About the Tri-M Music Honor Society
- The Tri-M Music Honor Society is a program of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME), which focuses on creating future leaders in music education and music advocacy.
- Tri-M is the only music honor society for junior/middle school and high school students in United States.
- Tri-M recognizes students that have gone above and beyond both academically and musically.
- Tri-M also provides students leadership opportunities to make a difference in their community through music-based service projects.
- There are more than 2,100 chapters across 50 states and 15 countries.
- Tri-M involves more than 84,000 students in grades 6-12.
- Each year, student members contribute more than 750,000 service hours to their school and local communities and raise nearly $1 million for causes they care about.
- Click here to read the Tri-M Program Guidelines document
- Recognize the outstanding music students in your school and the importance of music education in shaping the leaders of tomorrow.
- Highlight your music program and make an impact in your community through public performances and service projects.
- Motivate students to take on leadership roles within the chapter and develop key skills for future success.
- 1936: Alexander Harley and his wife Frances founded the Maine Music Masters at Maine Township High School in Park Ridge, IL.
- 1952: Maine Music Masters became incorporated and was renamed Modern Music Masters.
- 1954: The first individual member recognition, known as the Top-Notcher Certificate of Achievement, was presented. This certificate was renamed Tri-M Leadership in 2002.
- 1971: First Master Musician Certificate was presented.
- 1983: Modern Music Masters became a program of MENC: The National Association for Music Education and was officially renamed the Tri-M Music Honor Society.
- 1986: The first year Tri-M was recognized by the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) as an approved program.
- 1989: The first State Conference Achievement Recognition was presented to Tri-M members accepted to All-State Honor Ensembles. This certificate was renamed Honor Ensemble Achievement in 2003.
- 2002: State Chapter of the Year recognition was given in addition to the National Chapter of the Year.
- 2002: The Top-Notcher Recognition was renamed Tri-M Leadership.
- 2003: The State Conference Achievement Recognition was renamed Honor Ensemble Achievement and was expanded to recognize Tri-M member participation in state, division, and national honor ensembles.
- 2003: The first Tri-M Outstanding Service Recognition was presented.
- 2004: The first Tri-M Alumni Achievement Recognition was presented.
You can start a Tri-M chapter in 3 easy steps!
- Select a Chapter Advisor
- Complete a new chapter membership form and submit the $100.00 activation fee
- Receive a certificate and welcome packet with everything you need to get started!
Any middle or high school is eligible to charter a local chapter.
Any nonpublic middle or high school accredited or approved by a state department of education is eligible to charter a local chapter.
A school offering an alternative form of education will only be eligible to charter a Tri-M chapter if its academic curriculum, including its music curriculum, is considered functionally equivalent to the education provided by public schools according to applicable state and local laws. The Chapter Advisor must be the music teacher. Documentation may be requested to verify state or local equivalency.
Candidates must be a member of those classes designated as eligible by the local
chapter. Candidates must have been in attendance at the school for the equivalent of one semester.
Tri-M member consideration should not be limited to any one segment of a music program (such as band, chorus, etc.). The following criteria may be included at the discretion of the Chapter Advisor:
- Music Participation
- Candidates must have been enrolled in a school-sponsored music ensemble and/or class for at least one semester of the current school year.
- Academic Achievement
- Candidates must have maintained for the previous semester at least a A average grade or equivalent in music, with at least a B average grade or equivalent in other academic subjects. Local chapters may make exceptions to these requirements at the discretion of the chapter advisor with school principal's approval.
- This criteria is at your discretion as Advisor. Generally speaking, any school or community activity that students are actively involved in will suffice. Leadership roles in both school and community may be considered as long as they can be verified.
- Similar to leadership, this criteria is at your discretion as Advisor. Service activities include any actions undertaken by the student that are done with or on behalf of others without any direct financial or material compensation to the individual performing the service.
- Judgment of character should be free of speculation and rumor. One description of character is a person who demonstrates respect, responsibility, trustworthiness, fairness, caring, and citizenship. Chapters are encouraged to take this model and modify it to meet their local needs.
Upon graduation, active members become alumni members. Alumni members will have no voice or vote in chapter affairs.
Awarded by the Chapter Advisor in recognition of achievement and/or outstanding service to Tri-M Music Honor Society. Honorary members have no voice or vote in chapter affairs.
CHAPTER ADVISOR REQUIREMENTS
As a member of the faculty or the principal at the school, the Chapter Advisor serves as the link between NAfME and the members of their chapter.
