Every year in April I look forward to attending the PMEA State conference. This is my 5th year attending the conference either as a performer or future educator, and as always it did not disappoint. As usual the PMEA State conference which was held in Hersey PA from April 13th-16th was a success and provided attendees with countless amounts of invaluable information. I had an amazing time, learned a lot of information, and made a few connections with other music educators. Below is a review of some of the highlights from the event. Sorry that this review is coming so late, but with the end of student teaching everything got very hectic.

PMEA Live Blogs-

I was very honored to be a part of a five member team made up of Grove City College junior and senior education majors who live-blogged the conference. We live blogged a majority of the sessions that were offered at the conference and shared our experiences on Twitter. The live-blogs are currently in replay mode, so you can go back and read through our session notes for the sessions that interest you. You can find the live blogs on FutureMusicEucator.net. Overall, we felt the live-blogging was a great success and was a good way to help make the conference more web 2.0. It was a successful way to show how web 2.0 can be integrated into professional development. Again I want to thank Dr. Joseph Pisano and Grove City College for making this event possible!!

Informative Sessions-

As always there was a range of sessions offered at the conference. Everything from jazz, special education, band, orchestra, choir, general music, conducting, etc. was represented. As a future music teacher each year I try to attend as many sessions as  possible that cover a lot of areas so that I so that I receive a wealth of knowledge. My goal for PMEA every year is to be a sponge and soak up as much information as possible. Below are the sessions that I attend this year. Check out my live blog here to read about the sessions.

  • Selecting A Music Theory Textbook: A Guide for High School Teachers
  • Performance Practice in the Music Classroom
  • Beyond the Book: Making Music Visible
  • Jazz Workshop for Music Educators
  • Listening Journals in Middle School General Music
  • Orff Schulwerk: A Winning Way
  • Transfer of Learning: Students Can Perform the Sforzando Every Time
  • Quality Tried and Trued: Choral Repertoire for Singers of All Ages
  • Inclusion! Rethinking Success in the Music Classroom
  • Going Global: Google Earth as a Tool for Teaching World Music

Concerts-

There were also many impressive concerts for the attendees to listen to an learn from. Among them were jazz ensembles, saxophone quartets, wind ensembles etc. Unfortunately due to our rigorous live blogging schedule I was not able to attend many of the concerts, but I did attend the West Chester University Wind Ensemble directed by Andrew Yozviak, which was very impressive. Also Thursday evening of the conference I had the privilege to attend  a performance by “Pershing’s Own” US Army Band and the US Army Chorus. Excellent performers as well as entertainers these two service groups left the audience smiling the entire concert.

Advocacy-

One of the overarching themes this year at PMEA was advocacy due to all the budget cuts that are taking place. As music educators advocacy is a term we hear often, but we often don’t do anything about it. Now more than ever we need to be proactive and begin advocating for our programs and to save music education in schools. It is not enough to just talk about advocacy with other music educators. We know the importance of music education. It is our job to advocate to the people in charge such as administration, school boards, and the government and let them know how important music is to our students. We have to fight for what we love and know is invaluable, and we have to do it now.
While at PMEA I got the opportunity to participate in an amazing music advocacy event. As past, present and future musicians, PMEA 2011 attendees gathered to sing “The Awakening” to advocate for music education in our schools, This was one of the most emotional musical experiences that I have been apart of. Now it is our job to spread this video and help to raise awareness of the job cuts that are happening and to help save the music!! Please share this video wherever you can and HELP MUSIC LIVE!!! 

Final Thoughts

Every year I leave PMEA refreshed and even more excited about music and teaching. Being surrounded by hundreds of music educators, who truly have a passion for music for two days is an absolutely amazing experience. If you have never had the opportunity to attend PMEA State Conference I urge you to attend next year. It will  be a life-changing experience!! Stay tuned for more updates and recaps based off of the sessions that I attended at PMEA 2011!!
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