My Past, Present, Future in Music Education
Music education has impacted my life from the very beginning of my educational journey. I remember in pre-school learning how to count in Spanish with song, followed by the moment in elementary school when I first started playing the violin. Later in high school, my life was heavily influenced by music, and it is clear that music has made me who I am today. Aside from playing the violin in orchestra class and singing in two different choirs, I was also involved with a music honor society known as Tri-M®.
Through Tri-M, I was granted opportunities to participate in public performances, community service events, and group-bonding activities. Tri-M offered me growth in leadership through being an officer of my chapter. My sophomore year I was voted to the office of chapter secretary, in which I gained skills in note-taking for meetings and making spreadsheets for the group. The next year I was the vice-president of the chapter, where I assisted the chapter president with whatever she needed. And then finally my senior year, I was voted into the office of president. The opportunity to lead a group of academically and musically gifted individuals is one that I earned by being a part of my high school’s music program.
One of the aspects that we as a chapter were passionate about was advocating for music in our community through acts of service. Throughout my years in the program we performed a variety of different service projects. The activity that stood out to me the most was when my chapter sold bracelets, made from fly netting, to raise money to fund fly nets for people in Africa. The bracelets were awesome, and we ended up donating more than $500 to the cause. These kinds of service projects not only promote positive change in the world, but also show how music brings people together for good.
Today, I am in my fourth year in college, pursuing degrees in music education and mathematics with hopes of becoming a music teacher. Becoming a music teacher was not my first choice; in fact, I was pursuing a degree in biology with hopes of becoming a doctor. My reason for changing degree paths involved many factors. However, the most crucial reasons were my love for teaching students and making music.
My passion for teaching music is further fueled by my membership in the National Association for Music Education’s collegiate program (cNAfME). When I joined this organization initially, I just assumed it was going to be a collegiate version of Tri-M, but it ended up being much more than that. As a member of this organization, I have had opportunities for professional development, essential for any profession.
Through this organization, I have further developed my leadership capacities by serving in state office positions. Currently, I serve as the Collegiate President of the Kansas Music Educators Association (KMEA), which is the Kansas Chapter of the National Association of Music Education (NAfME). I was honored to be elected into this office by my colleagues, which consists of music education majors from all over the state of Kansas. Serving in this role includes planning professional development conferences, advocating for music education to legislators, and scheduling and running meetings with collegiate leaders in music education from around Kansas.
Another aspect of this organization that has benefitted me has been the community that I have formed with music educators from all around the world. As state president, I have had the opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C., to attend the National Assembly of NAfME. Here I had the opportunity to meet a fantastic group of music educators, specifically from the states of Missouri, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Oklahoma, New York, and Nebraska. These fellow music educators have become some of my greatest resources, and sources of advice. This community would not exist if it were not for music education.
During my time in this organization, as I interact with colleagues and role models, I have begun to develop a philosophy of music education, which has guided me in all the decisions I have made in my collegiate career. I strive as a music educator to provide a quality music education in a classroom that is accepting, accessible, and safe for all students because, just like music, humans come in many different forms. Music, like students, cannot be confined by the regular restraints common in areas such as math and English; it allows people to be expressive in an experience that encompasses body, mind, and soul in ways no other form of expression can.