NAfME Honors Five Distinguished Music Educators and Leaders as 2016 Lowell Mason Fellows


NAfME Honors Five Distinguished Music Educators and Leaders
as 2016 Lowell Mason Fellows


RESTON, VA (August 15, 2016)—This past June, the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) honored five exemplary individuals as this year’s Lowell Mason Fellows. This distinction is one of music education’s most important honors, and is designed to recognize the accomplishments of music educators, music education advocates, political leaders, industry professionals, and others who have contributed to music education in their unique way.

The prestigious award is named for Lowell Mason, considered to be the father of public school music education in the United States.

The prestigious award is named for Lowell Mason, considered to be the father of public school music education in the United States. He has been credited with introducing music instruction to American public schools in the 19th century, and with establishing teacher training in music education. In 2002, the importance of his contributions to music education inspired NAfME to create the Lowell Mason Fellows award.

music award
Jane Mell Balek and Christopher Woodside. Photo: John Boal/for Mark Finkenstaedt

Lowell Mason Fellow designations also provide an opportunity to support the efforts of NAfME through the donation made in the honoree’s name. This donation goes to NAfME’s Give a Note Foundation to support future generations of music educators through the organization’s programs. Individuals or groups (corporations, universities, foundations, student organizations, etc.) may fund designations.

Here are the 2016 Lowell Mason Fellows:

  • JANE MELL BALEK, NAfME Deputy Executive Director, and Give a Note Foundation Executive Director and CEO. Since 2011, Jane Balek has spearheaded six national awareness campaigns and raised funds to support and strengthen music education programs across the United States. The programs have reached millions of parents and students and provided more than $1.2 million in direct grants to schools in over 100 communities throughout the United States.
  • EDWIN E. GORDON (deceased), preeminent researcher, teacher, author, editor, and lecturer. Gordon has been a pioneer in research into musical aptitude, the psychology of music, and how musical aptitude develops in the young child. His research into music learning theory, audiation, and the sequence of development of musical learning have provided the basis for much of what is taught, and how it is taught in our music classrooms today.
  • MICHELE HOLT, executive director of the Massachusetts Music Educators Association. Michele Holt has taught both public school music and in several music educator preparation programs at the college and university level. As a national president of the American Choral Conductors Association she was a strong advocate for choral music education both nationally and internationally. Co-Author of The School Music Program and contributing author to the third edition of Teaching Choral Music through Performance, Dr. Holt is in demand as a clinician, conductor, and curriculum consultant.
music teacher
Michele Holt. Photo: John Boal/for Mark Finkenstaedt
  • DAVID WAGGONER, state executive of the Arizona Music Educators Association. David Waggoner has devoted most of his adult life to music education and NAfME (through the Arizona Music Educators Association). He spent most of his career as a choral teacher in Tucson. With close to thirty years in Arizona music education, David also had the compassion to know how to deal with many important issues at a time of great change.
music education
David Waggoner. Photo: John Boal/for Mark Finkenstaedt
  • CHRISTOPHER B. WOODSIDE, NAfME Deputy Executive Director. Christopher Woodside has worked tirelessly on behalf of music educators and the students they serve by leading in advocacy for music education on the national and state level. In addition to bringing together more than 30 arts organizations on the Music Education Policy Roundtable, Christopher maintains key relationships on Capitol Hill with the Committee for Education Funding, Arts Education Policy Working Group, and most recently the Title IV, Part A Coalition, of which NAfME is a founding member and the first arts organization to join. A culmination of his music advocacy leadership was realized in December 2015 with the signing into law of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, and—for the first time in history—naming “music” as a stand-alone subject in the “well-rounded education” provision of ESSA.

Read more about the Lowell Mason Fellows distinction and past recipients of the honor here:


National Association for Music Education, among the world’s largest arts education organizations, is the only association that addresses all aspects of music education. NAfME advocates at the local, state, and national levels; provides resources for teachers, parents, and administrators; hosts professional development events; and offers a variety of opportunities for students and teachers. The Association orchestrates success for millions of students nationwide and has supported music educators at all teaching levels for more than a century. With more than 60,000 members, the organization is the national voice of music education in the United States.

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For additional information, contact Catherina Hurlburt at or 703-860-4000, ext. 216.