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Sarah Schrader - President, Alabama Orchestra Association

Why do we need to make connections with others in our own area of expertise? Is it to form friendships, have someone to call on for a favor or help land a

job? All of the above and more! Everyone knows this, so why am I writing about connections today? I want to show you how being active in AMEA and your smaller branch, AOA (or any others for that matter) can be a great way to make connections and help you accomplish your goals.

I recently moved from Auburn, where I was VERY involved in music education in the community and music at church to Baldwin County. We moved because my husband accepted a new job in the area. My family has strong ties to this area and it is THE BEACH, so we were excited to move, but it was hard for me to give up all that I did in Auburn, especially the teaching. I wanted to get involved in my new community teaching, but didn’t know exactly how to do that.

When thinking about how to get started, I remembered that I met and spoke many times to the director of the Baldwin County Youth Orchestras, Leroy Hughes, at AMEA Conferences.

Luckily for me, he felt it

important to take advantage of the AMEA conference offered to our members, so I met him and now I have a small connection to my new area. I then google searched the youth orchestra and found his contact e-mail to send him a note that I would be moving to

the area and oh yeah, do you remember me? He did, and agreed to meet with me to help me figure out how I can start fitting in to my new community. It just so turned out that his organization received a grant to provide instruments and teachers for afterschool

Connections and AMEA

programs in elementary schools around Baldwin County this year. He was looking for teachers, and here I was ready to get involved. The timing worked out perfectly. I am now teaching two string classes at a local school and loving being in the classroom again. I know this doesn’t seem like much, but I only wanted to teach a little bit (which is a blessing that music education allows us), so I could focus more time and energy on raising my precious 2 year old boy.

Without this connection I made through AMEA conferences I wouldn’t have been awarded the opportunity to be a part of something so amazing in Baldwin County. Thank you Mr. Hughes and other AMEA members for supporting our organization and making connections count!

Connections you make with other AMEA AOA Upcoming Events 1. All State Audition Results Posted: November 16, 2015

2. Deadline for All-State Scholarship Applications December 1, 2015 3. All State Festival Registration Deadline: 4. AMEA Conference: 5. All-State Festival:

6. AOA Music Performance Assessment: 16

December 1, 2015 January 20-23, 2016 February 11-14, 2016 April 22-23, 2016

October/November 2015

members at our conference are not just to help with gaining employment, but also for friendships, favors, and help. I have been blessed to know so many people who are willing to help AOA when we are promoting activities, need advice, for friendships, and favors! My connections have been great this year in helping with favors needed to make our All State Orchestra Festival great! We rely on many people to help out with judging and sectionals to provide the best experience for the youth of Alabama and for your help I am very grateful. AMEA conferences are a breath of fresh air away from students. It is the best place to come and catch up with old college friends, colleagues, and meet new members. I am always so refreshed and energized to return to teaching after a conference. It is one of the highlights of my year!

I encourage each of you to attend the annual AMEA conference and if you know someone who hasn’t attended in a while or ever, bring them along. It is so important for us to make those connections that are vital to making our lives whole as music educators. For AOA, this year is one you do not want to miss. We will have the opportunity to meet world renowned composer Soon Hee Newbold! I hope to make connections with all of you at our AMEA conference in January!

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