From the President

ELEM/GEN: Life’s Full of Tough Choices

To say that the start of the school year was unusual would be an understatement. Many of you are facing and conquering challenges you’ve never dreamed of. You might be teaching online, in a general education classroom, or in a hybrid model where sometimes synchronous and asynchronous learning occurs at the same time. Again, I am reminded of the seven habits book, I referenced last October, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen Covey. Habits 2 and 3 begin with the end in mind and put first things first. What do we want our students to know at the end of the year and how can we accomplish that in a COVID-19 teaching and learning environment? While we know that some of our traditional teaching methods have been suspended temporarily, there are many ways to accomplish our goals. It’s a good thing that most music teachers are creative because we are all having to think outside the box. (I don’t know who wanted to be in the box in the first place, but that’s a different article.) To attain these learning targets, we must put first things first. This is where the tough choices come in. There’s no way to do it all, every day! Some days that may mean making a lesson plan, or a video of yourself singing a song for your kids or a video of you reading them a book to post in your Google classroom. Other days, putting first things first may mean attending to your family’s needs, making sure that the grass is cut, the laundry washed, the homework checked. Or maybe it’s putting yourself first, taking time to meditate, pray, exercise, or get your nails done. When you feel refreshed, you will be better equipped to handle the daily stresses that accompany this pandemic and the months ahead. Begin with the end in mind and put first things first today.

As many of you already know, our AMEA Choral Festival was cancelled, however, the fall workshop was not. The fall workshop, featuring clinician Jeremy Howard, will be held online from 9:00-12:00 on October 17th, 2020. I would like to thank AOSA and SHAKE President, Deanna Bell for partnering with us to provide this workshop for free. Members need to preregister to receive a link to the Zoom meeting. Make sure you include the email you would like to use to receive your link to the workshop. Register at https://tinyurl.com/2020AMEAFallWorkshop Jeremy will present a session on Elementary Improvisation. During the session participants will “extract the core tenants of improvisation (framework + choice + time); explore aural, kinesthetic, and visual preparation methods for improvising with movements, vocal explorations, words, instruments, rhythms, and melodies; and foster Kodály’s vision for complete musicianship.” The workshop will be followed by our fall board meetings. This year, the Elementary Division will be nominating officers for the following positions: President-Elect, and Secretary. A nominating committee has been working on securing nominations for these vacancies, but we will also take nominations from the floor. To nominate a person for a position, you must first have their permission and they must agree to serve if elected.

Finally, on January 21-23, 2021, we will host our virtual AMEA Professional Development Conference. Conference planning is well underway. Since we know it might be difficult to find a sub and take time off, the Executive Board has made several adjustments to the schedule that will allow you to stay at work during the day and enjoy sessions in the evening. Please check out the excellent sessions we are planning for you. David Row will be our main clinician. You may know David from his amazing Facebook Live broadcasts, Teachers Pay Teachers page (TPT), and Make Moments Matter webpage. David is an excellent educator and we are thrilled to have him share virtually in January. We will also have sessions by Dr. Julie Bannerman (University of Montevallo), Toni Garza (Quaver), and various other Alabama music educators. Additionally, you may sign up to share a lesson at the lightning round on Thursday night, or plan to share a book at the Elementary Happy Hour Session (BYOB, Bring Your Own Book) on

Saturday. Be sure to renew your NAfME membership as soon as possible to register for these events and to take advantage of all that NAfME and AMEA have to offer this year.

Thank you again, for your hard work, dedication, and continued support of the Elementary/General Division of the AMEA and the children of Alabama.

See you in October,
Betty R Wilson, President Elementary/General Division

Upcoming Dates:

Fall Workshop – AMEA/AOSA/SHAKE Saturday, October 17, from 9-12 Online Format

NAfME National Conference
November 4-8, 2020
In-person conference is cancelled.
Visit Nafme.org for upcoming virtual sessions

AMEA Professional Development Conference January 21-23, 2021
Online Format

Alabama AOSA Spring Workshops (Details TBA) March 6, 2021: Manju Durairaj, Clinician March 5, 2022: Jennifer Donovan, Clinician

Sweet Home Alabama Kodály Educators Workshops (Details TBA) April 2021: Lea Hoppe, Clinician
April 2022: Rachel Gibson Clinician