As a 2017 recipient of the FMC Scholarship, I am grateful for the experience of Summer Dialogue. Receiving this scholarship allowed me to continue to learn in a variety of ways. Through diverse music and collaboration with peers and presenters, I learned new techniques and strategies that can be directly applied to my current job as a 7-12th grade choir director.
Each session I attended piqued my interest with ways of introducing different subjects in my classroom. Angela Broeker spoke about world music, including how to acquire, prepare, and perform new pieces authentically. She gave us tools to find music from various sources, as well as how to present it to our students and audiences. Jane Ramseyer Miller and Erik Peregrine began a dialogue about transgender students and how we can create a safe environment for them. This was particularly helpful, as I had not had any insights or training in this area prior to having a transgender student. A fun and energizing perk of Summer Dialogue was singing in the Directors’ Chorus. Many times as choir teachers, we are drained at the end of our school days and may not want to participate in another choir outside of school. As a first-year teacher, I realized after our first rehearsal how I had missed being the student, singing from the other side of the podium!
I was able to reach out to other directors and educators for advice and overall mentorship. Reconnecting with previous teachers and professors from high school and college was a fun highlight of the conference. Connecting with these fellow music educators gave me fresh insights on choir management and details of conducting. The FMC scholarship truly made a difference in my future as a choir director and music educator.
Again, my sincere thanks to the FMC committee for selecting me for this fantastic opportunity.