco Competition, Pearl Amster Concerto Competition and the DeBose National Piano Competition. Several of her students have given solo recitals as well as been accepted with scholarship to college music programs and competitive summer programs. They have also performed with orchestras in San Antonio and Austin and local NPR stations.
Ms. Collins was the founding President of the Alliance Music Teachers Association of San Antonio. Because of this group’s success with its “Styles Festivals”, the Music Teacher’s National Association awarded Alliance a New Association Start-up Grant.
A.J. also serves as the Performance Chair for the San Antonio and Alliance Music Teachers Associations and has served as the Assistant Performance Chair for the South Texas District. She is a member of the Senior Tuesday Musical Club and is sought after as an adjudicator for piano festivals and competitions throughout Texas.
In 2003, Ms. Collins completed the demanding goal of becoming a Nationally Certified Teacher of Music in Piano through MTNA. She has served Texas MTA as a Head Theory grader, Teacher Recognition Chair and Convention Projects Chair. At the 2004 state convention A.J.presented a workshop on Learning and Learning Styles. In the summer of 2008 she presented again at the TMTA convention with a workshop titled Performance Anxiety and the Developing Pianist. In 2011 she and her students presented a workshop on American Women Composers at both the Texas Music Educators and Texas Music Teachers conventions. She has also presented workshops on Creative Lesson Plans and the music of Dennis Alexander. By special request, her teaching has been observed by university pedagogy students as an example of excellence.
Ms. Collins completed her Masters degree in Piano Performance from Texas State where she studied under a scholarship with Dr. Timothy Woolsey.
Texas Pre-College Teacher of the Year 2012 and Lifetime Achievement in Music Education 2012
MACSA Piano Teacher AJ Collins is the recipient of the 2012 Outstanding Pre-Collegiate Teaching Achievement Award (Pre-College Teacher of the Year) given by the Texas Music Teachers Association. Nine nominees from around Texas were voted on by the governing body of TMTA. Collins is one of the youngest recipients of this award. Other teachers associated with MACSA that have been honored include: Texas Pre-Collegiate Teacher of the Year 2000: Kenneth Thompson. Texas Collegiate Teacher of the Year: Dr. Carolyn True 1999 and Dr. Kasandra Keeling 2008. Collins has also been awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award in Music Education 2012 from Musical Bridges Around the World. She received her award at the MBAW free concert on Sunday September 23rd at San Fernando Cathedral at 6:30 PM. Other MACSA teachers who have received this award include: Kenneth Thompson 2009.