Milestones for Music Ed Orgs

Mike Lawson • Perspective • February 6, 2020

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The year 2020 marks a special anniversary for a couple of organizations near and dear to me – namely, Technology in Music Education (TI:ME), which was organized 25 years ago this summer, and the Texas Music Educators Association, which celebrates its centennial.

Both of these orgs, in different ways, have had an immense impact on the world of music education, impacting countless lives of students and their teachers. Over the past hundred years, TMEA has grown into the largest show of its kind, possibly in the world. It has 500,000 square feet of exhibit space alone, which makes it second only to the Winter NAMM Show (a manufacturer/ dealer trade-only event) in exhibition size for music products. The Winter NAMM show is just over three times that size and is nearly impossible to see all of in a few days, given the 1.8 million square feet of its exhibits. While educators are given passes to NAMM and NAMM produces a wonderful array of “Music Education Days” sessions and events for educators, its primary purpose is not education-focused. The TMEA show is, like all other “MEA” shows, specifically for educators, with exhibits from manufacturers who provide the tools and services needed for a successful program, plus performance opportunities, and their longstanding partnership with TI:ME, which produces sessions on a pre-conference day on Wednesday, and throughout the rest of the week, attended by thousands. TMEA attracts visitors from around the country, and around the world.

Full disclosure, I have been involved with TI:ME for 23 of its 25 years, on the advisory board, publishing multiple books for them, and for the past nine years, serving as its executive director. TI:ME is an organization that I got excited about when it formed because over two decades ago, I could not even conceive of forward-thinking music teachers using the tools and toys that I love and use to write, record, and produce music, in the K-12 classroom. I got it right away. The importance of engagement in music programs by modernizing how music is taught hit me where I live. I only wanted to show up at school for the music programs. I knew that if I had teachers assembling music labs, studios, and all that goes with it in the signal path, that these things would have been a tremendous carrot to dangle in front of my youthful music-motivation to compel me to work harder in other subjects. Beyond that, technology introduced into music programs can help tell the rest of the story that makes so many other subjects relevant: the physics behind how sound works, the math involved in musical compositions, the narrative, dramatic and lyrical poetry from English and creative writing classes, the computer science behind the

technology used. I could go on and on. TI:ME produces hundreds of professional development sessions annually that serve thousands of hours of training to music educators from all grade levels, resources, and skillsets. State MEA shows help educators learn, develop as teachers, and spark new ways to help create lifelong music makers. Even if you’re in a small state, your MEA show is important to what you do, but I don’t have to tell you that. I wish that TI:ME could be everywhere, but with so many overlapping state MEA dates, and limited resources, we can’t, though we’d be happy to entertain invitations for future years and see what can work out.

So, let me end by honoring everyone at the TMEA on their amazing 100th year mark, and congratulating TI:ME for their silver anniversary. And once again, TI:ME and TMEA team up for an awesome year of “PD” training sessions. I hope to see you there. I’ve met music teachers from the UK, Ireland, South America, Mexico, Spain, Canada, and the four corners of the USA. It really is the “NAMM” for music educators. I encourage everyone who has never been to get it on your calendar for next year if you won’t make it this year. And if you do make it, find me and say hello!

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