North Central Division President-Elect Karen Salvador



Karen Salvador

2018-2020 North Central Division President-Elect




Karen Salvador is associate professor of music education at the University of Michigan-Flint, where she coordinates the music teacher’s certificate program. She earned her Ph.D. in Music Education from Michigan State University, where she also completed a master’s degree in choral conducting. Previously, she taught early childhood music, elementary general music, and choir in Michigan and New Zealand. Dr. Salvador’s research pertains to inclusion, equity, and justice in music education, examining the intersections of instructional practices, policy, and music teacher education. Her research appears in journals, including Journal of Research in Music Education, Arts Education Policy Review, Journal of Music Teacher Education, and Music Educators Journal. Karen enjoys presentations, professional development workshops, and collaborations with practicing teachers. She is past facilitator of the Society for Music Teacher Education’s Area for Strategic Planning and Action on Cultural Diversity and Social Justice, and currently serves as President of the Michigan Music Education Association.


What do you see as the major challenges facing music education during your term as president?

  • Consistent and intentional under-resourcing of schools. This problem is created at local, state, and national levels by a political discourse that sees schools as financial burdens, teachers as “human capital,” and students as failing.
  • Lack of equity in the provision of music instruction within and across schools, LEAs, and states.
  • Education reforms that devalue the complex science and art of education by supplanting the specialized expertise and judgment of professional educators and by imposing systems that discourage the creativity, risk taking, and experimentation that could lead to more inclusive, equitable, and responsive music teaching and learning.
  • The need to broaden our ideas about school music education.


What do you see as the major challenges facing NAfME?

  • Serving the music educators who are why NAfME exists. In our policies, partnerships, and programming, we must position the teachers who are our members and potential members–and through them, the students who they teach–as our primary, overriding priorities.
  • Some music educators see NAfME and/or MEAs as primarily administrators of All-States, Festival/Contest, and State Conference. This not only creates the impression that MEAs/NAfME are dominated by the concerns of band, choir, jazz, and/or orchestra, but also bolsters the notion that NAfME exists to preserve the status quo of music education.
  • Many MEA/NAfME activities are exclusive, grounded in hierarchy and/or competition, and/or primarily serve programs from middle class suburbs. Thus, our refrain of “music education for all” does not seem to match our actions.
  • Therefore, visionary leadership of the music education profession is NAfME’s biggest challenge.


How should our Association respond to these challenges?

  • Funding: NAfME should continue policy work and lobbying in support of music education at the federal level, and continue to assist in state and local policy work. NAfME must also partner with pro-education and pro-teacher groups, as well as groups that work for adequate and sustainable school funding. We must convince the public that education–and music education–are worthy investments.
  • Equity: NAfME should ensure that our actions match our stated ideal “music education for all.” Specifically, we must grapple with what it means to make music education “for all,” confronting and dismantling legacies of oppression, including but not limited to ableism, racism, sexism, and heteronormativity.
  • Education Reform: NAfME should engage with other professional organizations (e.g., National Council of Teachers of English, National Council for Teachers of Mathematics) to reclaim schools on behalf of students and teachers.
  • Visionary Leadership: With “music education for all” as our continuing mantra, NAfME must:
    • clearly articulate a pro-public education and pro-teacher stance, which includes a focus on equity and justice for all students.
    • strongly represent schools as community assets, teachers as highly educated professionals, and students as the future of our society.
    • critically consider what “music education for all” really means and how that is reflected in our activities, materials, goals, membership, and leadership.
    • advance more creative and participatory ways of musicing as a part of music education to create more relevant, empowering, and emancipatory musical experiences.
    • leverage the expertise available in the membership to accomplish these goals.


I believe the meaning and value of music education arise from the experience of musicing, from communication among those making music and/or with listeners, and perhaps most importantly, from music’s capacity to integrate the body, rational mind, and emotional/spiritual self. I will be honored to advance the above priorities if elected as NAfME north central division president.