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wisconsin advocates for music education

The Parent Connection Kristin Tjornehoj, WAME Committee Member

The key to success in any organization is to develop a structure that involves people of quality at every level. A music instruc- tor cannot do it alone and thrive with the myriad of responsibilities expected both inside and outside of the classroom. There is an art to every facet of life. It is true that the love of the artistic expression and soulfulness of music is the original motivator for most teachers to enter the field of music education. But now is the time to become a high quality manager filled with vision, determination and pur- pose. Imagine a time when one stares at a blank sheet of paper, surrounded by photos highlighting events with students, coupled with planning performances that impact entire communities with enjoyment that only music can offer. Planning, investing and implementing great ideas can change

students’ lives and impact the community using the gift of music.

The Art of Investing in Heroes

The real heroes in the world are people who volunteer and play an integral part in the life of a community by contributing their time and talents to fulfill the needs with their individual strengths. People want to be connected and serve others as the rewards are intrinsic and have a long-lasting impact. Who are the heroes in your world? Parents are waiting for opportunities to help their children de- velop. Often musicians themselves, or at least people who understand the value of participating in music, parents know that the more they contribute, the more their child will see and appreciate the support of their involvement in music. These actions

“I believe that children are our future, treat them well and let them lead the way…” comes from a song made famous by Whitney Houston in the late 1990s. Proactive parents want to contribute to the success of young people, as they are the future. Experiences that promote benefits to children, their schools and community are often found in musically vibrant class- rooms. One of the joys of being a music instructor is that you have the opportunity to share the knowledge that students learn in concerts and programs. Involve the par- ents, community members and your fellow educators in any way possible. Bring out the drawings and paintings, science proj- ects, writings, poetry and reflections from other classes and create special events with your concerts. When you include others, the benefits unfold and enhance the experience for everyone involved. Find the heroes in your community and keep them closely involved in your music program. Show your appreciation at every opportunity and build a broad base of com- munity support.

It is the innovative music teacher who can figure out the people who have the skills to share that can be the hero for the program.

The Art of Motivation

How do you motivate students to be focused on personal growth and devel- opment in music over the years? Create opportunities that provide intrinsic and extrinsic value. How do you motivate parents to be focused on investment and support in music? Create opportunities to engage parents with communication and ongoing information. The most successful way to motivate is to be a team player, a community entrepreneur and advocate for the arts, your school district and the entire community. What did you enjoy

52 January 2012

lead to confidence as the students realize their family and friends value their musi- cal activities.

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