The Chapter Advisor is responsible for candidate selection. Chapter Advisors may coordinate a faculty committee to designate Tri-M student candidates, or they may make the selections alone. Chapter Advisors must provide a written description of selection procedure to all music students and parents. Member selection is a local decision. Selection concerns should be addressed by the local school administrator hierarchy.
A Chapter Advisor:
- Shall be a member of the faculty or the principal of that school
- Shall receive all official Tri-M communications from NAfME
- Has the option to designate co-advisors
- Has no term limit
Chapter Advisor Duties:
- Select chapter co-advisors and all candidates for membership or oversee a faculty committee that does so
- Responsible for the day-to-day supervision of the chapter
- Act as liaison between faculty, administration, students, and community
- Oversee chapter officers
- Attend all chapter meetings
- Maintain chapter compliance with Tri-M standards and obligations
- Submit chapter renewal form each year
- Review and sign Chapter Summary Report as prepared by chapter officers each year
Once you've determined which students are eligible to become members, you will want to hold an induction ceremony. You will also want to select your Chapter Officers, such as president, vice president, secretary, etc. Chapter Officers should be elected by the chapter membership or appointed by the Advisor.
There are many ways to recruit potential members to your Tri-M chapter.
- Share a link to the Tri-M website to students in your school's music program.
- Post this flyer around your school to draw attention to your program.
- Hold interest meetings after school where you review the Chapter Set Up Guide to help show potential members how it works and how you plan to build your chapter with them from the ground up!
The cost to both start and renew your Tri-M chapter each year is $100.
Email us at Tri-M@nafme.org for a list of chapters in your state to connect with local chapters to collaborate on service projects.
Chapters may choose to elect officers or have officers appointed by the Advisor. The offices
- Presides at chapter meetings
- Develops an agenda for meetings
- Represents the chapter on and off campus
- Facilitates formation of chapter goals
- Completes annual Chapter Summary Report
- Publicizes meetings and other activities
- Schedules guest speakers with assistance from other chapter officers
- Educates new members on history of Tri-M
- Records the chapter minutes
- Handles correspondence for the chapter, including thank you letters and interactions with other Tri-M chapters
- Reports chapter activities for Chapter Summary Report
- Maintains membership records
- Prepares a chapter roster
- Maintains the chapter's financial records
- Teaches Tri-M Loyalty Song
- Keeps record of chapter activities
Chapter meetings will be used to determine many different things, including member selection and selecting chapter service projects.
Create a shared online calendar (for example, using Google Calendars) for your chapter that all members can access, and hold a poll to determine how often chapter meetings should take place. It is recommended chapters meet at least once a month.
When selecting a service project for your chapter, set goals and guidelines ahead of time. Is your project meant to help the community, the school, or both? Do you have the resources to accomplish your goals? Which members are assigned to which tasks?
The amount of required service hours should either be set by the Chapter Advisor, determined by the Chapter Officers or voted upon by the chapter. It is recommended that students obtain at least 10 service hours per semester.
There are many different types of service projects, from hosting an instrument petting zoo, to organizing a coin drive, to performing in your community, and more!
For examples and ideas shared from other chapters, visit our Service Project Ideas page.
The Tri-M National Day of Service falls on Martin Luther King Jr. Day annually.
All chapters of Tri-M are encouraged to participate through a service project of their choosing that benefits their school and/or community, and highlights music and music education.
To give your chapter visibility online and in your community, create a Tri-M chapter website tailored specifically to your program. There you can list rosters of members, service projects your chapter has accomplished, accolades earned, and more!
Represent your Tri-M chapter with pride by wearing Tri-M Music Honor Society t-shirts, attaching patches to book bags and backpacks, or putting a Tri-M magnet on your locker. Be sure to pick up graduation swag as well for when you cross the stage into your future!
Find all these items and more at the Tri-M Online Shop.
1. CHAPTER OF THE YEAR SCHOLARSHIP AWARD:
Three Junior Division and three Senior Division Chapters are recognized in each school year. One qualifying chapter from each state will receive recognition for being their state’s Chapter of the Year.
The National Chapter of the Year Program is designed to motivate and reward chapters that perform service projects, encourage Chapter Officers to perform their duties properly, and increase awareness and interest in what other Tri-M chapters are doing.
Since 1985, Tri-M has given over $140,000 in Chapter of the Year Scholarship Awards to chapters across the country making a difference in their communities.
All active chapters are eligible to participate.
The 2023-2024 National Chapter of the Year will be chosen by review of the Chapter Summary Report.
