2020-2022 Western Division President-Elect Candidate
After receiving a BA degree in Music Education from Utah State University in 1987, Rhonda Rhodes taught instrumental music in the Washington County School District in southern Utah for 25 years. Concurrently, she taught Woodwind courses and ensembles at Dixie State University in St. George, Utah, as an adjunct and part-time instructor. After one year of directing band and choir programs at Utah State University-Eastern in Price, Utah, she became full-time faculty at Dixie State University where she is currently an Assistant Professor of Woodwinds and Music Education. Dr. Rhodes holds an M.M.in Instrumental Conducting from Northern Arizona University and a D.M.A. in Music Education from Boston University.
Specializing in woodwind doubling, Dr. Rhodes plays saxophone, oboe, English horn, clarinet, and flute. Dr. Rhodes is an active adjudicator and honor band clinician in Utah. Highly involved in the Utah Music Educators Association (UMEA) throughout her career, she has served as a Region Music Chair, State Solo & Ensemble Festival Scheduler, Jazz Vice-President, Business Manager, and UMEA President. She is currently serving as Immediate Past-President through July 2021. Dr. Rhodes is faculty advisor to the Dixie State University Collegiate Chapter of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME).
What do you see as the major challenges facing music education during your term as president?
- Music-making opportunities not accessible to all students
- Music educators who are not willing to be flexible in the ensembles and genres they promote
What do you see as the major challenges facing NAfME?
- Staying relevant in professional development
- Growing the membership
- Maintaining the great work in advocacy for music education
How should our Association respond to these challenges?
NAfME should work to enhance relations with The National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) and University Music Education Programs across the country. NAfME should encourage the development of programs that prepare music educators to be diverse in their abilities and possess a skill set that will shape future music-making, not focus exclusively on traditional paths. We should actively look for ways to involve more students in music-making processes in schools; be it in traditional bands, choirs, and orchestras or in other ensembles that may encourage entry points in later grades or at mid-year.
Rather than try to compete with other specialized national-level professional development traditions (i.e., Midwest, Conn-Selmer Institute, ACDA, and ASTA) we should investigate collaborating with them to provide specific advocacy, curriculum, and research strands at their respective national conferences. I see the planned Fall 2020 NAfME Research Conference as a wonderful event to continue to support on a national level—especially the promotion of collaborative research between elementary and secondary school music teachers and collegiate research partners.
I see a need for NAfME to help promote and possibly financially support state MEA conferences. Most teachers will find more value in their membership as they see an increased access to high quality professional development close to home.
NAfME does fantastic work in the area of advocacy. It is a challenge to keep that work energized and productive. I feel it is critical to keep our message as non-partisan is possible.