From the President

From the ELEM/GEN President: Passion!

A few years ago, a teacher friend gifted me with a rustic sign for my home. At the top of the sign in all capital letters was painted the word PASSION. The rest of the sign reads, “There are some people who live in a dream world, and there are some who face reality; and then there are those who turn one into the other.” The friend wrote in an accompanying card that these words exemplify who she saw me to be. I was very moved by her gesture and the words on the card and sign. This sign hangs in a prominent place in my home to remind me of what I should consistently seek after when working with children; taking their dream worlds and introducing them to reality.

I was recently a member of a commission that examines professional learning in our state with the purpose of improving what is offered to educators. As is customary, we went around the room introducing ourselves. The facilitator asked us to name something fun we’ve done for the summer. Member after member stated professional learning opportunities they engaged in during the summer to improve their practice, while only a handful spoke of actual vacations. The sense that I got from the room could be described with one word; PASSION.

As we are in the preparation phases of returning to school, our PASSION goes out ahead of us and starts the engine that will soon become a charging choo choo on track to making dreams realities. Not because of the money, recognition or pride do we do anything that we do. (Well….maybe a little money). Instead, it’s the smiles on the faces of students who are exercising their PASSION through music making. It’s the feeling that we are sharing our dreams with students who will share with others and the circle continues. It’s the knowing that when melodies leave our lips or our instruments, they become tangible reality dipped dreams. PASSION!

During the summer months, your elementary division board has been hard at work planning professional development opportunities for you over the course of this next school year to assist you in educating the children of Alabama. It has been my honor to serve you as President of the Elementary Division along with Betty Wilson, President-Elect, Dr. Rob Lyda, Secretary, Lori Zachary, Treasurer and Cliff Huckabee, Past-President and Choral Festival Director.
This year, several professional development opportunities are available for you to attend beginning August 25. The East Alabama Music Workshop will be held in Auburn, AL at Grace United Methodist Church from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. (8:30 – 9:00 registration and refreshments). The guest presenter will be David Row. We will explore fresh new ways to use folksongs. There is no cost for the workshop. Four hours of professional development will be offered. Contact Dr. Rob Lyda for more details at

The 13th Annual Elementary Music Festival will take place at Samford University’s Wright Center on Friday, October 12th. Students will learn from two outstanding Alabama music educators as we celebrate the Alabama Bicentennial. Dr. Damian Womack, choral, and Rhonda Tucker, Orff, will be the clinicians. This music festival is a great opportunity for our students. Thank you for your continued support of this festival.

Saturday, October 13th from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. we will have our joint Fall Workshop sponsored by AMEA Elementary/General Division and AOSA. This year our clinician will be Orff specialist Rhonda Tucker. Stay tuned to the webpage for further details as they become available.

The 2019 AMEA Professional Development Conference will be at the BJCC in Birmingham. This year we are honored to have Beth Ann Hepburn as our featured clinician. She will be presenting four sessions for all grade levels spanning multiple subjects. We will also have member guided sessions ranging from bucket drumming to dancing to folk songs. Be sure to renew your NAfME membership, so that you can take advantage of these rich learning opportunities.
We want to stay in touch with you and reach out to those who are not members of AMEA. Please email us at to update your information and please share this address with those who you know are not members. Also, join us on Facebook AMEA Elementary page.

Congrats to those who attended and earned Kodaly and Orff certification. Also, congrats to those who submitted your National Board Components. BRAVO!!
PASSION! A word that you exemplify each day of each month of each year. You share it, your students see it and feel safe to share their own passions with the world. I challenge you this year to be fearless in your choices, knowing that they are good for your students. I challenge you to step outside of your comfort zone and explore new avenues of music learning. I challenge you to renew your PASSION!


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