Sharing the Gift of Music:
Music Educator AwardTM Finalist Amy Rangel
The GRAMMY Museum and The Recording Academy® selected 10 finalists for the 2019 Music Educator Award. Eight of the finalists are NAfME members as was last year’s winner, Melissa Salguero of P.S. 48 Joseph R. Drake in the Bronx, New York. Teachers are encouraged to apply for the 2019 award by March 31 by visiting GRAMMYMusicTeacher.com. Participating in the application process makes you part of our overall music education advocacy movement so teachers, apply this and every year.
NAfME member Amy Rangel of Glendale High School recently shared what inspired and encouraged her to become a music educator and what brings her joy in sharing music with her students.
What inspired you to become a music teacher?
My parents were both teachers, and my dad was my music teacher. Since I was a kid people would tell me that I was going to be a music teacher just like my dad. I would reply that teachers work too hard and do not make enough money for what they do. I loved music, but never planned on teaching.
My junior and senior year of high school I had an open class period. Instead of study hall, I would walk to the junior high and help students in the beginning band. By the end of my junior year, I was hooked! I loved it so much and could not imagine doing anything else. Worked out pretty well, and I have long since apologized to my parents.
Producing amazing human beings, who also happen to rock out on an instrument, is what makes me feel successful!
What goals do you establish for the music program at your school?
Of course, I want my ensembles to play at the highest levels possible, but my goals focus more on the students as individuals. As a high school music teacher, I am fortunate enough to have these students for four years. I use this time to share the gift of music, but also to help them grow into creative, responsible, confident young adults. Producing amazing human beings, who also happen to rock out on an instrument, is what makes me feel successful!
What role do you believe your NAfME membership has had in the professional development aspects of your career?
NAfME is a lifeline to music teachers! Most of us are the lone music teacher in our school and sometimes district. Having strong connections to help problem solve or become inspired are invaluable. Conferences, collaboration, and resources are instrumental to continue to grow as an educator.
What would you say to students interested in becoming music educators?
I tell them to find a program to volunteer with before they get to their student teaching. When I know that one of my kids wants to pursue music education, I will give them leadership roles in the ensembles. It might be as simple as helping out another student at lunch, or it could be more involved, like leading a section or even a large rehearsal.
I struggled with confidence when I was a young teacher, and I want to help them overcome their own self-doubt. It is ok, and expected, that you will make mistakes. Shake it off and move on! Also, find a mentor or 20. Never be afraid to ask for help.
What role do you believe music education plays in the overall learning experience of students?
Arts education should not be treated as an extra, a luxury. Of course, students who take an arts class score better on tests, learn discipline and cooperative learning, but they also learn to express their emotions, create, imagine, design, take chances, share . . . Most students in a music class will not become professional musicians or music teachers, but we are giving them the gift of developing their emotional intelligence through the awe-inspiring medium of music.
The lessons learned in the music classroom set our kids up for success and just make them better people.
Music brings people together . . . celebrations, sorrow . . . I know that talking about feelings can sound a little bit “artsy,” but how we communicate within the world is everything. The lessons learned in the music classroom set our kids up for success and just make them better people.
What would you say to a music educator thinking about entering to win the 2020 GRAMMY Music Educator Award?
Oh yeah! My program needs the grant money and visibility in the community to help encourage individual donations and business sponsorships. It isn’t about me, but about making sure my kids have what they need for music education.
For more information on the GRAMMY Music Educator AwardTM process – and to enter your name for consideration in the 2020 competition – please visit GRAMMYMusicTeacher.com. Nominate a teacher by March 15, 2019. Applications due by March 31, 2019.
The National Association for Music Education (NAfME) provides a number of forums for the sharing of information and opinion, including blogs and postings on our website, articles and columns in our magazines and journals, and postings to our Amplify member portal. Unless specifically noted, the views expressed in these media do not necessarily represent the policy or views of the Association, its officers, or its employees.