Barbara Barfield teaches general music and chorus at Apple Valley Middle School in Henderson County, North Carolina. For the first time she will attend MENC’s 2011 Music Education Week June 24–28 in Washington, DC. “I remember seeing comments from attendees from previous years about how great it was,” she said.
In late March, MENC randomly selected her name from the group of conference registrants, and she was awarded a two-night stay at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, Virginia.
Barfield returned to teaching music six years ago after more than 20 years working in the financial industry because, “I enjoy sharing my love of music with students.” She has about 75 students in the chorus program, a daily class for 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students. “We perform in the community and at school functions whenever possible. I also teach general music for 6th and 7th graders and I focus on world music to complement their social studies curriculum, ” she said.
She believes the professional development academies will help her brush up on classroom skills. “Music education has changed a lot since my college days, and I make it a habit to spend time each summer increasing my knowledge and abilities in different aspects of music and music education. I like to find ways to regenerate and pursue my own musical interests during the summer as it helps me to stay enthusiastic about music making at the middle school level through the school year, ” Barfield said.
She registered for the Choral Academy on choral rehearsal techniques and conducting. “Since I was a string major in college and had vocal training later in life, I am always looking to learn about working with choruses and choral-specific techniques.”
Barfield also plans to attend the IN-Ovations Academy on performing on non-traditional instruments in ethnic music ensembles.
“I teach some small percussion ensembles in my general music classes. To date I have been able to introduce small-group playing, but I would like to expand the curriculum with different types of small ensembles from around the world and improve the musical experience for my general music students.”
She said the academy “seemed to offer the chance to gain information about how to develop curriculum in this area.”
Barfield said the location of the seminar was a plus for her as well. “I also enjoy coming to DC and visiting the museums so I enrolled in two professional development academies with a day in between to rest and take in some art museums.”
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—Roz Fehr, April 1, 2011. © MENC: The National Association for Music Education
Photo courtesy of Barbara Barfield