I realize that is an eye-roller of a title for the blog, but I really do feel like my part in IMEA was just keeping moving forward. Not to stop and just keep everything like it is, but to keep it moving toward better music education in Iowa. Below are my remarks at the 2020 Professional Development Conference on November 21, 2020
Keynote Ceremony - Nov. 21, 2020
I am so grateful that we have the technology and the people to do this today. We’re all aware of the dangers of COVID-19 and this is a great way to share ideas safely.
We’d like to recognize two members of IMEA who will be receiving Tenure Teaching Awards. These are teachers in our organization who have taught more than 30 years. This is a phenomenal accomplishment and the fact that they still participate in professional development is a model for all teachers. Our two members receiving the Tenure Teacher Award are Charles Grimm and Michelle Swanson. Thank you to both of you for dedicating your lives to music education and the students in your classrooms over all these years.
We also want to recognize someone who has served this organization tirelessly as our Conference equipment Chair. Charles Grimm has been the conference equipment chair for the past 25 years and this is his last year in Iowa. If you’ve ever presented at our conference, you know that he was always there to help and make sure you had everything you needed. I’m still not confident he doesn’t have a twin brother because it seems like he was everywhere. He made sure everything was working right and we had the most up-to-date equipment. When I did Rock Shop here in 2018 with 15 electric guitar amps, he made sure we didn’t blow the fuse for the whole Sheman building. Charles, on behalf of everyone in IMEA and especially the people who organize and run the conference, I want to thank you for all you’ve done. You made our sessions run smoothly so our music teachers can get the best professional development possible. Thank you!
Before I’m done, I just wanted to say how honored and humbled I was to be president of IMEA for the past 2 years. I wish I could keep going. It wasn’t until I became president that I fully realized the potential that IMEA has to impact the lives of music teachers and therefore the students in Iowa. There is so much to get done and I feel like we are just getting started. ¾ of our high school students never take a music class. Guitar is only taught in 11 high schools. I can count on one hand all the schools that have gospel choirs, modern bands and mariachi groups. Our music teacher workforce is almost all white and the student enrollment in secondary music reflects this disproportionate imbalance. But music is a uniter. Music allows children to express emotions they can’t put a name to...and don’t have to. Music allows us to learn more about another culture, only to find they are not that much different than us. But most importantly, music is fun. Music is joyful. Music can pick you up when you’re down, motivate you when you are tired and let you cry when you hear the song your mom used to sing. Many years ago, I would have heard someone say what I just said and thought, “Yep, I’d find that cross stitched on a pillow or on a cheesy poster with a wavy music staff behind it .” You know the kind. But I don’t think that way anymore. Now I totally understand the real power of music. Of all music. All music. Not just what we teach in our schools, but all music. This is the music that gives me hope and makes me want to do everything I can to get more students doing it. And this is where IMEA is THE music organization in Iowa that can bring music to all our students. So much potential and so much to do. I’m excited to see where we go from here.