The following email was sent to members on March 24, 2020:
On behalf of the TMEA staff and Executive Board, I hope this finds you and your family well and doing all you can to stay well.
Please note the following updates about staff support, TMEA events, and online learning:
TMEA staff members are working remotely. My top concern is their health and that of their families. We will not return to a group setting until we are confident that is a safe practice. We remain available to you via email (listed at the end of this email). While we can access our voicemails, emailing will be the most effective means of reaching us. We continue to retrieve and process regular mail.
TMEA Events and Programs
All in-person TMEA meetings and events are suspended for the remainder of the school year. The TMEA Executive Board and staff are in continued discussions about our programs that include spring deadlines, and any program not addressed definitively below will be part of a future communication via email and our website.
Realignment 2020–2022: Realignment is now final and posted on the TMEA website. This page lists ISDs that changed Regions and includes PDFs detailing the updated Area apportionment.
Region Meetings: Spring Region meetings will be conducted online using a video conferencing tool. Meeting dates, times, and connection information will be updated on the Region Meeting page and emailed to the members prior to the meeting date. You should attend your spring Region meeting based on your 2020–2022 alignment (see above). Information about Region elections will be sent to your Region Steering Committee.
Honor Bands & Orchestras: Given continued school closures and suspension of any UIL activities prior to May 4, the Executive Board made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020–2021 Honor Band contests (C, CC, 1A/2A, 4A, and 6A) as well as the 2020–2021 HS Full, MS Full, and MS String Honor Orchestra contests. The HS String Honor Orchestra contest will continue to be held in the fall. The Board is discussing how TMEA will invite bands and orchestras to perform during the 2021 Clinic/Convention, and we will inform you as soon as this information is available.
Convention Invited Performing Groups (all Divisions): The Executive Board is studying possible deadline extensions and exceptions to selection procedures and will announce any changes as soon as they are finalized.
I’m sure your district is actively working on ways to continue instruction remotely. As you follow your district’s guidance, also consider how critical it is to stay connected—especially for students who rely on your classes for self-expression and connection through music-making. Realizing online resources are constantly evolving, I suggest the following webinar, Facebook Group, and podcast that offer specific insight for music educators in this changed environment:
- Webinar: Bridging the Gap: Teaching and Learning Music Online
- Facebook Group: Music Educators Creating Online Learning
- Podcast: Teaching Music in an Online World
As I review information about the challenges you are facing, these important points keep surfacing:
- This is a very difficult time for our students, mentally and emotionally. As music educators often are, you need to focus even more on being reliable mentors to your students.
- You shouldn’t try to recreate online what you accomplish in a face-to-face classroom setting. Instead, create experiences that work in this environment (with the understanding that student Internet access is not equal).
- Assessment shouldn’t be our top priority in this moment. Our students’ well-being should. Initial assessment might simply be that a student tried to do what you asked and offered feedback on how it went (if that student has access to the technology needed).
While we all get used to this new work environment, let’s do it with patience and understanding. There are many things that won’t work the first or second time we try them, and that should be okay. I hope you grant yourself the same safe environment for taking risks and making mistakes that you work so hard to offer your students every day. You deserve it!
As always, thank you for everything you do for your students. I hope you continue to find inspiration and joy in your personal music-making while home and that you discover new opportunities for growth for you and your students during this challenging time.
TMEA Staff Emails
Please email us if you have questions or need our assistance:
Executive Director Robert Floyd, email@example.com
Deputy Director Frank Coachman, firstname.lastname@example.org
Administrative Director Kay Vanlandingham, email@example.com
Communications Manager Karen Cross, firstname.lastname@example.org
Advertising & Exhibits Manager Zachary Gersch, email@example.com
Membership Manager Susan Daugherty, firstname.lastname@example.org
Financial Manager Cristin Gaffney, email@example.com
Information Technologist Andrew Denman, firstname.lastname@example.org
Administrative Assistant Rita Ellinger, email@example.com
Texas Music Educators Association
Editor, Southwestern Musician