The Chapter Summary Report for entry to the Chapter of the Year Scholarship must be submitted online using the Submittable platform. Please do not email or mail your Chapter Summary Reports.
The Chapter Summary Report for the 2023-2024 National Chapter of the Year Scholarship will be available in early 2024.
The deadline for applications is April 26, 2024.
The Chapter of the Year Scholarship Award is intended to recognize the achievements of three Junior Division and three Senior Division Chapters in any given school year. Please note, chapters will be ineligible to win for three consecutive years.
Evaluation criteria includes:
- Did the Chapter set goals and carry out activities to meet those goals?
- Did the project involve all or most of the chapter members?
- Did the Chapter engage the entire student community in the project?
- Did the Chapter engage the people in the general community in the project?
- Did the project encourage academic scholarship?
- Did the project encourage and promote musical achievement?
- Did the project encourage service to the school and/or community?
- Did the service project have a positive impact on the student, music department, school community, and community in general?
Announcing a State Chapter of the Year Competition
Each year we announce a Chapter of the Year winner from each division. We now will announce a winner from all 50 states! Start planning your service projects to encompass the above criteria.
Instructions on Applying for the Scholarship
When applying for the Chapter of the Year Scholarship Award, please view the form online and fill in all the necessary fields. Emailed and Mailed forms will not be accepted.
The Chapter Summary Report for the 2023-2024 National Chapter of the Year Scholarship will be available in early 2024.
All winners and runners-up will be featured in NAfME national news media in the fall of the next school year, including a press release, news story in Teaching Music magazine, and recognition on the NAfME website and social media outlets. Scholarship funds will be awarded in the following way:
Chapter of the Year: $1,000.00
1st Runner Up: $800.00
2nd Runner Up: $600.00
Chapter of the Year: $800.00
1st Runner Up: $600.00
2nd Runner Up: $400.00
The Tri-M National Chapter of the Year (Junior and Senior) will receive an engraved permanent service plaque. All participants will receive a certificate of recognition for participating in the Chapter of the Year scholarship application.
Scholarships must be used to find a professional development activity for the chapter including, but not limited to, clinicians, master classes, field trips, conference travel, or summer music program scholarships.
State Chapter of the Year winners will receive a personalized banner commemorating their Chapter of the Year status in their state. Recognition will also be given on MusicHonors.com, Tri-M’s Facebook page, and announced at our National Leadership Assembly.
2. RECOGNITION OF EXCELLENCE:
Students who go above and beyond deserve to be recognized.
Tri-M Chapter Advisors, do you have a student or students who have gone above and beyond in your chapter that you want to recognize? Fill out the “Recognition of Excellence” form by April 12, 2024 and receive a certificate for each student recognizing their extraordinary work ethic!
The Recognition of Excellence Form is now an online submission process through the Submittable platform. Please do not email or mail your letters of recommendation. Nominations that are not submitted through the Submittable platform may not be recognized.
The Recognition of Excellence Form will be available in early 2014. The deadline to apply is April 12, 2024.
3. TRI-M INDIVIDUAL AWARDS:
Within any group there are always some standout individuals.
All awards may be purchased via the Tri-M Store.
The Master Musician excels in music, is a highly qualified performer with a basic knowledge of music theory, has achieved success in the performance field by earning many honors locally and in district or state contests, and is particularly active in performing in school or community functions.
Members who earn the Tri-M Leadership Recognition Award are prominent leaders in school, chapter, and community organizations and activities, in addition to being involved in music. They do not have to be award-winning musicians, but they must be great leaders.
Tri-M Outstanding Service Recognition
To receive the Tri-M Outstanding Service Recognition, you must demonstrate exceptional examples of service, working with or on behalf of others, without being paid or materially rewarded. Those receiving this award are involved with music, but are particularly active in school, chapter, and community organizations and activities.
Honor Ensemble Achievement
The Honor Ensemble Achievement Certificate recognizes Tri-M members selected to represent their schools in an honor ensemble during a state, division, or national conference.
4. STUDENT SCHOLARSHIPS AND GRANTS:
Students are encouraged to apply for individual scholarships. Click here to learn more.
Tri-M is composed of Senior and Junior chapters : Senior Division is grade levels 10, 11, and 12 and Junior Division is grade levels 6, 7, and 8.
Ninth grade may be included in either a Senior or Junior chapter depending on the school structure.
Schools with grades 6-12 in one building may house both a Junior and Senior chapter, but both chapters must be registered in order to have all grade levels participate.