Speaking Out: NAfME Members Share Their 2014 Nashville In-Service Experience

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The 2014 NAfME All-National Honor Ensembles Choir performs at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville.


In October, 1,350 music educators and 670 students and many parents traveled to Nashville, Tennessee, for the 2014 NAfME National In-Service Conference. The four-day national music education conference attracted music education professionals from across the United States and beyond.  The event focused on ways “Music Education Orchestrates Success”—in school, at work, and in life. 

How did Conference attendees spend their time at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center? Let them tell you:

Lance Nielson: “Highly engaged conversations about teacher evaluation and appraisal in music education” at the NAfME Preconference.

Mai Yamane: “You know you just got back from a General Music session when you can’t stop singing about everything.”

Vanessa Mason: “Just finished my last workshop. Kinda sad the week is coming to an end. It’s been incredible.”

Heather Palkewick: “I am very impressed that after 20 years of teaching I still learned many useful tips that I am excited to implement. … Thanks for such a great conference. It was my first national one.”

Jennifer Chandler: “Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jig. Miss Nafville already!”

Ruthann Pyle: “I want to go back.”

Mark Harman: “I just finished my Postconference Survey. So impressed with the whole operation. Thanks, NAfME.”

Steve Campbell, Dancing Drum: “A big rumble of thanks to NAFME for another great conference and to everyone who attended our ‘Drumming up Character’ session and visited our booth. Let’s stay in touch!”

Alexander Stout: “Great first experience at National Convention. I have so much to discuss with my Collegiate Chapter back at Fort Hays State University in Kansas. I wish I could multiply myself because there are so many good sessions going on that is difficult to choose.”


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In NAfME Central, Students Share What Music Means to them.


John Mlynczak: “Stay in Touch with PreSonus Music.”

Stephen Botempi: “I grew up on Long Island and it is nice to see the continued strong representation by the teachers and students there. Keep up the good work!” [at the NAfME All-National Ensembles Concert at the Grand Ole Opry House]

Kiera Crite: “Last session of this wonderful NAfME Conference, ‘Connections That Count.’ Great couple of days with wonderful music educators. Also ‘Korean Drumming session!!! It’s about to get loud in here!’ Recorder music and Orff, oh my.”

Bruce Bryant: [At the “Composing with Technology” session:] ‘I am overwhelmed and so excited at the same time to try everything that he has mentioned.” And “This has been a great conference and Precon. Thanks to all of the excellent presenters over the past five days.”

Heather Swartzentruber: [At the Army Field Band concert:] “Thank you for the spectacular concert this evening. Raised the bar to beyond excellence. Very moving and inspiring.” [And of Peter Boonshaft, who led the Band Directors Reading Session:] “This guy is awesome. I want to be like him when I grow up.”

Donna Lee Parker: “What a day! From breakfast with a student choir, meeting new friends, hangin’ with Quaver, breathing with the Boston Brass … and the United States Army Field Band. A truly full day!” 

Ed Adams:  [At the Army Field Band Concert, I appreciated:] “Col. Timothy J. Holtan, [Commander of the band], with encouraging words for both students and teachers.”


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The U.S. Army Field Band Performs at the 2014 NAfME In-Service Conference.


Diane Rugen: “Wow! What a great first half, Jazz and Choir at the [Grand Ole] Opry [House]. What a bunch of amazing kids we have—congratulations teachers!” [of the NAfME All-National Ensembles]

Dan Dewing: [Of ”Developing Critical Listening Skills”:] “Loved being able to dialogue with all of the attendees. Great discussion”

Tracy Roberts: “Thank you, NAfME! I truly enjoyed the conference. I am energized and ready to go back to school tomorrow. My little bulldogs are going to be jamming in the coming lessons. Their little brains are going to be on high! Presenters, thank you for sharing your knowledge and empowering me to share with my kids.”


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The NAfME Central Store was busy as attendees purchased a variety of conference merchandise.


Christine Carpenter: “This has been a worthwhile conference. The best one yet and I am glad I took the time out of my busy schedule to take this opportunity to better myself and prepare myself for my future.”

Write your own story next year. The 2015 NAfME National In-Service Conference heads back to Nashville, October 25–28. The 2015 Conference theme will be “Empower Creativity.” From the National Music Standards to STEAM-driven education, 21st century Learning Skills, and connecting with the local community, music teachers today work in an environment that is driven by a concern for creativity.

NAfME has issued a call for proposals for the 2015 Conference. We are seeking conference presentations that will help adult learners unlock their own creativity as music teachers and that will help us all with new ways to develop the creativity of our students. As always, sessions that address the theme in all areas of music education – general music, band, chorus, orchestra, emerging ensembles, jazz, technology, composition, and more – are welcome.

All proposal forms are due by December 19, 2014 at 8pm Eastern Time. Submit your session proposal here


 Roz Fehr, NAfME Communications Content Developer, November 13, 2014 © National Association for Music Education (NAfME.org)


 Photos by Howard Rockwin,Musical Memories; Army Field Band photo by Kristen Rencher