NAfME Honors Five Music Educators and Leaders as 2016 Lowell Mason Fellows

Mike Lawson • News • August 22, 2016

NAfME Deputy Executive Directors Jane Mell Balek and Christopher Woodside (Photo: Mark Finkenstaedt)

This past June, the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) honored five individuals as this year’s Lowell Mason Fellows. This distinction is one of music education’s important honors, and is designed to recognize the accomplishments of music educators, music education advocates, political leaders, industry professionals, and others who have contributed to music education.

The award is named for Lowell Mason, considered to be the father of public school music education in the United States. He has been credited with introducing music instruction to American public schools in the 19th century, and with establishing teacher training in music education. In 2002, the importance of his contributions to music education inspired NAfME to create the Lowell Mason Fellows award.

Lowell Mason Fellow designations also provide an opportunity to support the efforts of NAfME through the donation made in the honoree’s name. This donation goes to NAfME’s Give a Note Foundation to support future generations of music educators through the organization’s programs.

Here are the 2016 Lowell Mason Fellows:

•    JANE MELL BALEK, NAfME Deputy Executive Director, and Give a Note Foundation Executive Director and CEO. Since 2011, Jane Balek has spearheaded six national awareness campaigns and raised funds to support and strengthen music education programs across the United States. The programs have reached millions of parents and students and provided more than $1.2 million in direct grants to schools in over 100 communities throughout the United States.

•    EDWIN E. GORDON (deceased), pre-eminent researcher, teacher, author, editor, and lecturer. Dr. Gordon has been a pioneer in research into musical aptitude, the psychology of music, and how musical aptitude develops in the young child. His research into music learning theory, audiation, and the sequence of development of musical learning have provided the basis for much of what is taught, and how it is taught in our music classrooms today.

 Massachusetts executive director Michele Holt (Photo credit: Mark Finkenstaedt)•    MICHELE HOLT, executive director of the Massachusetts Music Educators Association. Michele Holt has taught both public school music and in several music educator preparation programs at the college and university level. As a national president of the American Choral Conductors Association she was a strong advocate for choral music education both nationally and internationally. Co-Author of The School Music Program and contributing author to the third edition of Teaching Choral Music through Performance, Dr. Holt is in demand as a clinician, conductor, and curriculum consultant.

•    DAVID WAGGONER, state executive of the Arizona Music Educators Association. David Arizona state executive David Waggoner (Photo credit: Mark Finkenstaedt)Waggoner has devoted most of his adult life to music education and NAfME (through the Arizona Music Educators Association). He spent most of his career as a choral teacher in Tucson. With close to 30 years in Arizona music education, David also had the compassion to know how to deal with many important issues at a time of great change.

CHRISTOPHER B. WOODSIDE, NAfME Deputy Executive Director. Christopher Woodside has worked tirelessly on behalf of music educators and the students they serve by leading in advocacy for music education on the national and state level. In addition to bringing together more than 30 arts organizations on the Music Education Policy Roundtable, Christopher maintains key relationships on Capitol Hill with the Committee for Education Funding, Arts Education Policy Working Group, and most recently the Title IV, Part A Coalition, of which NAfME is a founding member and the first arts organization to join. A culmination of his music advocacy leadership was realized in December 2015 with the signing into law of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, and—for the first time in history—naming “music” as a stand-alone subject in the “well-rounded education” provision of ESSA.

Read more about the Lowell Mason Fellows distinction and past recipients of the honor here:

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