HED: The New Abnormal

I never thought that I would want to go back to school this bad. (That’s abnormal.) I’ve got plenty of work to do, and plenty of stress to deal with. But to be honest, I miss my students and I miss being a music teacher. If you’re reading this, you know what I’m talking about. A school is a unique microcosm filled with its own relationships and interactions. Throw music into the mix and it’s a great place to be. Why would I want to be anywhere else? I’m ready to rehearse!

Our professional organizations have exceeded every expectation during these trying times. Normally large organizations move slowly, but the speed at which they have addressed this pandemic has been amazing. (That’s abnormal.) Visit the NAfME COVID-19 website at https://nafme.org/ covid-19/. You’ll probably stay longer than you anticipated. NAfME has assembled a comprehensive collection of resources that will benefit all music educators. In addition, everyone should read the College Band Directors National Association’s report at https://www.cbdna.org/about/the-cbdna-report/. This report will answer questions posed by even the most demanding administrators. From a different perspective, more information is available on the American Choral Directors Association site at https://acda.org/advocacy/. To find online teaching strategies, my favorite site is http://kpcrossacademy.org/. The K Patricia Cross Academy presents numerous teaching strategies with video recordings and instructional resources targeting college professors that can also be modified for use with all grade levels. Finally, don’t forget about AMEA’s Alternative Music Teaching Resources folder at https://myamea.us. There’s plenty of information to go around.

News for music education faculty: The ALSDE has removed the Praxis Core Basic Skills Exam from the list of requirements for students applying to enter Educator Preparation Programs. (That’s “abnormal”!) Hopefully, more students will enter these programs and reverse the growing teacher shortage. Let’s also congratulate faculty members from Troy University, Samford University, and the University of Alabama – Huntsville who have recently earned approval for their Class B, Alternative A, and Class A Choral and Instrumental programs by the ALSDE. Every child in Alabama deserves to be taught by a highly qualified music educator.

Researchers take note: Applications to present research posters at the 2021 AMEA conference will be accepted until Nov, 2, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. Go to the AMEA website for more details. In addition, the American Educational Research Association (AERA) is continuing its AERA Grants Program. This program provides small grants and training for researchers who conduct studies using quantitative methods. Apply before Sept. 10, 2020 at https://www.aera.net/Professional-Opportunities-Funding/AERA-Funding- Opportunities/Grants-Program.

Kudos to HED past-president Mildred Lanier for encouraging Alabama Governor Kay Ivey to proclaim March 2020 as “Music In Our Schools Month.” Ms. Lanier’s advocacy efforts can be an inspiration to all us. Let’s set a goal to continue this tradition. Wouldn’t it be great if every school and municipality celebrated MIOSM? Now, there’s an “abnormal” to aim for!