From the President

ELEM/GEN: Lemons or Lemonade?

Normally, this article would focus on getting back into the classroom and the start of a brand-new school year. It would be filled with optimism and joy about lesson planning and getting to see our colleagues and students again. This year, not so much. This year many teachers are filled with anxiety and fear about returning to the classroom. Many teachers are faced with the new challenges of social distancing, sanitizing instruments, and teaching online or teaching on a cart. To top it all off, Principals and Superintendents don’t have the answers to many of the questions that teachers and parents have. We are all doing our best to address multiple scenarios that may arise due to COVID-19.

What we know: many school systems have delayed the start of school. Several have opted for virtual learning only, while several have given the parents the option to choose in-person learning or virtual learning. Teachers will have to be creative with their teaching and delivery options. Teachers also have a choice. We can choose what attitude and skills we bring to the table. Will we bring our best selves? Will we choose to collaborate with our fellow music teachers? Will we choose to adapt and grow no matter what our Principals ask of us? Our attitudes are a choice. Motivational speaker, Zig Ziglar says “Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.” My son’s best baseball coach often told them “You can’t control what happens to you, but you can control how you react to it.” He didn’t tolerate any “fit pitching” after a bad swing, dropped ball, strike out, etc. This coach expected your best attitude and effort each time you came to the field. We must bring the same thing when we show up at school or turn on the computer.

AMEA and NAfME have published several articles and have updated their webpages to help teachers navigate through these tough times. On the AMEA webpage, you can find Covid-19 resources contributed by your fellow teachers. The National Association for Music Education has more free resources at This website includes tips on instrument cleaning, online learning and copyright, professional development resources and lesson plans. In addition, to guide your planning for in-person, hybrid or virtual learning, the Essential Standards for music education have been added to the Alabama Roadmap for Reopening Schools which can be found the ALSDE webpage I would like to thank Dr. Rob Lyda, Dr. Becky Halliday, Dr. Jeff Shultz and Devon Lacey for their tremendous work in developing these essential standards.

During this transitional time, we all must continue to communicate, collaborate and care for each other. Teachers must address their own and their students’ social and emotional wellness. Key components of music education include the way making music with others makes us feel and think. Participating in music ensembles enhances our social awareness and allows us to build relationships. This connection can be lost during virtual learning. There are several great resources for addressing social and emotional learning (SEL) on the NAfME webpage and in the Alabama General Music K-8 Essential Standards published in the Roadmap for Reopening Schools. The Essential Standards have been added to the Elementary AMEA Facebook page and they have been shared via email to our membership. If you did not receive the email, please check your spam folder and/or contact me or President elect Sarah McLendon to update your email address. Connecting through the virtual workshops offered by AMEA, NAfME and others is a great way to keep in touch, as well as learn and collaborate with your colleagues.

In closing, we are faced with a choice; we can lament all the lemons that have come along with COVID-19, or we can make lemonade. Our good friends Randy Delles and Jeff Kriske once said, “Whenever you’re feeling dismayed, Or someone rains on your parade, Remember this tip, Don’t give up the ship, With Lemons you make Lemonade!” I hope you choose to make lemonade this school year!

Musically Yours,
Betty R. Wilson, President,
AMEA Elementary/General Division

East Alabama General Music Workshop,
August 29, 2020, ONLINE
Register here: aeP2DUM9XTHLR6Vz5

AMEA Choral Festival:
October 16, 2020: Cancelled/Postponed October 2021, Contact Melissa McIntyre, Festival Director

AMEA/AOSA Fall workshop:
October 17, 2020, Jeremy Howard, online. More details to come!

AMEA Professional Development Conference
Jan 21-23, 2021, Online

Details will be available soon at