I had the pleasure of attending the board meeting for the Louisiana Music Educators Association (L.M.E.A.) on Saturday, October 3, 2015. The L.M.E.A. board consists of four Executive Officers, nine District Directors, three Ex-Officio Members, and eight Division Chairs (Public Relations, Band, Vocal, Orchestra, Jazz, Elementary, University, and Collegiate NAfME). Also in attendance were representatives from the Louisiana Band Masters Association (LBA), Louisiana Association of Kodaly Educators (L.A.K.E), Louisiana Choral Directors Association (LAACDA), Louisiana Association for Jazz Education (LAJE), American String Teachers Association (ASTA), and Red Stick Orff.
The President, Sharon McNamara-Horne, asked me to speak at the beginning of the meeting regarding my activities as the Louisiana State Teacher of the Year. Next, the Past President, Dr. Sara Bidner, shared a report from the Southern Division of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME). In her report, she expressed her concern that only 47% of the music educators in Louisiana are members of L.M.E.A. However, the Tri-M Music Honor Society, a division of NAfME for sixth-twelfth grade students, has doubled its membership in Louisiana. Fran Hebert, the President Elect, then stated her goal for this year is to increase membership in L.M.E.A. Among the ideas that were discussed to encourage membership, she mentioned creating a mentor program for new teachers at every grade level.
Next, each District Director and Division Chair gave a report. This was followed by an in-depth discussion regarding the audition process for All State Band, Choir, Orchestra, and Jazz Band Festival that will be taking place in November.
Along with the All State Festivals, L.M.E.A. is preparing for their state professional development conference in November. James Hearne, the Conference Chair, distributed the schedule for the clinicians for the conference. As changes to the schedule were discussed, I was happy to see the number of clinicians and the variety of topics that will be of interest to the elementary music educators.
As the meeting concluded, I thought of The Beatles tune, “With a Little Help from My Friends.” It was clear to see the devotion to strengthening music education in Louisiana in each of the attendees. However, we can only do so by forming a team and giving “a little help” to our friends.