HED: Greetings colleagues!

Greetings colleagues! With great excitement and anticipation, I welcome my new appointment as president of the Higher Education Division of the AMEA. I appreciate your confidence in my abilities and look forward to serving the members of this great organization. My predecessor Mildred Lanier was an effective leader and I will work diligently to maintain her standard of excellence.

Over the past sixth months, the world has become a different place. I commend all of your efforts to remain connected to your students. Music educators are amazing people! Although this pandemic has had negative impacts on us, it has also pushed us into the future.

Video conferencing is now ubiquitous and widely accepted as a communication tool. I can’t count how many video conferences and webinars I’ve been on in the past few months. How did we get along without Zoom and Google Meet? My technology skills have taken a major step forward and I hope yours have too. Recognize that we are living through a major transformation in education. I’m not heralding the death of the traditional classroom, but accepting that video conferencing now has a permanent place in our educator’s toolbox.

I’d like to acknowledge the AMEA Executive Board for its proactive response to the pandemic. I attended the Town Hall Meeting (video conference) on April 20 and found it very engaging. Phil Wilson and Susan Smith provided practical strategies and expressed our collective uneasiness. More meetings are on the way so monitor your email and the AMEA website for future dates.

In addition to the Town Hall, AMEA has added a new Alternative Music Teaching Resources link on its homepage. Developed by Carl Hancock, the resources are organized by specialization and contain links to helpful sources recommended by AMEA members. Remember, this resource is not only for P-12 educators. We need your help in identifying websites and strategies that are useful in higher education.

I’d also like to commend the Alabama State Board of Education for easing internship requirements this semester. Music education interns across the state were not able to complete their 16 weeks in the classroom. The SBOE granted full credit to those students for their time in the classroom and also created a temporary educator certificate so that the interns can apply for jobs in the fall. I hope the SBOE also considers easing the 161 cut-score on the Praxis exam.

This year, NAfME is combining its annual conference with the biennial Music Research and Teacher Education Conference. It is scheduled to take place in Orlando, FL from Nov. 4-8. One goal of this combined conference is to facilitate the interaction of P-12 educators and faculty.

Speaking of interactions, the pandemic has highlighted the importance of personal interaction in our personal and professional lives. We are busy people, but we also need time to develop relationships with people who are important to us. Lesson learned – life is more musical when we have relationships that keep our hearts beating and inspire our imaginations.

Best wishes for all!

Michael Zelenak, HED President