Keith W. Hodgson received his Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from William Paterson University in Wayne, NJ in 1990 and his Master’s degree from Rowan University in Educational Administration/ School Leadership and his Principals Certification in 2008. Over the past 25 years, he has continued to stay current with his profession through graduate studies in music education at Central Connecticut State University, Rutgers University, West Chester University as well as attending and planning state, regional and national conventions and by attending the International MidWest Band Clinic in Chicago for eighteen years. Mr. Hodgson is a Past President of the New Jersey Music Educators Association and in 2013, he was selected as a Quarter Finalist for the Music Education Grammy nomination and in 2014, was honored with the New Jersey Governor’s Award in the Arts for Leadership in Music Education.
Now in his twenty-fifth year as a high school band director, Mr. Hodgson, is currently the Director of Instrumental Music at Mainland Regional High School in Linwood, New Jersey where he oversees a three-tiered concert band program, conducting the Wind Symphony, (a fifteen time NJ State Gala Honor Band) and the Symphonic Band. He also directs the Jazz Express, and teaches the Advanced Placement Music Theory class and Freshmen Seminar Technology course. As a marching band director for seventeen years he led the Mainland Band to win two NJ State Championships in 2005 and 2006.
Mr. Hodgson was the first music educator from New Jersey to receive National Board Certification in 2003 and has worked for the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards in the benchmarking, training, and scoring processes for the National Board Certificate in Music. He presented a session on National Board Certification in music at the NJMEA Conferences in 2003 and 2006 and at the International MidWest Band Clinic in 2007.
Mr. Hodgson is the founding Conductor and Music Director for the South Jersey Area Wind Ensemble, an adult community band of music educators and professional musicians. In 2006, the SJAWE was awarded the “Sudler Silver Scroll Award” by the John Philip Sousa Foundation to recognize “North America’s Most Prestigious Community Bands.” The SJAWE performed at the New Jersey Music Educators Association’s State Conferences in 2000, 2005 & 2011 and recently at the 2014 Association of Concert Bands National Convention in Allentown, PA.
Mr. Hodgson is an active guest conductor, consultant, clinician and session presenter. Since 2009, he has served as the Head Director for the American Music Abroad Gold Tour, (an annual three-week European tour of five countries.)
One of the major challenges that I see facing music education that concerns me most is the ability for music educators to balance and navigate all of the expectations facing educational reform today and still maintain the ability to be creative teachers. The ability for them to stay dedicated and focused to developing good musicianship and preparing outstanding musical ensembles, providing their students with a lifelong appreciation for quality music and cherished memories of musical experiences and also to have time to sharpen their own musical gifts and to enjoy music for themselves.
Another major challenge is the ongoing “Public Perception” of music and the arts and their importance in a well-rounded education for developing balanced citizens. Many wonderful strides have been made with the advocacy efforts by the national and state leadership teams, however, it will take a continued doubling of efforts on all fronts; by individual educators in their own schools and communities; professional arts organizations; cultural organizations; business leaders; politicians and even more famous advocate voices to really move the needle on the political dial.
Relevance: How does our national association become more relevant to all music educators. Besides state leadership teams, conference attendees and mandatory memberships (because of student sponsorships for performing ensembles), why should all music teachers be members of NAfME?
The state by state recognition, adoption and implementation of the new National Core Arts Standards and worthwhile assessments in all music classrooms at all levels.
I believe that NAfME has been doing an exceptional job over the past six years on many fronts. Some of the highlights for me have been: the rebranding efforts; message campaigns (Orchestrating Success and Think Beyond the Bubbles among them); new national conference efforts; development, vetting and piloting of the new National Arts Standards; the “Hill Day” advocacy efforts which have also had an impact on many home states. I believe NAfME will continue to move forward on all of these efforts and more to come.