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Best Practices for the Guitar Classroom Using Moveable Major Scales for Improvisation By Jayson Martinez, NAfME Council for Guitar Education Eastern Division Representative   Guitar teachers who wish to include improvisation in their lesson plans often find themselves at an impasse. It can be difficult to know exactly where and how to start introducing the concept. Since your schedules are full, finding the time to research techniques can also be a problem. Yet, since teaching improvisation helps students find connections between other musical elements such as harmony, chord progression, structure,…
Breaking Down the 2020 State Elections The Impact of Elections on Education Policy The 2020 elections are poised to have a potentially large impact on education in the states. Many states are electing officials this year who will have direct influence on the way education policy is debated and implemented in the states. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, there are 5,876 regularly scheduled legislative elections this year in 44 states. Of the country’s 7,383 legislators, Republicans hold 52% of seats, and Democrats hold 47%. Currently, 45 state…
Classroom Learning vs. Distance Learning in the Music Classroom Seven Benefits of Distance Learning to Consider By Darin Au NAfME Council for Guitar Education Western Division Representative Ah, distance learning. I miss having a guitar in my hand versus having my hands on a computer keyboard. Some things were just easier when we were learning together in the classroom. It was easier to build community. Everything I did, from activities to tone of voice to just simply laughing, created a culture of learning. My students are probably like yours: They…
Fireside Chats with the NAfME Council for Choral Education Meet the 2019–2021 and 2020–2022 NAfME Council for Choral Education Division Representatives The NAfME Council for Choral Education is asking our constituents to open a dialogue with their division representatives. In these fireside chats with Chair Dr. Dean Luethi, division representatives introduce themselves and share their thoughts on choral education today. Please keep checking back for more fireside chats with division representatives, and reach out with your questions and concerns. Lynne Babcock is the Southern Division representative for the NAfME Council for…
Words You Can Teach By The Power of Words By NAfME Member Matt Brown This article first appeared in the October 2020 issue of Teaching Music. A simple phrase or sentence can change your outlook on teaching and maybe even life. The power of words and ideas goes beyond measure. Quotes have the ability to change life courses when taken to heart. Here are some simple phrases that have shaped my teaching life . . . some I have created, some well-known.   “Be positive.” What does it actually…
More than Half of the 2021 GRAMMY Music Educator Award™ Semifinalists Are NAfME Members Announcing the 25 Selected Semifinalists Recently, the GRAMMY Museum® announced its 25 semifinalists for the 2021 GRAMMY Music Educator Award™. More than 1,989 initial nominations were submitted from all 50 states; semifinalists were selected from 24 cities across 16 states. NAfME is delighted to announce that 16* of the 25 GRAMMY semifinalists are active members of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME). From band and orchestra directors to choral conductors and elementary school general music teachers, NAfME congratulates each of these inspiring,…
Developing a New “3 Rs” Approach to Education in a Post-COVID-19 World Refine, Re-Focus, Re-Ignite By NAfME Member David Knott This blog first appeared on David Knott’s “Radical Music Education” blog. I am blessed with a nice circle of colleagues and a group of friends who inspire me to endeavor to be better at all I do. They inspire me to find the best ways to #elevate myself, my family, and my students. Earlier this year, I would have never thought of hosting a ZOOM trumpet or percussion lesson, and…
The Promise of Artistic Process Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Aligns the Standards By NAfME Members Scott Edgar, Fran Kick, and Lori Schwartz Reichl “An ounce of performance is worth pounds of promises.” ~ Mae West The pandemic has limited the ability for performing arts educators and students to perform to the degree we once had. In many schools, reductions have been placed on the quantity of students permitted in a given learning area; restrictions have been placed on how close students can be spaced from one another; rehearsal and…
Rehearsing during COVID-19 How to Effectively Sing, Play, and Build Ensemble Skills during Remote or Hybrid Teaching By NAfME Member Peter J. Perry, D.M.A. I miss conducting my ensembles!!! To say that this year presents challenges to us as ensemble teachers is a gross understatement. While other content areas can massage a technological way of doing what exactly what they normally do, we cannot. Specifically, as we start teaching our ensembles this year, one of the biggest questions is, “How do we sing/play with our groups in a remote or…
Celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day in Music Class NAfME is celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day on October 12 and is pleased to share this free webinar from our Professional Learning Community and associated resources from Smithsonian Folkways. Thinking about Teaching the Music of Indigenous North American Cultures Presented by Patricia Shehan Campbell   Teaching the musical and cultural heritage of Indigenous North American people can be complicated, particularly if one is not a cultural insider. Still, there are things to think about and ways to provide meaningful experiences in learning about Traditional…
The Practice Improvement Is Always Possible By NAfME Member Edward Varner, Ed.D. This article was first published on Edward Varner’s Creating Hope blog. Practice Makes Perfect Perfect Practice Makes Perfect There is no perfect—Practice for improvement. Improvement is always possible. We’ve all heard the inaccurate expression that “practice makes perfect.” Some prefer to propagate the equally fallible variation that “perfect practice makes perfect.” In reality, however, there is no such thing as perfect. By suggesting that perfect might be achievable if we only try hard enough, or practice in a…
  November 4–5, Virtual Music Program Leaders Forum The 2020 Music Program Leaders Forum will provide relevant professional development for music program leaders and district arts coordinators working in the K–12 school setting, aimed at establishing and growing networks of collegial support for those in the profession. The 2020 Forum will address: Leading during the COVID-19 Pandemic Maneuvering Distance Learning Safety in the Face-to-Face Music Classroom Recruitment/Retention of Teachers Budgeting Leveraging Resources Systems and Structures for Professional Learning for Teachers This event is for any music program leader, teacher leader,…
NAfME members are invited to participate in a series of virtual Town Hall meetings about the next NAfME Strategic Plan. Scroll down for information about the conversations to be led by NAfME President Mackie V. Spradley. Framing the Question: Statement from NAfME President Mackie V. Spradley (click to view) Town Hall Schedule (all events 6:00 PM-8:00 PM Eastern Time)Click links to register. Wednesday, October 14, 2020 Monday, November 16, 2020 Thursday, December 10, 2020 Monday, January 11, 2021 Tuesday, February 2, 2021 (Collegiate members only) Wednesday, February 17, 2021 (Collegiate…
For Immediate ReleaseContact: Catherina Hurlburt at NAfMEcatherinah@nafme.org or (571) 323-3395 National Association for Music Education Awards Shannon Kelly Kane Scholarship to Marissa Altendorfer of University of Wisconsin–River Falls and Brendon Culloton of University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign RESTON, VA (October 1, 2020) – The National Association for Music Education (NAfME) honored Marissa Altendorfer of University of Wisconsin–River Falls and Brendon Culloton of University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, as the recipients of the 2020 Shannon Kelly Kane Scholarship. Marissa and Brendon were presented the scholarships on October 1, 2020, in a…
For Immediate ReleaseContact: Catherina Hurlburt at NAfMEcatherinah@nafme.org or (703) 860-4000 Kathleen Ohlman Honored as a 2020 Lowell Mason Fellow RESTON, VA (October 1, 2020)—On October 1, 2020, National Association for Music Education (NAfME) honored Kathleen (“Kathy”) Ohlman, an exemplary leader in music education in Nebraska by way of Missouri, as a Lowell Mason Fellow. This distinction is one of music education’s most important honors, 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…

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