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adult music education State of the State Tom Heninger, WMEA State Chair, Adult Music Education

“You can call it the ‘Perfect Moment’ when the universe aligns and the music in your head actually matches the music outside and all is well.” ~ Hugh Elliott, Standing Room Only, April 18, 2006

I just finished performing in a concert with the Watertown Area Chamber Orchestra and though, admittedly not all perfect, it provided my fellow musicians and me with many perfect moments. Moments when your sounds combine to touch not only the hearts of the audience but to connect with your own very soul in a way totally unique to the art of music.

Throughout the year I have travelled and experienced the joy of many community music group performances from conven- tion performances to hometown summer evening gatherings and there are always magical moments. Many of the conver- sations following a performance reflect just how much music can continue to enrich our lives well beyond the K-12 and college years.

“…just how much music can continue to enrich our lives…”

It has been an exhilarating year for adult music education in Wisconsin! We were able to enter the adult bands, choirs and orchestras into a database that can be found and edited on the WMEA web site. Just go to and in a bulleted list at the bottom of the homepage you will find a link to “Adult Community Musical Performing Groups Gathering


Sheet.” Edits to the database can be forwarded to

Communities that are fortunate enough to have adult performing ensembles are in possession of another powerful aspect of music education – advocacy.

In my many years of teaching, whenever an issue arose that might impede the op- eration of our music program, I would never hesitate to rally the troops from my community adult music groups to write letters or speak on behalf of the impor- tance of solid music education.

In our communities as well as in our schools, performance based and broad music education has been taking on new forms. Folk, ethnic, jazz, electronic and

rock idioms open doors to even more music students at the middle and high school level. Why not explore these av- enues for adults also! Mariachi bands, drumming circles, quartets, quintets and polka bands can contribute to music enjoy- ment in a whole new way. One of our ses- sions in the October Wisconsin State Music Conference will be a session on how to teach rock instruments to adult students. This is the music that most of our adult population grew up with.

In conclusion, the State of Our State in adult music education is ever changing and isn’t that exciting?

Tom Heninger is a retired music educator who taught in Watertown School District. Email:

Music at St. Norbert College


t. Norbert College, a nationally recognized liberal arts institution located north of Milwaukee and Chicago,

offers degree programs in music education, performance and liturgical music.

Students at St. Norbert College learn from a dynamic faculty of exceptional teachers and performing artists.

Visit our website for information about our

2012 summer music camp, held June 11-15. This commuter camp is offered for students completing grades 5-9.

Camp information at: • 920-403-3112 April 2012

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