Music Educators Association of New Jersey

Serving teachers and students since 1927

Message from the President - Steppin' Out

Nancy Modell

MEA-NJ membership offers us camaraderie and opportunities for meeting wonderful NJ musicians and teachers. It also provides our students with a myriad of offerings, from evaluations, performances, music theory, to original composition. Another MEA-NJ member perk is the monthly opportunity for continuing education—learning new perspectives about music, pianism and pedagogy from guest presenters from around the USA and the world. This atmosphere for personal growth is extraordinary, and the special quality of openness that our members possess fills me with great anticipation to lead our organization as President!

Despite my anticipation, taking on the responsibilities of the Presidency is daunting to me—especially in light of Joan Bujacich's exemplary leadership for the past three years! My new role is a personal and professional leap, pushing me way outside my 'comfort zone'. My comfort zone is not public speaking in front of groups of people, but rather, interacting one-on-one, like in private music lessons, or behind a camera lens. But... here I go! With that in mind, I ask you to join me in this journey. Consider stepping out of your comfort zone, that artificial, mental boundary of self-imposed limitations.

I encourage you to start by making this the year to attend MEA-NJ meetings that don't exactly fit your usual criteria and main interests. There are wonderful learning opportunities for expanding your horizons just outside your comfort zone, starting with our Fall meetings! When you go beyond the familiar, you will grow, and that growth will have a positive impact on you and your teaching.

Twice before, I've had the good fortune to learn from Forrest Kinney's presentations. I have especially benefited from his philosophy on creativity, and am so pleased that MEA-NJ will offer all of us the chance to experience his work. ! In October, Forrest Kinney will present The Four Arts of Music: A New Paradigm for Music Education. I believe you will be enthralled with what he has to say. For those of you who are willing to really step out of your comfort zone, Forrest Kinney is offering an exclusive Mini-Intensive for MEA-NJ members to delve more deeply into the realm of teaching improvisation using the first of his series, Pattern Play!

In November, I am honored to share my passion for creative composition with Creative Composing: Embracing Creativity, Nurturing Musicality, suggesting ways to guide students on a path toward self-expression. If I am successful, my session will give you tools and inspiration to encourage your students to compose - just in time to participate in MEA-NJ's Eric Steiner Composition Competition and our 3rd Annual Composition Festival in Spring 2017.

This year, think about moving outside your comfort zone, by becoming an MEA-NJ volunteer! I am convinced there are a lot of untapped creative juices amongst our members. I look forward to your ideas. Let's talk!

Musically yours, Nancy Modell
President, 2016-19

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