College Student Essay Contest


The purpose of the contest is to provide the opportunity for undergraduate and graduate music students to write and disseminate scholarly articles on topics relevant to the music education profession.


  1. Written communication is a critical dimension of higher education that needs encouragement and support. It is a critical skill for all educators and essential for informed arts advocacy.
  2. Increased familiarity with the scholarly writing process will help music educators access and incorporate current research into their teaching and assessment practices.
  3. Many collegiate music education professors assign students to write midterm and/or final papers in their classes. These papers are often substantial and pertinent to our field, so they should be made available to a broader readership.


  1. One undergraduate essay and one graduate essay may be selected as the award recipients.
  2. A $2,000.00 prize will be awarded for each winning essay.
  3. The winning essays may be published on the TMEA website under the College Division at the discretion of the Article Review Committee.
  4. The winning essays may be published in the Southwestern Musician at the discretion of the Southwestern Musician editor.

Submission Guidelines

  1. Authors entering the Student Essay Contest must be students currently enrolled in a college/university and must be members of TMEA.
  2. Submissions will include name, college/university, degree being sought, and expected graduation date.
  3. Essay topics should be an aspect of music education that is of interest to a wide range of TMEA members—general membership, band, choir, orchestra, elementary general music, secondary general music, or research.
  4. Essays may be inspirational, pedagogical, philosophical, historical, or descriptive in nature.
  5. Essays will be a maximum of 1,800 words and should be submitted in MS Word format.
  6. Article Review Committee members will serve as the selection committee for the contest.
  7. Each essay will be assessed using the rubric.


Scoring Rubric Criteria

Adjuducation Criteria

  1. Judges: Article Review Committee members will serve as the selection committee for the contest.
  2. Blind Review: Identifying information (name, college/university) of the essay authors, including information in the body of the essay, will be withheld from the judges during the evaluation/selection phase.
  3. Judges will recuse themselves from evaluating essay submissions from their own universities.
  4. Assessment: The rubric will be used to evaluate each entry.


Contest information and criteria will be announced in the September Southwestern Musician, in the “What’s New” area of the TMEA website, and on social media. The announcement will include a QR code that links to the submission page, where the description and rubric will be found.

Share the announcement with the College Division at the fall meeting.

December 15
Deadline for submissions. Submissions will be made available to the Article Review Committee. The committee will use the rubric to assess each entry.

January 30
The Article Review Committee Chair will accept all rubrics and compile the results.

February 1
The Article Review Committee chair will notify the committee and College Division Vice-President of the results of the contest.
The winners of the essay contest will be notified by a designated committee member.
The names of the winning authors will be published on the TMEA website and on TMEA social media.

TMEA Clinic/Convention
The winning authors and their essay topics will be announced at the TMEA Convention College Division Meeting.

The winning authors and their essay topics will be announced in the April issue of the Southwestern Musician with award/scholarship recipients.

If you have questions, contact the Article Review Committee:
Julie Scott, PhD, TMEA Article Review Committee Chair
Meadows School of the Arts
Southern Methodist University

Committee Members: Crystal Gerrard-Ramirez, Jessica Hajek, Jacqueline Henninger, Michele Henry, Lynnette Vincent

The call for essays has passed. Please check back next year.