LocationLilly Hall 275
Karen Thickstun teaches piano pedagogy at Butler University, where she also directs the Butler Community Arts School and co-advises the Butler MTNA Collegiate Chapter. Thickstun holds degrees in piano performance/economics from Duke University, business administration from University of Virginia, and piano pedagogy from Butler University.
In 2019, Thickstun was recognized by Butler University with the “Woman of Distinction” award, annually given to one staff and one faculty recipient. In 2018, as part of its 100th anniversary, United Way of Central Indiana recognized Thickstun as one of its “100 Heroes” to recognize the positive impact she has made in the community. For 2017-19, Thickstun received a Creative Arts Renewal Fellowship from the Arts Council of Indianapolis, funded by Lilly Endowment, Inc.
As founding director of the Butler Community Arts School, Thickstun provides leadership and vision. Serving 2,000 children through private lessons, group classes, and camps, instruction is provided by over a hundred Butler University students that she mentors in professional teaching practices.
Working with afterschool programs, community centers, and United Way agencies, Thickstun has developed a network of community partners to provide access to the arts for inner-city youth. To fund outreach classes and provide need-based scholarships, Thickstun has written and received grants for more than $100,000 annually for the past seven years.
Thickstun authors a tri-annual column, “It’s All Your Business,” for American Music Teacher. Her articles have also appeared in Keyboard Companionand Clavier Companion. She has presented numerous pedagogy and business sessions at MTNA National Conferences and other local, state and national conferences.
Thickstun is active in the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA), currently serving as president-elect for 2019-2021. She previously served as MTNA Secretary-Treasurer from 2013-2015 and as MTNA Vice President from 2015-2017, chairing the membership committee. Recent national appointments include grants and awards task force chair, MTNA Teacher of the Year committee chair, and strategic planning committee. She served as director of East Central Division director on the MTNA Board of Directors from 2008-2010 and chaired the Local Associations Forum. Thickstun is a nationally-certified teacher of music (NCTM) through MTNA.
Thickstun has been active in the Indiana Music Teachers Association (IMTA) as president, trustee chair, newsletter editor, syllabus chair, conference chair, commissioning chair, arts advocacy chair, and bylaws revision chair. She received the Distinguished Service Award in 2002 and the Teacher of the Year award in 2008.