Former local resident Jill Robinson Kilzer was recently appointed a two-year term as president of the Minnesota Music Teachers Association, a professional, non-profit educational organization, and an affiliate of the Music Teachers National Association. A 1971 Kimball Area High School graduate, Jill has always had the music in her. Daughter of the late Les and Gen Robinson, Jill was very active in the KAHS band and choir. While still in junior high school, she started teaching piano from her home. Continuing music at a higher level was imminent for Robinson Kilzer. “After high school, I attended a 2-year post-Baccalaureate program in Princeton, N.J. Then following more music studies at the U of M, I completed my Masters from Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill.” After graduate school in 1981, Jill lived in Houston, Texas, before moving to Apple Valley, Minn., in 2000.
Jill is married to Continental Airlines mechanic Bill Kilzer, and they have two sons, Michael (working for Jet Propulsion Labs in Pasadena, Calif.) and John (completing a degree in Archeology at DePaul University, Chicago). Currently, Jill instructs 33 students on a weekly basis and stays plenty busy with her music. “I am the music director at
St. Matthews Church in West St. Paul, and have been active in the Minnesota Music Teachers Association at the local and state level, since coming to Minnesota.”
The MMTA’s mission is to advance the profession of music teaching through education of members and students, networking, and advocacy. “Primarily independent music teachers, the 1,000 MMTA members are committed to the highest standards of music teaching and are dedicated to upholding and improving the standards of all music education in Minnesota,” Robinson Kilzer said. The MMTA’s most widely recognized program is the State Piano Contest. “In existence for more than 77 years, this contest features those pianists from all across Minnesota with the highest scores in a Finals Contest at an ensemble performance: the MMTA State Honors Concert,” said Robinson Kilzer. The concert is a gala event involving 700 young performers playing on 20 grand pianos in ensemble groups. “This amazing concert was held at Northrup Auditorium each year until a few years ago, when it moved to the Minneapolis Convention Center,” Jill said. Other areas of MMTA’s achievements include developing syllabi for study of piano in the 70s, and later, syllabi for voice, winds, guitar, and strings were added. Soon after came the development of exams for each level/area of study. The latest syllabus embraced by the MMTA and soon to roll out its first exams in Alexandria, Minn., is a Popular Styles Syllabus.