"Music City" Provides a Backdrop for NAfME’s 2013 Nashville Conference

Nashville Skyline


Nashville, Tennessee, known as “Music City,” is home to the Grand Ole Opry and the Country Music Hall of Fame, but bluegrass, jazz, and the blues also have a place where music is said to be the heart and soul of the city.

The National Association for Music Education will hold its first annual National In-Service Conference October 27–30, 2013, in Nashville, an event that will include in-depth professional sessions, concerts, student performances and a party to support NAfME’s Give a Note Foundation.

President Nancy E. Ditmer said, “Nashville is a wonderfully musical city, and I think NAfME members, student musicians, and parents will find the facilities to be extraordinary.  We look forward to implementing our re-imagined opportunities for educators and student musicians.”

“We hope members will see this is as a ‘family reunion’ where members of different disciplines will get together to explore music education in their own areas and share the many facets of music education.  In addition, Nashville will give attendees the opportunity to hear lots of music,” said Jane Balek, NAfME assistant executive director for resource development.

Member registration is $350 in advance;  $400 onsite

Non-member registration is $475 in advance; $530 onsite

For students, registration is $99 in advance as well as onsite

Other conference registration categories


A Rich History

In the 1800’s, Nashville emerged as a national center for music publishing. Nashville has long been known as “Music City,” a nickname that comes from a royal source.

The first around-the-world tour by an American musical group was by the Fisk Jubilee Singers from Nashville’s Fisk University. Their efforts helped fund the school’s mission of educating freed slaves after the Civil War.

It also put Nashville on the map as a global music center. After the singers played a concert for England’s Queen Victoria, she remarked that the Fisk Jubilee Singers must have come from “the Music City.”


Tackling a Serious Subject

The National Association for Music Education (NAfME) will host the Teacher Evaluation and Music Assessment Preconference on October 26 and 27, 2013. The Preconference will be held prior to the 2013 National In-Service Conference. Both events will be at the Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville.

On Saturday, October 26, administrators, music program leaders, and teachers and will focus on the work being done by NAfME and partners to increase and improve the knowledge of effective music teaching and measurement of music learning.

Sunday’s workshop on October 27 will include a “lab” session where evaluation and assessment strategies can be practiced with teachers and students. Registration for the preconference session is an additional $100 per day or $150 for both days.

Speakers will include members of the NAfME Teacher Evaluation Task Force, leaders from the research community, and speakers such as Dru Davidson, chair of the Tennessee Fine Arts Growth Measures Development Committee and arts administrator for Memphis City Public Schools, who will discuss the topic “Race to the Top Teacher Evaluation.”

There will also be an introduction to the NAfME Workbook for Building and Evaluating Effective Music Education, a new resource for school administrators and music educators.


Professional Development  Sessions

NAfME will offer half-day to full-day sessions in the following tracks: Band, Choral, Collegiate, Composition, Composition, General Intrerest, General Music, General Music, Guitar, Higher Education, IN-Ovations, Jazz, Music Program Leaders and Orchestra.

  •  “Strategies to Teach Sight-Singing Successfully” by Alan C McClung
  • “Jazz Tricks for Teaching Beginning Improvisation”  by Michael Wilkinson
  • “Change Gonna Come:  Integrating Music and Social Studies to Teach Civil Rights and Responsibilities” by Lynn Schraer-Joiner & Georgiann H. Toole
  • “ActiveWorlds—Virtual Learning Made Easy … for Free!” by Jeff Adams
  • “The Multi-Musical Classroom” by Jeffrey Marlatt
  • “Developing Student Leaders” by Diane Orlofsky
  • “Building Your Instrumental Music Program in Urban and Rural Schools” by Kevin Mixon
  • Choral Foundations of Choral Tone:  A Proactive and Healthy Approach to Vocal Technique and Choral Blend” by Alan Zabriskie


Conference Special Events

In addition to the various sessions, a number of special events will take place during the conference, including:

Opening Night Concert (Sunday) Attendees will be escorted to the Grand Ole Opry House by a local high school marching band. The concert will include a performance by special celebrity performers.

 General Session with Keynote by the Honorable Mayor Karl Dean of Nashville (Monday)  Mayor Dean will speak about Nashville’s commitment to music education program “Music Makes Us” and welcome attendees to Nashville!

Give a Note Foundation Extravaganza (Monday)—$50
Following “Songwriters in the Round” attendees will head to at the Wildhorse Saloon  for more live music and fun in support of NAfME’s Give a Note Foundation. Enjoy line dancing, a mechanical bull, fried pickles, cold beverages, and chances to win amazing prizes.

Disney Musical Tarzan (Tuesday)—$20 The Tennessee Performing Arts Center (TPAC), in collaboration with Disney Theatrical, will present a special performance of the new Disney Musical Tarzan as a part of their two-year pilot program with Disney Musicals In Schools (DMIS). 

All-National Honor Ensemble Concert (Wednesday)— At the Gaylord Opryland Thee finest student musicians from throughout the United States performing in four ensembles: Jazz, Concert Band, Orchestra, and Chorus.


The Conference website offers a  complete list of sessions, housing, performance and other information.

 Photo Courtesy of the Nashville Convention and Visitors Bureau


Roz Fehr, NAfME Managing Editor for News, August 30, 2013. © National Association for Music Education