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Inspiring the Next Generation of Music Professionals

Kathleen D. Sanz

President and Board Chair, National Association for Music Education

Did a music educator make a difference in your life, perhaps inspiring you to remain involved in music even after your high school years? Often, many students who take music classes in high school are driven to bring that same joy of music into other students’ lives. To become a music educator is to enter a truly noble profession.

Making a difference

Music opens doors for students in ways that other studies do not. Music education teaches students necessary skills for all professional pursuits, including communications skills, collaboration, critical thinking, empathy and creativity. Music students think “outside the box” and learn how to pool intellectual resources with peers to problem-solve in innovative ways. Music offers students the opportunity to express themselves in a way they may not be able to in other subjects.

Each school year on college campuses around the nation, new classes of music education majors are gathering together to share their experiences and find their own self-expression and value as individuals. These music education majors are also learning how to become strong advocates of music education for all students. About 150 music education majors come to Washington, D.C. every June to speak with their federal elected officials about why music education must be made more equitable in access to all students. They care that much about their chosen profession.

Continuing the cycle

College and university professors help prepare these budding professionals to dive into the world of school music and keep the cycle of music education turning over for another generation. It is very likely that the music educator who inspired you to consider majoring in music education has their own stories of music educators who inspired them to pursue music as well.

Remember that moment in your own time at school that inspired you to pursue music. Talk to music educators whom you respect, and reach out to school deans of music to get their perspective on the profession. You can be the music educator who inspires the next generation.

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