NAfME Eastern Division Conference, part 3

We’re almost to the end of the workshops of the conference that I attended.

Lead to Succeed – I didn’t realize there was a day dedicated to the music students’ honor society, Tri M, but I found myself in one of their seminars. Current president of NAfME, Scott Sheehan, led us in positive affirmations in who we are as leaders – that everything we do matters and our behavior is a reflection of our leadership skills. He asked us to come up with a word that defined leadership for us. My word is accountability. If I call myself a research advocate, I am accountable to music teachers, administrators, and other music education researchers to complete tasks asked of me and to contribute in areas where I am able. I believe accountability is part of trust, but takes it a step further by saying I can be trusted if I do what I say I’m going to do.

Baldman Percussion: Percussion Education and Innovation ReimaginedMichael Rodgers of the trio of Baldman Percussion and a director of music and performing arts at Plainview-Old Bethpage Central School District introduced us to the innovation and creation of the Junk Hat, a new type of drum that is being used in local school districts and by some drummers of some well-known bands: Jack White, Blink 182, Jay Z, Josh Groban, D’Angelo, and Beyonce. The Junk Hat is a representation of science, technology, research, engineering, arts, and math (STREAM). He encouraged us to not stop our curiosity in innovation and creation as it could lead to a successful music curriculum. And, I got to take home the Jellyfish!

Music Teachers of Special Education Students Collective – This seminar was taught by the leaders of the facebook group of the same name, Jacqueline Smith and Caroline Farrell. Both engaged in a discussion with the four attendees of their experiences with special education students, access to Individual Educational Plans, the use of paraprofessionals in the classroom, and some of the adaptations that could be used for special education students. I was able to talk about dyslexic students, which they agreed fit within the spectrum, but I felt myself getting curious about neurodivergence which is evident in all education, including music education. Neurodivergence in the music classroom is a direction I might follow after I graduate with my PhD.

Once again, I was treated to a concert, this time by the Monroe Township High School Honors Percussion Ensemble and the Cape Henlopen High School Jazz Band. The Honors Percussion Ensemble performance started as a duet between two highschoolers on xylophones and glockenspiels. Watching them cleverly hold two mallets in each hand while expertly playing different notes on their instruments. All together, they played four songs including one that was created and directed by Arthur Lipner of Malletworks Music.

Meditation and Self-Care for Leaders – Louise O’Hanlon, a music educator in the Herricks School District, led us through four meditations using our breath and imagery to relax and remind us of things we needed or were aware of in our surroundings. At the end of the class, she had us list ten things we liked about ourselves. As a 45 year-old adult, it was easy to come up with ten characteristics I loved about myself, but many of the younger students in the room struggled to come up with one characteristic. Louise gave them some time to think, but unfortunately they were still unable to find things they liked about themselves. Louise told us that she uses this activity because the self-deprecation evident in junior high school students is powerful and often prevents students from appreciating their talents.

Continue to part 4!

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