A Strong Start on a Music Education Career

Collegiate Member Courtney Vance Talks About Advocating for Music on Hill Day 

NAfME Member Spotlight


Courtney Vance is currently a junior Music Education major at Newberry College where she is pursuing a certificate in Flute Performance and a minor in Theatre. Ms. Vance has had many teaching and performing opportunities in college. In the past, she has served as a marching band technician for the River Bluff High School Marching Band (2013-2014) and Newberry High School Blue Brigade Band (2015-2016). Most recently in 2015, she served as a Flute Clinician for the Crossroads Middle School Honor Band Clinic.


NAfME Collegiate Member, Courtney Vance


Currently, Ms. Vance is the President of the Collegiate Chapter of NAfME at Newberry College (2015).  She also serves as 1st Vice President for the Newberry College Chapter of Delta Omicron International Music Fraternity as well as Historian and Song Leader for her sorority, Alpha Xi Delta. At the state level, Ms. Vance currently serves as Secretary for the Collegiate Division of SCMEA (2015) and will be serving as the SCMEA Collegiate division Treasurer for the upcoming year. She is very excited to continue enhancing music education at Newberry College and the state level.


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Photo Courtesy of Courtney Vance


Q: What inspired you to pursue music education? Did it involve a particular individual or event in your life?

There were many people who had a part in inspiring me to pursue music education. However, the most influential person in my life was my high school flute teacher, Lorrie Turner; Mrs. Turner taught me from 9th to 12th grade. She also taught me in 6th grade, and introduced me to the flute. She instilled my love for music at that young age. Her caring, loving, and understanding nature as a teacher has inspired me. She was my biggest role model throughout high school. I wanted to be a Lorrie Turner for students, and help them learn to love music.

I wanted to be a Lorrie Turner for students, and help them learn to love music.

There were various times when she tried to talk me out of music education. However, none of her attempts worked! Today, she is still my rock and driving influence. Without her, I would not be doing the thing I love most in this world. Thank you for inspiring me, Mrs. Turner.


Courtney Vance displaying the #music4core hashtag she created.


Q: Tell us about your school, Newberry College, and the NAfME Collegiate Chapter there.

Newberry College is my home away from home. It is a small private college in Newberry, South Carolina, sponsored by the Evangelical Lutheran Church. Newberry College has been represented at the Collegiate Advocacy Summit for the past two summers, and we are going on our third summer for the 2016 Advocacy Summit.

Newberry College has been the place where I have grown as a music educator over the past three years. I have been blessed with many great mentors and colleagues at Newberry College. Our NAfME Chapter at Newberry College, where I have had the pleasure of serving as President for the 2015-2016 school year, is diverse and growing in size every year. We have had various workshops, such as a workshops on Choral/Instrumental Program Music, Choral Techniques, a panel on What You Need to Know Before Student Teaching, and more. In addition, Newberry College-NAfME has been represented in the SCMEA Collegiate Division for the past three years. I’m excited to watch this chapter to continue to grow and advocate for Music Education in Newberry and around South Carolina.

Q: You’re an alumnus of the 2015 Collegiate Advocacy Summit in Washington, DC. Why did you participate?

I participated in the 2015 Collegiate Summit because of the amazing things I heard from my great friend, Carlton Kinard. After that summer, he came back to Newberry and insisted I find a way to go. I also attended the Summit to advocate for my profession.

I’m so glad that I went! The Advocacy Summit made me even more passionate for music education. Once I returned to South Carolina, I started a twitter hashtag called #Music4Core. I had no idea how far this would go, and it went further than I expected. I also went to network with other collegiate members in different states. I have made life-long friendships with people from New York, California, New Jersey, and Virginia.  It is such a blessing to go and make new friends after the same goal.


Photo Courtesy Courtney Vance
Photo Courtesy of Courtney Vance


Q: What was it like to go to Capitol Hill, and what was your experience interacting with other NAfME Collegiate members?

It was absolutely amazing. It is amazing to see other collegiate members as passionate for music education as I am. I have made life-long friends through the Advocacy Summit. Today, I still communicate with them throughout the year. It was also great to see how big NAfME is. NAfME is bigger than your collegiate chapter. It is a network of educators after the same goals! I am so excited to go back to this summer’s Summit!


Hill Day
Photo Courtesy of Courtney Vance


Q: How do you think the Collegiate Advocacy Summit has prepared you to go into the classroom and lead your own music program one day?

The Advocacy Summit has prepared me to advocate for my future classroom. It has taught me how to advocate for music education in my state. It has also provided me with a network of friends on whom I can depend for resources and support.

Remember the reason you are doing what you are and advocate for it!

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to share about your overall music teaching philosophy?

I’d like to share some insight that put music education in a different light for me. While it may seem like our careers are for ourselves, this is not the case with music education. In music ed, your focus needs to be centered around your students. This is the reason that we do what we love. We love our students, and want to share the love of music with them. I think this a great reminder for educators at all levels of the spectrum. Remember the reason you are doing what you are and advocate for it!

Want to participate in this year’s Collegiate Advocacy Summit like Courtney? Click here to register and find out more information on the Summit!

Hill Day

You don’t want to miss this amazing opportunity!

Looking for ways to help finance your visit to D.C.? Check out “How to Pay for Hill Day” for tips from a past Collegiate Advocacy Summit attendee. 

Ronny Lau, Legislative Policy Advisor, Center for Advocacy, Policy, and Constituency Engagement, May 4, 2016. © National Association for Music Education (NAfME.org)