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Not Just for the Retired Greetings fellow music educators,

I’ve used this greeting for many years. I believe whether cur- rently teaching or retired we continue to be “music educators.”

People continue to ask me “How’s Retirement?” My typical answer is “the short answer is IT’S GREAT! T e long an- swer is that it is a continuing transition.” T e one thing that I do like is the ability to pick and choose what I am willing to do or not to do and believe it or not I’m getting better at saying “no.” T ose of you that know me understand how much of a change that is! As I enter my third year of retire- ment I have trouble understanding where the time has gone. T is is especially true of summertime. T is past summer our family again helped with a summer musical fundraiser for the Mendota Educational Foundation. My wife Chris and daughter Stephanie co-direct the show and my son Nick plays in the pit. I help with sound and am generally “head gopher.” Our production this summer was “Seussical.” T is is a show I wasn’t familiar with and am embarrassed to say my fi rst thought was how do you make a musical out of John Philip Sousa? (Can you tell I’m a retired band director?) My daughter sighed and simply said Dr. Seuss. It turned out to be an extremely fun production–one that I would recom- mend–although if you use a live pit it is one of the more demanding shows.

IMEA President Roseanne Rosenthal has suggested the theme of “Nurturing the Creative Musician” for our writ- ing prompt. I was just talking with a new director (welcome John) and part of our conversation was to remember to indi- vidually keep music in our lives. Find time to play/sing/par- ticipate . . . after all that is why most of us got into this pro- fession in the fi rst place. T e second thing was to remember that we are here for the students. Don’t let the barrage of pa- perwork and protocol overshadow our primary objective–to “Nurture our young musicians” . . . to pass on our passion for music to these creative minds. I’ve shared in prior articles my attendance at diff erent sessions while attending administra- tive and school board conferences with my wife Dr. Benson. It is becoming more and more apparent the importance of “creativity” in keeping our model of education above others. I can think of no better way of doing this than making sure

all of our students are exposed to a quality music education– “music for all!”

Sessions for All Directors at the Illinois Music Education Conference (formerly All-State)

For several years now, we have off ered a session at the Illinois Music Education Conference on TRS and Social Security. T is has been a very benefi cial session for retirees to stay cur- rent on TRS initiatives and for those looking to retiree to plan ahead. T ere is a lot of information presented at this session so it is common for directors to attend more than once. We have already confi rmed this session again with Claire Ribelin from the Springfi eld TRS offi ce. T is year we are adding more time for individual questions following the presentation.

In my 2009 fall Illinois Music Educator article I referred to a doctoral dissertation by friend and colleague, Terry Solomonson at Western Illinois University. Dr. Solomonson is “offi cial” now and is going to share some of his fi ndings with us at the Illinois Music Education Conference (formerly All-State). Whether you are about to retire or you are a director who is looking for perspective on how being a music educator eff ects you and your family I’m sure you will fi nd Terry’s presentation interesting and enlightening. Be sure to mark this one.

Once again we will be hosting a reception for all retirees at the Illinois Music Education Conference. What a great way to keep up with friends and colleagues.

I look forward to continued friendships with everyone– both old and new. Please don’t hesitate to contact me with suggestions or concerns or to simply to say “hi!”

Keep smiling! REX

Rex Benson IMEA Retired Special Area Chair 2235 Delaney Drive Ottawa, IL 61350 815.434.0705


Illinois Music Educator | Volume 72 Number 1

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