New Ideas for Music Classrooms Learned at Teacher Convention

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Music teachers Joe Belyeu, Suzanne Lewis, and  John Racina arrive at convention ready to learn

Music teachers Joe Belyeu, Suzanne Lewis, and John Racina arrive at convention ready to learn

Six Liberty Christian School educators who teach children from preschool to high school participated in the Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA) convention in San Antonio Feb. 11–14.

This annual four-day convention is the largest of its kind in the nation, with more than 26,000 attendees and providing opportunities in professional development, inspiration, and networking.

Applied Music and Band teacher John Racina, who attended the conference with fellow band teachers Scott Himel, Brad Mezei, and Jason Umbach, said, “As a musician and teacher for many years, I know that one can never know all there is to know about music education, which is why the TMEA convention is so important for teachers who want to provide the best in music education for their students.”

Joe Belyeu, Lower School Vocal Music and Musical Theatre teacher, also participated in the convention and attended numerous seminars. In the Art of Programming, he learned a variety of approaches to creating a successful choral performance. He is the director of Liberty’s fifth grade musical theatre program, “101 Dalmatians KIDS,” that 5th grade students will perform onstage on March 10 and 11.

Mr. Belyeu also attended Developing Musical Independence, where he saw more fun, purposeful movement activities that can be used in the classroom to promote the development of musicianship at all levels. In the Musical Games workshop, Mr. Belyeu explored a variety of instrumental and movement games for all ages and abilities that can help reach developmental goals and objectives for students, while providing a safe environment for creative expression, cooperation, social interaction, teamwork, improvisation, leadership, and followership.

He also attended a workshop that will help him provide his students who perform onstage with effective tools for conditioning positive responses to stress and coping successfully with performance anxiety.

“I received so many practical classroom management tools during the conference,” Mr. Belyeu said. “I also gained a lot of information and resources about incorporating more musical movement into the Lower School music program.

“It was really an honor to attend this conference.”

Suzanne Lewis teaches Music and Movement in Liberty’s Early Childhood Education (ECE) preschool program. She also attended the convention, and some of her favorite workshops include musical games for groups, classroom management, and musical play for preschoolers.

“This is my fourth year to attend the TMEA convention,” she said. “Every year, I learn so much and bring back to school a bag full of creative ideas to introduce to my students in the ECE.”

Mrs. Lewis also enjoyed the student performances at the convention, both choral and instrumental.

“The fellowship with other fine arts teachers at Liberty is also valuable, and I treasure my yearly trip to this conference,” she said. “I look forward to implementing the wonderful new ideas, instruments, and games in my classroom that I gleaned from the convention.

“I am very grateful for the times Liberty has sent me to this convention. Every year I come back inspired and full of creative musical knowledge that is so beneficial in my classroom.”

Band teacher Jason Umbach agreed.

“TMEA is a chance for music teachers to be students again,” he said. “In addition to the comradery it builds among music teachers, it is a great place to share ideas, receive information, and learn new teaching and playing techniques valuable for our students at Liberty.”

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