Virtual Music Education Conference

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Several faculty of the University of Indianapolis’ Department of Music, current music students and alumni recently attended the Indiana Music Education Association’s Professional Development Conference in January, where four faculty gave presentations. According to Music Education Program Director and Assistant Dean of Shaheen College of Arts and Sciences Brenda Clark, this conference is attended by collegiate teachers of music education programs. It is also attended by university professors and instructors, Clark said. 

Junior Music Education major Shelby Demaree received IMEA’s Outstanding Future Music Educator Award at the conference for her hard work and involvement with the university. Demaree, who is the president of UIndy’s student collegiate chapter of the National Association for Music Education, is among the many UIndy students who have received this award in previous years, as records from previous years show.

“It’s a huge honor just to be, one, recognized for the work that we do in our field, especially as pre-service educators because we spend a lot of time in the classroom and preparing to be teachers, but obviously we don’t have classrooms of our own right now,” Demaree said. “Also, it’s just really great to get to know the other amazing teachers in the area better […] this year it was a little different with COVID, but we got to go and meet each other and just spend some time together and just network that way and also learn from the two teachers who are chosen that are currently in-service teachers.” 

Demarree says her experience in leading the CNAfME chapter in their service projects is part of what distinguished her in the awards process.

“Our main goal is to uphold the mission of the national chapter which is to advance music education by promoting the understanding and making of music by al by providing professional development through shared learning opportunities, service projects and performances,” Demaree said. 

According to Clark, this is a valuable experience for her students as they carry what they learn with them throughout their lives. 

“The students who leave the program go out into the teaching profession and that’s who they continue to be,” Clark said. “They are the movers and shakers. They’re making a difference in their student’s lives.”

Clark said that it is not about students receiving the award, but rather about students realizing the importance of what they are doing in service to their skill level. Clark said it is about students making sure their academics are strong.

Junior Music Education major and CNAfME State Representative Jessica Baker helped with planning the collegiate events, according to Intercom. Though the annual conference is for music educators and professors, UIndy’s student collegiate chapter also had the chance to attend. Being at the conference allows students in the music education field to network and obtain advice from conference speakers, according to Baker.

“Everyone is required to attend it, but I think overall, everybody wants to attend it,”  Baker said. “Everybody looks forward to going to the sessions because they’re extremely helpful, especially for juniors and seniors who are starting their student teaching and then, applying for actual jobs.”. 

According to Baker, one way students get involved during the Music Education Conference is by attending the collegiate night. Clark said the UIndy collegiate chapter attends this event yearly. Student collegiate chapters can also apply to be recognized as Chapter of the Year, an award Clark says UIndy has won in previous years. 

However, COVID-19 prevented the music education conference from taking place in-person. Instead, this year’s conference took a virtual format using PheedLoop, according to Clark. All sessions were previously recorded and put together for the virtual event. This also meant that the typical music performances were not able to occur due to it being difficult to form music ensembles while practicing social distancing, according to Clark. 

Regardless, students like Baker still found positives in the experience. She says the collegiate chapter was still able to host a collegiate night, and all sessions from the conference are available for an extended amount of time.

“I do like though that, because we had it online this year, all the sessions are available for another month,” Baker said. “So, if you didn’t get to attend all the sessions you wanted, you can still go back and review them, which is really nice”.

Many UIndy professors attended the event as well. Associate adjunct professor of music Terence Mayhue, assistant professor of music and music therapy program director Janice Schreibman, assistant professor of music and director of instrumental activities and music outreach Jon Noworyta, and assistant professor of music Laurie Williams attended the conference and gave presentations, according to Intercom. Members of the Indianapolis Quartet also attended and gave a performance with Assistant Professor of Music Ryan Behan. Additionally, alumnus Shawn Goodman-Royer presented a Virtual Ensemble Rehearsal/Virtual Alumni Reception at the conference, according to Intercom.

“I was very impressed with how they managed to put it together, but especially how they allowed it so that we can access the videos for a year, so I would say they had seven or eight channels streaming at all times, and instead of having to choose one, we can experience them all year and refer back to them as we’re teaching, and it’s really great,” Demaree said.

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