John K. Southall
2020-2022 Southern Division President-Elect Candidate
John K. Southall, PhD currently serves as the Coordinator of Music Education and Director of Bands at Indian River State College in Fort Pierce, Florida. He is the Professional Development Conference Chairman and Past President of the Florida Music Education Association. He also serves as the Music Director of the Port St. Lucie Community Band.
Dr. Southall has served as Chairman of the Board for the Center for Fine Arts Education (FL), Chairman of the FMEA Finance committee, and as an Editorial Board member for the Research Perspectives in Music Education Journal and the Florida Music Director magazine.
Dr. Southall was recently honored with the Indian River State College Endowed Teaching Chair in Fine Arts Award, and the Medal of Honor—Midwest International Clinic Conference. He was also selected as the FMEA Florida College Music Educator of the Year, the Broward County Arts Teacher of the Year (FL), and the Western High School Teacher of the Year (FL).
Dr. Southall has been an active music education advocate, conductor, clinician, adjudicator, and presenter across the United States for more than 30 years. He received the PhD and the MME from Florida State University and the BME from Florida A&M University. He has served on the faculties of Florida State University, the University of Missouri-St. Louis, Nova Southeastern University, and Broward Community College. He has served as the music curriculum specialist, K-12 (FL), and President of the Broward County Music Educators Association (FL). He has also served as the director of bands at Western, Piper, and Ely high schools in Broward County, Florida, and is a member of NAfME, FMEA, FBA, FCMEA, FOA, FVA, FEMEA, Phi Beta Mu, Kappa Kappa Psi, and Tau Beta Sigma.
What do you see as the major challenges facing music education during your term as president?
Developing the most diverse and inclusive learning environment for the benefit of ALL students is one of the greatest challenges for music educators now and in the future. Diversity, Inclusion, Access, and Equity are four major areas of focus that we must continue to address to provide a quality, comprehensive and inclusive music education environment for the betterment of our students, the forward momentum of music for ALL, and the promotion of lifelong participation in music.
What do you see as the major challenges facing NAfME?
In the past, I have had the opportunity to meet, collaborate, learn, and grow in many ways with others from diverse cultural backgrounds. As a young person living in the inner city of Chicago, I participated in my school instrumental music program and city-sponsored youth summer programs. I also had the opportunity to spend time over several summers on a farm with a wonderful family from Granville, North Dakota. These life experiences have had a profound effect on how I view the world, and they have shaped who I am today on a personal and professional level. I am most fortunate to know so many wonderful people from all walks of life. My world would not be the same without these soulful experiences, and they are a true testament to the rationale for worldly experiences in music education—Diversity for ALL.
In my opinion, the primary challenge for the National Association for Music Education is to promote the importance and value of a diverse and all-inclusive learning environment and to develop sustainable strategies for implementation based on the needs of individual states. This is indeed the ultimate challenge. It is vitally important for music educators to realize the value of creating an inclusive learning environment where ALL are welcome to participate in the world of music and ALL students can have the opportunity to be involved in meaningful music-making and learn in the most diverse classroom possible. A diverse learning environment can facilitate the social worldliness and academic development of all students.
How should our Association respond to these challenges?
The foundation of future next steps for NAfME should be in the further development of innovative strategies in support of music educators who are:
- Inclusive of ALL by accepting students from all cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds
- Diverse in as many ways possible
- Exemplary models of Diversity, Inclusion, Access, and Equity
- Devoted to meeting ALL students where they are and taking them on a positive musical journey
- Inviting to students from all walks of life
- Facilitators of meaningful student collaboration
- Respectful of ALL students from a social and cultural perspective
- Representative of the population and culture of the school
- Advocates for ALL students to have access to meaningful music-making activities
- Facilitators of meaningful student social interactions
- Sophisticated in understanding the value of meaningful music participation from a broad perspective