MTNA conference & ESSA Advocacy

I just returned from my first presentation at the MTNA annual conference in San Antonio, TX.  It was wonderful to see many old friends, as well as to catch up with Colorado neighbors whom I haven’t seen for awhile.  As Brian Chung remarked in his Gala speech, there was “a tapestry of inspiring performances, insightful teaching, wise mentoring, compassionate caring, and generous giving.”  Communities, like our University of Colorado friends and alum event, came together to rekindle friendships.  Teachers with common values and ideals found kindred spirits across the nation.  I was personally encouraged by the full house that attended my session on incorporating theory into performance, and the numerous interactions that followed.  We chatted about the future of the musical landscape and every topic imaginable.  Many schools are working simultaneously on how to incorporate community engagement and communication skills into the curriculum, including our colleagues at the Peabody Conservatory.

A quick note on advocacy- in my December message to you, we celebrated ESSA, Every Student Succeeds Act, as the new federal K-12 education law.  This legislation retains the arts as a “core academic subject” and supports a “well-rounded” education that include the arts.  However, each state decides how to execute these initiatives and how to use that funding.  The time is now, before the session closes on May 11th, to let your representatives know how the arts has personally touched your lives and the lives of your students.