Learning from the Masters

Thomas Palmatier • December 2022Perspective • December 15, 2022

Often when you see a title like this you expect to see a collection of grizzled master educators imparting the wisdom of the ages. Indeed, SBO+ strives to bring you informative and relevant articles from leading music educators. But in this special issue, we bring you insights into the successes of wonderful music educators on the front lines of teaching, one from each state.

These teachers were nominated by peers, supervisors, parents, students, and even family members based on their professional achievements and teaching excellence but also how they had a positive impact on those around them. When you read these inspiring stories, you will be struck, as I was, with how few of them mentioned superior ratings or other awards or personal recognition. Nearly all of them reveled in the small triumphs when a student, perhaps an “underachieving one,” had an “aha!” moment or when ensemble alumni members returned to share how important music had been to their lives. Many teachers used the term “safe space” to refer to their classrooms. I suppose we can bemoan that teachers feel a need to carve out “safe spaces,” but as I reflect back to my school years (50-60 years ago!) the band, orchestra, and chorus rooms were where I felt free to express myself and was accepted as a “music geek.”

Elsewhere in this issue you will see our first article focusing on musical theater since SBO+’s expansion into other genres. You’ll also read Bob Morrison’s Letter to Santa and enjoy an article by one of America’s most successful middle school music teachers, Cheryl Floyd. Speaking of masters, she is the other half of a “power couple.” Her husband is Richard Floyd who has been enlightening us with his series of articles on the “Seven Deadly Sins of Music Making.” Cheryl shares her Ten Commandments.

Soon, many of us will travel to Chicago for the Midwest Clinic. Other than questioning why mid-December seems to be the perfect time to be in Chicago, it’s a great opportunity for thousands of music educators to gather and recharge our creative batteries. Be sure to stop by Booth #1211 and say hello. We’d love to hear your ideas for future articles in SBO+. I should warn you that one of my long-standing traditions is that when someone says, “Somebody ought to…,” they have just volunteered to do it. You may end up being an SBO+ contributor!

Tom Palmatier, Editor-in-Chief, SBO+


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